Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Maverick Philosopher, Scholastic

The Maverick Philosopher takes a turn towards the substance abusers: Here.
See for example, Franciscus de Mayronis, Quodlibet q. 9 arg. prin. 1 (ed. Venezia 1520, ff. 244va): Utrum christianus sufficienter in theologia instructus possit defenere articulum creationis contra adversarios veritatis quantumcumque peritos.

And it is argued first that one such is not able: because it was a common concept among the philosophers that from nothing nothing is made; but that article [ie. creation, an article of faith] posits that something was made from nothing by divine power; therefore that article is against a common concept of the soul. That however which is against a common concept cannot be defened since it is against reason. 
But against: because Catholics firmly hold that God can create something from nothing. If however they are not able to defend this, they are not able to hold it firmly, although they can be convinced; and consequently they can be ripped away from that truth.

Now, most of the Scholastics, when they are wearing their philosopher's hats, deny that creation can be demonstrated, and in this part ways with the MP.  But wearing their theologian's hats they would agree with the MP (indeed, he mentions Aquinas). They explain the tension between the claim that 'from nothing, nothing is made' and creation ex nihilo precisely by appealing to accounts of divine cognition, i.e. the divine ideas.  For Scotus, see this post where he outlines his view of divine cognition. First, the divine intellect cognizes the divine essence, then in a series of stages it generates the essences of creatables in intelligible being, knows the essences, and reflects on them.  In other passages we learn that following the production into intelligible being, these creatable quiddities are generated into possible being in a later instant of nature (only essences containing non-repugnant terms make it into this instant) and in yet a later instant of nature the divine will actualizes some of these essences in actual existence.

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