Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Henry of Ghent: The First Scotist
Or I might have titled this, in an homage to our Cambridge 'friends', "Henry, the first univocal ontologist". But, since I see all of philosophy before Scotus as laying the ground for Scotus, and therefore people like Aristotle, Aquinas, and Henry are all early "Scotists," I went with the latter title. Today's selection is a passage in Henry where he more or less brings up univocity of the Scotistic type. To be sure, he rejects it, but this is a minor irrelevance. Note that the context is whether God understands by many acts of knowing or one.
Henricus de Gandavo, Summa quaestionum ordinarium, a.40 q.5 (ed. Badius 1, f. 248v):
"ubi igitur est una simplex ratio formalis intelligendi plurium, et unus simplex intuitus quo illa intelliguntur. Et ubi sunt diversae rationes intelligendi plura, necesse est quod pluribus actibus intelligendi intelligantur. Aliter enim sequeretur quod idem intellectus simul esset plures secundum unum genus entis quia omne intelligibile inquantum intelligibile, habet rationem unius generis entis in intellectu, licet extra sit sub diversis generibus entis et illud est impossibile, sicut est impossible quod idem sit informatum pluribus albendinibus. Unde cum multa in re extra habent unam rationem formalem intellectu in illa, simul unico intuitu intelliguntur ut partes totius continui, et diversae unitates unius numeri"
Translation for the Latin disinclined:
Where there is one simple means of understanding many things, there is one simple intuition by which they are understood. And where there are diverse means of understanding many things, it is necessary that they be understood by many acts of understanding. For otherwise it would follow that the same understanding would be of many according to one genus of being because every intelligible, insofar as it is intelligible, has the notion of one genus of being in the intellect, although outside it is under diverse genera of being. And that is impossible, just as it is impossible that the same thing be informed by many whitenesses. Hence since many things in the thing outside have one formal ratio in that intellect, they are understood simultaneously by a single intuition, as parts of a continuum and diverse unities of one number.