Burley on Propositions with ‘primo’ in De Puritate Artis Logicae
A proposition concerning ‘primus’ such as homo est primo risibilis admits of different interpretations. In Summa Logicae Ockham takes a proposition in actu exercito as a proposition in actu significato. Thus he interprets the proposition ‘homo est primo risibilis’ as meaning ‘de homine praedecitur primo esse risibile’. In his view ‘homo’ in the proposition in actu significato stands for intention (intentio). This interpretation prevents one from referring to a universal as esse extra animam. However, Burley denies such an interpretation for the reason that what is predicated through ‘primo esse risibile’ is not ‘homo’ as intention but ‘homo’ as standing for commune. Nonetheless, the problem of what is ‘primo esse risibile’ still remains. He proposes the following solutions to this problem:
1. ‘primus’ can be taken in two ways: positive and negative. In the negative way, individuals are ‘primo esse risibile’.
2. In ‘homo est primo risibilis’ ‘primo’ is a predicate, so that we have to accept ‘homo est primo risibilis’ as “homo est risibile’ est primo vera’. In this case ‘homo’ is part of the subject, from which it follows that it does not have any supposition.
In this paper, I have examined Burley’s attempts to answer to the problem of what is ‘primo esse risibile’, focusing in particular on his interpretation of ‘primus’. Comparison of his solutions has been made with his arguments in De Puritate Artis Logicae and Tractatus de Proprietatibus Sermonis. We have to say that Burley fails to answer to the problem.
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