Synthese

, Volume 145, Issue 3, pp 371–395 | Cite as

Medieval Obligationes as Logical Games of Consistency Maintenance

Article

Abstract

I argue that the medieval form of dialectical disputation known as obligationes can be viewed as a logical game of consistency maintenance. The game has two participants, Opponent and Respondent. Opponent puts forward a proposition P; Respondent must concede, deny or doubt, on the basis of inferential relations between P and previously accepted or denied propositions, or, in case there is none, on the basis of the common set of beliefs. Respondent loses the game if he concedes a contradictory set of propositions. Opponent loses the game if Respondent is able to maintain consistency during the stipulated period of time. The obligational rules are here formalised by means of familiar notational devices, and the application of some game-theoretical concepts, such as (winning) strategy, moves, motivation, allows for an analysis of some crucial properties of the game. In particular, the primacy of inferential (syntactic) relations over semantic aspects and the dynamic character of obligations are outlined.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Ashworth, E.J. 1981‘The Problems of Relevance and Order in Obligational Disputations: Some Late Fourteenth Century Views’Medioevo7175193Google Scholar
  2. Ashworth, E.J. 1984‘Inconsistency and Paradox in Medieval Disputations: A Development of Some Hints in Ockham’Franciscan Studies44129139Google Scholar
  3. Burley, Walter 1988

    Obligations (selection)

    Kretzmann, N.Stump, E. eds. Logic and the Philosophy of Language, The Cambridge Translations of Medieval Philosophical TextsCambridge UniversityCambridge369412
    Google Scholar
  4. De Rijk, L.M. 1974‘Some Thirteenth Century Tracts on the Game of Obligations I’Vivarium1294123Google Scholar
  5. Green, R. 1963The logical Treatise ‘De Obligationibus’: An Introduction with Critical Texts of William of Sherwood (?) and Walter BurleyFransiscan InstituteSt. BonaventureGoogle Scholar
  6. Hamblin, C.L. 1970FallaciesMethuenLondonGoogle Scholar
  7. Hintikka, J., Sandu, G. 1997

    ‘Game-Theoretical Semantics’

    Benthem, J.ter Meulen, A. eds. Handbook of Logic and LanguageElsevier/MITAmsterdam/Cambridge, MA361410
    Google Scholar
  8. Keffer, H. 2001De Obligationibus – Rekonstruktion einer spätmittelalterlichen DisputationstheorieBrillLeidenGoogle Scholar
  9. Lagerlund H., Olsson E. (2001). ‘Disputation and Change of Belief – Burley’s Theory of obligationes as a Theory of Belief Revision’. in Yrjönsuuri (2001). pp. 35–62Google Scholar
  10. Lorenzen, P. 1961‘Ein dialogisches Konstruktivitätskriterium’. in Infinitistic MethodsPergamonOxford193200Google Scholar
  11. Martin, C.J. 1992

    ‘Obligations and Liars’

    Read, S. eds. Sophisms in Medieval Logic and Grammar.KluwerDordrecht357381
    Google Scholar
  12. Martin C.J. (2001). ‘Obligations and Liars’. in Yrjönsuuri (2001). pp. 63–94. (Revised version of Martin 1992.) Pironet, F. 2001, ‘The Relations between Insolubles and Obligations in Medieval Disputations’. in Yrjönsuuri (2001). pp. 95–114Google Scholar
  13. Spade, P.V. 1982a

    ‘Obligations: B. DevelopmentsintheFourteenthCentury’.

    Kretzmann, N.Kenny, A.Pinborg, J. eds. The Cambridge History of Later Medieval Philosophy.Cambridge UniversityCambridge3354341
    Google Scholar
  14. Spade, P.V. 1982b‘Three Theories of Obligationes: Burley, Klivington and Swyneshed on Counterfactual Reasoning’History and Philosophy of Logic3132Google Scholar
  15. Spade, P.V. 1992‘If Obligations were Counterfactuals’Philosophical Topics20171188Google Scholar
  16. Spade, P.V., Stump, E. 1983‘Walter Burley and the obligationes Attributed to William of Sherwood’History and Philosophy of Logic4926Google Scholar
  17. Stokhof, M., Groenendijk, J. 1997

    ‘Questions’

    Benthem, J.ter Meulen, A. eds. Handbook of Logic and Language.Elsevier/MITAmsterdam/Cambridge, MA10551124
    Google Scholar
  18. Stump, E. 1981‘Roger Swyneshed’s Theory of Obligations’Medioevo7135174Google Scholar
  19. Stump, E. 1982

    ‘Obligations: A. From the Beginning to the Early Fourteenth Century’.

    Kretzmann, N.Kenny, A.Pinborg, J. eds. The Cambridge History of Later Medieval Philosophy.Cambridge UniversityCambridge315334
    Google Scholar
  20. Stump, E. 1985‘The Logic of Disputation in Walter Burley’s Treatise on Obligations’Synthese63355374CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Van Benthem, J. 2001Logic in Games, Lecture NotesUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  22. Weisheipl, J. 1956Early Fourteenth-Century Physics and the Merton ‘School’ with Special Reference to Dumbleton and Heytesbury, PhD dissertationOxford UniversityOxfordGoogle Scholar
  23. Yrjönsuuri, M. 1996

    ‘Obligations as Thought Experiments’

    Angelelli, I.Cerezo, M. eds. Studies on the History of Logic.Walter de GruyterBerlin7996
    Google Scholar
  24. Yrjönsuuri, M. 1998‘The Compossibility of Impossibilities and Ars Obligatoria’History and Philosophy of Logic19235248MathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  25. Yrjönsuuri, M. eds. 2001Medieval Formal LogicKluwerDordrechtGoogle Scholar
  26. Yrjönsuuri M. (2001a). ‘Duties, Rules and Interpretations in Obligational Disputations’. in Yrjönsuuri (2001). pp. 3–34Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of PhilosophyUniversity of LeidenLeidenThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations