Volume 11, Issue 1, 2014
A Journal of Analytic Scholasticism
John A. Demetracopoulos
Purchotius Græcus II: Vikentios Damodos’ Concise Metaphysics, Part I (“Ontology”) And II (“Pneumatology”)
Vikentios Damodos (1700–1754) was a private teacher of philosophy and theology in Cephalonia (Kephallênia), Ionian Islands (Greece), when they were under Venetian rule. He had studied in Venice and Padua and elaborated a Greek Concise Metaphysics, which forms a part of his hefty Philosophy. Concise Metaphysics is a selective translation or adaptation of passages from the respective parts of Institutiones philosophicæ by Edmond Pourchot, a Scholastico-Cartesian professor of philosophy (1651–1734); namely from Metaphysics of Vol. I (Logic and Metaphysics); as well as from the respective parts
(Compendium Metaphysicæ; Exercitationes scholasticæ) of Vol. V (Exercitationes scholasticæ… sive Series disputationum ontologicarum or Exercitationes ontologicæ) of Pourchot’s textbook. Damodos’ work is enriched by an Appendix, which includes some Metaphysical Questions. Like Damodos’ Concise Ethics, where the respective parts of the same textbook were plagiarized, the main body (Part I: “Ontology”; Part II: “Pneumatology”, sc. on spiritual beings) of the Concise Metaphysics testifies to his good apprehension of the content of the Latin original. Yet too, it shows no traces of philosophical thought on the part of the plagiarist. Damodos modified the content of the Latin text only with regard to Filioque and Trinitarian terminology, which was not acceptable to himself and his fellow Orthodox addressees. Damodos seems further to have been aware of the issue of whether theological topics (such as those regarding angels, which, as ‘spiritual
beings’, fall under the subject matter of metaphysics) should be admitted into metaphysical handbooks. He shares Pourchot’s view that this is in principle forbidden, although it can be accepted for practical reasons, just as another Scholastico-Cartesian, Jean-Baptiste du Hamel (1624–1706) had done in his own Metaphysics. Du Hamel, in his turn, had been a latent yet basic source of Pourchot’s Institutiones philosophicæ. Damodos enriched his own handbook by means of some additional material (e.g., on the various sorts of metaphysical ‘distinctions’), which he drew from du Hamel’s Logic and Metaphysics (from the Philosophia vetus et nova) and, probably, from the metaphysical part of the handbook of Thomistic philosophy by Antonius Goudinus (1639–1695).