Medieval phil

Card Set Information

Author:
chad
ID:
89783
Filename:
Medieval phil
Updated:
2011-06-10 16:56:08
Tags:
phil medieval
Folders:

Description:
review of major ideas and figures of medieval philosophy, mostly taken from copleston
Show Answers:

Home > Flashcards > Print Preview

The flashcards below were created by user chad on FreezingBlue Flashcards. What would you like to do?


  1. when dose the first reliable research of the medieval age come about, why is this important?
    • The first viable knowelge of the midevals did
    • not come about till around the 19th centry

    important because many look at the medieval age though the eyes of 17cent enlightenment critics before proper historical researched had been done, even hegel lack adequate knowledge of medieval phil.
  2. was it dogmatic thought?
    • various schools held the same faith, by dogma, but as diverging school their was varity in thought, which was still able to remain ortotdox, ie bonaventur and thomas, neo-plat and aristotlians.
    • thewhole of mideval philosophy can not be trown away as theology, each proof must
    • be takin in its own merit



    1. The relation between Christian faith and
      philosophy during the first centuries after J.C.


    Give basic figures and relation with Greek thought.
    • Figures
    • St.paul argued with greeks, apostle were to eveglize not be univerity professors.
    • +Augustus who had converted, brought about the Credo, ut intelligam
    • +Justin martyr (100) mytered in rome,cultured convert, who because of platonic background fround it hard to be negative to greek phil.Saw phil as a gift from God,
    • +-athenagoras, addressed marcus aurelus and Commodus, defended Christians agains
    • atheism, cannibalistic feats
    • -Tertullian 160, born of pagans, practiced in Rome, was a puritan. Had contempt for pagans,
    • Socrates was guided by a demon,He
    • may then have been a materist and not seen the incompatibility or just used crude language. Was first to describe divine persons as distict form personae and that they are not divided substantiae.

    • east
    • Clement of Alexandria, was born in 150, saw Greeks as preparation child in comparison with a man; blind faith, passive acceptance is not the ideal, while reason can not be true if it dose not harmonise with revelation.
    • Origen was born 185, most prolific and learned Christian writers before the Council of
    • Nicaea, his nac for allegorical interpretation of Scriptures led him into some
    • heterodox opinions. Neo-platonist. doctrine
    • of restoration of devil
    • Greek fathers were mainly concerned with theological questions

    • Gregory
    • of Nyssa born in Cappadocia 335, same area as longinus.Faith has rational basis but tenents are not derived from reason, the basis is
    • authority and the ascertainablity by natural reason of certain preliminary truths, especially the existence of God. From cosmic order we can argue the perfection of God and thus his unity. Tried to
    • gives reasons for trinity.Still a Platonist and adobted orgins theory of restoration. First
    • systematic mystic theologian

    • Apostle message was directed to the Jews the apostles had to meet theological rather thean philosophical attacks. However as it grew it aroused suspicion and hostility amoung jews and pagan intellectual, which ment that theological and philosophical arguments had to be
    • used.
    • had to meet the attack of more and more pagan professional philosophers their
    • arguments developed. Christians also
    • sought to penetrate the data of revelation and form a comprehensive view of the
    • world and human life, in the light of faith.
    • Christians did not have their own philosophy to start with and depended on prevailing thought, derived from Platonism, thus early writers were platonic with some stoicism. Some sought to barrow the weapons of the enemy to use as tools.
    • Hellenic philosophy regarded as a propaedeutic to Christiantiy, anticipation of Christian truth . When there they attributed it to being barrowed from the Old T, when devitations occurred it was due to the weakness of human speculation and the perverse desire of originality, and vainglory. When
    • they adoped positions from Hellenic
    • phil, for presentation and exposition, but not to
    • incorporate them into a philosophical system in the strict sense. Still there are element of phil in the fathers, yet they remain undeveloped, systematic, but are philosophical seeds. The fathers not versed in
    • Aristotle.plato was in some sense the vigious orginal philosophy for them, perhaps only because it was dominate, but it influenced Thomas as well though Augsutus.


    1. Neoplatonic philosophy and the concept of
      hierarchy in Pseudo-Dionysius Areopagita.


    • the question of the authenticity of the writings is not the same as the question of their orthodoxy from the Christian standpoint, and though in the seventeenth century, when critics began to attack the authenticity of the writings, their orthodoxy was also assailed, a recognition of their. unauthentic character did not necessarily involve an admission of their incom­patibility
    • with Christian doctrine, though it was obviously no longer possible to maintain their orthodoxy on the a priori ground that they were composed by a personal disciple of St. Paul.

    • the question of the Blessed Trinity it is highly
    • questionable at least if they can be reconciled with orthodox Christian dogma

    insufficient attention is paid to the dogma ofthe Incarnation, which is essential to Christianity, but the author clearly maintains this doctrin

    • , it has not proved possible to discover the real author. Most probably they were composed at the end of the fifth century, as they apparently embody ideas of the neo-Platonist Proclus (418-85), and it has been
    • conjectured that the Hierotheus who figures therein was the Syrian mystic Stephen Bar Sadaili
    • 2 In the Divine Names the Pseudo-Dionysius
    • pursues this affirmative method, showing how names such as Goodness, Life,Wisdom, Power, are applicable to God in a transcendental manner and how they apply to creatures only in virtue of their derivation from God and theirn varying degrees of participation in those qualities which are found in God not as inhering qualities but in substantial unity. Thus he begins with the idea or name of goodness, which is the most universal name, inasmuch as all things, existent or possible, share in goodness to some
    • degree.

    • 'from the Good comes the light which is an image of
    • Goodness, so that the Good is described by the name of "Light", being the archetype of that which is revealed in the image'. Here the neo-Platonic light-motive is brought in, and the Pseudo-Dionysius's dependence
    • Neoplatoic
    • Good as Beauty, as the 'super-essential beautiful',and uses the phrases of Plato's Symposium, which reappear in the Enneadsof Plotinus. Again, when in chapter 13 of the Divine Names1 the Pseudo-Dionysius speaks of 'One' as 'the most important title of all', he is clearly writing in dependence on the Plotinian doctrine of the ultimate Principle as the One.

    • -In brief, then, the affirmative method means
    • ascribing to God the perfections found in creatures, that is, the perfections which are compatible with the spiritual Nature of God, though not existing in
    • Him in the same manner as they exist in creatures

    • even if certain names describe God better than
    • others, they are very far from represent­ing an adequate knowledge and conception of God on our part, and he expresses this conviction by speaking of
    • God as the super-essential Essence, the super-essential Beautiful, and so on. He is not simply repeating phrases from the Platonic tradition, but he is
    • expressing the truth that the objective reference or content of these names as actually found in God infinitely transcends the content of the names as
    • experienced by us
    • , whereas the negative way, that of the exclusion from God of the imperfections of creatures, is characteristic of the Mystical Theology(he wrote a book titled m the). The distinction of the two ways was dependent on Proclus, and as developed by the Pseudo-Dionysius it passed into Christian philosophy and theology, being accepted by St. Thomas Aquinas, for example; but the palm is given by the Pseudo-Dionysius to the negative way in preference to the affirmative way. In this way the mind begins by denying of God those things which are farthest removed from Him, e.g. 'drunkenness or fury,'1 and proceeds upwards progressively denying of God the attributes and qualities of creatures, until it reaches 'the super-essential Darkness'.2 As God is utterly transcendent, we praise Him best 'by denying or removing all things that are— just as men who, carving a statue out of marble, remove all the impediments that hinder the clear perception of the latent image and bythis mere removal display the hidden statue itself in its hidden beauty'.3 The human being is inclined to form anthropo­morphic conceptions of the Deity, and it is necessary to strip away these human, all-too-human conceptions by the via remotionis; but the Pseudo-Dionysius does not mean that from this process there results a clear view of what God is in Himself: the comparison of the statue must not mislead us. When the mind has stripped away from its idea of God the human modes of thought and inadequate conceptions of the Deity, it enters upon the 'Darkness of Unknow­ing',* wherein it 'renouncesall the apprehension of the understand­ing and is wrapped in that which is wholly intangible and invisible . . . united ... to Him that is wholly unknowable';5 this is the province of mysticism. The 'Darkness of Unknowing' is not due, however, to the unintelligibility of the Object considered in itself, but to the finiteness of the human mind, which is blinded by excess of light. This doctrine is doubtless partly influenced by neo-Platonism, but it is also to be found in the writings of Christian mystical theologians, notably St. Gregory of Nyssa
    • Hierachy
    • sbut he tries to combine the neo-Platonic emanation theory with the Christian doctrine of creation and is no pantheist. For example, since God bestows existence on all things that are, He is said to become manifold through bringing forth existent things from Himself; yet at the same time God remains One even in the act of 'self-multiplication' and without differentiation even
    • in the process of emanation.8

    • God is distinct from the world. God exists indivisibly and without multiplication of Himself in all individual, separate and multiple things, and, though they
    • participate in the goodness which springs from Him and though they may in a certain sense be thought of as an 'extension' of God, God Himself is not
    • involved in their multiplication: the world, in short, is an outflowing of the divine goodness, but it is not God Himself. On this point of God's transcendence as well as on that of His immanence the Pseudo-Dionysius is clear; but his fondness for depicting the world as the outflowing of the over-brimming Goodness of God, as well as for drawing a kind of parallel between the internal divine Processions and the external procession in creation, lead him to speak as though creation were a spontaneous activity of God, as if God created
    • by a necessity of nature

    • everything which has being proceeds from the
    • Good and, as being, is good. Does this mean, then, that evil and non-existence are precisely the same? The Pseudo-Dionysius certainly tends to speak as if that were the case, but his real meaning is given in his statement that 'all creatures in so far as they have being are good and come from the Good, and in so far as they are deprived of the Good, neither are they good nor have they being'.1 In other words, evil is a depriva­tion or privation it consists, not simply in non-being or in the absence of being, but rather in the absence of a good that ought to be present.


  3. Explain the being of creatures as conceived by John Scot Eriugena. Why was it considered as pantheistic later on?
    • However, the fact that the Albigensians appealed to the book, while Amalric of Bene (end of twelfth century) used the doctrine of John Scotus in a pantheistic sense, led to its condemnation in 1225 by Pope Honorius III, who ordered that the work should be burnt, though the order was by no means always fulfilled.
    • Summery
    • John Scotus has to reconcile them rationally, in such a way that the reditus in Deum does not lead to the
    • conclusion to which it might seem to lead, namely pantheistic absorption, and that the presentation of the distinction between God and creatures does not
    • contradict the Pauline statement that God will be all in all.
    • but it does seem that two distinct lines of thought are present in his teaching about creation, namely the Christian doctrine of free creation 'in time' and the neo-Platonic doctrine of a necessary diffusion of the divine good­ness by way of 'emanation'.
    • That a tension develops between the Christian and neo-Platonic elements in John Scotus' thought has already been pointed out, but it is as well to emphasise it again, as it has a bearing on the question of his 'rationalism'. In accordance with the neo-Platonic tradition inherited through the Pseudo-Dionysius, John
    • Scotus maintained1 that God in Himself, Natura quae creat et non creatur, is impenetrable to Himself, unknown to Himself, as being infinite and
    • super-essential, and that He becomes luminous to Himself only in His theophanies. This is, of course, an echo of the neo-Platonic doctrine that the One, the ultimate Godhead, is beyond thought, beyond self-consciousness, since thought andself-conscious-ness involve a duality of subject and object. Now,
    • that God in Himself is incomprehensible to the created mind is certainly a Christian tenet, but that He is not self-luminous is not the teaching of Christianity. John Scotus, therefore, has to reconcile the two positions
    • somehow, if he wishes to retain them both, and he attempts to do so by making the first 'theophany' the emergence of the Logos containing the primordial
    • causes, so that in and through the Logos God becomes (though not temporally) self-conscious, appearing to Himself. The Logos thus corresponds to the neo-Platonic Nous, and a rationalisation
    • arises out of the desire to preserve both the Christian doctrine and the principles of what John Scotus
    • regards as true philosophy. The desire to preserve Christian doctrine is sincere enough, but a tension be­tween the two elements is inevitable. If one
    • takes a particular set of isolated statements of John Scotus one would have to say that he was either a pantheist or a theist. For example, the statement that
    • the distinction between the second and third stages of Nature is due only to the forms of human reasoning1 is in itself clearly pantheistic, while the statement that the substantial distinction between God and creatures is always preserved is clearly theistic.
    • It might seem that we should opt for one or the other set in an unqualified manner, and it is this attitude which has given rise to the notion that John
    • Scotus was a conscious pantheist who made verbal concessions to orthodoxy with his tongue in his cheek. But if one realises that he was a sincere Christian,
    • who yet attempted to reconcile Christian teaching with a predominantly neo-Platonic philosophy or rather to express the Christian wisdom in the only framework of thought which was then at hand, which happened to be predominantly neo-Platonic, one should also be able to realise that, in spite of the tension involved and the tendency to rationa­lise Christian dogma, as far as the
    • subjective standpoint of the philosopher was concerned a satisfactory reconciliation was effected. This does not, of course, alter the fact that not
    • a few statements, if taken in isolation, affirm a pantheistic doctrine and that other statements are irreconcilable with orthodox theological teaching on such points as eternal punishment, and it was in view of such statements that the De Divisione Naturae was subsequently
    • condemned by ecclesiastical authority. However, whether ortho­dox or not, the work bears testimony to a powerful and acute mind, the mind of a speculative
    • philosopher who stands head and shoulders above any other thinker of his day.Probably he intended to maintain the Christian doctrine, but at the same time considered that he was giving a legitimate philosophic explanation of it. Such an attitude would, of course, be facilitated by the fact that there was at the time no clear distinction between theology and philosophy and their respective spheres, with the result that a thinker could, without being what we would nowadays call a rationalist, accept a revealed dogma like the Trinity, and then proceed in all good faith to 'explain' or deduce it in such a way that the explanation practically changed the dogma into something else. If we want to call John Scotus an Hegelian before Hegel, we must remember that it is extremely unlikely that he realised what he was doing

    • he maintains that the world is not outside God and that it is both eternal and created within God,1 As regards the first point, that the world is not extra Deum, one must understand it in terms of the theory of participation and 'assumption' {est igitur participatio divinae essentiae assumptio).* As creatures are
    • derived from God and owe all the reality they possess to God, apart from God they are nothing, so that in this sense it can be said that there is nothing outside God: if the divine activity were withdrawn, creatures would cease to be. But we must go further.3 God saw from eternity all that He willed to create. Now,
    • if He saw creatures from all eternity, He also made them from all eternity, since vision and operation are one in God. Moreover, as He saw creatures in
    • Himself, He made them in Himself. We must conclude, therefore, that God and creatures are not distinct, but one and the same {unum et id ipsum), the creature subsisting in God and God being created in the creature 'in a wonderful and ineffable manner'. God, then, 'contains and comprehends the nature of all sensible things in Himself, not in the sense that He contains within Himself anything beside Him­self, but in the sense that He is substantially all that He contains, the substance of all visible things being created in Him'.4 It is at this point that John Scotus gives his
    • interpretation of the 'nothing' out of which creatures proceed as the divine goodness,5 and he concludes that God is everything, that from the
    • super-essentiality of His nature {in qua dicitur non esse) He is created by Himself in the primordial causes and then in the effects of the primordial causes, in the theophanies.6 Finally, at the term of the natural
    • order, God draws all things back into Himself, into the divine Nature from which they proceeded, thus being first and final Cause, omnia in omnibus.

