Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy

pp 692-695

Logic, Arabic, in the Latin Middle Ages

  • Henrik LagerlundAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, The University of Western Ontario


C. Prantl argued in the mid-nineteenth century that the part of western logic nowadays called logica modernorum, that is, the so called theories of the properties of terms, entered into the Latin world from translations of Byzantine and Arabic logical works. This was, as M.L. de Rijk showed in the 1960s, completely wrong. He argued convincingly that this part of medieval logic was partly due to Aristotle’s Sophistici elenchi but foremost it was due to the creative minds of late twelfth-century logicians. His judgment of earlier views was so harsh, however, that Arabic logic in the Latin tradition has hardly been studied at all. Most scholars are of the opinion that Arabic logic had very little, if any, influence on western logic, but although Arabic logic did not revolutionize western logic as was once thought, it certainly is part of the western logical tradition and as such it had quite a significant influence, though not in the way previously thought.