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Peter Abaelard and the Development of Logic

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Peter Abaelard is best known today as a man for his disastrous affair with Heloise, and as a philosopher for his anti-realist theory of universals. My investigations of the development of logic in the twelfth century have concentrated, however, on his previously ignored contribution to the theory of argumentation. I will argue in my presentation that in this field Abaelard was one of the truly great philosophers and someone whose work compares with that of Aristotle and Frege. Abaelard revolutionised thinking about language and logic at the beginning of the twelfth century but, as we will see, his theory unfortunately contained the seeds of its own destruction.

This talk is part of the Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Seminars series.

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