Dialogue

Critical Notices/Éitudes critiques

Extraordinary Language and Medieval Logic

John Trentmana1

a1 McGill University.

Dr. Desmond Paul Henry has recently published a systematic survey of his research on Anselm's logic which makes use of some of his previously published studies but includes much new material as well. Readers who know his earlier work will not be disappointed in this book. It evidences his usual combination of serious medieval scholarship, acumen in modern logic, and insight into the subtleties of logical problems new and old. It also demonstrates beyond doubt the remarkable skill exercised by St. Anselm in his discussions of a very wide range of logical problems involving such things as paronymy, modal arguments, moral reasoning, numerically definite reasoning, identity, forms of inference, and a variety of puzzles involving contrasts between real and apparent logical form. There is much here of very great interest to both the medievalist and the logician. Henry is also very careful and self-conscious about Anselm's methodology, and he attempts to locate Anselm's work within the general development of medieval logic. I hope that no one will feel excused from reading this book and will miss the rich results of Dr. Henry's studies from the fact that I intend here to argue that his view of the development of medieval logic is highly misleading and seems to involve the use of a distinction which, although it has twentieth-century analogues, is not applicable to medieval logic. First, I shall outline Henry's view; then I shall suggest some counter-evidence; finally I shall suggest that Henry's tools for bringing out and expounding Anselm's method have some problems of their own.