    • Human nature, too, considered as alienated
    • from God by sin may be said 'not to be', whereas when it is reconciled with God
    • by grace, it begins to be.The term 'Nature', then, means for John Scotus Eriugena, not only the natural world, but also God and the supernatural sphere: it denotes all Reality.1 When, therefore, he asserts* that nature is divided into four species, namely Nature which creates and is not created, Nature which is created and creates, Nature which is created and does not create, and Nature which neither creates nor is created, thus apparently making God and creatures species of Nature, it might well seem that he is asserting a monistic doctrine, and indeed, if these words be taken in their literal significance, we should have to conclude that he was pantheist.
    • says that God and creatures may be looked at as forming together a universitas, a 'universe' or totality. The conclusion is warranted that John Scotus did not
    • intend to assert a doctrine of pantheistic monism or to deny the distinction between God and creatures, though his philosophic explanation or rationalisation of the egress of creatures from God and their return to God may, taken by itself, imply pantheism and a denial of the distinction.

    • John Scotus goes on to say that God may be said to be created in creatures, to be made in the things which He makes, to begin to be in the things which begin to be. It would, however, be an anachronism to suppose
    • that he is asserting an evolutionary pantheism, and maintaining that nature, in the ordinary sense, is God-in-His-otherness, for he proceeds to explain3 that when he says that God is made in creatures, he means that God 'appears' or manifests Himself in creatures, that creatures are a theophany. Some of the illustra­tions he uses are indeed somewhat unfortunate from the orthodox standpoint, as when he says that, just as the human intellect, when it proceeds into actuality in the sense of actually thinking, may be said to be made in its thoughts, so God may be said to be made in the creatures which proceed from Him, an illustration which would seem to imply that creatures are an actualisation of God; but, whatever illustrations John Scotus may use and however much he is influenced by the philosophical tradition which derived from neo-Platonism, it seems clear that his intention at least was to conserve the real distinction between God and creatures and that God, in relation to creation, is Natura quae creat et non creaiur. On the truth of this formula he is emphatic.

    • Is it possible to attribute motion to God? No, it is not. Then neither can making be attributed to God.But, how in this case, are we to explain the Scriptural doctrine that God made all things? In the first place,we cannot suppose that God existed before He made the world, for, if that were so, God would not only be in time but also His making would be an accident accruing to Him, and both suppositions are impossible. God's making, therefore, must be co-eternal with Himself. In the second place, even if the making is eternal and identical with God, and not an accident of God, we cannot attribute motion to God, and motion is involved in the category of making. What does it mean, then, to say that God made all things? 'When we hear that God makes all things, we should understand nothing else but that God is in all things, i.e. is the essence of all things. For He alone truly is, and everything which is truly said to be in those things which are, is God alone.'2 Such a statement would seem to come very near, to put it mildly, to pantheism,
    • authority is simply 'the truth found by the power of reason and handed on in writing by the Fathers for the use of posterity'. The conclusion is that the words, expressions and statements of Scripture, however suited for the uneducated, have to be rationally interpreted by those capable of doing so.
    • in spite of the pantheistic passage quoted he goes on to reaffirm creation out of nothing, and it is clear
    • that when he refuses to say that God makes or made the. world, he is not intending to deny creation but rather to deny of God making in the only sense
    • in which we understand making, namely as an accident, as falling under a particular category. God's existence and essence and His act of making are ontologi-cally one and the same,1 and all the predicates we apply to God really signify
    • the one incomprehensible super-Essence.2

    • ; but he goes on to say4 that inasmuch as every creature is a participation of Him who alone exists of Himself, all Nature may be reduced to the one Principle, and Creator and creature may be regarded as one.
    • John Scotus means that the eternal generation of the Word or Son involves the eternal constitution of the
    • archetypal ideas or exemplary causes in the Word. The generation of the Word is not a temporal but an eternal process, and so is the constitution of the praedestinationes: the priority of the Word, considered abstractly, to the archetypes is a logical and not a temporal priority. The emergence of these archetypes is thus part of the eternal procession of the Word by 'generation', and it is in this sense only that they are said to be created.8 However, the logical priority of the Word to the archetypes and the dependence of the archetypes on theWord mean that, although there never was a time when the Word was without the archetypes, they are not omnino coaeternae {causae) with the Word.1
    • In what sense, then, can the primordial causes be said to create? If one were to press statements such as this, that the --is diffused {diffunditur) through all
    • things giving them essence, or again that it penetrates all the things which it has made,2 one would naturally incline to a pantheistic interpretation; yet John Scotus repeats3 that the Holy Trinity 'made out of nothing all things that it made', which would imply that
    • the prototypes are causes only in the sense of exemplary causes. Nothing is created except that which was eternally pre-ordained, and these eternal praeordinationes or are the prototypes. All creatures 'participate' in the archetypes, e.g. human wisdom in the Wisdom-in-itself.*
    • he says that participation is nothing else than the derivation of a second essence from a higher essence.8 Just as the water rises in a fountain and is poured out into the river-bed, so the divine goodness, essence, life, etc., which are in the Fount of all things, flow out first of all into the primordial causes and cause them to be, and then proceed through
    • the primor­dial causes into their effects.3 This is
    • clearly an emanation metaphor, and John Scotus concludes that God is everything which truly is, since He makes all things and is made in all things, 'as Saint
    • Dionysius the Areopagite says'.* The divine goodness is progressively diffused through the universe of creation, in such a way that it 'makes all things, and is made in all things, and is all things'.5 This sounds as if it were a purely pantheistic doctrine of the
    • emanation type; but John Scotus equally maintains that the divine goodness created all things out of nothing, and he explains that ex nihilo does not imply the pre-existence of any material, whether formed or unformed, which could be called nihil: rather does
    • nihil mean the negation and absence of all essence or sub­stance, and indeed of all things which have been createdThe Creator did not make the world ex aliquo, but rather de omnino nihilo* Here again, then, John Scotus tries to combine the Christian doctrine of creation and of the relation of creatures to God with the neo-Platonic philosophy of emanation,
    • he maintains that the world is not outside God and that it is both eternal and created within God,1 As regards
    • the first point, that the world is not extra Deum, one must understand it in terms of the theory of participation and 'assumption' {est igitur participatio divinae essentiae assumptio).* As creatures are derived from God and owe all the reality they possess to God, apart from God they are nothing, so that in this sense it can be said that there is nothing outside God: if the divine activity were withdrawn, creatures
    • would cease to be. But we must go further.3 God saw
    • from eternity all that He willed to create. Now, if He
    • saw creatures from all eternity, He also made them from all eternity, since vision and operation are one in God. Moreover, as He saw creatures in Himself,
    • He made them in Himself. We must conclude, therefore, that God and creatures are not distinct, but one and the same {unum et id ipsum), the creature subsisting in God and God being created in the creature 'in a wonderful and ineffable manner

    • when he gives the stages of the return of human nature to God, another—and less orthodox—point of view seems to show itself. Three stages are:2 (i) the
    • dissolution of the human body into the four elements of the sensible world; (2) the resurrection of the body; (3) the change of body into spirit; (4) the return of human nature in its totality into the eternal and unchangeable primordial causes; and (5) the return of nature and the primordial causes to God. 'For God will be all in all, where nothing will exist but God alone.' Yet if at first sight this latter viewpoint seems quite inconsistent with orthodox theology and especially with the unique position of Christ, John Scotus clearly did not mean to assert a real pantheistic absorption in God, since he goes on to state that he does not mean
    • to imply a perishing of individual substance but its elevation
  4. 3. Explain
    one of the great themes of St. Augustine (354–430): the underlying conflict and the philosophical aspects of his solution.
    start with key terms
    • a eudaemonistic philosophy
    • a radical deficiency in the object
    • Ontologism
    • a ideogenetic

    • is because of the deficinces in the
    • human intellect that he postulated the existence an activity of the divine illumination, but it was not mere intellectual assent to Gods existence that interested him as the real assent, the positiveadhesion of the will to God, and he knew such adhesion required divine grace. It was the total conversion that interested
    • him, reason had its part to play in the intellectual stage, he would consider the fullness of wisdom to consist in a penetration of what is believed. Authority demands of us faith, and prepares man for reason.
    • our certain judgements concerning objects are made in the the light of illumination under the regulative action of the eternal Idea…this function has reference no
    • to the content of the concept, as if it infused that content, but to the quality of our judgement concerning the concept or to our discernment of a character in the object, its relation to the norm or standard, which is not contained in the bard notion of the thing. menaing beyond the creative and conservative activity of God st.A postualtes a special illuminative action, where as S.T did not.

    • In sum, St. augustin askes himself the question, how is it that we attain knowledge of truth which are necessary, immutable and eternal? That we do attin
    • such knowledge is clear to him from experice. We cannot gain such knowledge simply from sense-experice, since corporeal objects are contingent, changeable and temporal. Nor can we produce the
    • truths fro our our minds, which are contingent and changeable. Moreover, such truths rule and dominate our minds, impose themselves upon our minds, and
    • they would not do this if they depended on us. It follows that we are enabled to perceive such truth under the action of the Being who alone is necessary,
    • changeless and eternal, God. God is like a sun which illumines our minds or a master who teaches us. At this point the difficulty in interpretation begins.
    • The present writer inclines to the interpretation that, while the content of our concepts of corporeal objects is derived from sens-experience and reflection thereon, the regulative influence of the divine ideas (which means the influence of God) enables man to
    • see the relation of created things to eternal super sensible realities, of which there is no direct vision in this life, and that Gods light enable the
    • mind to discern the elements of necessity, immutability and eternity in that relation beween concepts which is expressed in the necessary judgement. Owing
    • however, to St. Augustines use of metaphor and to the fact that he was not primarily interested in giving a systematic and carfully defined ‘scholastic’
    • account of the process of knowledge, it dose not semm possible to obtain a definitive interpretation of this thought which would adequately explain all
    • the statements he made.
    • In full

    • Born in Numidia, studied in Carthage, was a
    • Manichaean, was a materialist manichaenism explained how his evil passions and desires could be attribute to something outside of himself. Manichaes ironic
    • forbid sex, eating meat and was ascetic, but only for the elect not the hearers. Whent to rome and had problems that manichaeans couldn’t answer namely
    • certitude in human thought, why also were the two principle in eternal conflict. Was attracted toward academic skepticism, while still a
    • materist. Became neo-platonic which got
    • him out of materialism and helped him accept an immaterial reality, this also got him out of his dualism and he began to see Christianity as reasonable, and
    • reading St.Paul and he wanted to live a live in accordance with wisdom. Fighting moral stuggle, anthoy of Alexandra example put him in disquist with himself. Had experice with child yealing ‘take and read’ picked up and read romans 13 “let us walk honestly..not in drukeness, not in strife,… make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill lusts.” Had conversion of will before then intellectual conversion. Babtised by st. ambrose, was made bishop agaist his will, did not intend to seek ordination, but resolved not to marry, he was made a priest. He knew that rational
    • arguments can be adduced for Gods existence, but it was not mere intellectual assent to Gods existence that interested him as the real assent, the positive adhesion of the will to God, and he knew such adhesion required divine grace. It was the total
    • conversion that interested him, reason had its part to play in the intellectual stage, he would consider the fullness of wisdom to consist in a penetration of
    • what is believed. Authority demands of us faith, and prepares man for reason.



    Knowelge

    • Knowledge of truth is to be sought not for purly academic purposes, but as bring true happiness, true beatitude. Man feels his insufficiency, he reaches out to an object greater than himself an object
    • which can bring peace and happiness, and knowledge of that object is an essential condition of its attainment, only the wise man can be happy and wisdom postualtes knowledge of the truth, he finds it absure to think the purisuit of truth alone is happiness since a can not be wise if not in possession of truth. He has a eudaemonistic philosophy, his quest for certainty asked how do we attain eternal and necessary truths, for plato the answer was reminiscence, batteled sceptism in dealing with this. If one is a pure skeptic they are at lest certain of the principle of
    • contradiction for empistomology then holds also a kind of phenomenological view that ones eyes see what they ought to see, even a bent our is what they should see thought to judge it true is to be deceived. I doubt there for I exist, if you did not exist you could not be deceived in anything. Man even asleep knows he is alive, or mad. And man knows that he wills.
    • It is one thing to admit the possibility of error in sense-knowledge and quite another to refuse and credence at all to the senses. We must acknowledge not only our senses but those of others have added bery much to our knowledge. The man who thinks that
    • we should never believe the senses falls into a worse error than any error he may fall into through believing them. To him the existence of the external world was without doubt, though he saw theat we somethimes make erroneous judgements about it and that testiomony is not always reliable, wheter it be testimony of our own senses or of other people,
    • it would hardly occur to him to devote mush time to a consideration of our knowledge of the mutable things of sene given his spiritual inclinations, and
    • conversion. The fact of the matter is that his Platonism, coupled with his spiritual interest and outlook, led him to look on corporeal objects as not being the proper object of knowledge,(which is being anyhow) owing to their mutability and to the fact that our knowledge of them is dependent n bodily organ of sense which are no more always in the same state than the objects
    • themselves. If we have got not true knowledge of sense-objects, that is due , not merely to any deficiency in the subject but also to a radical deficiency in the object, thus he is more platonic then Cartesian.

