Friday, April 8, 2011

Kinds of Memory according to James of Aesculo

James of Aesculo is one of those lesser lights of medieval philosophy, so small, in fact, that he did not merit to be included in the Noone/Gracia companion to medieval philosophy which included such candle-like figures as Berthold of Moosburg and Landulf Caracciolo. But perhaps (I haven't checked), like Petrus Thomae, James survived this snub by being included in the appendix to the recent Cambridge history of later medieval philosophy. Little is known about him. He was at the trial of Margarite de Porrette, and the council of Vienne. He wrote a Quodlibet, Ordinary Questions, and a thematic index to the works of Scotus (in which he includes references to his own works as well). Only a smattering of questions have been edited, but he does seem to have adopted Henry of Ghent's intentional distinction. As far as influence is concerned, I don't know that anyone has studied this, but I can say that he plays a role in Petrus Thomae's QQ de esse intelligibili, specificially, qq.1-4. The following is a piece of a large question; I have excerpted his preliminary distinctions.

Iacobus de Aesculo, Quaestiones ordinariae, q.2 (Cambridge, UL, Ms. FF.III.23, f. 116r)

* = lectio incerta


I am reposting this post on James of Ascoli because according to the stats it gets several hits a day. So I have added a translation, which I fear is nearly as unintelligible as the latin.

Iacobus de Aesculo, Quaestiones ordinariae, q.2 (Cambridge, UL, Ms. FF.III.23, f. 116r):

Utrum in productione Verbi divini actus memoriae praesupponatur actui suae intelligentiae

Whether in the production of the divine Word the act of the intelligence presupposes the act of memory.

In ista questione primo sciendum quod actus memorie in nobis est duplex in genere. Quaedam est actus primus ut habitus, quidam est actus secundus ut operatio.

Actus primus duplex : quidam est formalis vel quasi formalis, quidam virtualis. Actum primum formale voco representativum formale obiecti formaliter et subiective existens in memoria per quod obiectum tantum intentionaliter et non realiter in ratione obiecti est sufficienter presens potentie ut possit habere actum secundum quidquid sit illud sive species sive habitus quia actum primum virtualem voco quando obiectum est presens realiter ipsi potentie immediate per seipsum sive per ipsam entitatem, non per aliquid subiective existens in memoria et hoc sive sit presens ipsi potenti per realem ydemptitatem *** secundum Augustinum 10 De trinitate, sive sit presens per quamdam assistenciam sive presentiam realem sicut essentia divina est presens intellectui creato et hic est duplex differentia inter istos duos actus.

Prima differentia est quod actus primus virtualis respectu eiusdem obiecti et in eadem potentia est perfectior actu formali. Primo patet quia presentia alicuius obiecti immediate per propriam entitatem est perfectior * presentia habita de illo obiecto per aliquod representativum formaliter perficiens potentiam quia presentia habita de aliquo obiecto per aliquod representativum est diminuta et intentionalis presentia vero habita immediate de aliquo obiecto per propriam entitatem illius obiecti est presentia simplex et realis ens autem simplex et reale est nobilius ente diminuto et intentionali, ergo et actus virtualis actu primo formalis.

Secunda differentia est quod actus primus formalis indifferentis est respectu cuiuslibet obiecti sive presentis sive preteriti sive futuri sive * sive similis cuius ratio est quia similitudo alicuius obiecti indifferens respicit illud sub ratione presentis, preteriti et futuri * vel * sed actus primus virtualis respicit obiectum determinate sub ratione presentis et singularis patet per hoc quia nec preteritum nec futuram potest omne presens immediate intellectui per propriam entitatem sed si presens oportet quod sit presens per aliquid aliud sicut etiam universale non potest esse presens intellectui nisi in aliquo singularis similiter actus primus formalis potest esse indifferenter respectu obiectu tam existentis quam non existentis actus primus virtualis est determinate respectu obiecti singularis actu existentis quod autem actus primus formalis respectu presentis et futuri pertineat ad memoriam et non ad intellectum patet per Augustinum 14 De trinitate et ubi dicit notitiam uniuscumque rei quo inest menti etiam quando de ipsa non cogitatis.

Ad solutionem dicitur memoriam pertinere patet etiam per rationem quia retinere seu concernare dicit esse proprius actus memorie non intelligentie sed intellectus potest retinere similitudinem obiecti presentis sicut presenti et futuri, ergo etc.

In that question it should first be known that the act of memory in us is twofold. For there is a first act which is a habit, and a second act which is an operation.

