Wednesday, October 15, 2008

WOD: Nihileitas

We've had nihilitates, so now make way for "Nihileitas", a term the humanists would most definitely screamed "Barbarism!" at. Now, you gentle readers may think that such a monster was coined by the decadent 14th century, by the likes of a Peter Auriol or Peter Thomae, but hark:

Duns Scotus Ordinatio I d.36 q. un (VI 296): "Prima ergo omnino ratio et non reducibilis ad aliam, quare homini non repugnat 'esse', est, quia homo formaliter est homo (et hoc sive realiter in re sive intelligibiliter in intellectu), et prima ratio quare chimaerae repugnat 'esse' est chimaera in quantum chimaera. Aliter ergo inest ista negatio 'nihileitas' homini in aternitate, et chimaerae, et tamen non propter hoc est unum magis nihil altero."

I won't bore you with an explanation of the context (whether the divine intellect by knowing created essences ab eterno gives them some real or intelligible being), but I will give a snippet about what the term means:

Petrus Thomae, Quaestiones de esse intelligibili q.9 a.1:

"Quantum ad primum, primo explicabo aliqualiter nihileitatis quid et modum, secundo nichileitatis ortum, tertio nihileitatis gradum, quarto ipsius habitum. Quantum ad primum, dico ista per ordinem. Primum est quod nihileitas non est aliud quam negatio aliquitatis; idem enim est nihil quod non aliquid. Secundum est quod nihilitas quedam est totalis quod partialis, nam aliqua negatio est que negat totum que vocatur negatio extra genus; aliqua que non totum sed aliquid ut negatio in genere. Tertium quod quedam est nihileitas non repugnantie quedam repugnantie."


Edward Ockham said...

Who else but the Duns? On a related topic (I am working on a new translation of Book II D3, on the principle of individuation) did the Duns ever use the term 'haecceitas', or was that just followers or reporters such as Cajetan?

I have a reference which quotes the Reportata parisiensa as a possible source for the term. But it definitely does not occur in the Ordinatio. Best, Ockham

Lee Faber said...

I have never seen Scotus use the term myself. The reportatio would make sense if he introduced it in oral teaching. I don't think that's been printed yet, and the reportatio in wadding is really the Additiones magnae, so if it ocurrs there it would already be one of his students. It is pretty early though, if its not by Scotus himself. I've seen it in an anonymus quesiton in a Mazarine ms. that dates ca. 1280-1320.

Edward Ockham said...

Thanks. The reference I have is in Moderate Realism and its Logic by D.W. Metz, p. 127. "To account for uniqueness, Scotus posited for each particular a haeccetias (thisness) as a positive principle of individuation (RP, 2.12.5, 1,8,13, 14, Quaestiones in libros Metaphysicorum, 7.13, 9&26).

Metz implies that Scotus uses the actual term. However he is clearly using a secondary source, C.R.S. Harris, Duns Scotus vol 2, 1959.

In "Duns Scotus, Metaphysician" by Frank and Wollter p. 197, they say that Scotus refers to thisness as 'haecceity', but give no reference. Frustrating.

Edward Ockham said...

Aha found it. So he did.

From 7.13 Metaphysicorum

... nulla unitas realis naturae est minor HAECITATE, nec unitas realis suppositi est minor. Patet: nulla erit realis unitas minor etc. Consequens falsum, quia tunc omnis unitas realis erit numeralis; quod improbabitur postea.

[...] si intelligis "separari" realiter, sic quod non coniungatur intellecto in re, falsum est: "abstrahentium enim non est mendacium"; si in quantum ad actum cognoscendi, sic in sensu, quia HAECITAS non sentitur. Similiter in exsistendo, quia illo esse priori quod est albedinis proprium, non est differentia indiuidualis, quia posterius nisi dicatur quis uidere colorem.

Lee Faber said...

Interesting. Could you give me a page or paragraph number? I skimmed through the question but couldn't find it. Even here he seems to favor the term "individual difference"