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AISB event Bulletin Item

SYMPOSIUM: Formal approaches & Natural Language in Medieval Logic, 12-16 June 2012, Switzerland

19th European Symposium on Medieval Logic and Semantics (ESMLS XIX),Geneva, Switzerland

The topic, as was decided in the last session of the (wonderful) 18th Symposium in Bologna, will be:

  "Formal approaches and Natural Language in Medieval Logic"

We will come back to you with questions concerning the modalities of participation at the end of spring 2011, when the program of the conference will have to be established.

With our best regards,

Alain de Libera, Frdric Goubier, Laurent Cesalli


19th European Symposium on Medieval Logic and Semantics Geneva, June 12-16, 2012 Formal Approaches and Natural Language in Medieval Logic

One way of understanding the very general question of the nature of medieval logic is to address the more specific issue of the relation between formal approaches and natural language in the medieval philosophical corpus. There are good reasons to think that medieval logic is a genuine, that is, a formal logic; indeed, it tends to develop sets of formal ? i.e. topic-neutral ? rules governing argumentation and semantics. 
However, it is obvious that medieval logic isn?t formal the way mathematical logic is ? medieval logic, for instance, isn?t symbolic. It is furthermore commonly acknowledged that medieval logic is a logic *in* and *about* a language which is located somewhere between a natural and a thoroughly regimented language. Thus medieval logic can be seen as a discipline caught in a tension between descriptive constraints and formal ambitions.

Accordingly, the symposium will address the following three main

1. To what extent is medieval logic formal?

2. To what extent is medieval logic translatable in modern formal idioms?

3. To what extent is the language medieval logic is dealing with ?natural??

More precisely, the contributors will be invited to address one (or
several) of these three questions in the perspective of the tension mentioned above between descriptive constraints and formal ambitions.

For example, these three issues could be considered within one (or
several) of the following specific fields of medieval logic:

- *Theories of linguistic meaning* which have to deal, on the one hand, with conventionally set meanings framing variations of reference, and, on the other hand, with semantic fluctuations such as equivocation or analogy.

- *Supposition theory* which develops a system of rules in order to determine the truth-conditions of declarative sentences formulated in ?natural? language.

- *Sophismata* which provide a means to (formally describe) numerous semantic features of ?natural? language, through the analysis of characteristic propositions.

- *Consequentiae* which offer a formal theory of the validity of arguments produced in natural reasoning.

- *Obligationes* which explore the possibilities and limits of highly systematic reasoning within a conversational game under formal constraints. This is of course not an exhaustive list. Further domains which could (or should) be considered here are for example *insolubilia* and *fallaciae*, as well as more general issues such as the relation between logic and grammar, or between logic and exegesis and theology.