Saturday, April 26, 2014

A Scotist on the Eve of the Reformation

I've been reading into Ioannes Anglicus of late, known in the vernacular as John Foxal/Foxalls/Foxholes/Foxoles. He was born ca. 1415 and died in 1475 as bishop of Armagh, Ireland, though he never took up his seat owing to his lack of funds. He taught in England, Erfurt, Cologne (?), Bologna, and Rome. During his Italian period he participated in a symposium on future contingents with Cardinal Bessarion. His most famous work as a commentary on not Porphyry's Isagoge, but Scotus' questions on the same. This was a pattern for John the Englisman: he also wrote a commentary on Antonius Andreas' Metaphysics, as well as commentaries on a few works of Francis of Meyronnes. Thus he was quite learned in the lore of the early Scotists, which explains my interest in him. His Scotus-commentary on Porphyry was the most famous, however, being printed nine times in the years following his death. I quote here a passage from this commentary, on the two sciences of metaphysics:

Ioannes Anglicus, Expositio universalium Scoti in Porphyrium q. 11 (ca. 1460-62, ed. Venezia 1483):

...ut alias superius dixi videtur probabile valde ponere tales duas metaphysicas, scilicet unam propter res non dependens ab intellectu, qualem solummodo posuit Philosophus in sua Metaphysica, cuius subiectum est ens reale et non ens in sua communitate maxima, ut alias videbitur, et aliam metaphysicam logicalem vel rationalem propter intentiones secundas et entia rationis, cuius subiectum erit ens rationis vel forte realius(?) unam aliam metaphysicam communem utrique, cuius subiectum erit ens in quantum ens sive ens in sua maxima communitate, ita quod metaphysica tradita a Philosopho non est totaliter sufficiens et omni enti conveniens sed solum entibus realibus, quae aliter secundae intentionis quae non pertinent ad scientiam realem saltem ut incluse in ea, licet bene per attributionem ad eam, essent omnino non ens et nihil, quod est falsissimum, quia ut probavimus, de eis est scientia verissima.


...As I said above, it seems greatly probable to posit that there are two metaphysics, namely, one on account of things not depending on the intellect, of the sort that the Philosopher posited in his Metaphysics, the subject of which is real being and not being in its maximal community, as will be seen elsewhere, and another metaphysics which is logical or rational on account of second intentions and beings of reason, whose subject will be being of reason or perhaps real beings [something seems wrong here; I have no mss. to check this against], and one other metaphysics common to each, whose subject will be being qua being or being in its maximal community, so that the metaphysics handed down by the Philosopher is not totally sufficient and pertaining to every being, but only to real beings, otherwise second intentions -- which to not pertain to real science except as included in it, although indeed they are attributed to it -- would be entirely non-being and nothing, which is false, because, as we have proven above, there is a truest science concerning them.

No comments: