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81. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 8 > Issue: 2
Helen Hattab Suárez and Descartes: A Priori Arguments Against Substantial Forms and the Decline of the Formal Cause
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In hac dissertatione primo ostendo Cartesii “argumentum a priori” contra formas substantiales proprie intelligendum esse ex definitione formae substantialis, quam F. Suarez proposuit, et ex ipsius argumentis a priori pro ea. Hoc quidem argumentum Cartesianum non nisi polemicam vim habere videtur, nam Cartesius potius ex superioritate explanationum mechanicarum a se percepta formas substantiales impugnavit. Tamen ipsum factum, Cartesium scil. in doctrinamSuarezianam de forma substantiali incurrisse, doctrinae Suarezianae auctoritatem et famam contestatur. Aliis verbis, Descartes sane demonstrationem, qua Suarezii argumenta ad absurdum reducentur, maiori momenti esse exspectavit quam argumentationem contra doctrinam Thomisticam de forma substantiali. Secundo ostendo definitionem Suarezianam formae substantialis novam conceptionem causalitatis formalis exegisse. Suarez causalitatem formalem ad modum unionis formae substantiali cum materia limitavit, quo pacto vim eius in philosophia naturali diminuit significantiamque causarum materialis ac efficientis in nova philosophia mechanistica anticipavit. Hoc modo serior metaphysica scholastica indirecte velut dispositionem fundamentalem praebuit ad rerum naturalium explanationes mechanisticas recipiendas ac sustinendas.In this paper I first show that Descartes’ a priori argument against substantial forms is properly understood against the background of Suárez’s definition of and a priori arguments for the substantial form. Even though Descartes’ a priori argument appears to have only a polemical value since his own path to the elimination of substantial forms was based on the perceived superiority of mechanical explanations, the fact that Descartes targeted Suárez’s account of the substantial form in his polemical argument bears witness to its widespread influence. In other words, Descartes expected that a proof that reduced Suárez’s argument to absurdity would have a greater impact than an argument directed against Aquinas’ account of substantial forms. Secondly, I show that Suárez’s definition of the substantial form prompted a reconceptualization of the role of formal causality. Suárez limits formal causality to the mode of union between the substantial form and matter, thus deemphasizing its importance to natural philosophical explanations and anticipating the emphasis on material and efficient causes typical of the new mechanical philosophy. In this indirect manner, late Scholastic metaphysics provided a general framework in which mechanical explanations of natural phenomena could find a place and take hold.
82. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 8 > Issue: 2
Peter Volek Hylomorphism as a Solution for Freedom and for Personal Identity: A Journal of Analytic Scholasticism
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Secundum Petrum Bieri dualismus ontologicus hoc trilemma generat: 1) Status mentis non sunt status physici. 2) Status mentis causalitatem exerceunt in regionem statuum physicorum. 3) Regio statuum physicorum est causaliter clausa. Haec tertia propositio a Bieri “physicalismum methodologicum” exprimere dicitur. Ut hoc trilemma solvat, Bieri unum eius membrorum reicere suadet. Hylemorphismus causalitatem mentis ut causalitetem formalem explicat, relationem vero hominis ad mundum ut causalitatem efficientem. Unde clausura causalis mundi de causalitate efficiente intelligi potest, quae in physica investigatur. Liberum arbitrium ab intentione mentis originem trahit. Etiam possibilitas libertatis humanae ex intentionalitate mentis explicari potest. Libertas adhuc hominis ut electio unae duarum optionum intelligi potest. Homo eligens rationes ponderat, quae sunt abstractae et distinctae a causis efficientibus rerum materialium, quae sunt concretae. Doctrina hylemorfica insuper fundamenum sufficiens ad problema identitatis personae per tempus solvendum praebere potest. Quoniam omnia elementa materialia in homine per tempus mutantur – imo DNA mutari potest –, principium identitatis immateriale esse debet. Pro principio identitatis igitur forma substantialis personae accipi potest, quae est metaphysica explicatio naturae mentis, quae actionem liberam electione deliberata per intentionalitatem libertatemque arbitrii inchoare potest)Peter Bieri formulates the assumptions of the ontological dualism via a trilemma: 1) Mental states are not physical states. 2) Mental states have causal effects in the realm of physical states. 3) The realm of physical states is causally closed. Bieri labels the third sentence of this trilemma as methodological physicalism. In order to solve this trilemma Bieri proposes to abandon one of the three premises. Hylomorphism explains mental causality as formal causality, and the relation between human beings and the world as efficient causality. Thus, the causal closure of the world can be understood as closure of the efficient causes, which are studied by physics. Free decision begins with the intentionality of the mind. The possibility of human freedom can also be explained through the intentionality of the mind. Human freedom can be understood as a choice between two alternatives. When choosing, human beings weigh reasons which are abstract and distinct from the efficient causes of material objects that are concrete. Hylomorphism can, further, provide sufficient grounds for solving the issue of personal identity through time. Since all the material elements in a human being change through time – even the DNA can change – the principle of identity cannot be material in character. Thus, it is the substantial form of a person (i.e. the metaphysical explanation of the mind, which is capable of initiating free action through its intentionality and freedom of choice in deliberate decision making) that can be accepted as the principle of identity.
83. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 8 > Issue: 2
Yehuda Halper The Convergence of Religious and Metaphysical Concepts: Mofet and Devequt in the Hebrew Translation of Averroës’ Long Commentary on Aristotle’s Metaphysics
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Translators of Aristotle’s and Averroës’ metaphysical works into 14th C Hebrew often associated important philosophical concepts with Hebrew terms that were also used to signify central Jewish and Biblical religious concepts. Here I examine how two such terms, “mofet” and “devequt”, were used to refer to extraordinary, divine wonders and to clinging (in particular to God) respectively in the religious texts, but to Aristotelian demonstration and continuity (especially noetic continuity) respectively in the translations of Averroës’ Long Commentary on Aristotle’s Metaphysics. This kind of convergence of metaphysical and religious terms makes possible, indeed encourages, a re-interpretation of the religious concepts along Aristotelian lines. Biblical expressions of God’s wonders are thus to be interpreted to refer to Aristotelian demonstration and the mystical desire to cling to God is to refer to unifi cation with the Active Intellect.Translatores, qui Aristotelis et Averrois opera metaphysica in linguam Hebraicam saeculi 14. transferebant, notabilibus conceptibus philosophicis saepe nomina Hebraica assignaverut, quibus et principales notiones religiosae Judaicae ac Biblicae solebant exprimi. In hac dissertatione investigatur, quomodo duo talium nominum, scil. “mofet” et “devequt”, quae in textibus religiosis “extra ordinaria miracula divina” et “adhaerentiam” (praecipue ad Deum) proprie significant, in translationibus Averrois Commentarii Magni in Aristotelis Metaphysicam ad demonstrationem Aristotelicam et continuationem (praecipue noeticam) significandas transumebantur. Huiusmodi nominum metaphysicorum cum religiosis coniunctio conceptus religiosos iuxta sensum Aristotelicum denuo explicari permittit, imo suadet. Hinc dicta Biblica quae miracula Dei olim significaverunt ad demonstrationes Aristotelicas relata sunt; item desiderium mysticum adhaerendi ad Deum de unione cum Intellectu Agenti intellectum est.
84. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 8 > Issue: 2
Metaphysics: Aristotelian, Scholatic, Analytic
85. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Miroslav Hanke John Mair on Semantic Paradoxes: A Journal of Analytic Scholasticism
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John Mair (1467–1550) was an influential post-medieval scholar. This paper focuses on his Tractatus insolubilium, in which he proposed semantic analysis of self-referential phenomena, in particular on his solution to alethic and correspondence paradoxes and his treatment of their general semantic aspects as well as particular applications. His solution to paradoxes is based on the so-called “network evaluation”, i.e. on a semantics which defines the concepts of truth and correspondence with reality in contextual terms. Consequently, the relation between semantic valuation, synonymy and contradiction must be redefined.
86. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
James Franklin Science by Conceptual Analysis: The Genius of the Late Scholastics
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The late scholastics, from the fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries, contributed to many fields of knowledge other than philosophy. They developed a method of conceptual analysis that was very productive in those disciplines in which theory is relatively more important than empirical results. That includes mathematics, where the scholastics developed the analysis of continuous motion, which fed into the calculus, and the theory of risk and probability. The method came to the fore especially in the social sciences. In legal theory they developed, for example, the ethical analyses of the conditions of validity of contracts, and natural rights theory. In political theory, they introduced constitutionalism and the thought experiment of a “state of nature”. Their contributions to economics included concepts still regarded as basic, such as demand, capital, labour, and scarcity. Faculty psychology and semiotics are other areas of significance. In such disciplines, later developments rely crucially on scholastic concepts and vocabulary.
87. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Michał Głowala What Kind of Power is Virtue? John of St. Thomas OP on Causality of Virtues and Vices: A Journal of Analytic Scholasticism
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The following paper discusses John of St. Thomas’ study of the way in which a habit (moral or epistemic virtue or vice) is a cause of an action it prompts. I begin with contrasting the question of causality of habits with the general question of the causal relevance of dispositions (2). I argue that habits constitute a very peculiar kind of dispositions marked by the connection with the properties of being difficult and being easy, and there are some special reasons to admit the irreducibility of dispositions of this kind. I argue also that there is a special sort of causal connection between a habit and an action it actually prompts. Then I present an analysis of four theses of John of St. Thomas on the causality of habits, which, I think, constitute the most mature and reliable study of the causality of habits in the scholastic tradition: (i) Habits are efficient causes of actions they prompt (3.1). (ii) Virtues do determine the very natures of actions they prompt (3.2); (iii) Virtues do not have a proper counterpart among the characteristics of actions they prompt (3.3); (iv) The formal object of causality of virtue is a masterpiece performance of an action (3.4). In my analyses of John’s arguments for these theses I make three claims: not all powers are “in state of readiness for action”; habits are powers of powers or dispositions of powers; the general concept of a strategy is the key to grasp the properties of being difficult and being easy, and habits should be analysed as a kind of strategies.
88. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Paul Richard Blum The Epistemology of Immortality: Searle, Pomponazzi, and Ficino
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The relationship between body and mind was traditionally discussed in terms of immortality of the intellect, because immateriality was one necessary condition for the mind to be immortal. This appeared to be an issue of metaphysics and religion. But to the medieval and Renaissance thinkers, the essence of mind is thinking activity and hence an epistemological feature. Starting with John Searle’s worries about the existence of consciousness, I try to show some parallels with the Aristotelian Pietro Pomponazzi (1462–1525), and eventually show the Neoplatonic approach in Marsilio Ficino (1433–1499). The guiding question is: how can one philosophically address the problem of cognition in terms of corporeality and incorporeality? Searle maintains there is mind, although essentially related to a biological basis, and he is comparable to the Renaissance thinkers for his taking the interaction of the mental and the corporeal seriously.
89. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Michael Renemann Reply to Lukáš Novák’s Article: A Journal of Analytic Scholasticism
90. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Martin Ossikovski Some Medieval Readings of Aristotle’s Argument for the Collective Superiority of “the Many”: A Journal of Analytic Scholasticism
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An essential challenge of Aristotle’s Politics arises from the juxtaposition of contrasting and competing arguments in favour of virtuous monarchy, on the one hand, and the collective superiority of “the many”, on the other. This paper examines the purely theoretical reception of this contrast in the writings of some late medieval Aristotelians by focusing on a key section in Politics Γ (1280a8–1284b34). After reviewing Aristotle’s problematic position, the paper discusses its interpretation in the commentaries of Albert the Great, Thomas Aquinas/Peter of Auvergne and Walter Burley, as well as its use in the works of Giles of Rome, John of Paris and Marsilius of Padua. On that basis, finally, the paper outlines some general trends with regard to how medieval scholars dealt with Aristotle’s idea of the rule of the many as opposed to that of one or few virtuous persons.
91. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Gregory B. Sadler Aneu Orexeōs Nous: Virtue, Affectivity, and Aristotelian Rule of Law
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Passages in Aristotle’s Politics Book 3 are cited in discussions of the “rule of law”, most particularly sections in 1287a where the famous characterization of law as “mind without desire” occurs and in 1286a where Aristotle raises and explores the question whether it is better to be ruled by the best man or the best laws. My paper aims, by exegetically culling out Aristotle’s position in the Politics, Nicomachean Ethics and Rhetoric, to argue that his view on the rule of law and its relations to human subjects is considerably more complex and considerably more interesting. Despite Aristotle’s dictum, laws are not expressions or institutions of a pure and passionless rationality, and in order to be framed, understood and administered well, one must both have the sort of solid understanding of virtues, vices, passions, and motives of human action that Aristotle’s moral philosophy provides and have developed, at least to some degree, certain virtues. My paper focuses particularly on three themes: the role of the passions and desires in judgment, action, virtues and vices; the inescapability of passions and desires in the functioning of law; the possibility for rule of law and a certain level of virtue to be mutually supporting.
92. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Lukáš Novák Divine Ideas, Instants of Nature, and the Spectre of “verum esse secundum quid ” A Criticism of M. Renemann’s Interpretation of Scotus: A Journal of Analytic Scholasticism
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The purpose of this review article is to offer a criticism of the interpretation of Duns Scotus’s conception of intelligible being that has been proposed by Michael Renemann in his book Gedanken als Wirkursachen. In the first place, the author shows that according to Scotus, for God “to produce a thing in intelligible being” and “to conceive a thing” amounts to altogether one and the same act. Esse intelligibile therefore does not have “priority of nature” with respect to “esse intellectum” or “esse repraesentatum”, contrary to Renemann’s interpretation. The distinction between Scotus’s second and third “instants of nature” consists in something else, then: the relation of reason, of which Scotus says that it is produced in the third instant, is not the relation of being actually conceived (first, because actual intellection comes already in the second instant, and second, because divine intellection, being the measure of the conceived objects, is not relative bud absolute) but it is a relation of comparison, viz. of an image to its exemplar. Next, the author shows how a misreading of two passages of Scotus’s Ordinatio misled both the Vatican editors and Renemann to create the chimaera of “verum esse secundum quid”. By way of a conclusion the author argues that Scotus’s doctrine of “esse intelligibile” does not make him any less a direct realist than Suárez, his position being quite plausible even from the point of view of common sense.
93. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Miroslav Hanke John Mair on Semantic Paradoxes: Alethic and Correspondence Paradoxes II
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John Mair (1467–1550) was an influential post-medieval scholar. This paper focuses on his Tractatus insolubilium, in which he proposed semantic analysis of self-referential phenomena, in particular on his solution to alethic and correspondence paradoxes and his treatment of their general semantic aspects as well as particular applications. His solution to paradoxes is based on the so-called “network evaluation”, i.e. on a semantics which defines the concepts of truth and correspondence with reality in contextual terms. Consequently, the relation between semantic valuation, synonymy and contradiction must be redefined.
94. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 9 > Issue: 3
Univerzálie ve scholastice
95. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
Lidia Lanza, Marco Toste Sixteenth-Century Sentences Commentaries from Coimbra: The Structure and Content of Some Manuscripts
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In the second half of the sixteenth century, many universities influenced by Salamanca adopted the Summa theologiae as the textbook for teaching scholastic theology. At the same time, the universities decided that some minor chairs should teach one of the Sentences commentaries written by one of the following authors: Duns Scotus, Durand of Saint-Pourçain, or Gabriel Biel. As a result, some commentaries on these commentaries (so-called supercommentaries) started to appear. This is most notably the case when it comes to the University of Coimbra, where Aquinas’s Summa became the textbook only very late and where the chairs of Scotus, Durand and Biel were instituted in the second half of the century. This article provides a list of questions making up thirteen commentaries produced in Coimbra, where, unlike what happened in Salamanca, the professors belonged to different religious orders (the commentaries presented here were written by one Cistercian, one Carmelite, two Augustinians, one Franciscan and one secular). It also presents the list of questions of one commentary connected with a Franciscan convent. Some reflections on the need to study late-scholastic manuscripts as well as on the structure of these commentaries are also offered.
96. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
Tero Tulenheimo Johannes Rudbeckius’s View on the Nature of Logic
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Johannes Rudbeckius (1581–1646), one of Sweden’s most influential figures in theology, pedagogy, and church-state relations in the 17th century, published two books on logic: Logica ex optimis et præstantissimis autoribus collecta & conscripta (1625) and Controversiæ logices vel potius earum epitome (1629). In this paper, I present and critically discuss Rudbeckius’s view on the nature of logic as it can be reconstructed from these two works. This requires, in particular, identifying the larger intellectual framework within which Rudbeckius operated. The single most important philosopher having affected Rudbeckius’s ideas on logic is Jacopo Zabarella (1533–1589), which leads me to consider at some length the views on logic that Zabarella puts forward in his De Natura Logicæ (1578).
97. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Vlastimil Vohánka Love or Contemplation?: Hildebrandian and Aristotelian Ways to High Happiness
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This is an article in the philosophy of happiness — but one with an untypical focus. It clarifies the claim of the phenomenologist Dietrich von Hildebrand that (H) high happiness comes especially from loving others, and compares it with the apparently rival Aristotelian claim that (A) high happiness comes especially from contemplating God. The former claim is understood to be about felt love (love defined as an emotional rather than volitional state). Both claims are understood to be about felt happiness (happiness defined as an emotional state rather than a state of objective flourishing). The article argues that, in fact, the two claims are not rival but mutually consistent, since the beloved person can be God, and the contemplation can be a loving one. Both claims are also consistent with scientific evidence, although it is tangential and tentative. Moreover, both claims are plausible, since both are backed up by intuitive explanations of why they should be regarded as true. However, both are in need of a further philosophical or scientific research that could confirm them even more.
98. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Michele Paolini Paoletti Respects of Dependence
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In this paper I consider respects of dependence, namely, the fact that some entities depend on other entities in some respect or another. In the first section, I provide a characterization of contemporary debates on dependence based on respects of dependence. I also single out seven desiderata a good theory of dependence should satisfy and three ways of interpreting respects of dependence. In the second section, I criticize two such ways and, in the third section, I defend the remaining option, namely, that respects of dependence correspond to different dependence-relations between entities (e.g., existence-dependence, identity-dependence, and so on). In the fourth section, I develop my theory of Respect-of-Dependence (RD ) Relations in order to distinguish between partial and full dependence and between specific and generic dependence, and to qualify RD -relations in temporal and modal terms. Finally, in the last section, I anticipate and reply to three objections against dependence pluralism.
99. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
David S. Oderberg On a So-called Demonstration of the Causal Power of Absences
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Tyron Goldschmidt has recently published a non-paper in which he claims to demonstrate the causal power of absences. His non-paper is, precisely, an empty page. The non-paper is ingenious and at first “glance” the “reader” might think that the absence of words on the page does prove that negative beings can literally cause states such as surprise or disappointment. Closer analysis, however, shows that Goldschmidt’s clever non-paper not only lacks words but also lacks causal power. Serious metaphysical problems pile up if we suppose otherwise.
100. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Louis Groarke A Response to “How (Not) to Be an Aristotelian with Regard to Contemporary Physics”