John Buridan's Sophismata

Fall 2016, Konstanz

Time: 13:30-15:00 Mondays
Place: D 201
URL: michaelde.com/teaching/Buridan/Buridan.html
Office hours: By appointment
Email: mikejde@gmail.com

Description

In this course we will work through John Buridan's Sophismata (sophisms or paradoxes). We will use G. Klima's English translation of Summulae de Dialectica, 2001. We will concern ourselves primarily with the eighth chapter on self-reference, but we will also work through some of the first and second chapters on signification and truth. The most famous of the sophisms to the present-day philosopher is the so-called liar paradox, 'I am now uttering a falsehood'. There has been much recent discussion of such paradoxes and Buridan provides his own solution of them. To put things into perspective, we will compare Buridan's treatment of the sophisms to some contemporary solutions.

Prerequisites: None
Evaluation: Three short essays of approximately 2000-2500 words each, and one presentation
Primary text: Gyula Klima's English translation of John Buridan's Summae de Dialectica, Yale University Press, 2001
Secondary texts: Selection of journal articles

Readings

Do the readings in the order that they appear.

31.10. (Week 2, Introduction) : Klima's introduction, pp. xxvii-liii
07.11. (Week 3, Introduction) : Klima's intro continued, pp. liii-lxii
14.11. (Week 4, Signification) : Chapter 1, pp. 823-845
21.11. (Week 5, Ampliation) :

  1. Klima, John Buridan, Oxford University Press, 2009, chapter 7.2-8
  2. Priest and Read, "Ockham's rejection of ampliation", Mind, vol. 90, 1981, pp. 274-279
28.11. (Week 6, Truth and falsity) : Chapter 2, pp. 845-862
05.12. (Week 7, Truth and ontology) :
  1. Klima, John Buridan, Oxford University Press, 2009, chapter 9
  2. Calvin Normore, Buridan's Ontology, in How Things Are, J. Bogen and J. McGuire (eds.), D. Reidel Publishing Company, 1985
12.12. (Week 8, Self-reference) : Chapter 8 of Sophismata, pp. 952-965 (up to and including the 6th sophism)
19.12. (Week 9, Logical valdiity) : Johnn Buridan, Oxford University Press, 2009, chapter 10
09.01. (Week 10, The liar paradox) : Stephen Read, The Liar Paradox from John Buridan back to Thomas Bradwardine, Vivarium, vol. 40, no. 2, pp. 189-218
16.01. (Week 11, The liar paradox continued) : Stephen Read, The Liar Paradox from John Buridan back to Thomas Bradwardine, Vivarium, vol. 40, no. 2, pp. 189-218
23.01. (Week 12, Self-reference) : Chapter 8 of Sophismata, pp. 965-980 (up to and including the 12th sophism)
06.02. (Week 13, Self-reference) : Chapter 8 of Sophismata, pp. 965-997
13.02. (Week 14, The no-no paradox) :
  1. Patrick Greenough, Truthmaker Gaps and the No-No Paradox, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, vol. 82, no. 3, 2011
  2. Roy Sorensen, "A Definite No-No", in JC Beall (ed.) Liars and Heaps: New Essays on Paradox, Oxford University Press, 2004, pp. 225-229

Slides

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Essays