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Oxford Studies in Medieval Philosophy Volume 6$
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Robert Pasnau

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198827030

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198827030.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 26 February 2021

“Signum est in praedicamento relationis”

“Signum est in praedicamento relationis”

Roger Bacon’s Semantics Revisited in the Light of His Relational Theory of the Sign

(p.62) “Signum est in praedicamento relationis”
Oxford Studies in Medieval Philosophy Volume 6

Laurent Cesalli

Irène Rosier-Catach

Oxford University Press

Roger Bacon is a remarkable figure for his theory of the sign. According to the new reading hypothesis presented in this article, the whole theory is grounded on the relational nature of the sign. Every sign is involved in two relations: one to the interpreter, the other to the significate, the first being “more essential” than the second. The hypothesis allows for a better understanding of Bacon’s central claim that speakers constantly re-impose words in colloquial practice, as well as of its main technical developments (equivocation and supposition understood as instances of re-imposition, the possibility for a word to lose its signification, its impossibility to signify univocally beings and non-beings). In his whole semantics, Bacon’s focus is not so much on entities (e.g. sounds, traces) as on relations holding between entities. From a comparative point of view, the paper offers considerations on the theological (and mainly Augustinian) background of Bacon’s ideas.

Keywords:   Roger Bacon, medieval philosophy, philosophy of language, theory of the sign, theory of relations, medieval theology

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