Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Walter of Bruges on Intelligible and Virtual Being

The following is a quote from Walter of Bruges, a figure so obscure he failed to make it into our co-blogger Michael’s dissertation (even though he has a fairly large question on spiritual matter that contains discussion of Avicebron’s views). But Michael will undoubtably try to convince us that 450 pages is long enough for a dissertation. I don’t know about you, but I would have read a 500 page dissertation. Anyway, Walter of Bruge was a Franciscan who lectured at Paris during the 1260’s. The quote is from the question on spiritual matter and contains some talk of intelligible being, hence my posting of it here (it turns out blogs are also a handy way to store information one might otherwise lose).

I Sent. d. 8 a. 5 (ed. Longpre, Archives, d'histoire doctrinale et lit.... 1932 p.272)

Ad quartum dic quod anima recipit duos modos accidentium: nam recipit accidentia intentionalia, ut similitudines vel species quibus cognoscit eas et recipit etiam accidentia realia, ut virtutes et vitia. Prima non habent contrarietatem in anima, quia sunt ibi tantum secundum intentionem, non secundum naturam suam, et ideo non distinguunt eam nec dant animae esse, sed recipiunt in ea esse intelligibile; et haec non sunt in anima ut in subiecto vel materia simpliciter, sed ut in loco, quia anima conservat ea in esse intelligibili, sicut locus conservat locatum; et sic considerantur ut media intelligendi res quarum sunt similitudines; tamen in quantum huiusmodi similitudines animam scientem reddunt et quoad hoc perficiunt, etiam possunt dici esse in anima ut in subiecto et distinguere eam ab anima ignorante et dare animae esse scientificum. Alia vero accidentia, scilicet vitia et virtutes, simpliciter sunt in anima ut in subiecto et distinguunt eam et dant ei esse virtuale, nec sunt in ea ut in loco, sed vere ut in subiecto.

To the fourth say that the soul receives two kinds of accidents: for it receives intentional accidents, as likenesses or species by which it knows them and it receives also real accidents, as the virtues and vices. The first kind do not have contrariety in the soul, because they are there only according to intention, not according to their nature, and therefore they do not distinguish it nor give being to the soul, but they receive in it intelligibile being, and these are not in the soul as in a subject or matter simply, but as in a place, because the soul conserves them in intelligible being, just as place conserves the located; and so they are considered as means of understanding the things of which they are the likenesses; nevertheless insofar as likenesses of this kind make the soul knowing and perfect it with respect to this, they also can be said to be in the soul as in a subject and to distinguish it from a soul not-knowing, and to give to the soul the ability to be scientific. But the other accidents, namely the vices and virtues, simply are in the soul as in a subject and distinguish it and give virtual being to it, nor are they in it as in a place, but truly as in a subject.


Michael Sullivan said...

Walter of Bruges is a figure so obscure that this very post, brand-new though it is, is the second hit from a Google search, right after Wikipedia. Well done!

Anyway, this is a very interesting excerpt.

Scott Williams said...

Although I don't mention Walter of Bruges in my dissertation, I did think about him one day when I was thinking about medieval accounts of the freedom of the will. I think it was Walter, right, that said that the will is the ruler in the kingdom of the soul = libertarian freedom.