The Metalogicon: A Twelfth-Century Defense of the Verbal and Logical Arts of the Trivium


The Metalogicon, completed in 1159, is recognized as a landmark in the fields of philosophy, psychology, and education. Undertaken to defend the thorough study of the trivium against attack at the hands of those who wished less attention accorded to grammar, logic, and rhetoric, it is a treasure-trove of information about twelfth-century teaching as well as an enduring classic in its own right.

The study of grammar in John of Salisbury's time included familiarization with the ...

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The Metalogicon, completed in 1159, is recognized as a landmark in the fields of philosophy, psychology, and education. Undertaken to defend the thorough study of the trivium against attack at the hands of those who wished less attention accorded to grammar, logic, and rhetoric, it is a treasure-trove of information about twelfth-century teaching as well as an enduring classic in its own right.

The study of grammar in John of Salisbury's time included familiarization with the ancient Latin classics, and involved not only a reading of them but also an analysis and imitation of their style. It thus anticipated the humanism of the Renaissance. The study of logic, as it was then pursued, comprised learning and putting into practice the principles of Aristotle's Organon.

In The Metalogicon, a leading medieval scholar summarizes the essential lineaments of existing twelfth-century education, describes his experiences while a student at Chartres and Paris, and affords personal glimpses of such contemporary intellectual leaders as Peter Abelard, Gilbert de la Porrée, and Thierry of Chartres.

John of Salisbury (ca. 1115–1176) studied with almost all the great masters of the early twelfth century, served as an aid to Thomas à Becket (1118–1170), was friend to Pope Hadrian IV, an annoyance if not an enemy to England's King Henry II, and died as Bishop of Chartres.

Daniel D. McGarry was a professor of history at Saint Louis University. He died in 1999. His translation of The Metalogicon was the first to appear in any modern language.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781589880580
  • Publisher: Dry, Paul Books, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/1/2009
  • Pages: 305
  • Sales rank: 851,487
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

John of Salisbury (ca. 1115-76) studied with the great masters of the early twelfth century, including Peter Abelard and Gilbert of Poitiers, served as an aid to Thomas à Becket, a friend to Pope Hadrian IV, an annoyance (if not an enemy) to England's Henry II, and died as Bishop of Chartres. Daniel McGarry was professor of history at Saint Louis University. His translation of the Metalogicon was the first to appear in any modern language.
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Table of Contents

Introduction: John of Salisbury History of the Text Analysis of the Metalogicon Sources Latin of the Metalogicon Historical Position xv

Book 1 3

1 The false accusation that has evoked this rejoinder to Cornificius 9

2 A description of Cornificius, without giving his name 12

3 When, how, and by whom Cornificius was educated 13

4 The lot of his companions in error 17

5 What great men that tribe dares to defame, and why they do this 21

6 The arguments on which Cornificius bases his contention 24

7 Praise of Eloquence 26

8 The necessity of helping nature by use and exercise 28

9 That one who attacks logic is trying to rob mankind of eloquence 31

10 What "logic" means, and how we should endeavor to acquire all arts that are not reprobate 32

11 The nature of art, the various hinds of innate abilities, and the fact that natural talents should be cultivated and developed by the arts 33

12 Why some arts are called "liberal" 36

13 Whence grammar gets its name 37

14 Although it is not natural, grammar imitates nature 38

15 That adjectives of secondary application should not be copulated with nouns of primary application, as in the example "a patronymic horse" 41

16 That adjectives of primary origin are copulated with nouns of primary application 47

17 That grammar also imitates nature in poetry 51

18 What grammar should prescribe, and what it should forbid 52

19 That a knowledge of figures [of speech] is most useful 56

20 with what the grammarian should concern himself 58

21 By what great men grammar has been appreciated, and the fact that ignorance of this art is as much a handicap in philosophy as is deafness and dumbness 60

22 That Cornificiusinvokes the authority of Seneca to defend his erroneous contentions 62

23 The chief aids to philosophical inquiry and the practice of virtue; as well as how grammar is the foundation of both philosophy and virtue 64

24 Practical observations on reading and lecturing, together with [an account of] the method employed by Bernard of Chartres and his followers 65

25 A short conclusion concerning the value of grammar 72

Book 2 73

1 Because its object is to ascertain the truth, logic is a valuable asset in all fields of philosophy 74

2 The Peripatetic school, and the origin and founder of logic 76

3 That those who would philosophize should be taught logic. Also the distinction between demonstrative, probable, and sophistical logic 78

4 What dialectic is, and whence it gets its name 80

5 The subdivisions of the dialectical art, and the objective of logicians 81

6 That all seek after logic, yet not all are successful in their quest 84

7 That those who are verbal jugglers of irrelevant nonsense must first be disabused of their erring ways before they can come to know anything 88

8 If they had but heeded Aristotle, he would have prevented them from going to extremes 90

9 That dialectic is ineffective when it is divorced from other studies 93

10 On whose authority the foregoing and following are based 95

11 The limited extent of the efficacy of dialectic by itself 100

12 The subject mater of dialectic, and the means it uses 101

13 The tremendous value of a scientific knowledge of probable principles; and the difficulties involved in determining what principles are absolutely necessary 103

