The Dragon's Tail Explained!

Details of de Tail (ha ha) of the "Supposition Dragon"


Some time ago, a visitor to this site e-mailed me to ask if I might tell him what the various inscriptions in the tail of the "Supposition Dragon" meant. Unfortunately, I somehow erased the message in the process of upgrading my computer, so I was never able to respond to him directly. But it was a good idea, and here is the result:

Confusa tantumImmobilis/mobilisConfusaMobilis/immobilisDiscrataDistributivaConfusa tantumDiscretaCommunis est personaleCommunis et distributivaCommunisMaterialisVerum/falsumPersonalisPlato/Sortes

I'm not going to explain all the details and nuances of supposition theory here. For that, see my Thoughts, Words, and Things, which can be viewed on or downloaded from the Download page. But if you've read that or otherwise know about mediaeval supposition theory, you should recognize what I'm talking about in the explanations. Pass your mouse over a text-area in the image, and you should see a popup "tooltip"-like transcription of the Latin words, plus a numeral in parentheses. Move your mouse over to the list below and click on the corresponding numeral, and you should see an explanation of the Latin phrase. The explanation is "sticky," which means it won't go away when you move your mouse away from it. You can use your mouse to select the explanation, and then "copy and paste" it to a text file, if for any reason you want a permanent record of it. Here is the list of numerals corresponding to the text areas in the image to the left:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15


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Last updated February 15, 2003 by
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