Thomas Wylton’s Question “An contingit dare ultimum rei permanentis in esse”

Thomas Wylton’s Question “An contingit dare ultimum rei permanentis in esse”

Trifogli, Cecilia

Medieval Philosophy and Theology, vol. 4 (1994)


In his Questions on Aristotle’s Physics 8, Thomas Wylton deals extensively with the problem of assigning temporal limits to the existence of permanent things, as, for instance, of fire, of water, and of a substance’s being hot. Wylton’s discussion of this problem is incorporated into the question “An contingit dare ultimum rei permanentis in esse,” which represents his major contribution to that large body of medieval literature concerning the so-called de primo et ultimo instanti or de incipit et desinit problem or, more synthetically, the limit decision problem.

Since the publication in 1956 of Curtis Wilson’s pioneering work William Hey tesbury: Medieval Logic and the Rise of Mathematical Physics, this problem area has been capturing increasing interest among historians of medieval philosophy and logic. They have pointed out that in thirteenth- and fourteenth-century discussions of the limit decision problem some of the most original aspects of the medieval treatment of Aristotle’s theory of continuity are to be found. Although some representative medieval texts have been edited since then, most source material is not yet available.

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