ND   JMC : History of Medieval Philosophy / by Maurice De Wulf

146. The Dialecticians. -- Superficial modes of reasoning, more verbal than real and often verging on sophism, had come into fashion in the early Middle Ages. They grew worse in the eleventh century. Thus Fredegis is accused of great proficiency in drawing unexpected and sophistical conclusions from his premisses, by his adversary, Agobard of Lyons. Candidus of Fulda (ninth century), another master at the palace school, also indulges in syllogistic feats in his Dicta.{1} Those displays of formal logic were still more common in the eleventh century. Lay professors, coming up from Italy and travelling from school to school, according to the custom of the age, established those tendencies in the schools of the West. They were called philosophi, dialectici, sophistae, peripatetici. And what we possess of their works goes to show that those logic-choppers well deserved the severe rebukes (scholaris infantiae naeniae) of St. Peter Damian. Anselm of Besate (Anselmus Peripateticus of Parma, first half of eleventh century) is the personification of this tendency, and his Rhetorimachia a model of quibbling.

When those dialecticians turned to theology, proclaiming the absolute rights and efficacy of their procedure, they fell straight away into heresies; and hence we can understand the opposition they encountered from the theologians (162).

{1} One of those Dicta contains a very poor attempt at a proof of the existence of God (ENDEES, Fridugisius u. Candidus, p. 449).

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