Encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy

2011 Edition
| Editors: Henrik Lagerlund

Obligations Logic

  • Mikko Yrjönsuuri
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9729-4_362


Medieval obligations logic dealt with logical duties, primarily that of granting what follow from what has already been laid down. Technically these duties were put into the context of so-called obligational disputations, where the opponent puts forward propositions, which the respondent grants, denies, or doubts. For the most part, the answers do not follow truth, but some specific obligation given at the beginning of the disputation and the technical obligation rules. The main flourishing of obligations logic can be dated to the first half of the fourteenth century with authors like Walter Burley, Richard Kilvington, and Roger Swyneshed, who all presented somewhat different sets of rules for these disputations. It seems that medieval authors aimed generally at rules that take heed of two general dialectical duties: to follow truth and to remain coherent in one’s answers. The latter becomes clearly visible when exceptions to the former are allowed through issuing some special duty at the beginning of the disputation. Obligations logic, thus, can be characterized as studying what it means to be consistent and how one can remain coherent. This way, the area also contributed to the development of such modal notions as logical possibility and necessity.

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Primary Sources

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mikko Yrjönsuuri
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Social Sciences and PhilosophyUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland