Actually, I like the "if they would have had it..." argument, and yes,
the two statements are basically the same thing.
Now, why do I like the statement? Because, I truly believe that people
in the middle ages were much more intuitive than people today. Not
because they were smarter or better, but because they had to be. They
didn't have signs all over the place that told them what to do, like
"walk" and "don't walk". So they had to use their imaginations more.
"So, one day Joe Medieval is walking through the field with an axe
because he is going to chop down a tree for firewood. He gets trapped
in a thorny bush and uses the axe to cut himself free. But, he doesn't
document it, so if we do it today, it's not period. Right?"
Anything I could have written would have been much snarkier than this so
I opted with the above suggested silence