Quasi-Aristotelians and Proto-Scotists

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In a seminal article, Simo Knuuttila and Anja Inkeri Lehtinen drew attention to a “curious doctrine” holding that contradictories can be true at the same temporal instant, and identified the major defenders of the doctrine as John Baconthorpe, Landolfo Caracciolo, and Hugh of Novocastro. Normann Kretzmann later asserted as fact the suggestion by Knuuttila and Inkeri Lehtinen that the doctrine comes from a misreading of a passage from Aristotle’s Physics. In fact, a study of the relevant texts reveals that Hugh of Novocastro first elaborated the doctrine by building on the Scotist doctrines of synchronic contingency and simultaneous causation. As these doctrines require at the same instant of time an order of priority and posteriority between possibility and actuality, cause and effect, so, Hugh says, there must be prior and posterior different states of affairs. Landolfo Caracciolo made this doctrine notorious outside the Franciscan convent by using it in his principia debates, directly engaging the circle of Cardinal Iacopo Stefaneschi (Thomas Wylton, John of Jandun, and Annibaldo di Ceccano). John Baconthorpe, the first to (mis)cite the Physics passage, did not have any noticeable effect on the development of the doctrine.

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A Journal for Medieval and Early-Modern Philosophy and Intellectual Life

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References

1

S. Knuuttila and A. Inkeri Lehtinen, “Change and Contradiction: A Fourteenth-Century Controversy,” Synthèse 40 (1979), 189-207.

2

Knuuttila and Inkeri Lehtinen, “Change and Contradiction,” 195.

4

W.J. Courtenay, “Early Scotists at Paris: A Reconsideration,” Franciscan Studies 69 (2011), 175-229, at 207-209; R. Lerner, “Antichrist Goes to the University: The De victoria Christi contra Antichristum of Hugo de Novo Castro, ofm (1315/1319),” in Crossing Boundaries at Medieval Universities, ed. S.E. Young (Leiden, 2011), 277-313; V. Heynck, “Der Skotist Hugo de Novo Castro ofm. Ein Bericht über den Stand der Forschung zu seinem Leben und zu seinem Schrifttum,” Franziskanische Studien 43 (1961), 244-270.

6

Knuuttila and Inkeri Lehtinen, “Change and Contradiction,” 195-196.

8

N. Kretzmann, “Continuity, Contrariety, Contradiction, and Change,” in Infinity and Continuity in Ancient and Medieval Thought, ed. N. Kretzmann (Ithaca, ny, 1982), 270-296, at 274.

9

Kretzmann, “Continuity, Contrariety, Contradiction, and Change,” 276.

10

Kretzmann, “Continuity, Contrariety, Contradiction, and Change,” 276; cf. Knuuttila and Inkeri Lehtinen, “Change and Contradiction,” 204-205, nn. 28-29.

11

Kretzmann, “Continuity, Contrariety, Contradiction, and Change,” 296.

12

P.V. Spade, “Quasi-Aristotelianism,” in Infinity and Continuity in Ancient and Medieval Thought, 297-307, at 300: “Nevertheless, the kernel of Landulf’s argument can perhaps be brought out more forcefully by asking what we are to say about creation, for which there is no preceding temporal interval of nonbeing, since time itself begins with creation (according to the standard medieval account of creation).” Cf. Knuuttila and Inkeri Lehtinen, “Change and Contradiction,” 205, n. 30.

13

On Henry of Ghent, see S.D. Dumont, “Time, Contradiction and Freedom of the Will in the Late Thirteenth Century,” Documenti e studi sulla tradizione filosofica medievale 3 (1992), 561-597; S. Brower-Toland, “Instantaneous Change and the Physics of Sanctification: ‘Quasi-Aristotelianism’ in Henry of Ghent’s Quodlibetxv q. 13,” Journal of the History of Philosophy 40 (2002), 19-46; cf. Knuuttila and Inkeri Lehtinen, “Contradiction and Change,” 201, nn. 13 and 16; on Giles of Rome, see C. Trifogli, “Giles of Rome on the Instant of Change,” Synthèse 96 (1993), 93-114.

24

Knuuttila and Inkeri Lehtinen, “Change and Contradiction,” 204, n. 27. Annibaldo of Ceccano’s uncle, Cardinal Jacopo Stefaneschi, was the patron of both John of Jandun and Thomas Wylton, perhaps explaining the doctrinal and textual borrowings among these Averroists; see Duba, “Bachelors and Masters,” 320-321.

43

W. Duba, “Aristotle in Hell and Aquinas in Heaven,” Bulletin de philosophie médiévale 56 (2014), 183-194; idem, “Illi sollertissimi,” 188-189.

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