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

177. The Verbalists. -- There were so many opinions prevalent about the middle of the twelfth century on the matter of the Universals, so many delicate shades of difference between realist and anti-realist solutions, such a passion for controversy in the schools, that many of the combatants plunged into sad excesses of dialectic quibbling (cf. 146). John of Salisbury has administered some merciless scourgings to those nugiloquos ventilatores, jugglers of words, who would argue for the sake of arguing instead of seeking truth, as if believing that such intemperate discussion was the acme of logical skill, qui sapientiam verba putant.{1} This despotism of purely verbal argumentation synchronized with the appearance of the Logica nova (132, 1), which offered new nourishment to the passion for quibbling. Among these sophists we may mention ADAM OF PETITPONT,{2} whose Ars Dialectica (1132) is a veritable triumph of logic-chopping. Such excesses, however, did not succeed in stopping the march of sound speculation and reasonable discussion.

{1} Polycrat., vii., 12. Similarly: "Fiunt itaque in puerilibus Academici senes, omnem dictorum aut scriptorum excutiunt syllaham, imo et litteram; dubitantes ad omnia, quaerentes semper, sed nunquam ad scientiam pervenientes" (Metal., ii., 7). " Dehuerat Aristoteles hanc compescuisse intemperiem eorum, qui indis -cretam loquacitatem dialecticac exercitium putant" (ibid., ii., 8).

{2} Born at Balsham, near Cambridge. Called du Petit-Pont (Parvipontanus) because he used to teach the trivium in a school beside the small bridge across the Seine.

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