From Universals to Topics: The Realism of Rudolph Agricola, with an Edition of his Reply to a Critic

Vivarium 50 (2):190-224 (2012)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Rudolph Agricola’s De inventione dialectica has rightly been regarded as the most original and influential textbook on argumentation, reading, writing, and communication in the Renaissance. At the heart of his treatment are the topics ( loci ), such as definition, genus, species, place, whole, parts, similars, and so on. While their function in Agricola’s system is argumentative and rhetorical, the roots of the topics are metaphysical, as Agricola himself explicitly acknowledges. It has led scholars to characterize Agricola as a realist or even an extreme realist. This article studies two little treatises on universals by Agricola that throw further light on his realism. It is suggested that they could be viewed as an early step in his long-term project of revising and re-organizing the systems of topics as he encountered them in Aristotle, Cicero, and Boethius. The article offers a close analysis of the treatises, suggesting that Agricola’s realism owes a (general) debt to the school of the Scotists. In both earlier and later work Agricola emphasizes the common aspects of things that enable us to categorize and talk about things without denying their fundamental unicity and individuality. An edition of Agricola’s second treatise on universals—a reply to a critic—is added



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 77,737

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Rudolph agricola's reading of literature.Peter Mack - 1985 - Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 48 (1):23-41.
Lorenzo valla and Rudolph agricola.John Monfasani - 1990 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 28 (2):181-200.
Agricola und die Geologie.Gerhard Mathé - 1994 - NTM Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Wissenschaften, Technik und Medizin 2 (1):13-26.
Georgius Agricola, Begründer der Montanwissenschaften.Wolfhard Weber - 1994 - NTM Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Wissenschaften, Technik und Medizin 2 (1):1-12.
The Agricola.R. H. Martin - 1963 - The Classical Review 13 (01):77-.
A New Agricola.A. R. Burn - 1968 - The Classical Review 18 (03):314-.
Agricola 24.2.Nicholas Reed - 1976 - Classical Quarterly 26 (01):115-.


Added to PP

47 (#255,356)

6 months
1 (#481,788)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Lodi Nauta
University of Groningen

References found in this work

3 Universals and Individuation.Timothy B. Noone - 2003 - In Thomas Williams (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Duns Scotus. Cambridge University Press. pp. 100.

Add more references