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Interactive Logic in the Middle Ages

Interactive Logic in the Middle Ages

By Sara L. Uckelman

Published Online (2011)

Introduction: The recent trend in logic has been to shift emphasis from static systems developed for purely theoretical reasons to dynamic systems designed for application to real world situations, such as modeling knowledge, belief, interaction, and reasoning in multi-agent systems. The emphasis on the applied aspects of logic and reasoning means that logic has become a pragmatic tool, whose merits are to be judged always against the backdrop of a particular application. This shift in emphasis is, however, not new. A similar shift towards what can be called “interactive logic” is found in the High Middle Ages. In this paper we provide a number of different examples of “interactive logic” in the Middle Ages, all species of the disputation game obligatio. These games represent one of the keynote contributions of logicians in the Middle Ages, displaying a recognition of the importance of interaction in logical contexts and the way that interactive logic differs from single-agent inference.

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