Sunday, August 18, 2013

New Francis of Marchia Edition.

Here. This is the final volume of the edition of Book II of Francis of Marchia's Reportatio. I missed seeing it on the new shelf in the library, and so am late in reporting it. The date is 2012, though I don't think it came out until some point this year. This completes their edition of Book II. It clocks in with more than 300 pages of text and a 150 page introduction, with many tables (which I could not make much sense of, not because of the editors but because a toddler was yammering at me while I was trying to read).

Here is the blurb from the publisher's website:

In the questions contained in this volume, Francis of Marchia explores subjects that earned him his fame in the Middle Ages and in the history of ideas: physics and philosophical psychology. He confronts the key issues in celestial physics, concluding with his well-known proofs for terrestrial and celestial beings having the same type of matter (q. 32). Marchia's discussion of how elemental qualities persist in mixtures (qq. 33-36) leads to a spirited and unique defense of a mind-body dualism: not even the sensory faculties are coextensive with the body (q. 37). Moreover, each living being has two forms: the soul and the form of the body (q. 38). Marchia rejects the Averroistic doctrine of the unicity of the intellect (qq. 39-40), as well as acts of understanding being entirely the result of external stimuli (q. 41). Those positions in turn inform his investigation of the mechanics of thinking and willing, and his establishment of the will's priority over the intellect (qq. 42-47). Finally, Marchia balances human free willing with God's absolute power and cooperation in all matters (qq. 48-49).
Throughout these questions, Marchia shows his originality and sharp intellect. Although at times his solutions look similar to those of John Duns Scotus, they are in fact very different, reflecting Marchia's awareness of the problems and limitations involved in not only Scotus' views, but also those of Aristotle and Averroes, Thomas Aquinas and Henry of Ghent, among many others.

Friday, August 9, 2013

BnF Manuscripts

Go here for a list of the BnF manuscripts now available online. They look like scans from films to me, rather than from the mss. themselves, though I would love to be wrong.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Scotus the Spinozist

Here is an interesting historical tidbit that I don't believe I have posted on: the Kleutgen-Stockl model of medieval philosophy. They were mid-19th century Jesuits who developed the model of medieval philosophy that we all know and love today: all previous human philosophical endeavours lead up to the pinnacle of Aquinas, who was immediately followed by a catastrophic decline into filthy Scotism, Ockhamism, modernism, protestantism and so on. You can read all about it in John Inglis, Spheres of Philosophical Inquiry and the Historiography of Medieval Philosophy (Brill 1998). Here I post Inglis' summary of Kleutgen's judgement of Scotus.

Inglis, p. 97

Duns Scotus and his followers are termed "formalists" by Kleutgen because they fail to appreciate that physical things are more than mere forms. Kleutgen argues that since, for Scotus, the individualizing principle of any particular thing is yet another form, he does away with actual individual subjects, and in doing so abolishes the philosophical foundation that is necessary in order to distinguish between individuals. What we have in Scotus is, according to Kleutgen, an endless number of predicates with no subject to which they could adhere. Since the Scotists offer a view of forms without subjects, they must conclude that the entire world is a single subject. Even though Scotus and his followers do not claim to be pantheists, the logic of their view leads inevitably to the conclusion that all is one.

So one begins to understand why at the dawn of the 20th century, Scotists such as Parthenius Minges were compelled to write articles defending Scotus from the pantheist charge. Luckily he was successful in this, even if the general model of decline and fall remains.