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Book Workshop, Egbert Bos: Understanding Medieval Latin with the Help of Middle Dutch

Wednesday 19 February 2020
Past events 2020
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

Prof. E.P. Bos, Understanding Medieval Latin with the Help of Middle Dutch



Magistri Symonis (?) Questiones secunde partis Doctrinalis Alexandri de Villa Dei
First Critical Edition from the Manuscript with Introduction, Appendices and Indexes

How advanced students in the 15th century learned to understand Latin with the help of Middle Dutch becomes clear in Master Simon’s (?) commentary in the form of questions on the Doctinale of Alexander de Villa Dei, a famous medieval didactical poem on grammar. The master discusses notions such as the six cases of Latin (nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, vocative and ablative), construction, impediments of construction, and participles. The author has a conceptualist approach of language and criticizes interpretations by realists (Modists). He refers to other important medieval grammars, viz. Commentary on Priscian attributed to Peter Helias, Compendium de modis significandi attributed to Thomas of Erfurt, the Metrista, the Regulae Puerorum and the Florista.


15:15 - 15:45

Bert Bos:
Understanding Medieval Latin with the Help of the Vernacular. Grammar and philosophy

15:45 - 16:15

Ria van der Lecq:
Grammatica speculativa

16:15 - 16:45

Catarina Dutilh-Novaes:
Disputations and mental languages in the 14th century

16:45 - 17:00

Response by Bert Bos


Drinks in the Faculty Club

Bert Bos (Leiden)

From 1970 till 2012 Egbert Peter Bos was University lecturer in Ancient and Medieval philosophy at the Institute of Philosophy, Leiden. Since 2008 he was Special Professor for medieval logic. His research area is medieval logic, semantics and grammar in the late Middle Ages.

Understanding Medieval Latin with the Help of the Vernacular. Grammar and philosophy.
After a short introduction about the edition of a late medieval grammar, I shall discuss the anonymous author’s conceptualistic view on language. He criticizes realist (or: Thomistic) views and the views of the modists (or: grammatica speculativa). This discussion immediately precedes the Renaissance area.

Ria van der Lecq (Utrecht)

Ria van der Lecq is (retired) Associate Professor at Utrecht University. Her areas of interest include the history of ancient and medieval philosophy (historical roots of the liberal arts), and interdisciplinary teaching and learning. Among other things she has published various critical editions of the logical works of the XIVth century French philosopher John Buridan.

Grammatica speculativa.
In the early Middle Ages grammar was one of the seven liberal arts: the art of speaking well. At the end of the thirteenth century, however, a group of grammarians and philosophers, called Modistae, advocated a more scientific approach to grammar ("speculative grammar"). How did they ensure the scientific status of their doctrine?

Catarina Dutilh Novaes (VU Amsterdam)

Catarina Dutilh Novaes  is Professor of Philosophy with the Chair 'Reasoning and Argumentation' at the VU Amsterdam, and Professorial Fellow at Arché, St. Andrews. She is also one of the Editors-in-Chief of the journal Synthese. Her research focuses on history and philosophy of logic, philosophy of mathematics, argumentation, and social epistemology. 

Disputations and mental languages in the 14th century
In the 14th century, the scholastic tradition of disputations was still very much alive, and logic (also known as dialectica) was the discipline that focused on the art and practice of disputation. At the same time, logic was increasingly conceptualized in mentalistic terms, such as with Ockham's notion of mental language and the widespread view that syncategorematic (logical) terms corresponded to operations of the mind. Both trends are present in the text recently edited by Prof. E.P. Bos. In my talk, I will sketch these two trends, and discuss some elements of the text that reveal disputational as well as mentalistic commitments.

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