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  • Print publication year: 2009
  • Online publication date: May 2011

14 - Sophismata

from II - Logic and language
The medieval sophismata literature is a genre of academic argument that began to take shape by the early twelfth century and lasted to the end of the Middle Ages. This chapter offers the briefest overview of that literature. Plato's hostility to the sophists is well known, and indeed he is probably the one most responsible for the disparaging connotations 'sophist' and related words commonly have today. Sophisma and sophismata were taken over intact into classical Latin, where they were usually but not always used in the negative or pejorative sense. Sophisms cannot be sharply distinguished from other formats and styles of discussion in the Middle Ages. Still, one can find the word starting to be used with some frequency as early as Adam of Balsham's Ars disserendi, mainly as a way of describing fallacies of ambiguity.
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The Cambridge History of Medieval Philosophy
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