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By Copleston, Frederick

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I said earlier that Ockham did not much like speaking of universal concepts as fictions or fictive entities; but the point I then had in mind was that Ockham objected to the implication that what we know by means of a universal concept is a fiction and not a real thing. He was quite ready to speak of terms of second intention, which enter into the propositions of logic, as ‘fabrications’, because these terms do not refer directly to real things. But logic, which is rational science, presupposes real science; for terms of second intention presuppose terms of first intention.

The authenticity of the Centiloquium theologicum or summa de conclusionibus theologicis has not been proved. On the other hand, the arguments adduced to prove that the work is unauthentic do not appear to be conclusive. To Ockham’s Munich period belong among other works the Opus nonaginta dierum, the Compendium errorum Ioannis papae XXII, the Octo quaestiones de potestate papae, the An princeps pro suo succursu, scilicet guerrae, possit recipere bona ecclesiarum, etiam invito papa, the Consultatio de causa matrimoniali and the Dialogus inter magistrum et discipulum de imperatorum et pontificum potestate.

But though there is certainly a difference between the theory of Aquinas and that of Ockham in this respect, it must be remembered that Aquinas insisted strongly that the species intelligibiles is not the object of knowledge: it is id quo intelligitur and not id quod intelligitur. 4. We are now in a position to consider briefly Ockham’s theory of science. He divides science into two main types, real science and rational science. The former (scientia realis) is concerned with real things, in a sense to be discussed presently, while the latter (scientia rationalis) is concerned with terms which do not stand immediately for real things.

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A History of Philosophy - Ockham to the Speculative Mystics (Christian Library) by Copleston, Frederick


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