Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Scotus on the Relation of Metaphysics and Various Branches of Logic.

Fun times with the Doctor subtilis. From the QQ. super librum Elenchorum, q.1 (Opera Philosophica II, 271-3):

To the question it should be said that logic is of common things as is first philosophy, but in different ways. For first philosophy considers being insofar as it is being, whence it considers a thing according to its quiddity. And because the quiddity of a thing is per se the entity of a thing, therefore first philosophy considers a thing according to its entity. And because it considers a thing according to its quiddity, and many things follow upon a thing according to its quiddity, therefore the first philosopher can consdier the attribute of a subject and about whatever other. For although by understanding being insofar as it is understood in common and inasmuch as it comprehends under itself being of this kind, something cannot be shown, nevetheless many things can be shown about being according to its quiddity; for many things follow a thing according to quiddity, as to be perfect and imperfect, and many others.

Likewise, logic is about common being, or it considers it. But being is double, namely of nature and of reason. Being of nature, insofar as it is such, is the being which does not depend on the soul. But being of reason is said of certain intentions which reason finds in things themselves, such as genus, species, definition, and others of this kind. Being however said in that second way is equated according to its community to being said in the first way. For there is not some being of nature that cannot fall under being of reason, that some intention can be founded over it, as genus or species or property or individual, or at least of cause and caused. Because therefore lgoic is of intentions of this kind, which are applicable to all thihngs, therefore logic is said to proceed from common things.

Further it must be understood that although logic as far as its doctrine is from common things, nevertheless the doctrine handed down in dialectics and demonstration is a diverse use. For dialectic is from common things and in particular sciences argues from common elements to proper conclusions. For it shows that love and hate are receivable in the same thing, not by considering the property of love or hate but this medium that "contraries are made around the same". Whence from common things it does not argue to common, but from common things it argues to proper conclusions. That part of logic which is demonstrative, even if the docrine is handed down from comon things, as for example of a syllogism, nevertheless in special it argues by its proper medium. For the geometer uses the demonstrative art, and thence he receives the first causes of a conclusion, and per a proper medium he argues to a proper conclusion. But one arguing dialectically can show another and another conclusion in another and other science by the same medium. Whence in natural philosophy and medicine there can be shown a diverse conclusion by the same medium.


Edward Ockham said...

Thanks for posting this. I must compare this with the view of logic given in his questions on the Categories (or is it Porphyry? - I don't have the book to hand).

"That part of logic which is demonstrative, even if the docrine is handed down from comon things, as for example of a syllogism, nevertheless in special *it* argues by its proper medium."

This sentence doesn't parse. Should you have included the *it*? Does 'argues' refer back to 'that part of logic' or something else? I don't have the Latin to hand.

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

1) "…being of reason is said of certain intentions which reason finds in things themselves, such as genus, species, definition, and others of this kind."

Does Scotus have a framework for esse naturale, esse immateriale, esse intelligibile, and esse intentionale that is similar to that of Aquinas? Was such a framework a kind of consensus among scholastics? I am thinking of how much work esse intentionale does for St Thomas in, e.g., SCG I, LIII. Question from a noob making his way into scholastic scholarship. I'm mindful of the debate between Deely and Adler in the 60s about these matters and I'm interested in scholastic semiotics. Walker Percy and John Deely again.

2) Do you guys know of any good online Latin > English translators? I love the original quotations you provide here but my Latin is still at too low a level to read much with profit. I alos know you often translate passages but I don't expect you to do that all the time. It would be nice to be able to get a rough sense of the passage, since I can parse discrete words decently enough if the meaning/context is guiding.

3) Did you see the questions I had about Scotus' modal argument for God in an earlier post? I'd just like to hear your thoughts on that argument and how you see its stature in contemporary philosophy.


Lee Faber said...

Ocham, thanks for the tip. I usually do these at breakneck speed. I'll check the latin.

Cogitator, I don't follow modern debates much. If by "semiotic" you mean having to do with meaning and language, then Scotus probably discusses these matters in his logical works. But 'esse intelligible' and the other kinds of being you list are not properties of language. When Scotus discusses intelligible species, acts of understanding, and so on, he thinks they are real entities (albeit accidents), not properties of language. Esse intelligible, for example, is a kind of secundum quid being that objects have as objects of thought. Scotus also describes it as diminished being, and thinks that both the divine and human intellects can produced objects that have this kind of being. See my many posts of Petrus Thomae for further discussion of this.

as for your post, I did notice it, but have not read Scotus' proof for several years (perhaps Michael could help); it looked slightly fishy and over-simplified to me, perhaps even too ontological, but again, I haven't read it in a while. The relevant texts have been translated in the "Duns Scotus philosophical writings" and "duns scotus metaphysical" volumes.

Edward Ockham said...

I checked the Latin and I am certain 'argues' refers right back to 'that part of logic'. Agree with you about the speed thing.

To Codgitator: learn Latin! Scholastic Latin is very easy and presents none of the challenges of classical Latin poetry, which may have put you off at school. Buy a grammar book and dictionary and get to work! The main difficulty is the technical terms used by the scholastics - these would have been difficult for a non-technical person of that period, even one fluent in Latin. The only way round this is to try to understand what is going on, i.e. understanding the philosophy itself.

It's no different to reading philosophy in English, really.

Edward Ockham said...

Another useful way of learning is to use parallel texts so you can compare the Latin with the English. I have some here

But beware! Most of the English is taken from out of date translations, some of them 19th century. Some of these tend to be 'freer'. I recommend the Dominican translation of the Summa however. A bit wooden, but generally faithful. (What do you think Lee?)

Lee Faber said...

I agree that scholastic latin isn't that hard. If you (cogitator) could come by the latin dictionary of thomas aquinas, also published in lexicon form by loreto press, that will give accurate enough definitions to begin with.

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

Thanks, guys, I'm definitely making Latin a goal to be mastered. I took a couple years in middle school and have been brushing it again since I became Catholic 6 or so years back. I've actually prepared some personal editions in parallel format (e.g. De Primo Pricipio, Itinerarium Mentis in Deum, my ongoing posts of SCG with key points quoted in Latin, etc.). This blog also helps. By no means am I asking for you to dumb things down haha. Just gotta keep plugging.

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

I just got a copy of Niermeyer's Mediae Latinatis Lexicon Minus, which should give me more than enough explication till Kingdom come.

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

er, Latinitatis...