Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Metaphysics as the First and Easiest Science

More from Nicolaus Bonetus. I was alerted to this passage by Wouter Goris' article, "After Scotus: Dispersions of Metaphysics, of the Scope of Intelligibility, and of the Transcendental in the Early 14th Century," in Quaestio 8 (2008), 139-157.

Nicolaus Bonetus, Metaphysica II c. 6 (ed. Venezia 1505, f. 18rb-va [for convenience I quote from Goris, p.2):

Prima etiam est nostra metaphysica omni alia scientia primitate originis in ordine docendi [...]. Et si dicas: Aristoteles et alii philosophi multi ordinaverunt et nobis tradiderunt metaphysicam et eam ultimo docuerunt, respondeo tibi quod in metaphysica Aristotelis non sunt pure metaphysicalia tradita, sed sunt ibi multa theologica de substantiis separatis et de intelligentiis quod sunt multum alta et difficilllima; et ideo ultima est ratione illorum et in ordine inveniendi et in ordine docendi. Sed si non essent ibi nisi pure metaphysicalia, sicut in nostra metaphysica in qua non probabuntur nisi pure metaphysicalia praedicata cum ente in quantum ens convertibilia, ipsa esset prima in ordine inveniendi et in ordine docendi, sicut est nostra quam primo inveni quia eius subiectum primo ante alia subiecta scibilia distincte cognovi. Et ideo primo ante omnes alias scientias istam metaphysicam trado tibi, ut eam primo audias et eam primo studeas, quia inter alias ista est facillima ad addiscendum, cum subiectum eius, quod est ens in quantum ens, prima impressione imprimatur in intellectu.

My translation:

Our metaphysics is prior to every other science in the primacy of origin in the order of teaching. [...] And if you say: Aristotle and many other philosophers set in order and handed metaphysics down to us and taught it last, I respond to you that in the metaphysics of Aristotle not only purely metaphysical matters are handed down but there are there many theological matters about the separate substances and of the intelligences, which are most high and difficult; and therefore by reason of them [metaphysics] is last both in the order of discovery and in the order of teaching. But if there were only purely metaphysical issues treated there, just as in our metaphysics in which only pure metaphysical predicates [which are] convertible with being qua being are proved, it would be first in the order of discovery and in the order of teaching, just as is ours which I discovered first because I distinctly understood its subject before all other knowable subjects. And therefore I pass on that metaphysics to you first before all other sciences, so that you might hear it first and study it first, because among all others that [science] is the easiest to learn since its subject, which is being qua being, is impressed in the intellect by a first impression.


Credo In Unum Deum said...

This is an excellent statement. Thank you for finding it.

Mike M said...

Metaphysics is cool but my Professor in college always preferred "Philiosophy of Man." Every class seemed to seriously debunk a false idea about the nature of man I had learned from some sci-fi tv series. Mike M. www.murraycavanaugh.com