Relations in Earlier Medieval Latin Philosophy: Against the Standard Account
Medieval philosophers before Ockham are usually said to have treated relations as real, monadic accidents. This “Standard Account” does not, however, fit in with most discussions of relations in the Latin tradition from Augustine to the end of the 12th century. Early medieval thinkers minimized or denied the ontological standing of relations, and some, such as John Scottus Eriugena, recognized them as polyadic. They were especially influenced by Boethius’s discussion in his De trinitate, where relations are treated as prime examples of accidents that do not affect their substances. This paper examines non-standard accounts in the period up to c. 1100.