    • The soul uses the organs of sencse as
    • insturments, (platonic), the soul animates the whole body, but when it increases or intensifies its activity in a particular part it exercises the power of sensation. The rational soul of man exercises true knowledge and
    • attains true certainty when it contemplates eternal truths in and through itself: when it turns toward the material world and uses corporeal instruments
    • it cannot attain true knowledge. The
    • knowledge of changing objects is not true knowledge, it is a grade of knowledge that is indispensable for practical life. Still men can and do have rational
    • knowledge of corporeal things. Bests use it to avoid what is harmful, but lack
    • the will to commit things to memory, so that will makes human knowledge of sense objects superior to the burtes. Comparitve judgement implies a reference to eternal standard and so dose the judgement of
    • a strait line or circle refer to an ideal straitness or geometrical form. Between sense knowledge and contemplation of the eternal froms exists the a halfway house wich is reason, the mind judges corporeal objects according to eternal in incorporeal standards. And is directed toward action where as contemplative wisdom is not practical. The ideal is contemplative wisdom should increase, but at the same time our reason has to be partly direct to the good
    • use of muable and corporeal things whichout which this life dose not go on. Provided the temporal are made subservient to the attainment of eternal.(knowledge) markedly platonic though unlike plato the goal is not an impersonal Good but a personal God.

    • Ideal of beuty based on some objective
    • standard form, very platonic also, same problem where are these objective essences, but where is imprecise rather what is the ontological situation or status of ideas. Neo Platonist put them in the Nous of God, philos theory put them in the Logos, however Augustus did not accpect emanation theory.

    Problem

    • If the human mind behold the exemplar ideas
    • and eternal truths, and if these ideas and truth are in the min of God, dose it not faollow that the human mind beholds the essence of God, since the divine
    • mind, with all that it contains, is ontologically identical with the divine essence, malebranch support this and
    • thought it to be Augustine theory. This
    • is called Ontologism, though this interpretation fits badly with his spiritual doctrine, while their
    • our other texts which favour a non-ontologistic interpretation. For example a man who knows geometrical forms but is a immoral man, how can such a man be thought to behold the essence of God, he also holds that contemplation of Beauty comes at the end of the sould ascent while he himself appricate beauthy before his conversion. This problem though he problay didn’t work out, or it is not in his writtings. We can assume a ideogenetic interpretation rather then a pure neo-plat or ontological as one means to reconcile what was not explicitly worked out.
    • That it is a light which comes from God to the human mind which enables it to see the characteristics of changlessness and necessity. The other evidence in favor agaist this problem is his proofs for the existence of God, which move from the minds knowing eternal forms to needing an eternal Ground. If this argument is to have any sense, it presuppose the possibility of the mind perceiving these truth without at the same time perceiving God, it may even be doubting or denying God existence.

    Illumination theory

    • Things need the sun to be perceived, makes
    • use of platos comparison of the Idea of the Good with the sun. just as sunlight makes corporeal things visible to the eye, so divine illumination makes eternal
    • truths visible to the mind, from this it would follow that it is not the illumination itself nor God that makes things visible but that this is the characterist, a property of
    • necessary and eternal truths that they give off light,( like the good gives off a call) and not ontologistic.
    • Because the human mind is changeable and temporal, truth is neither equal to minds but superior. We need therefor a divine illumination, in order to enable us to apprehend what transcends our minds. “for no creature, howsoever rational and intellectual, is lighted of itself, but is lighted by participation of eternal Truth” this sould not be reduced to a statement that
    • God conserves and creates the human intellect and that the natural light of the intellect is a participated light. It is because of the deficinces in the human intellect that he postulated the existence and activity of the divine illumination. Where as S. Thomas denyed the necessity of such as illumination. ( p? this seems to
    • mean then that there is nothing in the intellect wich is itself eternal, that it is constantly being supported from pure burtish activity by the light shining on it, I don’t know then where he would locate the eternal nature of
    • the soul or prove the immortality of the soul.)

    • There is also no grounds for a ready-made
    • infused idea interpretation, Divine illumination is renders objects visable, copple also says ‘ our certain judgements concerning objects are made in the
    • the light of illumination under the regulative action of the eternal Idea…this function has reference no to the content of the concept, as if it infused that
    • content, but to the quality of our judgement concerning the concept or to our discernment of a character in the object, its relation to the norm or standard,
    • which is not contained in the bard notion of the thing. “ menaing beyond the creative and conservative activity of God st.A postualtes a special illuminative action,
    • where as S.T did not.

    • In sum, St. augustin askes himself the question, how is it that we attain knowledge of truth which are necessary, immutable and eternal? That we do attin
    • such knowledge is clear to him from experice. We cannot gain such knowledge simply from sense-experice, since corporeal objects are contingent, changeable and temporal. Nor can we produce the truths fro our our minds, which are contingent and changeable. Moreover, such truths rule and dominate our minds, impose themselves upon our minds, and
    • they would not do this if they depended on us. It follows that we are enabled to perceive such truth under the action of the Being who alone is necessary, changeless and eternal, God. God is like a sun which illumines our minds or a master who teaches us. At this point the difficulty in interpretation begins. The present writer inclines to the interpretation that, while the content of our concepts of corporeal objects is derived from sens-experience and reflection thereon, the regulative influence of the divine ideas (which means the influence of God) enables man to see the relation of created things to eternal super sensible realities, of which there is no direct vision in this life, and that Gods light enable the mind to discern the elements of necessity, immutability and eternity in that relation beween concepts which is expressed in the necessary judgement. Owing however, to St. Augustines use of metaphor and to the fact that he was not primarily interested in giving a systematic and carfully defined ‘scholastic’ account of the process of knowledge, it dose not semm possible to obtain a definitive interpretation of this thought which would adequately explain all the statements he made.
  5. explain ideogenetic
    • interpretation rather then a pure neo-plat or ontological as one means to reconcile what was not explicitly
    • worked out. That it is a light which comes from God to the human mind which enables it to see the
    • characteristics of changlessness and necessity.


    • a property of necessary and eternal truths that
    • they give off light,
  6. explain ontologicalism
    If the human mind behold the exemplar ideasand eternal truths, and if these ideas and truth are in the min of God, dose it not faollow that the human mind beholds the essence of God, since the divinemind, with all that it contains, is ontologically identical with the divine essence
  7. 6. The ontological argument of St. Anselm of Canterbury and its critique by St. Thoma Aquinas.
    • Argument itself
    • In the Proslogium St. Anselm develops the so-called 'onto logical argument', which proceeds from the idea of God to God as a reality, as existent...requests of his brethren and consideration of the complex and various arguments of the Monologium led him to inquire whether he could not find an argument which would be sufficient, by itself alone, to prove all that webelieve concerning the Divine Substance,




    • God is that than which no greater can be thought:
    • But that than which no greatercan be thought must exist, not only mentally, in idea, but also extramentally: Therefore God exists, not only in idea, mentally, but also extra mentally.

    • The Major Premiss simply gives the idea of God,
    • the idea which a man has of God, even if he denies His existence.
    • The Minor Premiss is clear, since if that than which no greater can be thought existed only in the mind, it would not be that than which no greater can
    • be thought. A greater could be thought, i.e. a being that existed in extramental reality as
    • well as in idea.

    • Now, if such a being had only ideal reality, existed only in our subjective idea, we could still conceive a greater being, namely a being which did not exist
    • simply in our idea but in objective reality.



    • St. Anselm argues that in this case no one can at the same time have the idea of God and yet deny His existence. If a man thought of God as, for
    • instance, a superman, he would be quite right to deny 'God's' existence in that sense, but he would
    • not really be denying the objectivity of the idea of God. If, however, a man had the right idea
    • of God,conceived the meaning of the term 'God', he could indeed deny His existence with his will, but if he realises what the denial involves (i.e. saying that the Being which must exist of its essence, the
    • necessary Being, does not exist) and yet asserts the denial, he is guilty of a plain contradiction:







    other crisism

    • Gaunilo in his Liber pro
    • Insipiente adversus Anselmi in Proslogio
    • ratiocinationem, wherein he observed that the idea we have of a thing is no guarantee of its extramental existence and that St. Anselm was
    • guilty of an illicit transition from the logical to the real order. We might as well say that the most beautifulislands which are possible must exist somewhere, because we can conceive them. if the idea of the all-perfect and necessary Being contains no contradiction, God must exist, since it would be absurd to speak of a merely possible necessary Being (it is a contradiction in terms), whereas there is no contradiction in speaking of
    • merely possible beautiful islands. The main objection to St. Anselm's proof, which was raised against Descartes and which Leibniz tried to answer, is
    • that we do not know a priori that the idea of God, the idea of infinite and absolute Perfection, is the idea of a possible Being. We may not see any
    • contradiction in the idea, but, say the objectors, this 'negative' possibility is not the same as 'positive' possibility; it does not show that there really is no contradiction in the idea. That there is no contradiction
    • in the idea is clear only when we have shown a posteriori that God exists.back gound St. Anselm, like St. Augustine, made no clear distinction be tween the provinces of theology and philosophy




    The Christian should try to understand and to apprehend rationally all that he believes, so far as this is possible to the human mind.Now, we believe in God's existence and in the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity. We should, therefore, apply our understanding to the understanding of both truths. From the point of view of one who, like the Thomist, makes a clear

    distinction between philosophy and dogmatic theology the application of reasoning to the first truth, God's existence, will fall within the province of


    philosophy, while the application of reasoning to the second truth, the Trinity, will fall within the province of theology, and the Thomist will hold that the first truth is demonstrable by human reasoning, while the second truth is not demonstrable by human reasoning, even though the human mind is able to make true statements about the mystery, once revealed, and to refute the objections against it which human reasoning may raise.





    • St. Anselm was certainly no
    • rationalist, since


    • he accepted the primacy of faith and the fact of authority and only then went on to attempt to understand the data of faith. If,
    • however, one is going to extend the term 'rationalism' to cover the attitude of mind which leads to the attempt to prove mysteries,not because the mysteries are not accepted by faith


    or would be rejected if one could not prove them, but because one desires to understand all that one believes, without having first clearly defined the ways in which different truths are accessible to us, then one might, of course, call the thought of St. Anselm 'rationalism' or an approximation to rationalism.

    • But it would show an entire misunderstanding of Anselm's attitude, were one to suppose that he was prepared to reject the doctrine of the Trinity, for example, if he was unable to find rationes necessariae for it: he believed the doctrine first of all, and only then did he attempt to understand it.: if we insist on inter preting St. Anselm as though he lived
    • after St. Thomas and had clearly distinguished the separate provinces of theology and philosophy, we shall only be guilty of an anachronism and of
    • a misinterpretation.





    St. Anselm develops the proof of God's existence in the monologium from the degrees of perfection which are found in creatures....In the third chapter of the Monologium St.Anselm applies the same sort of argument to being. Whatever exists, exists either through something or through nothing. The latter supposition is absurd; so whatever exists, must


    exist through something....Enough has been said, however, to show that St. Anselm made a real contribution to natural theology. The Platonic element is conspicuous and, apart from remarks here and there, there is no considered treatment of analogy; but he gives a posteriori arguments for God's existence which are of a much more systematic character than those of St. Augustine and he also deals carefully with the divine attributes, God's immutability, eternity, etc. It is clear, then, how erroneous it is to associate his name with the 'Ontological Argument' in such a way as to imply that St. Anselm's only contribution to the development of philosophy was an argument the validity of which is at least questionable.
  8. Averroes
    • 2 rr's in truth
    • Averroes, who occupies that prominent
    • position in the western group which Avicenna represents in the eastern group.

    • Averroes or Ibn RuSd (the Commentator of the Latin Scholastics) was born at C6rdoba in 1126, the son of a judge. After studying theology, jurisprudence, medicine, mathematics and philosophy, he occupied judicial posts, first at Seville and afterwards at C6rdoba, becoming physician to the
    • Caliph in 1182.

    • Being convinced that the genius of Aristotle was
    • the final culmination of the human intellect, Averroes naturally devoted a great deal of energy to the composition of commentaries Holding, as he did, that
    • Aristotle was the completer of human science,1 the model of human perfection and the author of a
    • system which is the supreme truth, interpreting Aristotle as holding the unicity of the active intellect and accepting the doctrine of the eternity of
    • matter, Averroes had necessarily to attempt a reconciliation of his philosophical ideas with orthodox Islamic theology, especially as those were
    • not wanting who were ready to accuse him of heresy because of his devotion to a pagan thinker.
    • He accordingly attempted this reconciliation by means of the so-called 'double truth' theory. This does not mean that, according to Averroes, a proposition can be true in philosophy and false in theology or vice versa: his theory is that one and the same truth is understood clearly in philosophy and expressed
    • allegori-cally in theology. The scientific formulation of truth is achieved
    • only in philosophy, but the same truth is expressed in theology, only in a different manner. The picture-teaching of the Koran expresses the truth in a
    • manner intelligible to the ordinary man, to the unlettered, whereas the philosopher strips away the allegori­cal husk and attains the truth 'unvarnished', free from the trappings of Vorstellung. Averroes's idea of the relation of philo­sophy to theology resembles somewhat that of Hegel, and it would be unacceptable, and was unacceptable, to the orthodox Islamic theologian; but it was not the absurd idea that one proposition can be true in philosophy and the diametrically opposite proposi­tion true in theology. What Averroes did was to make theology subordinate to philosophy, to make the latter the judge of the former, so that it belongs to the philosopher to decide what theological doctrines need to be allegorically
    • interpreted and in what way they should be interpreted.



    • When Averroes says that some
    • proposition is true in the fideistic theology of the conservatives, who rejected philosophy, he means that it is 'true' in the School of the enemies of
    • science, i.e. that it is simply false. He had no use for the traditionalists as the traditionalists had no use for him, and his attitude in this matter led to the prohibition in Islamic Spain of the study of Greek philosophy and to the burning of philosophic works.



    • Obviously Dante was treating these men as
    • philosophers, and it was because of this fact that he placed the two Islamic thinkers as high in the scale as he could: as they were not Christians,
    • he did not consider that he could release them from Inferno alto­gether, and so he placed them in Limbo.
  9. Albert the great
    • quick keys
    • cold at the poles may be so excessive as to prevent habitation. If, however, there are animals living there,
    • In an enlightened manner he insisted on the necessity of observation and experimentin these matters, and in his De vegetalibus andDe animalibus he gives the results ofhis own observations as well as ideas of earlier writers

    he frequently appeals to his own observation, to what he has personally noticed of the habits of migrating birds, or of the nature ofplants, for example, and he shows a robust common sense, as when he makes itplain that a priori arguments for the uninhabitable character of the 'torrid zone' cannot out weigh the evident fact that parts of lands which we know to be inhabited lie in that zone.

    • we must suppose that they have coats thick enough to protect them against the climate and these coats are
    • probably white in colour.
    • In any case it is unreasonable to suppose that
    • people living on the lower part of the earth would fall off, since the term 'lower' is only relative to us.1

    In any case, whatever value theparticular conclusions drawn by St. Albert have, it is the spirit of curiosity and the reliance on obser vation and experiment which is remarkable and helpsto distin guish him from so many Scholastics of a later period.

    • One may say, then, that in the philosophy of St. Albert God is depicted, in dependence knowing Intellect, but
    • emphasis is laid, in dependence on the writings of the Pseudo-Dionysius, on the fact that God transcends
    • all our concepts and all the names we predicate of Him
    • when it comes to describing the creation of the world Albert interprets Aristotle according to the doctrine of
    • the Peripatetici, that is to say, according to what are in reality neo-Platonic interpretations

    • Full
    • having Thomas Aquinas among his pupils frpm
    • 1245 to 1248. In the latter year he returned to Cologne accompanied by Thomas, in order to establish the Dominican house of studies there , on the other hand, he was not without strong
    • sympathy for the neo-Platonist and Augus­tinian tradition

    • Moreover, being primarily a theolo­gian, Albert could not but be sensible of the important points on which Aristotle's thought clashes with Christian doctrin
    • In an enlightened manner he insisted on the necessity of observation and experiment
    • in these matters, and in his De vegetalibus and
    • De animalibus he gives the results of
    • his own observations as well as ideas of earlier writers. Apropos of his description of trees and plants he remarks that what he has set down is the result of his own experience or has been borrowed from authors whom he knows to have confirmed their ideas by observation, for in such matters experience alone
    • can give certainty.1 His speculations are often very sensible, as when, in opposition to the idea that the earth south of the equator is uninhabitable, he affirms that the reverse is probably true, though the cold at the
    • poles may be so excessive as to prevent habitation. If, however, there are animals living there, we must suppose that they have coats thick enough to
    • protect them against the climate and these coats are probably white in colour. In any case it is unreasonable to suppose that people living on the lower part of
    • the earth would fall off, since the term 'lower' is only relative to us.1 Naturally Albert relies very much on the opinions, observations and guesses of
    • his predecessors; but he frequently appeals to his own observation, to what he has personally noticed of the habits of migrating birds, or of the nature of
    • plants, for example, and he shows a robust common sense, as when he makes it plain that a priori arguments for the uninhabitable character of the 'torrid zone' cannot out­weigh the evident fact that parts of lands which we know to be inhabited lie in that zone. Again, when
    • speaking of the lunar halo or 'rainbow',2
    • he remarks that according to Aristotle this pheno­menon occurs only twice in
    • fifty years, whereas he and others have observed it twice in one year, so that
    • Aristotle must have been speaking from hearsay and not from experience. In any case, whatever value the
    • particular conclusions drawn by St. Albert have, it is the spirit of curiosity and the reliance on obser­vation and experiment which is remarkable and helps
    • to distin­guish him from so many Scholastics of a later period.



    • St.
    • Albert the Great is quite clear as to the distinction between theology and philosophy, and so between the theology which takes as its foundation the data of revelation and the theology which is the work of the unaided natural reason and belongs to metaphysical philosophy

    • ). Again, the philosopher works under the influence of the general light of reason given to all men, by which light he sees the first principles, while the theologian works by the supernatural light of faith, through which he receives the revealed dogmas.' St. Albert has, therefore, little sympathy for those who deny or belittle philosophy, since not only does he make use of dialectic in theological reasoning, but he also recognises philosophy itself as an independent science. Against those who assert that it is wrong to introduce philosophic reasoning into theology, he admits that such reasoning cannot be primary, since a dogma is proved tamquam ex priori, that is, a dogma is shown by the theologian to have been revealed and is not a conclusion from philosophic argument; but he goes on to say that philosophic arguments can be of real utility in a secondary capacity, when dealing with objections brought by hostile philosophers, and speaks of the ignorant people who want to attack in every way the employment of philosophy and who are like 'brute animals blaspheming against that of which they are ignorant'.1 Even in the Order of Preachers there was opposition to philosophy and the study of such 'profane' science, and one of the greatest services rendered by St. Albert was to promote the study and use of philosophy
    • in his own Order.

    • 3. The doctrine of St. Albert is
    • not a homogeneous system, but rather a mixture of Aristotelian and neo-Platonic elements. For instance, he appeals to Aristotle when giving a proof for God's existence from motion,2 and he argues that an infinite chain of principia is impossible and contradictory, since there would in reality be no principium. The pritnum principium or first principle must, by the very fact
    • that it is the first principle, have its exis­tence from itself and not from another: its existence (esse) must be its
    • substance and essence.3

    • In fine, it is truer to say of God that we
    • know what He is not rather than what He is.6 One may say, then, that in the philosophy of St. Albert God is depicted, in dependence knowing Intellect, but emphasis is laid, in dependence on the writings of the Pseudo-Dionysius, on the fact that God transcends all our concepts and all the names we predicate of Him when it comes to describing the creation of the world Albert interprets Aristotle according to the doctrine of the Peripatetici, that is to say, according to what are in reality neo-Platonic interpretations. Thus he uses the words fiuxus and emanatio (fiuxus est emanatio formae a primo fonte,
    • qui omnium formarum est fons et origo)1
    • and maintains that the
    • first principle, intellectus universaliter agens, is the source whence flows the
    • second intelligence, the latter the source whence flows the third
    • intelli­gence, and so on. From each subordinate intelligence is derived its own
    • proper sphere, until eventually the earth comes into being.

    • he does not appear to have
    • realised that the neo-Platonic notion of emanation, though not strictly
    • pantheistic, since God remains distinct from all other beings, is yet not fully
    • in tune with the Christian doctrine of free creation out of nothing. I do not mean
    • to suggest for a moment that St. Albert intended to substitute the neo-Platonic
    • emanation process for the Christian doctrine: rather did he try to express the latter in terms of the former, without apparently realising the difficulties involved in such an attempt. St. Albert departs from the Augustinian-Franciscan tradition by holding that reason cannot demonstrate with certainty the world's creation in time, that is, that the world was not created
    • from eternity,2 and also by denying that angels and the human
    • soul are

    • composed
    • of matter and form,

    • It is impossible, then, to speak
    • of a completed 'system' of Albert the Great: his thought is really a stage in
    • the adoption of the Aristotelian philosophy as an intellectual instrument for
    • the expression of the Christian outlook. The process of adopting and
    • adapting the Aristotelian philosophy was carried much further by St. Albert's
    • great pupil, Thomas
    • Aquinas; but it would be a mistake to exaggerate the Aristotelianism even of
    • the latter. Both men remained to a great extent in the tradition of Augustine,
    • though both men, St. Albert in an incomplete, St. Thomas in a more complete
    • fashion, interpreted Augustine according to the categories of Aristotle.

    • 5. St. Albert was convinced that
    • the immortality of the soul can be demonstrated by reason

    • . He had
    • a wide knowledge of Jewish and Arabian philosophy and frequently

    • quotes
    • the opinions of other writers, so that, in spite of his frequent indefiniteness
    • of thought and expression and his mistakes in historical matters, his writings
    • give the impression of a man of extensive knowledge who had read very widely
    • and was interested in many lines of thought.

    • The
    • Christian West possessed nothing of its own in the way of pure philosophy or of
    • natural science which could compare with the philosophy of Aristotle and the
    • Arabians. St. Albert realised this fact clearly; he saw that a definite
    • attitude must be adopted towards Aristotelianism, that it could not simply be
    • disregarded, and he was rightly convinced that it would be wasteful and even
    • disastrous to attempt to disregard it. He saw too, of course, that on some
    • points Aristotle and the Arabians held doctrines which were incompatible with
    • dogma; but at the same time he realised that this was no reason for rejecting
    • in its entirety what one had

    • to
    • reject in part. He endeavoured to make Aristotelianism intelli­gible to the
    • Latins and to show them its value, while pointing out its errors. That he
    • accepted this or that point, rejected this or that theory, is not so important
    • as the fact that he realised the general significance and value of
    • Aristotelianism, and it is surely not necessary to be a rigid Aristotelian
    • oneself in order to be able to appreciate his merits in this respect
  10. 7. The medieval dispute about the universals (the philosophical problem and its importance, the different
    solutions).
    (not cleaned)
    • key
    • 'Exaggerated Realism'
    • only individuals exist.
    • William's Abelard's fight

    • sum
    • The foundations of the Thomist
    • doctrine of moderate realism had thus been laid before the thirteenth century, and indeed we may say that it was Abelard who really killed ultra-realism. When
    • St. Thomas declares that universals are not sub-sistent things but exist only in singular things,8 he is re-echoing what Abelard and John of Salisbury had said before
    • him. In short the debates that come before are to thomas what the renessacne is to michelangelo.


    • The scientist expresses his knowledge in abstract and universal terms (for example,
    • he does not make a statement about this particular electron, but about electrons in general), and if these terms have no foundation in extramental reality, his science is an arbitrary construction, which has no relation to reality.

    • 'Exaggerated Realism'. a subsistent reality in which individuals share. Thus the concept Man or Humanity reflects a reality, humanity or the substance of human naturet supposes that unless the object reflected
    • by the concept exists extramentally in exactly the same way that it existsintramentally, the concept is purely subjective.
    • A Professor Gilson and others have pointed out,
    • those who maintained ultra-realism in the early Middle Ages were philo­sophising as logicians, in the sense that they assumed that the logical and real orders are exactly parallel and that because the meaning
    • of, for example, 'man' in the statements 'Plato is a man' and 'Aristotle is a man' is the same, there is a substantial identity in the real order between
    • Plato and Aristotle. But it would, I think, be a mistake to suppose that the ultra-realists were in­fluenced simply by logical considerations: they were influenced also by theological considerations. This is clear in the case of Odo of Tournai, who used ultra-realism in order to explain thetrans­mission of
    • original sin.

    • Counter position(antithesis)nominalist or conceptualist,
    • Roscelin was an avowed anti-realist.If the implied principle of the ultra-realists was the exact correspondence of thought and extramental reality, the principle of the adversaries of ultra-realism was that only individuals exist at first sight this seems to be a nominalist position and to remind one of the shorthand note theory of J. S. Mill. Anselm
    • goes on to remark that these people think that colour is nothing else but body and the wisdom of man nothing else but the soul, and the chief fault of the 'dialectical heretics' he finds in the fact that their reason is so bound up with their imagination that they cannot free themselves from images and contemplate abstract and purely intelligible objects.
    • William's teaching, the latter maintained the theory that the same essential nature is wholly present at the same time in each of the individual members of the
    • species in question, with the inevitable logical consequence that the individual members of a species differ from one another, not substantially but
    • only accidentally.1 If this is so, says Abelard,2 there is the same substance in Plato in one place and in Socrates in another place, being made Plato through one set of accidents and Socrates through another set of accidents.
    • Abelard
    • he goes on to say that universal concepts are formed by abstraction and that through these concepts we conceive what is in the object,though we do not conceive it as it is in the object.

    • The
    • Abelardian doctrine is an adumbration, in spite of some ambiguous language, of
    • the developed theory of 'moderate realism'.
    • full
    • Cultural progress depended
    • to some extent on the maintenance of the tendency to centralisation which had
    • been apparent during the reign of Charlemagne; The foundations of the Thomist doctrine of
    • moderate realism had thus been laid before the thirteenth century, and indeed
    • we may say that it was Abelard who really killed ultra-realism. When St. Thomas
    • declares that universals are not sub-sistent things but exist only in singular
    • things,8 he is
    • re-echoing what Abelard and John of Salisbury had said before him. In short the debates that come before are to thomas what the renessacne
    • is to michelangelo.



    • external factors as the attacks of the Norsemen in the ninth and
    • tenth centuries, who destroyed centres of wealth and culture and checked the
    • develop­ment of civilisation, as also the attacks of the Saracens and the
    • Mongols. Internal decay, combined with external dangers and attacks,
    • rendered cultural progress impossible. To conserve, or to attempt to do so, was
    • the only practicable course: progress in scholarship and philosophy lay again
    • in the future. Such interest in philosophy as existed, centred largely round
    • dialectical ques­tions, and particularly round the problem of universals, the
    • starting-point for the discussion being supplied by certain texts of Porphyry
    • and Boethius.

    • two ways in which an idea may
    • be so formed that its content is not found in extramental objects precisely as
    • it exists in the idea. For example, one may join together arbitrarily man and
    • horse, to form the idea of a centaur, joining together objects which nature
    • does not suffer to be joined together, and such arbitrarily constructed ideas
    • are

    • 'false'. On the other hand, if we form the idea of a line, i.e. a mere line as
    • considered by the geometer, then, although it is true that no mere line exists
    • by itself in extramental reality, the idea is not 'false', since bodies involve
    • lines and all we have done is to isolate the line and consider it in
    • abstraction. Composition (as in the composition of horse and man to form the
    • centaur) produces a false idea, whereas abstraction produces an idea which is
    • true, even though the thing conceived does not exist extramentally in a state
    • of abstraction or separation.

    • Now, the ideas
    • of genera and species are ideas of the latter type, formed by abstraction. The
    • likeness of humanity is abstracted from individual men, and this likeness,
    • considered by the mind, is the idea of the species, while the idea of the genus
    • is formed by considering the likeness of diverse species. Consequently, 'genera and species are
    • in individuals, but, as thought, are universals'. They 'subsist in sensible
    • things, but are understood without bodies'. Extramentally
    • there is only one subject for both genus and species, i.e. the individual, but that no more prevents
    • their being considered separately than the fact that it is the same line which
    • is both convex and concave prevents our having different ideas of the convex
    • and concave and defining them differently.



