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Proceedings of the XXII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 14, 2008

Medieval Philosophy

Alec Gordon
Pages 45-71

Philosophical Translation, Metalanguage, and the Medieval Concept of Supposition

In his Welcome Message for the XXII World Congress of Philosophy hosted by Seoul National University in August 2008 the President of the International Federation of Philosophical Societies (FISP), Peter Kemp, said that—inter alia—it will be an occasion “for rethinking the great philosophical questions.” Amongst there questions how we in the present understand the philosophical past is surely a perennial query before us. In this short paper I will refer to the endeavor of understanding past philosophical thought on its own terms or as presented in a current idiom as “philosophical translation.” The latter can take three forms: logical, analytical, or hermeneutic. This paper will briefly discuss all three forms vis-à-vis modern attempts to understand the medieval concept of “supposition” with special regard to the role metalanguage plays in philosophical translation.

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