William Ockham on Metaphysics

The Science of Being and God


In William Ockham on Metaphysics, Jenny Pelletier offers an account of Ockham's concept of metaphysics as it emerges throughout his philosophical and theological work. She argues that Ockham (c. 1287-1347) believed metaphysics to be a fruitful branch of philosophy and gives a preliminary description of its distinctive subject-matter. Metaphysics is the science that studies all beings and their most general properties. Ockham was considered by some to be profoundly skeptical of metaphysics. Recent scholarship tends to focus on regional metaphysical issues (e.g. universals, relations), logic or semantics, theory of cognition, concepts, mental language. Jenny Pelletier provides a positive interpretation of Ockham on metaphysics as such that enriches our current understanding of this seminal medieval thinker.
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Biographical Note

Jenny E. Pelletier, Ph.D. (2010), Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium, is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Chaire de recherche du Canada en théorie de la connaissance at Université du Québec à Montréal.

Table of contents

Acknowledgements ... ix Abbreviations ... xi Introduction ... 1 1 Metaphysics as a Science ... 11 A. The Ontology of Knowledge ... 13 B. Scientifijic Knowledge ... 17 C. Aggregate Sciences ... 26 D. Subjects and Objects ... 38 E. Real and Rational Sciences ... 50 F. The Necessity of Scientifijic Knowledge ... 54 G. Metaphysics as a Science ... 57 2 The Concept of Being ... 71 A. Preliminaries: The Origin, Nature, and Function of Concepts ... 72 B. A Distinct and Most General Concept ... 99 C. Delineating the Signifijication of the Concept of Being ... 106 D. Metaphysics as General Ontology ... 127 3 The Predication of the Term ‘Being’ ... 149 A. The Semantic Background ... 152 B. The Case of God and Creatures ... 169 C. The Case of Substance and Accident ... 179 D. Ontologically Justifying Univocity for God and Creatures ... 188 E. The Univocity of ‘Being’ and Metaphysics ... 199 4 Metaphysics and Theology ... 206 A. The Theology of the Viator ... 209 B. Philosophy and the Viator’s Theology ... 242 C. Metaphysics, Physics, and Theology on God ... 261 Conclusion ... 271 Bibliography ... 279 Index ... 291


Specialists, post-graduate and advanced undergraduate students of medieval philosophy, theology, and the history of metaphysics as well as any relevant institutes and academic libraries.