The Logic of the Categorical: The Medieval Theory of Descent and Ascent

Check paper Spades: In the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: William of Ockham

Ockham using a metaphor of a structure explains deduction and induction:

  • It is possible to “descend to singulars” as follows: “Every dog is a mammal; therefore, Fido is a mammal, and Rover is a mammal, and Bowser is a mammal …,” and so on for all dogs.
  • It is not possible to “ascend from any one singular” as follows: “Fido is a mammal; therefore, every dog is a mammal.”
It's interesting to note in passing the argument concerning 'universals' of Ireneo Funes, in Borges ' Funes the Memorious:
He was, let us not forget, almost incapable of ideas of a general, Platonic sort. Not only was it difficult for him to comprehend that the generic symbol dog embraces so many unlike individuals of diverse size and form; it bothered him that the dog at three fourteen (seen from the side) should have the same name as the dog at three fifteen (seen from the front).
However, Borges, observes:
[Funes] was not very capable of thought. To think is to forget differences, to generalize, to abstract. In the crammed world of Funes there were nothing but details, almost immediate details.
Milton's Logic also deals with this idea when describing "distribution" and "induction".

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