    • In other words, objects outside the mind are
    • individual, whereas concepts are general, universal in character, in the sense
    • that they apply indifferently to a multitude of individuals. But, if extra-mental objects are
    • particular and human concepts universal, it is clearly of importance to
    • discover the relation holding between them. If the fact that subsistent
    • objects are individual and concepts general means that universal concepts have
    • no founda­tion in extramental reality,
    • if the universality of concepts means that they are mere ideas, then a rift
    • between thought and objects is created and our knowledge, so far as it is
    • expressed in universal concepts and judgements, is of doubtful validity at the
    • very least. The scientist expresses his knowledge in abstract and
    • universal terms (for example, he does not make a statement about this
    • particular electron, but about electrons in general), and if these terms have
    • no foundation in extramental reality, his science is an arbitrary construction,
    • which has no relation to reality. In so far indeed as human judgements are of a universal
    • character or involve universal concepts, as in the statement that this rose is
    • red, the problem would extend to human knowledge in general, and if the
    • question as to the existence of an extramental founda­tion of a universal
    • concept is answered in the negative, scepticism would result.

    • The problem may be raised in various ways, and, historically
    • speaking, it has taken various forms at
    • various times. It may be raised in this form, for instance. "What,
    • if anything, in extra-mental reality corresponds to the universal concepts in
    • the mind?' This may be called the ontological approach, and it was under this form that the early
    • mediaevals discussed the matter. Or
    • one may ask how our universal concepts are formed. This
    • is the psycho­logical approach and the emphasis is different from that in
    • the first approach, though the two lines of approach are closely connected and
    • one can scarcely treat the ontological question without answering in some way
    • the psychological question as well.

    • It becomes clear that the problem is
    • ultimately the epistemological problem of the relation of thought to reality.

    • 4. The first solution to the
    • problem given by the mediaevals was that known as 'Exaggerated Realism'. That it was
    • chrono­logically the first solution is borne out by the fact that the opponents
    • of this view were for some time known as the moderni,
    • while Abelard, for instance, refers to it as the antiqua doctrina. According
    • to this view, our generic and specific concepts correspond to a reality
    • existing extramentally in objects, a subsistent reality in which individuals
    • share. Thus the concept Man or Humanity reflects a reality, humanity or the
    • substance of human nature,
    • which exists extramentally in the same way as it is thought, that is, as a
    • unitary substance in which all men share. If for Plato the concept Man
    • reflects the ideal of human nature subsisting apart from and 'outside'
    • individual men, an ideal which individual men embody or 'imitate' to a greater
    • or less extent, the mediaeval realist believed that the concept reflects a
    • unitary substance existing extramentally, in which men participate or of which
    • they are accidental modifications. Such
    • a view is, of course, extremely naive, and indicates a complete
    • misunderstanding of Boethius's treatment of the question, since it
    • supposes that unless the object reflected by the concept exists extramentally
    • in exactly the same way that it exists intramentally, the concept is purely
    • subjective.



    • It is also implied in the
    • teaching of John Scotus Eriugena. We
    • find a statement of the doctrine in the teaching of Remigius of Auxerre (c. 841-908),
    • who held that the species is a partitio
    • substantiate of the genus and

    • that the species, e.g. Man, is the substantial unity of many
    • indi­viduals (Homo est multorum hominum
    • substantiate unitas). A
    • statement of this kind, if understood as meaning that the plurality of
    • individual men have a common substance which is numerically one, has as its natural consequence
    • the conclusion that individual men differ only accidentally from one another,

    • maintaining
    • that when a child comes into being God produces a new property of an already
    • existing substance, not a new substance. Logically this ultra-realism should
    • result in sheer monism. For example, we have the concepts of
    • substance and of being, and, on the principles of ultra-realism, it would
    • follow that all objects to which we apply the term substance are modifications
    • of one substance and, more comprehensively, that all beings are modifications
    • of one Being. It is probable that this attitude weighed with John Scotus
    • Eriugena, in so far as the latter can justly be called a monist.

    • As Professor Gilson and others have pointed out,
    • those who maintained ultra-realism in the early Middle Ages were philo­sophising as logicians, in the sense that they assumed that
    • the logical and real orders are exactly parallel and that because the meaning
    • of, for example, 'man' in the statements 'Plato is a man' and 'Aristotle is a
    • man' is the same, there is a substantial identity in the real order between
    • Plato and Aristotle. But it would, I think, be a mistake to
    • suppose that the ultra-realists were in­fluenced simply by logical
    • considerations: they were influenced also by
    • theological considerations. This is clear in the case of Odo of Tournai,
    • who used ultra-realism in order to explain the
    • trans­mission of
    • original sin. I

    • What Odo of Tournai maintained was a form of traducianism, i.e. that
    • the human nature or substance of Adam, infected by original sin, is handed on
    • at generation and that what God creates is simply a new property of an already
    • existing substance.



    • If the implied principle of the ultra-realists
    • was the exact correspondence of thought and extramental reality, the principle
    • of the adversaries of ultra-realism was that only individuals
    • exist.

    • General names
    • have no general or universal objects corresponding to them; their only objects
    • are individuals. How, then, do universal concepts arise and what is
    • their function and their relation to reality? Neither the understanding nor the memory can grasp all individuals,
    • and so the mind gathers together (coarctat) the
    • multitude of individuals and forms the idea

    • of the species, e.g. man,
    • horse, lion. But the species of animals or plants are themselves too
    • many to be comprehended by the mind at once, and it gathers the species
    • together to form the genus. There are, however, many genera and the mind takes
    • a further step in the process of coarctatio, forming
    • the still wider and more extensive concept of usia
    • (ouota). Now, at first sight this seems to be a
    • nominalist position and to remind one of the shorthand note theory of J.
    • S. Mill.

    • would be rash to affirm that this actually was Eric's consciously
    • held view. Probably (Eric (Heiricus) of
    • Auxerre (841-76) merely meant to affirm emphatically that only individuals
    • exist, that is, to deny ultra-realism, and at the same time to give attention
    • to the psycholo­gical explanation of our universal concepts. We have not
    • sufficient evidence to warrant an affirmation that he denied any real
    • foundation to the universal concept.

    • Roscelin was an oppo­nent of ultra-realism and that he maintained
    • that only individuals exist, but his positive teaching is not so clear.
    • According to St. Anselm,1 Roscelin
    • held that the universal is a mere word (flatus
    • vocis) and accordingly he is numbered
    • by St. Anselm among the contemporary heretics in dialectic. Anselm goes on to
    • remark that these people think that colour is nothing else but body and the
    • wisdom of man nothing else but the soul, and the chief fault of the 'dialectical heretics' he finds in the fact that their reason is
    • so bound up with their imagination that they cannot free themselves from images
    • and contemplate abstract and purely intelligible objects.

    • He may indeed have been a
    • nominalist in a naive and complete sense, and I am certainly not prepared to say that he
    • ,Roscelin ,was not a nominalist pure and simple. John of Salisbury seems to have understood him in this sense,All we are entitled to say with
    • certainty is that, whether nominalist or conceptualist, Roscelin was an avowed
    • anti-realist.

    St. Peter Damian (1007-72)

    • For instance, God, according
    • to St. Peter Damian, is not only arbiter of moral values and the moral law (he
    • would have had some sympathy with Kierkegaard's reflections on Abraham), but
    • can also bring it about that an historical event should be 'undone', should not
    • have occurred, and if this seems to go counter to the principle of
    • contradiction, then so much the worse for the principle of contradiction: it
    • merely shows the inferiority of logic in comparison with theology.

    • William's teaching, the latter maintained the theory that the
    • same essential nature is wholly present at the same time in each of the
    • individual members of the species in question, with the inevitable logical
    • consequence that the individual members of a species differ from one another,
    • not substantially but only accidentally.1
    • If this is so, says Abelard,2 there is
    • the same substance in Plato in one place and in Socrates in another place,
    • being made Plato through one set of accidents and Socrates through another set
    • of accidents. Such a doctrine is, of course, the form of ultra-realism current
    • in the early Middle Ages, and Abelard had no difficulty in showing the absurd
    • consequences it involved. For example, if the human species is substantially, and therefore
    • wholly, present in both Socrates and Plato at the same time, then Socrates must
    • be Plato and he must be present in two places at once.3 Furthermore, such a doctrine
    • leads ultimately to pantheism, since God is substance and all substances will
    • be identical with the divine substance.

    He change his theory then

    • We have this information from Abelard,4 who evidently treated the new theory as a
    • mere subterfuge, as though William were now saying that Socrates and Plato are
    • not the same, but yet are not different. However, fragments from
    • William's Sententiae5 makes his position clear. He there says that the two words
    • 'One' and 'same' can be understood in two ways, secundum
    • indifferentiam el secundum identitatem eiusdem prorsus essentiae, and
    • goes on to explain that Peter and Paul are 'indif­ferently' men or possess
    • humanity secundum indifferentiam in
    • that, as Peter is rational, so is Paul, and as Peter is mortal, so is Paul,
    • etc., whereas their humanity is not the same (he means that their essence or
    • nature is not numerically the same) but like (similis),
    • since they are two men. since all are agreed that William of Champeaux
    • eventually abandoned the ultra-realism with which he had begun.



    • The opposition of a saint and a rigorist theologian to dialectic is
    • also one of the motifs in the life of Abelard

    • John of Salisbury was one of
    • his pupils. However, St. Bernard accused him of heresy and in 1141 he was condemned at the Council of Sens.
    • Castreated by the episode with Heloise

    • we know that his brilliance
    • and dialectical dexterity, also no doubt his attacks on other teachers, won him
    • great audiences. His incursions into theology, however, especially in
    • the case of a brilliant man of great reputation, made him seem a dangerous thinker in the eyes of those who had
    • little natural sympathy for dialectic and intellectual cleverness, and Abelard
    • was pursued by the unremitting hostility of St. Bernard in particular,
    • who appears to have looked on the philosopher as an agent of Satan; he
    • certainly did everything he could to secure Abelard's condemna­tion.

    • Accepting Aristotle's definition of the universal, as given by
    • Boethius (quod in pluribus natum est
    • praedicari, singulare vero quod non), he went on to state that it is not
    • a thing which is predicated but a name, and he concludes that 'it remains to
    • ascribe universality of this sort to words alone'.1 This sounds like the purely nominalistic view traditionally
    • ascribed to Roscelin (under whom Abelard had studied),

    • By universal ideas the mind 'conceives a common and confused image
    • of many things . . . When
    • I hear man a
    • certain figure arises in my mind which is so related to individual men that it
    • is common to all and proper to none.' Such language suggests indeed that,
    • according to Abelard, there are really no universal concepts at all, but only
    • confused images, generic or specific according to the degree of confusion and
    • indistinctness; but he goes on to say that universal concepts are formed by
    • abstraction and that through these concepts we conceive what is in
    • the
    • object, though we do not conceive it as it is in the
    • object.

    • The Abelardian doctrine is an adumbration, in spite
    • of some ambiguous language, of the developed theory of 'moderate realism'.

    • In his Theologia
    • Christiana and Theologia Abelard follows
    • St. Augustine,
    • Macrobius and Priscian in placing in the mind of God formae
    • exemplares or divine ideas,

    • Abelard's
    • treatment of the problem of universals was really decisive, in the sense that
    • it gave a death-blow to ultra-realism by showing how one could deny the latter
    • doctrine without at the same time being obliged to deny all objectivity to
    • genera and species,



    Gilbert de la Porrie or Gilbertus Porretanus

    • In fine, that which
    • is conceived in
    • specific and generic ideas is in things (the idea is not void of objective
    • reference), but it is not in them, i.e. in individual things, as it is
    • conceived. Ultra-realism, in other words, is false; but that does not mean that universals are
    • purely subjective constructions, still less that they are mere words.

    • His doctrines of abstraction and of comparison make it clear that
    • Gilbert was a moderate realist and not an ultra-realist, but his curious idea
    • of the distinction between the individual essence or substance and the common
    • essence ('common' meaning alike in a plurality of individuals) landed him in
    • difficulties when he came to apply it to the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity
    • and distinguished as different things Deus and
    • Divinitas, Pater and Paternitas, just as he would distinguish
    • Socrates from humanity, that is, from the humanity of Socrates. He was accused
    • of impairing the unity of God and teaching heresy, St. Bernard being one of his
    • attackers. Condemned at the Council of Rheims in 1148,
    • he retracted the offending' propositions.



    • John
    • of Salisbury (c. 1115-80)

    • In discussing the problem of universals, says John, the world has
    • grown old: more time has been taken up in this pursuit than was required by the
    • Caesars for conquering and governing the world.1 But anyone who looks
    • for genera and species outside the things of sense is wasting his time:2 ultra-realism is untrue and contradicts the
    • teaching of Aristotle

    • Genera and species are not things, but are rather the forms of
    • things which the mind, comparing the likeness of things, abstracts and unifies
    • in the universal concepts.5 Universal concepts or genera and species
    • abstractly considered are mental constructions (figurata rationis), since they do not exist as universals in
    • extramental reality; but the construction in question is one of comparison of
    • things and abstraction from things, so that universal concepts are not void of
    • objective foundation and reference.8













            1. St. Thomas thus denied both forms of
            2. ultra-realism, that of Plato and that of the early mediaevals; but, no
            3. more than Abelard was he willing to reject Platonism lock, stock and
            4. barrel, that is to say, Platonism as developed by St. Augustine. The ideas, exem­plar ideas, exist in the
            5. divine mind, though not ontologically distinct from God nor really a
            6. plurality, and, as far as this truth is
            7. concerned, the Platonic theory is justified.8 St. Thomas thus admits (i) the universale ante rem, while insisting that it is not a subsistent thing,
            8. either apart from things (Plato) or in things (early mediaeval
            9. ultra-realists), for it is God considered as perceiv­ing His Essence as
            10. imitable ad extra in a certain type of creature; (ii) the universale in re, which is the concrete individual essence alike in
            11. the members of the species; and (iii) the universale post rem, which is the
            12. abstract universal concept.




          • our judgement about the thing itself is not erroneous;
          • it is simply that the form, which exists in the thing in an individualised
          • state, is abstracted, i.e. is made the object of the exclusive attention
          • of the mind by an immaterial activity. The objective
          • foundation of the universal specific concept is thus the objective and
          • individual essence of the thing, which essence is by the activity of the
          • mind set free from individualising factors, that is, according to St.
          • Thomas, matter, and considered in abstraction. For example, the mind abstracts from the individual
          • man the essence of humanity which is alike, but not numerically the same
          • in the members of the human species, while the foundation of the universal
          • generic concept is an essential determination which several species have
          • in common, as the species of man, horse, dog, etc., have 'animality' in common.







        • The foundations of the Thomist doctrine of
        • moderate realism had thus been laid before the thirteenth century, and
        • indeed we may say that it was Abelard who really killed ultra-realism.
        • When St. Thomas declares that universals are not sub-sistent things but
        • exist only in singular things,8 he is re-echoing what Abelard and
        • John of Salisbury had said before him.







      • It has
      • been already mentioned that the School of St. Victor inclined to moderate
      • realism. Thus Hugh of St.
      • Victor (1096-1141) adopted more or less the position of Abelard and
      • maintained a clear doctrine of abstraction, which he applied to
      • mathematics and to physics.


  11. 11. The epistemology of St. Bonaventure (1221–1274).
    1st key terms
    • Key terms
    • illumined
    • dim species
    • a virtual innate idea, virtue and God is innate, virtue known in essence


    • Key ideas
    • The dim species of our minds, affected by the
    • obscurity of phantasmata, are thus illumined in order that the mind should know.

    • for it is the soul wich communicates to the body
    • the act of sensation.

    , so that reflection on its own nature and on the direction of the will enables the soul to form the idea of God without recourse to the external sensible world.In a kinda sence then the idea of God is innate, if interpeterd in the above sence

    • a virtual innate idea. A big diffence between how this virtual innate knowledge knows God and virtue is that
    • man can apprehend the essence of the virtues, so that knowledge of the virtues of the principles necessary to it conduct in virtual inate

    Augustinian doctrine of illumination, he regards it as cardinal truth of metaphysics. illumination, which had appeal because the human intellect is then dependent on God and the interior activity of God in the human soul thus the intellectual life and spiritual life can not be separated.

    • God acts in every mans mind when he attains
    • truth, but at this stage the activity of God is not all-sufficient, man is also active through the use of his natural powers; in the higher stages Gods action
    • progressively increases until in ecstasy God takes possession of the sould and mans intellectual activity is superseded.


    • He agrees with Aristotle that the sould
    • dose not of itself have either knowledge or species of sensible objects, the intellect is created in a state of nudity and is dependent on the senses and
    • imagination. The sensible object acts upon the sens organ and produces therein a sensible species, which in turn acts upon the faculty of sensation, and then
    • perception takes place. He admits a passive element and departs with S. Augustine. At the same time he holds that the faculty of sensation or sensitive power of the soul judges the content of sensation, this is not
    • reflective judegment either it is spontaneous awareness. This is possible because the sensitive is the sensitive faculty of a rational soul, for it is the soul wich communicates to the body the act of sensation. Still holds the idea of the common sense and imagination of Thomas, but says the passive intellect has the power
    • to judge the species, but only with the help of the active intellect, there is only one complet act of intellection and the passive and active intellect
    • co-operate insperarably in that act.

    • Has no place for innate ideas. But agrees
    • with the whole part notion that they are cocomencible knowledge, when one is know so is the other.

    • -the soul has no intutitive vision of God,
    • of the divine Essence, in this life, but it is make in the image of God and is orientated towards God in desire and will, so that reflection on its own nature and on the direction of the will enables the soul to form the idea of God without recourse to the external sensible world.In a kinda sence then the idea of God is
    • innate, if interpeterd in the above sence, but not in the sense that every man has from the beginning a clear, explicit and accurate knowledge of God.
    • the knowledge of this truth of Gods existence is innate in the rational mind, in as much as the mind is an image of God, by reason of which it has a natural appetite, knowledge and memory of him in whose image it has been made and towards whom it naturally tends, that it may find its beatitude in Him.

    • -in like form the virtues too must have
    • some ‘innate’ knowledge in that its not derived from sense-perception. An
    • unjest man can know what justice is, but not though his soul since he dose not
    • possess it, nor though abstraction from sensible species, so a kind of a priori
    • or innate knowledge, there is present in the soul a natural light by which it
    • can recognize truth and rectitude while also an affection or inclination of the
    • will. And so knows rectitude affectionis.

    • So that the soul knows virtues as innate in
    • the way it knows God as innate, in that the soul has in itself all the material needed to form the explicit idea, with out recorse to the sensible world, this is a virtual innate idea. A big diffence between how this virtual innate knowledge knows God and virtue is that man can apprehend the essence of the virtues, so that knowledge of the
    • virtues of the principles necessary to it conduct in virtual inate. It can know what God is, what fear is and what love is and so can naturaly know to love and fear God.

    • He dose not dispense with the Augustinian doctrine of illumination, he regards it as cardinal truth of metaphysics. Since certain knowelge may exist hes is necessarily faced by problems wimilar to those with which plato and Augustine
    • were faced, since no created object is strictly immutable and all sensible objects are perishable, while the human mind is not of itself infallible in
    • regard to any class of object. It must, therefore, receive help from outside, and thus illumination, which had appeal because the human intellect is then dependent on God and the interior activity of God in the human soul thus the intellectual life and spiritual life can not be separated.

    • But we do not apprehend these divin ideas
    • directly, but sees to close a fallowing to plato is to open the door to skepticism, since if the only only certain knowledge is direct knowledge of the
    • archetypes and we have no direct knowledge of these archetypes, the necessary conclusion is that true certainy is unattainable by the human mind. The human mind attains not the eternal prinviple itself but only its influence as a
    • habitus mentis, the rationes aeternae has a direct regulative action on the human mind, though remains itself unseen. It is they with move and rule the mind in its certain judgements. He
    • then dose not contradict Aristotle but considers it insufficient. With out sense-perception we would never indeed know sensible objects and its is quite true that the intellect abstracts but the divine illumination, the direct action of the ratio aeterna, is necessary in order that the mind should see in the object the reflection of the unchaning ratio and be able to make an
    • infallible judgement concerning it.
    • Senisible data is required in order that our ideas of sensible objects should arise, but the stability and necessity of our judgements concerning them
    • are due to the action of the rationes aeternae.
    • The dim species of our minds, affected by the obscurity of phantasmata, are thus illumined in order that the mind should know



    • The faculty of sensation action though the
    • particular sense judges its factuality, and the inerior sense judges if it is pleasing, beautiful or reverse. This judgement implies a reference to an idea of beauty which is stable and unchanging, not bound to place or time, this is were divine illumination come in, namely to explain the judgement in its unchanging and supertemporal aspect. All judegement to be true and certain must be a judgement made in light of the rationes aeternae, which is identical with the word of god, logos. It follows that it is the logos which illuminates the human mind. We abstract, yes, but we could not seize the intelligible and
    • stable merely thorough abstraction, we need also divine illumination; we can attain knowledge of moral principle by interior reflection, but can not
    • apprehend their unchanging and necessary character without regulative and guiding action of the divine light. Aristotle failed to see that we cannot know creatures fully unless we see them as exemplata of the divine exemplar.



    • Creation out of nothing can be proved, as
    • also Gods presence and activity in creatures and especially in the soul itself: Gods action enters into the apprehension of every certain truth, and even though for the establishment fo the higher stages of the souls ascent the data of theology is required, there is in a sense a continuity of divine action in increasing intensity. God acts in every mans mind when he attains truth, but at this stage the activity of God is not all-sufficient, man is also active through the use of his natural
    • powers; in the higher stages Gods action progressively increases until in ecstasy God takes possession of the sould and mans intellectual activity is superseded.



    • This integration of reason and faith,
    • philosophy and theology, is emphasized by the place he accords to Christ, the Word of God. Just as creation and exemplarism cannot be properly understood apart for the realization that it is through the word of God that all things
    • are created and that it is the word of God, the consubstantial image of the Father, whom all creatures, mirror, so illumination in its various stages cannot be properly understood apart from the realization that it is the Word of God who illumines every man, the Word of God who is the door through which the soul enters into God above itself, the Word of God who, through the Holy Sprity whom he has sent, inflames the soul and leads it beyond the limitations or its clear
    • ideas into the ecstatic union. Finally it is the Word of God who shows us the Father and opens to us the beatific vision of heaven. Christ in fact is the medium omnium scientiarum, of metaphysics as of theology, for though the
    • metaphysician as such cannot attain to the knowledge of the Word through the use of the natural reason, he can form no true and certain judge,emts without the illumination of the Word, even if he is quite unaware of this, and in
    • addition his science is incomplete and vitiated by its incompleteness unless it is crowened by theology.



    • He held what can be termed intergralist, which maintained one could have a philosophical knowledge of God but that it is incomplete, where as Thomas held this as well, Thomas belived
    • that being incomplete they were not false, while Bonaventure held that in their being incomplete they are false.


    1. Neoplatonic philosophy and the concept of
      hierarchy in Pseudo-Dionysius Areopagita.

    (not cleaned)
    • i. During the Middle Ages the writings which were then
    • ascribed to St. Paul's Athenian convert, Dionysius the Areopagite, enjoyed high
    • esteem, not only among mystics and authors of works on mystical theology, but
    • also among professional theologians and philosophers, such as St. Albert the
    • Great and St. Thomas Aquinas. The reverence and respect paid to these
    • writings were, of course, in great part due to the mistaken notion as to their
    • authorship, a mistake which originated in the author's use of a pseudonym.
    • 'Dionysius the Presbyter, to his fellow-presbyter Timothy.'1 In 533 the Patriarch of
    • Antioch, Severus, appealed to the writings of Dionysius, in support of his
    • Monophysite doctrine, a fact which can be safely taken to mean that the
    • writings were already regarded as possessed of authority. But, even
    • if Severus appealed to the works in question in support of heretical doctrine,
    • their ascription to St. Dionysius would free them from any suspicion as to
    • their orthodoxy. In the Eastern Church they were widely circulated, being
    • commented on by Maximus the Confessor in the seventh century and appealed to by
    • the great Eastern Doctor, St. John Damascene, in the eighth century, though
    • Hypatius of Ephesus attacked their authenticity.


    • In the West, Pope Martin I appealed to the writings as
    • authentic at the first Lateran Council in 649, and about the year 858 John
    • Scotus Eriugena, at the request of Charles the Bald, made a translation from
    • the Greek text which had been presented to Louis the Fair in 827 by the Emperor
    • Michael Balbus. John Scotus, besides translating the writings of the
    • Pseudo-Dionysius, also commented on them, thus furnishing the first of a series
    • of commentaries in Western Christendom. For example, Hugh of St. Victor (d.
    • 1141) commented on the Celestial Hierarchy, using Eriugena's
    • translation, while Robert Grosseteste (d. 1253) and Albert the Great (d. 1280)
    • also commented on the writings.


    • St. Thomas Aquinas composed a commentary on the Divine
    • Names about 1261. All these authors, as also, for example, Denis the
    • Carthusian, accepted the authenticity of the writings; but in time it was bound
    • to become clear that they embodied important elements taken from developed
    • neo-Platonism and that they
    • con­stituted in fact an attempt to reconcile neo-Platonism and Christianity, so
    • that they would have to be attributed to an author of a much later date than
    • the historic Dionysius the Areopagite. However, the question of the authenticity of the writings is not the
    • same as the question of their orthodoxy from the Christian standpoint, and
    • though in the
    • seventeenth century, when critics began to attack the authenticity of the
    • writings, their orthodoxy was also assailed, a recognition of their unauthentic character did not
    • necessarily involve an admission of their incom­patibility with Christian
    • doctrine, though it was obviously no longer possible to maintain their
    • orthodoxy on the a priori ground that they were composed by a personal
    • disciple of St. Paul. Personally I consider that the writings are orthodox in
    • regard to the rejection of monism; but that on the question of the Blessed Trinity it is highly questionable at least
    • if they can be reconciled with orthodox Christian dogma. Whatever
    • the intentions of the author may have been, his words, besides being obscure,
    • as Aquinas admitted, are scarcely compatible, as they stand, with the
    • Trinitarian teaching of Augustine and Thomas Aquinas. It may be objected that
    • insufficient attention is paid to the dogma of the Incarnation, which is
    • essential to Christianity, but the author clearly maintains this doctrine, and
    • in any case to say little about one particular doctrine, even a central one, is
    • not the same as to deny it. Taking the relevant passages of the
    • Pseudo-Dionysius in the large, it does not seem possible to reject them as
    • definitely unorthodox on this point, unless one is prepared also to reject as
    • unorthodox, for example, the mystical doctrine of St. John of the Cross, who is
    • a Doctor of the Church.

    • But though no one now supposes that the writings are
    • actually the work of Dionysius the Areopagite, it has not proved possible to discover the real author.
    • Most probably they were composed at the end of the fifth century, as they
    • apparently embody ideas of the neo-Platonist Proclus (418-85), and it
    • has been conjectured that the Hierotheus who figures therein was the Syrian
    • mystic Stephen Bar Sadaili. If the writings of the Pseudo-Dionysius actually
    • depend to any degree on the philosophy of Proclus, they


    • cannot well have been composed before the closing
    • decades of the fifth century, while as they were appealed to at the Council of
    • 533, they can hardly have been composed much after 500. The ascrip­tion of about 500 as the date of their
    • composition is, therefore, doubtless correct, while the supposition that they
    • originated in Syria is reasonable. The author was a theologian, without
    • doubt an ecclesiastic also; but he cannot have been Severus himself, as one or
    • two writers have rashly supposed. In any case, though it would be interesting
    • to know with certainty who the author was, it is probably unlikely that
    • anything more than conjecture will ever be possible, and the chief interest of
    • the writings is due, not to the personality of the author, but to the content
    • and influence of the writings, these writings being the Divine Names (De
    • divinis Nominibus), the Mystical Theology (De mystica Theologia), the
    • Celestial Hierarchy (De coeUsti Hierarchia) and the Ecclesiastical
    • Hierarchy (De ecclesiastica Hierarchia), as well as ten letters. The works
    • are printed in Migne's Patrologia Graeca, volumes 3-4; but a critical
    • edition of the text has been begun.


    • 2. There are two ways of approaching God, who is the
    • centre of all speculation, a positive way (xaTo^a-nx^) and a negative
    • way (iwxpawofj). In the former way or method the mind begins 'with the most
    • universal statements, and then through intermediate terms (proceeds) to
    • particular titles',1 thus beginning with 'the highest category'.2 In the Divine Names the
    • Pseudo-Dionysius pursues this affirmative method, showing how names such as
    • Goodness, Life, Wisdom, Power, are applicable to God in a transcendental manner
    • and how they apply to creatures only in virtue of their derivation from God and
    • their varying degrees of participation in those qualities which are found in
    • God not as inhering qualities but in substantial unity. Thus he begins
    • with the idea or name of goodness, which is the most universal name, inasmuch
    • as all things, existent or possible, share in goodness to some degree, but
    • which at the same time expresses the Nature of God: 'None is good save one,
    • that is, God.'3 God, as the Good, is the overflowing source of
    • creation and its final goal, and 'from the Good comes the light which is an
    • image of Goodness, so that the Good is described by the name of
    • "Light", being the archetype of that which is revealed in the image'.4
    • Here the neo-Platonic light-motive is brought in, and the Pseudo-Dionysius's
    • dependence


    • on neo-Platonism is particularly manifest in his
    • language when he goes on to speak of the Good as Beauty, as the
    • 'super-essential beautiful', and uses the phrases of Plato's Symposium, which
    • reappear in the Enneads of Plotinus. Again, when in chapter 13 of the Divine
    • Names1 the Pseudo-Dionysius speaks of 'One' as 'the most
    • important title of all', he is clearly writing in dependence on the Plotinian
    • doctrine of the ultimate Principle as the One.


    • In brief, then, the affirmative method means ascribing
    • to God the perfections found in creatures, that is, the perfections which are
    • compatible with the spiritual Nature of God, though not existing in Him in the
    • same manner as they exist in creatures, since in God they exist without
    • imperfection and, in the case of the names which are ascribed to the Divine
    • Nature, without real differentiation. That we start, in the affirmative way,
    • with the highest categories, is, says the author,2 due to the fact
    • that we should start with what is most akin to God, and it is truer to affirm
    • that He is life and goodness than that He is air or stone. The names 'Life'
    • and 'Goodness' refer to something which is actually in God, but He is air or
    • stone only in a metaphorical sense or in the sense that He is the cause of
    • these things. Yet the Pseudo-Dionysius is careful to insist that, even if
    • certain names describe God better than others, they are very far from represent­ing
    • an adequate knowledge and conception of God on our part, and he expresses this
    • conviction by speaking of God as the super-essential Essence, the
    • super-essential Beautiful, and so on. He is not simply repeating phrases from
    • the Platonic tradition, but he is expressing the truth that the objective
    • reference or content of these names as actually found in God infinitely
    • transcends the content of the names as experienced by us. For example, if we
    • ascribe intelligence to God, we do not mean to ascribe to Him human
    • intelligence, the only intelligence of which we have imme­diate experience and
    • from which we draw the name: we mean that God is more, infinitely more,
    • than what we experience as intelli­gence, and this fact is best expressed by
    • speaking of God as super-Intelligence or as the super-essential Intelligence.


    • 3. The affirmative way was mainly pursued by the
    • Pseudo-Dionysius in the Divine Names and in his (lost) Symbolical
    • Theology and Outlines of Divinity, whereas the negative way, that
    • of the exclusion from God of the imperfections of creatures, is characteristic
    • of the Mystical Theology. The distinction of the two


    • ways was dependent on Proclus, and as developed by the
    • Pseudo-Dionysius it passed into Christian philosophy and theology, being accepted by St. Thomas
    • Aquinas, for example; but the palm is given by the Pseudo-Dionysius to the
    • negative way in preference to the affirmative way. In this way the mind begins
    • by denying of God those things which are farthest removed from Him, e.g.
    • 'drunkenness or fury,'1 and proceeds upwards progressively denying
    • of God the attributes and qualities of creatures, until it reaches 'the
    • super-essential Darkness'.2 As God is utterly transcendent, we
    • praise Him best 'by denying or removing all things that are— just as men who,
    • carving a statue out of marble, remove all the impediments that hinder the
    • clear perception of the latent image and by this mere removal display the
    • hidden statue itself in its hidden beauty'.3 The human being is
    • inclined to form anthropo­morphic conceptions of the Deity, and it is necessary
    • to strip away these human, all-too-human conceptions by the via remotionis; but
    • the Pseudo-Dionysius does not mean that from this process there results a clear
    • view of what God is in Himself: the comparison of the statue must not mislead
    • us. When the mind has stripped away from its idea of God the human modes of
    • thought and inadequate conceptions of the Deity, it enters upon the 'Darkness
    • of Unknow­ing',* wherein it 'renouncesall the apprehension of the understand­ing
    • and is wrapped in that which is wholly intangible and invisible . . . united
    • ... to Him that is wholly unknowable';5 this is the province of
    • mysticism. The 'Darkness of Unknowing' is not due, however, to the
    • unintelligibility of the Object considered in itself, but to the finiteness of
    • the human mind, which is blinded by excess of light. This doctrine is doubtless
    • partly influenced by neo-Platonism, but it is also to be found in the
    • writings of Christian mystical theologians, notably St. Gregory of Nyssa, whose
    • writings in turn, though influenced, as far as language and presentation are
    • concerned, by neo-Platonic treatises, were also the expression of personal
    • experience.


    • 4. The neo-Platonic influence on the Pseudo-Dionysius
    • comes out very strongly in his doctrine of the Blessed Trinity, for he seems to
    • be animated by the desire to find a One behind the differentiation of Persons.
    • He certainly allows that the differen­tiation of Persons is an eternal
    • differentiation and that the Father,


    • for example, is not the Son, and the Son not the
    • Father, but so far as one can achieve an accurate interpretation of what he
    • says, it appears that, in his opinion, the differentiation of Persons exists on
    • the plane of manifestation. The
    • manifestation in question is an eternal manifestation, and the differentiation
    • an eternal differen­tiation within God, to be distinguished from the external
    • mani­festation of God in differentiated creatures; but God in Himself, beyond
    • the plane of manifestation, is undifferentiated Unity. One can, of course,
    • attempt to justify the language of the Pseudo-Dionysius by reference to the
    • Nature of God which, according to orthodox Trinitarianism, is one and undivided
    • and with which each of the divine Persons is substantially identical; but it
    • would seem most probable, not to say certain, that the author was influenced,
    • not only by Plotinus's doctrine of the One, but also by Proclus's doctrine of
    • the primary Principle which transcends the attributes of Unity, Goodness,
    • Being. The
    • super-essential Unity would seem to represent Proclus's first Principle, and
    • the distinc­tion of three Persons in unity of Nature would seem to represent
    • the neo-Platonic conception of emanation, being a stage, if an eternal stage,
    • in the self-manifestation or revelation of the ultimate Godhead or Absolute.
    • When we speak of the all-transcendent Godhead as a Unity and a Trinity, it is
    • not a Unity or a Trinity such as can be known by us . . . (though) 'we apply
    • the titles of "Trinity" and "Unity" to that which is beyond
    • all titles, express­ing under the form of Being that which is beyond being.
    • . . . (The transcendent Godhead) hath no name, nor can it be grasped by the
    • reason. . . . Even the title of "Goodness" we do not ascribe to it
    • because we think such a name suitable. . . .'1 (The Godhead) 'is not
    • unity or goodness, nor a Spirit, not Sonship nor Fatherhood, . . . nor does it
    • belong to the category of non-existence or to that of existence.'*


    • It is true that such phrases could be defended, as
    • regards the intention of the author if not as regards his actual words, by
    • pointing out that it is correct to say that the term 'Father', for instance,
    • belongs to the first Person as Person and not to the Son, though the divine
    • substance exists in numerical identity and without intrinsic real differentiation
    • in each of the three divine Persons, and also by allowing that the term 'Father', as applied to the
    • first Person, though the best term available in human language for the purpose,
    • is borrowed from a human relationship, and applied to God in an analogical
    • sense, so that the content of the idea of 'Father' in our minds is not adequate
    • to the reality in God. Moreover, the Pseudo-Dionysius certainly speaks
    • of 'a differentiation in the super-essential doctrine of God', referring to the
    • Trinity of Persons and the names applicable to each Person in particular,1
    • and explicitly denies that he is 'introducing a confu­sion of all distinctions
    • in the Deity',2 affirming that, while names such as 'Super-vital' or
    • 'Super-wise' belong to 'the entire Godhead', the 'differentiated names', the
    • names of 'Father', 'Son' and 'Spirit', 'cannot be interchanged, nor are they
    • held in common'.8 Again, though there is a 'mutual abiding and
    • indwelling' of the divine Persons 'in an utterly undifferentiated and
    • transcendent Unity', this is 'without any confusion'.* Nevertheless, though much of what the
    • Pseudo-Dionysius has to say on the subject of the Blessed Trinity can be
    • interpreted and defended from the standpoint of theological orthodoxy, it is
    • hardly possible not to discern a strong tendency to go behind, as it were, the
    • distinction of Persons to a super-transcendent undifferentiated Unity. Prob­ably
    • the truth of the matter is that the Pseudo-Dionysius, though an orthodox
    • Trinitarian in intention, was so much influenced by the neo-Platonic philosophy
    • that a tension between the two elements underlies his attempt to reconcile them
    • and makes itself apparent in his statements.


    • 5. In regard to the relation of the world to God, the
    • Pseudo-Dionysius speaks of the 'emanation' (ttp6oSo?) of God into the
    • universe of things;5 but he tries to combine the neo-Platonic emanation theory with the
    • Christian doctrine of creation and is no pantheist. For example, since God
    • bestows existence on all things that are, He is said to become manifold through
    • bringing forth existent things from Himself; yet at the same time God remains
    • One even in the act of 'self-multiplication' and without differentiation even
    • in the process of emanation.8 Proclus had insisted that the
    • prior Principle does not become less through the process of emanation and the
    • Pseudo-Dion3'sius repeats his teach­ing on this matter; but the influence of
    • neo-Platonism does seem to have meant that he did not clearly realise the
    • relation of creation to the divine will or the freedom of the act of creation,
    • for he is inclined to
    • speak as though creation were a natural and even a spontaneous effect of the
    • divine goodness, even though


    • God is distinct
    • from the world. God exists indivisibly and without multiplication of Himself in
    • all individual, separate and multiple things, and, though they participate in
    • the goodness which springs from Him and though they may in a certain sense be
    • thought of as an 'extension' of God, God Himself is not involved in their
    • multiplication: the world, in short, is an outflowing of the divine goodness,
    • but it is not God Himself. On this point
    • of God's transcendence as well as on that of His immanence the Pseudo-Dionysius
    • is clear; but his fondness
    • for depicting the world as the outflowing of the over-brimming Goodness of God,
    • as well as for drawing a kind of parallel between the internal divine
    • Processions and the external procession in creation, lead him to speak as though creation
    • were a spontaneous activity of God, as if God created by a necessity of nature.


    • That God is the transcendent Cause of all things, the
    • Pseudo-Dionysius affirms several times, explaining in addition that God created the world through
    • the exemplary or archetypal Ideas, the 'preordinations' (Ttpoopioptot) which
    • exist in Him:1 in addition, God is the final Cause of all things,
    • drawing all things to Himself as the Good.2 He is, therefore, 'the
    • Beginning and the End of all things',8 'the Beginning as their
    • Cause, the End as their Final Purpose'.4 There is, then, an outgoing
    • from God and a return to God, a process of multiplication and a process of
    • intercommunion and return. This idea became basic in the philosophy of the
    • 'Areopagite's' translator, John Scotus Eriugena.


    • 6. As the Pseudo-Dionysius insisted so much on the
    • divine goodness, it was incumbent on him to give some attention to the
    • existence and the consequent problem of evil, and this he gave in the Divine
    • Names,6 relying, partly at least, on Proclus's De
    • subsistentia mali. In the first place he insists that, although evil would
    • have to be referred to God as its Cause, were it something positive, it is in
    • fact not something positive at all: precisely as evil it has no being. If it is
    • objected that evil must be positive, since it is productive, sometimes even of
    • good, and since debau­chery, for example, which is the opposite of temperance,
    • is something evil and positive, he answers that nothing is productive precisely
    • as evil, but only in so far as it is good, or through the action of good: evil
    • as such tends only to destroy and debase. That evil has no positive being of
    • itself is clear from the fact that good and being are synonymous: everything
    • which has being proceeds from the Good and, as being, is good. Does this mean,
    • then, that evil and non-existence are precisely the same? The Pseudo-Dionysius
    • certainly tends to speak as if that were the case, but his real meaning is
    • given in his statement that 'all creatures in so far as they have being are
    • good and come from the Good, and in so far as they are deprived of the Good,
    • neither are they good nor have they being'.1 In other words, evil is
    • a depriva­tion or privation: it consists, not simply in non-being or in the
    • absence of being, but rather in the absence of a good that ought to be present.
    • The sinner, for instance, is good in so far as he has being, life, existence,
    • will; the evil consists in the deprivation of a good that ought to be there and
    • actually is not, in the wrong relation of his will to the rule of morality, in
    • the absence of this or that virtue, etc.


