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Hans Burkhardt

Radulphus Brito _From Handbook of Mereology


ISBN: 978-3-88405-657-8

Price: €4.80 (including 19 % tax)


In Quaestiones 9-12 of his commentary on De differentiis topicis of Boethius Radulphus Brito (Raoul de Breton, died 1320) discusses the partwhole relation. In Quaestio 9 he distinguishes between two kinds of integral whole. One kind is the homogeneous whole, the essence or nature of which is inherited by every part. Examples of homogeneous wholes are water and flesh. The other kind of integral whole is the heterogeneous whole. An example of heterogeneous whole, is a house – the parts of the house, for example a wall or roof, are not themselves houses. Brito uses Boethius’ terms: ‘to hold constructively’ and ‘to hold destructively’, to signify confirmation or negation of the existence of the antecedent, respectively. In combination with the inferences from whole to part and from part to whole we get four possible inferences. (1) The whole is (exists) ergo: the part is (exists). (2) The whole is not ergo: the part is not. (3) The part is ergo: the whole is. (4) The part is not ergo: the whole is not. Brito then seeks to establish the valid kinds of inference for the two kinds of whole. For a heterogeneous whole the inference from the whole to the part is only constructively (1) valid, because the whole is nothing else than an aggregation of its parts. Destructively (2) it is not valid, because the parts can exist independently of the whole. The inference from the part to the whole on the other hand is only destructively (4) valid, because the destruction of any part destroys the whole. Thus, we have the following valid inferences for heterogeneous integral wholes. …




 





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