Nulla rosa est  

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"I remember that Abelard used the example of the sentence "Nulla rosa est" to demonstrate how language can speak of both the nonexistent and the destroyed." --postscript to The Name of the Rose

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"Nulla rosa est" is a dictum by Peter Abelard which illustrates the power of language by the fact that the expression "nulla rosa est" (translatable either as there is no rose or as such a thing like a rose has never existed) is fully comprehensible even though there are no roses.

""Abelard’s graceful resolution to the problem of Universals: “that the name of the rose is meaningful to the understanding although there are now no roses remaining . . . otherwise the proposition ‘there are no more roses’ would not be possible.”1 There are no more roses—no more unmediated spirituality for us to apprehend; but there were roses."--Proving Woman by Dyan Elliott
1 “. . . ut rosae nomen [non] iam permanentibus rosis, quod tamen tunc quoque ex intellectu significativum est . . . alioquin propositio non esset: nulla est rosa” --Glossulae super Porphyrium

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