Understanding the Semantics of “Relativa Grammaticalia” some Medieval Logicians on Anaphoric Pronouns

  • Reinhard Hülsen
Part of the Studies in Linguistics and Philosophy book series (SLAP, volume 72)


When in the early nineteen-sixties Geach presented his by now well known theory of the semantic roles of anaphoric pronouns, he did something quite unusual in those days: time and again he critically referred to certain medieval approaches to the same subject. He thought, apparently, that these sophisticated approaches showed the enormous difficulties a coreferential approach was bound to lead into. Geach (1960) even went so far as to claim sweepingly that “the medievals who discussed relativa — pronouns with antecedents — were groping in the dark despite all their ingenuity.” It is one of the ironies of the history of philosophy that one such medieval theory — to be found in the fourteenth-century philosopher Buridan and his pupils (though foreshadowed a century earlier) — has now raised his head again in the work of Gareth Evans — this time against Geach.


Noun Phrase Fourteenth Century Subject Term Supposition Theory Anaphoric Pronoun 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2000

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  • Reinhard Hülsen

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