Encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy

2011 Edition
| Editors: Henrik Lagerlund

Boethius' De topicis differentiis, Commentaries on

  • Heine Hansen
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9729-4_89


Boethius’ On Topical Differences (De topicis differentiis) is a monograph in four books on topical argumentation, that is, argumentation based on so-called topoi or loci (literally: “places”). The seminal treatment of this subject is found in Aristotle’s Topics, but Boethius’ treatise served as the main foundation of medieval theorizing in the field for almost two centuries before the gradual rediscovery and introduction of Aristotle’s text. In this way, Boethius defined some of the basic features of the medieval approach to the issue, and as a consequence came also to influence the medieval interpretation of Aristotle’s Topics. This article surveys the surviving medieval commentaries on On Topical Differences and their approach to two questions raised by Boethius’ text, namely, what loci are and how they function.

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Primary Sources

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heine Hansen
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for the Aristotelian TraditionThe SAXO Institute University of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark