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SCHOLASTICISM

The principle of individuation. Duns Scotus. Freedom of the will. union with the body. But the matter of spiritual beings is widely different from the matter of corporeal things. In his treatment of the conception of matter, Duns shows that he inclined much more to the Realism which makes for pantheism than was the case with the Aristotelianism of Thomas. A perfectly formless matter (materia prima) was regarded by him as the universal substratum and common element of all finite existences. He expressly intimates in this connexion his acceptance of Avicebron's position.

In the end of the 13th century and the beginning of the 14th the Thomists and Scotists divided the philosophical and theological world between them.Thomists and Scotists. Among the Thomists may be named John of Paris, Aegidius of Lessines (wrote in 1278), Bernard of Trilia (1240-1202) and Peter of Auvergne. More important was Aegidius of Colonna (1247-1316), general of the Augustinian order, surnamed Doctor Fundatissimus or Fundamentarius. Hervaeus Natalis (d. 1323) and Thomas Bradwardine (d. 1349) were determined opponents of Scotism. Siger of Brabant and Gottfried of Fontaines, chancellor of the university of Paris, taught Thomism at the Sorbonne; and through Humbert, abbot of Prulli, the doctrine won admission to the Cistercian order. Among the disciples of Duns Scotus are mentioned John of Bassolis, Francis of Mayrone, Antonius Andreae (d. c. 1320), John Dumbleton and Walter Burleigh (Burley) (b. 1275) of Oxford, Nicolaus (q.v.) of Lyra, Peter of Aquila and others. Henry Goethals or Henry of Ghent (Henricus Gandavensis, 1217-1293), surnamed Doctor solennis, occupied on the whole an independent and pre-Thomist position, leaning to an Augustinian Platonism (see Henry of Ghent). Gerard of Bologna (d. 1317) and Raoul of Brittany are rather to be ranked with the Thomists. So also is Petrus Hispanus (Pope John XXI.), who is chiefly important, however, as the author of the much-used manual Summulae logicales, in which the logic of the schools was expanded by the incorporation of fresh matter of a semi-grammatical character. Petrus Hispanus had predecessors, however, in William of Shyreswood (died 1249 as chancellor of Lincoln) and Lambert of Auxerre, and it has been hotly disputed whether the whole of the additions are not originally due to the Byzantine Synopsis of Psellus. By far the greatest disciple of Aquinas is Dante Alighieri, in whose Divina Commedia the theology and philosophy of the middle ages, as fixed by Saint Thomas, have received the immortality which poetry alone can bestow. Two names stand apart from the others of the century - Raimon Lull (1234-1315) and Roger Bacon (1214-1294). The Ars magna of the former professed by means of a species of logical machine to give a rigid demonstration of all the fundamental Christian doctrines, and was intended by its author as an unfailing instrument for the conversion of the Saracens and heathen. Roger Bacon was rather a pioneer of modern science than a Scholastic, and persecution and imprisonment were the penalty of his opposition to the spirit of his time.

The last stage of Scholasticism preceding its dissolution is marked by the revival of Nominalism in a militant form. This doctrine is already to be found in Petrus Aureolus, a Franciscan trained in the Scotist doctrine, and in William Durand of St Pourgain (d. 1332), a Dominican who passed over from Thomism to his later position. But the name with which the Nominalism of the 14th century is historically associated is that of the " Invincible Doctor," William of Occam William of Occam. who, (q.v.),, as the, author of a doctrine which came to be almost universally accepted, received from his followers the title Venerabilis inceptor. The hypostatizing of abstractions is the error against which Occam is continually fighting. The Realists, he considers, have greatly sinned against this maxim in their theory of a real universal or common element in all the individuals of a class. From one abstraction they are led to another, to solve the difficulties which are created by the realization of the first. Thus the great problem for the Realists is how to derive the individual from the universal. But the whole inquiry moves .in a world of unrealities. Everything that exists, by the mere fact of its existence, is individual (Quaelibet res, eo ipso quod est, est haec res). It it absurd, therefore, to seek for a cause of the individuality of the thing other than the cause of the thing itself. The individual is the only reality, whether the question be of an individual thing in the external world or an individual state in the world of mind. It is not the individual which needs explanation but the universal. Occam reproaches the " modern Platonists " for perverting the Aristotelian doctrine by these speculations, and claims the authority of Aristotle for his own Nominalistic doctrine. The universal is not anything really existing; it is a terminus or predicable (whence the followers of Occam were at first called Terminists). It is no more than a " mental concept signifying univocally several singulars." It is a natural sign representing these singulars, but it has no reality beyond that of the mental act by which it is produced and that of the singulars of which it is predicated. As regards the existence (if we may so speak) of the universal in mente, Occam indicates his preference, on the ground of simplicity, for the view which identifies the concept with the actus intelligendi, rather than for that which treats ideas as distinct entities within the mind. And in a similar spirit he explains the universalia ante rem as being, not substantial existences in God, but simply God's knowledge of things - a knowledge which is not of universals but of singulars, since these alone exist realiter. Such a doctrine, in the stress it lays upon the singular, the object of immediate perception, is evidently inspired by a spirit differing widely even from the moderate Realism of Thomas. It is a spirit which distrusts abstractions, which makes for direct observation, for inductive research. Occam, who is still a Scholastic, gives us the Scholastic justification of the spirit which had already taken hold upon Roger Bacon, and which was to enter upon its rights in the 15th and 16th centuries. Moreover, there is no denying that the new Nominalism not only represents the love of reality and the spirit of induction, but also contains in itself the germs of that empiricism and:sensualism so frequentlyassociated with the former tendencies. Aquinas had regarded the knowledge of the universal as an intellectual activity which might even be advanced in proof of the immortality of the soul. Occam, on the other hand, maintains in the spirit of Hobbes that the act of abstraction does not presuppose any activity of the understanding or will, but is a spontaneous secondary process by which the first act (perception) or the state it leaves behind (habitus derelictus ex primo actu = Hobbes's " decaying sense ") is naturally followed, as soon as two or more similar representations are present.

In another way also Occam heralds the dissolution of Scholasticism. The union of philosophy and theology is the mark of the middle ages, but in Occam their severance is complete. A pupil of ScotusThe Twofold Truth., he carried his master's criticism farther, and denied that any theological doctrines were rationally demonstrable. Even the existence and unity of God were to be accepted as articles of faith. The Centilogium theologicum has often been cited as an example of thoroughgoing scepticism under a mask of solemn irony. But if that were so, it would still remain doubtful, as Erdmann remarks, whether the irony is directed against the church or against reason. The most interesting example of this method is seen in the Tractatus de sacramento altaris where Occam accepts the doctrine of Real Presence as a matter of Faith, and sets forth a rational theory of the Eucharist (afterwards adopted by Luther) known as " Consubstantiation." On the whole, there is no reason to doubt Occam's honest adhesion to each of the two guides whose contrariety he laboured to display. None the less is the position in itself an untenable one and the parent of scepticism. The principle of the twofold nature of truth[1] thus embodied in Occam's system was unquestionably adopted by many merely to cloak their theological unbelief; and it is significant of the internal dissolution of Scholasticism. Occam denied the title of a science to theology, emphasizing, like Scotus, its practical character. He also followed his master in laying stress on the arbitrary will of God as the foundation of morality.

Nominalism was at first met by the opposition of the church and the constituted authorities. In 1339 Occam's treatises were put under a ban by the university of Paris, and in the following year Nominalism was solemnly condemned. Nevertheless the new doctrine spread on all hands. Dominicans like

  1. This principle appeared occasionally at an earlier date, for example in Simon of Tournay about 1200. It was expressly censured by Pope John XXI. in 1276. But only in the period following Occam did it become a current doctrine.