Academic year
2022/2023 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
FM0512 (AF:376502 AR:211924)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
3rd Term
Course year
Go to Moodle page
This course sits well within the more general framework of history of philosophy. But it is also apt for students who wish to deepen their knowledge of logic and semantics. Each year, we shall investigate a major theme of logic, semantics or metaphysics in some important medieval authors. This year, we will discuss the question: "what is truth?" with special reference to Anselm and Abelard. The approach is both historical and analytical.
By the end of the course, students are expected to have in-depth knowledge of the theme under analysis. They will have acquired skills for understanding medieval philosophical texts, both historically and analytically.
No previous knowledge is formally required. Some knowledge of the history of medieval philosophy, and previous analysis of some logical or metaphysical texts can be helpful. Knowledge of Latin can help access many original texts directly but is in no way obligatory. It is also recommended to have some familiarity with academic English for reading some secondary literature.
"What is truth?". In this course, we shall be discussing two medieval answers to this question, provided by Anselm (De veritate) and Abelard (Glossae to Peri Hermeneias, Glossae on Boethius's De differentiis topicis). A selection of texts will be analysed during classes and with the help of relevant secondary literature.
Anselm, De veritate, in an Italian translation
Abelard, a selection of passages from: Glossae on Peri Hermeneias; Glossae on De differentiis topicis (unpublished Italian translation by C. Tarlazzi will be available on Moodle).

At least two articles (one on Anselm, and one on Abelard) chosen from the following list:
On Anselm:
(a) W. Cavini, "Verità e inerenza. Un'analisi del 'De veritate' anselmiano", Rivista di Storia della filosofia 48 (1993), p. 569-585
(b) M. McCord Adams, "Saint Anselm's Theory of Truth", in Documenti e studi sulla tradizione filosofica medievale 1 (1990), p. 353-372.
(c) S. Visser - T. Williams, "Anselm on Truth", in The Cambridge Companion to Anselm, edited by B. Davies and B. Leftow, Cambridge 2004, p. 204-221.

On Abelard:
(d) J. Marenbon, "Dicta, assertions and Speech Acts: Abelard and Some Modern Interpreters" in A. Maierù - L. Valente (eds), Medieval Theories of Assertive and Non-Assertive Language. Firenze, Olschki 2004, p. 59-80;
(e) M. Cameron, "On What is Said: The Stoics and Peter Abelard", in M. Cameron - R. Stainton (eds.), Linguistic Content: New Essays on the History of Philosophy of Language, Oxford, OUP 2015;
(f) L. Valente, "Aliquid amplius audire desiderat: Desire in Abelard's Theory of Incomplete and Non-Assertive Complete Sentences", Vivarium 53 (2015), 221-248.

One may wish to consult:
- Handbook of the History of Logic. Volume 2. Medieval and Renaissance Logic, edited by D. M. Gabbay and J. Woods, North Holland, Amsterdam 2008 (in particolare i capitoli"Logic before 1100: The Latin Tradition" di J. Marenbon e "Peter Abelard and His Contemporaries" di I. Wilks).
A written essay (on one of the topics discussed) should be presented at least one week before the exam; this will be followed by an oral discussion.
A general introduction, followed by analysis of relevant texts, and discussion of their interpretation.
Ca' Foscari abides by Italian Law (Law 17/1999; Law 170/2010) regarding support services and accommodation available to students with disabilities. This includes students with mobility, visual, hearing and other disabilities (Law 17/1999), and specific learning impairments (Law 170/2010). If you have a disability or impairment that requires accommodations (i.e., alternate testing, readers, note takers or interpreters) please contact the Disability and Accessibility Offices in Student Services: disabilita@unive.it.
written and oral
Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 18/07/2022