On June 27-29, the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Warsaw will host the XXIII Symposium on Medieval Logic and Semantics, this year dedicated to the topic: “Time, Tense and Modality”.
The Organizing Committee (Dr. Magdalena Bieniak, Prof. Krystyna Krauze-Błachowicz, Dr. Wojciech Wciórka, Dr. Marcin Trepczyński) was able to arrange an extremely beautiful programme! Check it here: http://esmls2020.uw.edu.pl/index.php?d=programme
I will present my research on “Medieval Theories on the Conceivability of the Impossible: A Survey of Impossible Positio in Ars Obligatioria During the 13th–14th Centuries“. I will speak of some of the main research areas to which my current project is related: obligationes, impossibilities, imagining the impossible, and the Oxford Calculators! Please find a short abstract at the end of this post.
It will be a great occasion for me to see friends and colleagues and discuss medieval logic with them. In the picture attached to this page, a photo from my very first symposium in Pisa in 2016, to which I participated as a PhD student. I have great memories of it!
Irene Binini (Università di Parma/University of Toronto)
Medieval Theories on the Conceivability of the Impossible: A Survey of Impossible Positio in Ars Obligatioria During the 13th–14th Centuries
During the 13th century, several logicians in the Latin medieval tradition showed a special interest in the nature of impossibility, and in the different kinds or ‘degrees’ of impossibility that could be distinguished. This discussion resulted in an analysis of the modal concept with a finenesse of grain unprecedented in earlier modal accounts. Of the several divisions of the term ‘impossible’ that were offered, one became particularly relevant in connection with the debate on ars obligatoria and positio impossibilis: the distinction between ‘intelligible’ and ‘unintelligible’ impossibilities. In my paper, I consider some 13th-century tracts on obligations that provide an account of the relation between impossibility and intelligibility and discuss the inferential principles that are permissible when we reason from an impossible – but intelligible – premise. I also explore the way in which the 13th-century reflection on this topic survives, in a revised form, in some early 14th-century accounts of positio, namely, those of William of Ockham, Roger Swineshead and Thomas Bradwardine.