The first act is twofold: some are formal or quasi formal, some virtual. By “first formal act” I mean a formal representative formally of an object and existing subjectively in the memory, through which an object is sufficiently present to a power only intentionally and not really, so that it can have a second act, whether that is a species or habit, because I call something a “first virtual act” when an object is really present to the power immediately by itself or through its entity, not by something existing subjectively in the memory, and this either is present to the power through a real identity (according to Augustine, 10 De trinitate), or it is present through a certain assistance or real presence, just as the divine essence is present to a created intellect, and here there is a double difference between those two acts.

The first difference is that a first virtual act with respect to the same object and in the same power is more perfect than a formal act. The first is clear because the prsence of some object is immediately more prseent through its own entity than a presence had from that object through something formally representative of it formally perfecting the power, because a presence had from some object through some representative est a diminished and intentional presence; but had immediately from some object through its own entity of that object there is a simple and real presence, more noble than a diminished and intentional being, therefore also a virtual act is more noble than a first formal act.

The second difference is that a formal first act is indifferent with respect to any object whether present or past or future or (different?) or similar, the reason being because an indifferent likeness of some looks to that under the aspect of present, past, and future... but a first virtual act looks to the object determinately under the aspect of present and singular. This is clear because neither past nor future can be entirely present immediately to an intellect through its own entity, but if present, it is necessary that it is present through something other, just as even a universal cannot be present to an intellect except in some singular; likewise a first formal act can be indifferently in respect to an object both existing and non existing. A first virtual act is determinately in respect of a singular object by the act of existing. That however a first formal act in respect of the present and future pertains to memory and not the intellect is clear from Augustine, 14 De trinitate, where he says that the knowledge of each thing is in the mind even when you do not think about it.

For the solution it is said that it pertains to memory. This is also clear by reason, because to retain or contract means to be more properly the act of memory, not intelligence, but the intellect can retain the likeness of a present object just as the present and the future, therefore etc.


Eric said...

James does indeed receive an entry in the Cambridge History. In it's entirety:

Vol.2, p. 898:
"James of Ascoli (Jacobus de Aesculo) fl. 1310s. Franciscan theologian and follower of Scotus. Master of theology at Paris by 1309; regent master in 1310-11. Active in inquisitions against Marguerite of Porete and Peter of John Olivi. Extant words include various quodlibetal and disputed questions (part. ed. Yokoyama 1967) and an incomplete Sentences commentary (unedited)."

Lee Faber said...

Nice. I wonder where they got the bit about the sentence-commentary...I've examined most of the literature on him and never heard of it, though he would of course had to have lectured at some point to be a master.

Bubba said...

The rumor on the line is that Leipzig UB 609 has a Sentences commentary in addition to/instead of a Quodlibet. I wasn't able to check this myself.

Lee Faber said...

Thanks for the tip bubba. it looks like just the Quodlibet to me; there is sentence-commentary-like material, but it matches the stuff if krakow 732 that normally is attributed to Alnwick.

Michael Sullivan said...

Ah, old friend James of Ascoli, I know him well. He's the authority for Gonsalvus Hispanus' authorship of the Conclusiones metaphysicae.

Lee Faber said...

The formatting on this post is a nightmare. For the life of me, i can't get the paragraphs to line up without hmtl warning notes.

Bubba said...

Filling in some blanks from VL 1012.
n.b., there's considerable variation in the texts; where your ms has "intentionaliter", 1012 reads "memorialiter".

The text I have for the "Secunda differentia" is considerably down the page and too different to consider collating.

I'll leave to you the punctuation (or to just go back and see if what I've got corresponds to your MS).

per quod obiectum tantum memorialiter et realiter est sufficienter presens in ratione obiecti ipsi potentie ut possit habere actum suum quidquid sid illud sive species sive habitus secundum diversas opinionens. Voco autem primum actum virtualem quando obiecto est presens virtualiter et realiter in memoria ipsi potentie per se ipsum sive per propriam virtutem* et non per aliud subiective existens in memoria et contra* sive sit presens ipsi potenti per realem ydemptitatem sicut anima est presens sibi ipsi secundum beatum Augustinum IX De Trinitate sive sit presens per quandam presentiam sive assistentiam realem...

est perfectior quacumque perfectione vel presentia que habetur de illo obiecto...


Bubba said...

er.. that should be an ipsi potenti, of course. There are probably other typos too. Good enough.

Lee Faber said...

It's too bad the one section diverges so much. I have toyed with doing an edition of the ordinary questions (only four mss. so far) and the tabula one day. According to Dumont the Tabula varies a bit as well.