The fallacy secundum quid et simpliciter  and Bradwardine's Insolubilia

Stephen Louis Read, Catarina Dutilh-Novaes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Thomas Bradwardine makes much of the fact that his solution to the insolubles is Aristotelian, in particular, in accordance with Aristotle's diagnosis of the fallacy in the Liar paradox as that of secundum quid et simpliciter. Moreover, Bradwardine dismisses several alternative theories mainly or solely on the ground that they do not accord with Aristotle and do not attribute the fallacy to secundum quid. Paul Spade, however, claims that this invocation of Aristotle by Bradwardine is purely ``honorary'' in order to confer specious respectability on his analysis and give it a spurious weight of authority. Spade's view is that Bradwardine's solution has nothing to do with the relative and the absolute. What, then, is a fallacy secundum quid et simpliciter? We consider earlier solutions and compare them with Bradwardine's. They vary widely, but have the common feature of moving from a qualified or partial attribution to an unqualified one. Our answer to Spade follows Bradwardine's response to the problem of revenge: any proposition saying of itself that it is false says more than does Bradwardine's proposition saying of it that it is false, and so follows from that other proposition only in respect of part of what it says, and not simpliciter.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-91
Number of pages17
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • fallacy
  • insolubilia
  • Bradwardine
  • Spade


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