    • It follows that no creature, considered as an existent
    • being, can be evil. Even the devils are good in so far as they exist, for they
    • hold their existence from the Good, and that existence continues to be good:
    • they are evil, not in virtue of their existence, their natural constitution,
    • but 'only through a lack of angelic virtues':2 'they are called evil
    • through the deprivation and the loss whereby they have lapsed from their proper
    • virtues.' The same is true of bad human beings, who are called evil in virtue
    • of 'the deficiency of good qualities and activities and in virtue of the
    • failure and fall therefrom due to their own weakness'. 'Hence evil inheres not
    • in the devils or in us as evil, but only as a deficiency and lack of the perfection
    • of our proper virtues.'8


    • Physical, non-moral evil is treated in a similar
    • manner. 'No natural force is evil: the evil of nature lies in a thing's
    • inability to fulfil its natural functions.'4 Again, 'ugliness and
    • disease are a deficiency in form and a want of order', and this is not wholly
    • evil, 'being rather a lesser good'.5 Nor can matter as such be
    • evil, since 'matter too has a share in order, beauty and form':6
    • matter cannot be evil in itself, since it is produced by the Good and since it
    • is necessary to Nature. There is no need to have recourse to two ultimate
    • Principles, good and evil respectively. 'In fine, good comes from the one
    • universal Cause; evil from many partial deficiencies.'7


    • If it be said that some people desire evil, so that
    • evil, as the object of desire, must be something positive, the Pseudo-Dionysius
    • answers that all acts have the good as their object, but that they may be
    • mistaken, since the agent may err as to what is the proper good or object of
    • desire. In the case of sin the sinner has the power to know the true good and
    • the right, so that his 'mistake' is morally attributable to him.1
    • Moreover, the objection that Providence should lead men into virtue even
    • against their will is foolish, for 'it is not worthy of Providence to violate
    • nature': Providence provides for free choice and respects it.8


    • 7. In conclusion one may remark that, although
    • Ferdinand Christian Baur3 would seem to have gone too far in saying
    • that the Pseudo-Dionysius reduced the Christian doctrine of the Trinity to a
    • mere formal use of the Christian terms void of the Christian content and that
    • his system will not allow of a special Incarnation, it must be admitted that
    • there was a tension in his thought between the neo-Platonic philosophy which he
    • adopted and the Christian dogmas, in which, we have no real reason to deny, he
    • believed. The
    • Pseudo-Dionysius meant to harmonise the two elements, to express Christian
    • theology and Christian mysticism in a neo-Platonic philosophical framework and
    • scheme; but it can scarcely be gainsaid that, when a clash occurred, the
    • neo-Platonic elements tended to prevail. A specific and peculiar Incarnation
    • was one of the major points in Christianity that pagan neo-Platonists, such as
    • Porphyry, objected to, and though, as I have said, we cannot be justified in
    • asserting that the Pseudo-Dionysius denied the Incarnation, his acceptance of
    • it does not well adapt itself to his philosophical system, nor does it play
    • much part in his extant writings. One may well doubt whether his writings would
    • have exercised the influence they did on Christian mediaeval thinkers, had the
    • latter not taken the author's pseudonym at its face value.


  12. 5.
    Explain the being of creatures as conceived by John Scot Eriugena. Why was it considered as pantheistic later on?
    (not cleaned)
    • That a tension develops between the Christian and
    • neo-Platonic elements in John Scotus' thought has already been pointed out, but it is as well to emphasise it again, as it has a bearing on the question of his 'rationalism'. In accordance with the neo-Platonic tradition inherited through
    • the Pseudo-Dionysius, John Scotus maintained1 that God in Himself, Natura
    • quae creat et non creatur, is impenetrable to Himself, unknown to Himself,
    • as being infinite and super-essential, and that He becomes luminous to Himself
    • only in His theophanies. This is, of course, an echo of the neo-Platonic
    • doctrine that the One, the ultimate Godhead, is beyond thought, beyond
    • self-consciousness, since thought andself-conscious-ness involve a duality of
    • subject and object. Now, that God in Himself is incomprehensible to the created
    • mind is certainly a Christian tenet, but that He is not self-luminous is not
    • the teaching of Christianity. John Scotus, therefore, has to reconcile the two
    • positions somehow, if he wishes to retain them both, and he attempts to do so
    • by making the first 'theophany' the emergence of the Logos containing the
    • primordial causes, so that in and through the Logos God becomes (though not
    • temporally) self-conscious, appearing to Himself. The Logos thus corresponds to
    • the neo-Platonic Nous, and a rationalisation arises out of the


    • desire to preserve both the Christian doctrine and the
    • principles of what John Scotus regards as true philosophy. The desire to
    • preserve Christian doctrine is sincere enough, but a tension be­tween the two
    • elements is inevitable. If one takes a particular set of isolated statements of
    • John Scotus one would have to say that he was either a pantheist or a theist.
    • For example, the statement that the distinction between the second and third
    • stages of Nature is due only to the forms of human reasoning1 is in
    • itself clearly pantheistic, while the statement that the substantial
    • distinction between God and creatures is always preserved is clearly theistic.
    • It might seem that we should opt for one or the other set in an unqualified
    • manner, and it is this attitude which has given rise to the notion that John
    • Scotus was a conscious pantheist who made verbal concessions to orthodoxy with
    • his tongue in his cheek. But if one realises that he was a sincere Christian,
    • who yet attempted to reconcile Christian teaching with a predominantly neo-Platonic
    • philosophy or rather to express the Christian wisdom in the only framework of
    • thought which was then at hand, which happened to be predominantly
    • neo-Platonic, one should also be able to realise that, in spite of the tension
    • involved and the tendency to rationa­lise Christian dogma, as far as the
    • subjective standpoint of the philosopher was concerned a satisfactory
    • reconciliation was effected. This does not, of course, alter the fact that not
    • a few statements, if taken in isolation, affirm a pantheistic doctrine and that
    • other statements are irreconcilable with orthodox theological teaching on such
    • points as eternal punishment, and it was in view of such statements that the De
    • Divisione Naturae was subsequently condemned by ecclesiastical authority.
    • However, whether ortho­dox or not, the work bears testimony to a powerful and
    • acute mind, the mind of a speculative philosopher who stands head and shoulders
    • above any other thinker of his day.



    ]

    • he maintains
    • that the world is not outside God and that it is both eternal and created within God,1 As regards
    • the first point, that the world is not extra Deum, one must understand
    • it in terms of the theory of participation and 'assumption' {est igitur
    • participatio divinae essentiae assumptio).* As creatures are derived from God
    • and owe all the reality they possess to God, apart from God they are nothing, so that in this sense it
    • can be said that there is nothing outside God: if the divine activity were
    • withdrawn, creatures would cease to be. But we must go further.3 God
    • saw from eternity all that He willed to create. Now, if He saw creatures
    • from all eternity, He also made them from all eternity, since vision and
    • operation are one in God. Moreover, as He saw creatures in Himself, He made
    • them in Himself. We must conclude, therefore, that God and creatures are
    • not distinct, but one and the same {unum et id ipsum), the creature
    • subsisting in God and God being created in the creature 'in a wonderful and
    • ineffable manner'. God, then, 'contains and comprehends the nature of all
    • sensible things in Himself, not in the sense that He contains within Himself
    • anything beside Him­self, but in the sense that He is substantially all that He
    • contains, the substance of all visible things being created in Him'.4
    • It is at this point that John Scotus gives his interpretation of the 'nothing'
    • out of which creatures proceed as the divine goodness,5 and he
    • concludes that God is everything, that from the super-essentiality of His
    • nature {in qua dicitur non esse) He is created by Himself in the
    • primordial causes and then in the effects of the primordial causes, in the
    • theophanies.6 Finally, at the term of the natural order, God draws
    • all things back into Himself, into the divine Nature from which they proceeded,
    • thus being first and final Cause, omnia in omnibus.




    More detailed

    • by 'Nature', namely the totality of the things that
    • are and the things that are not, and he gives various ways of making this
    • general division. For example, things which are
    • perceived by the senses or are penetrable by the intellect are the things that
    • are, while the objects that transcend the power of the intellect are the things
    • that are not. Again, things which lie hid in their semina, which are not
    • actualised, 'are not', while the things which have developed out of their seeds
    • 'are'


    • Human nature, too, considered as alienated from God by
    • sin may be said 'not to be', whereas when it is reconciled with God by grace,
    • it begins to be.


    • The term
    • 'Nature', then, means for John Scotus Eriugena, not only the natural world, but
    • also God and the supernatural sphere: it denotes all Reality.1 When,
    • therefore, he asserts* that nature is divided into four species, namely Nature
    • which creates and is not created, Nature which is created and creates, Nature
    • which is created and does not create, and Nature which neither creates nor is
    • created, thus apparently making God and creatures species of Nature, it might
    • well seem that he is asserting a monistic doctrine, and indeed, if these words
    • be taken in their literal significance, we should have to conclude that he was.

    • says that God and creatures may be
    • looked at as forming together a universitas, a 'universe' or totality. The conclusion
    • is warranted that John Scotus did not intend to assert a doctrine of
    • pantheistic monism or to deny the distinction between God and creatures, though
    • his philosophic explanation or rationalisation of the egress of creatures from
    • God and their return to God may, taken by itself, imply pantheism and a denial
    • of the distinction.



    • The
    • categories are founded on and apply to created things and are strictly
    • inapplicable to God: nor is the predicate 'God' a genus or a species or an
    • accident. Thus God transcends the praedicamenta and the praedicabilia, and on this matter John Scotus is clearly no monist but he
    • emphasises the divine transcendence in the way that the Pseudo-Dionysius had
    • done. The theology of the Blessed Trinity certainly teaches
    • us that relation is found in God, but it does not follow that the relations in
    • God fall under the category of relation.

    • - authority is simply
    • 'the truth found by the power of reason and


    • handed on in writing by the Fathers for the use of
    • posterity'. The


    • conclusion is that the words, expressions and
    • statements of


    • Scripture, however suited for the uneducated, have to
    • be rationally


    interpreted by those capable of doing so.

    • in spite of the pantheistic passage quoted he goes on
    • to reaffirm creation out of nothing, and it is clear that when he refuses to
    • say that God makes or made the. world, he is not intending to deny creation but
    • rather to deny of God making in the only sense in which we understand making,
    • namely as an accident, as falling under a particular category. God's existence
    • and essence and His act of making are ontologi-cally one and the same,1
    • and all the predicates we apply to God really signify the one incomprehensible
    • super-Essence.2


    • John Scotus
    • means that the eternal generation of the Word or Son involves the eternal
    • constitution of the archetypal ideas or exemplary causes in the Word. The
    • generation of the Word is not a temporal but an eternal process, and so is the
    • constitution of the praedestinationes: the priority of the Word,
    • considered abstractly, to the archetypes is a logical and not a temporal
    • priority. The
    • emergence of these archetypes is thus part of the eternal procession of the
    • Word by 'generation', and it is in this sense only that they are said to be
    • created.8 However, the logical priority of the Word to the
    • archetypes and the dependence of the archetypes on theWord mean that, although
    • there never was a time when the Word was without the archetypes, they are not omnino
    • coaeternae {causae) with the Word.1


    • In what sense, then, can the primordial causes be said
    • to create? If one were to press statements such as this, that the 7tput6tu7cov
    • is diffused {diffunditur) through all things giving them essence, or
    • again that it penetrates all the things which it has made,2 one would naturally incline to a
    • pantheistic interpretation; yet John Scotus repeats3 that the Holy
    • Trinity 'made out of nothing all things that it made', which would imply that
    • the prototypes are causes only in the sense of exemplary causes. Nothing is
    • created except that which was eternally pre-ordained, and these eternal praeordinationes or 8eta e^^ara are
    • the prototypes. All creatures 'participate' in the archetypes, e.g. human
    • wisdom in the Wisdom-in-itself.*

    • he
    • says that participation is nothing else than the derivation of a second essence
    • from a higher essence.8 Just
    • as the water rises in a fountain and is poured out into the river-bed, so the
    • divine goodness, essence, life, etc., which are in the Fount of all things,
    • flow out first of all into the primordial causes and cause them to be, and then
    • proceed through the primor­dial causes into their effects.3 This
    • is clearly an emanation metaphor, and John Scotus concludes that God is
    • everything which truly is, since He makes all things and is made in all things,
    • 'as Saint Dionysius the Areopagite says'.* The divine goodness is
    • progressively diffused through the universe of creation, in such a way that it
    • 'makes all things, and is made in all things, and is all things'.5 This sounds as if it were
    • a purely pantheistic doctrine of the emanation type; but John Scotus equally
    • maintains that the divine goodness created all things out of nothing, and he
    • explains that ex nihilo does not imply the pre-existence of any material,
    • whether formed or unformed, which could be called nihil: rather does nihil
    • mean the negation and absence of all essence or sub­stance, and indeed of
    • all things which have been created.

    • The Creator did
    • not make the world ex aliquo, but rather de omnino nihilo* Here
    • again, then, John Scotus tries to combine the Christian doctrine of creation
    • and of the relation of creatures to God with the neo-Platonic philosophy of
    • emanation,

    • he maintains that the world is not outside God and
    • that it is both eternal and created within God,1 As
    • regards the first point, that the world is not extra Deum, one must
    • understand it in terms of the theory of participation and 'assumption' {est
    • igitur participatio divinae essentiae assumptio).* As creatures are derived
    • from God and owe all the reality they possess to God, apart from God they are
    • nothing, so that in this sense it can be said that there is nothing outside
    • God: if the divine activity were withdrawn, creatures would cease to be. But we
    • must go further.3 God saw from eternity all that He willed to
    • create. Now, if He saw creatures from all eternity, He also made them from
    • all eternity, since vision and operation are one in God. Moreover, as He saw
    • creatures in Himself, He made them in Himself. We must conclude, therefore,
    • that God and creatures are not distinct, but one and the same {unum et id
    • ipsum), the creature subsisting in God and God being created in the
    • creature 'in a wonderful and ineffable manne



    • when he gives
    • the stages of the return of human nature to God, another—and less
    • orthodox—point of view seems to show itself. The^e stages are:2 (i)
    • the dissolution of the human body into the four elements of the sensible world;
    • (2) the resurrection of the body; (3) the change of body into spirit;
    • (4) the return of human nature in its totality into the eternal and
    • unchangeable primordial causes; and (5) the return of nature and the primordial
    • causes to God. 'For God will be all in all, where nothing will exist but God
    • alone.' Yet if at first sight this latter viewpoint seems quite inconsistent
    • with orthodox theology and especially with the unique position of Christ, John
    • Scotus clearly did not mean to assert a real pantheistic absorption in God,
    • since he goes on to state that he does not mean to imply a perishing of
    • individual substance but its elevation



    • However, the fact that the
    • Albigensians appealed to the book, while Amalric of Bene (end of twelfth
    • century) used the doctrine of John Scotus in a pantheistic sense, led to its
    • condemnation in 1225 by Pope Honorius III, who ordered that the work
    • should be burnt, though the order was by no means always fulfilled

What would you like to do?

Home > Flashcards > Print Preview