14 More on the same subject 106

15 What is a dialectical proposition, and what a dialectical problem 107

16 That all other teachers of this art [of dialectic] acknowledge Aristotle as their master 109

17 In what a pernicious manner logic is sometimes taught; and the ideas of moderns about [the nature of] genera and species 111

18 That men always alter the opinions of their predecessors 116

19 Wherein teachers of this kind are not to be forgiven 117

20 Aristotle's opinion concerning genera and species, supported by numerous confirmatory reasons and references to written works 118

Book 3 142

1 How one should lecture on Porphyry and other books 146

2 The utility of the Categories, and [some remarks concerning] their instruments 150

3 What is the scope of the predicaments, and with what the prudent moderation of those who philosophize should rest content 155

4 The scope and usefulness of the Periermenie [Interpretation], or more correctly of the Periermenias 165

5 What constitutes the body of the art, and [some remarks on] the utility of the book of the Topics 170

6 The utility and scope of the [first] three books of the Topics 176

7 A brief account of the fourth and fifth books [of the Topics] 179

8 Of definition, the subject of the sixth book [of the Topics] 181

9 The problem of identity and diversity, which is treated in the seventh book; together with some general observations concerning the Topics 185

10 The utility of the eighty book [of the Topics] 189

Book 4 203

1 The book of the Analytics examines reasoning 204

2 The universal utility of this sciences [of the Analytics], and the etymology of its title 205

3 The book's utility does not include the provision of rhetorical expression 206

4 The scope of the first book [of the Analytics] 207

5 The scope of the second book] [of the Analytics] 209

6 The difficulty of the Posterior Analytics, and whence this [difficulty] proceeds 212

7 Why Aristotle has come to be called "the philosopher" par excellence 213

8 The [proper] function of demonstrative logic, as well as the sources and techniques of demonstration. Also the fact that sensation is the basis of science, and how this is true 214

9 What sensation is, and how it, together with imagination, is the foundation of every branch of philosophy 216

10 Imagination, and the fact that it is the source of affections that either compose and order, or disturb and deform the soul 218

11 The nature of imagination, together with remarks on opinion. Also how opinion and sensation may be deceived, and the origin of fronesis, which we call "prudence" 220

12 The nature, subject matter, and activities of prudence; and how science originates from sensation 221

13 The difference between "science" and "wisdom," and what is "faith" 222

14 The relationship of prudence and truth, the origins of prudence, and the nature of reason 224

15 More about what reason is; as well as the fact that the word "reason" has several different meanings; and that reasons are everlasting 225

16 A distinction of various meanings [of the word "reason"], and the fact that brute animals do not possess reason, even though they may seem to have discernment. Also the origin of human reason according to the Hebrews 226

17 Reason's function; why sensation, which reason supervises, is situated in the head; and who are philology's servants 228

18 The distinction between reason and [intuitive] understanding, and the nature of the latter 230

19 The nature of wisdom, and the fact that, with the help of grace, wisdom derives [originally] from sense perception 231

20 The cognition, simplicity, and immortality of the soul, according to Cicero 232

21 Although Aristotle has not sufficiently discussed hypothetical [conditional] reasoning in the foregoing books, he has, as it were, sowed seed for such a treatment 235

22 Sophistry and its utility 235

23 The Sophistical Refutations 238

24 A word about those who disparage the works of Aristotle 240

25 The fact that Cornificius is even more contemptible than Bromius, the buffoon of the gods. Also how Augustine and other philosophers praise logic 241

26 What tactics we should employ against Cornificius, and [other like] perverse calumniators [of logic] 242

27 Although he has been mistaken on several points, Aristotle is preeminent in logic 243

28 How logic should be employed 244

29 That the temerity of adolescence should be restrained; why eloquence weds philology; and what should be our main objectives 245

30 The fact that philology precedes its two sisters. Also what investigation by categories is appropriate in a discussion of reason and truth 247

31 The nature of original reason, and some observations concerning philosophical sects 250

32 What is opposed to reason, and the fact that the word "reason" has several different senses, as well as that reasons are eternal 252

33 The imperfection of human reason; and the fact that the word "true" has various senses 252

34 The etymology of the word uerum ["true"], the nature of truth, and what is contrary to truth, and what is contrary to truth 255

35 More about truths, and the fact that things, words, and truths are said to exist in different ways, with an explanation of the latter 258

36 The difference between things that are true and things that only seem to be true, according to the Platonists 261

37 That things, opinions, and speech are called "true" or "false" in different senses; and why such expressions are called "modal" 263

38 The intimate connection between reason and truth, with a brief explanation concerning the nature of each 266

39 A continuation of the aforesaid [discussion]. Also the fact that neither reason nor truth have contraries 267

40 The proper aim of the Peripatetics, as well as of all who philosophize correctly, and the eight obstacles to understanding 268

41 [Untitled] [The limitations of reason and the function of faith] 272

42 How the fact that the world is subject to vanity is confirmed by visible proofs, and why this book is now concluded 273

Bibliography 279


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