Peter Abelard (1079 – 1142), one of the first professors (‘masters’ is the medieval term) in the university of Paris, used the Biblical belief that Adam had named the animals to distinguish between the natural and the cognitive sciences:
No word (vox – ‘voice’) signifies a reality in nature; it is a construct of men. The Supreme Architect has committed the construction of language (vocum impositionem – the ‘imposition of voices’) to us, but He has reserved the nature of realities to His own disposition… So it does not seem to be due to nature, but to the custom and situation of men that division by words (divisio vocis) pertains.
(Dialectica, ed. L. M. de Rijk, second edition, 1970, p. 576, lines 34-37, p. 577, lines 13-15).
The secrets of nature are God’s business, Abelard is arguing, whereas cognitive science pertains ‘to us’ because ‘division by words’ is man-made. ‘We’ are therefore entitled to interpret texts as we think best. As the greatest logician of his day, Abelard claimed to be the master of language because logic was the science of words.