Tuesday, August 28, 2018

A New Front Opens in the War over Being

Civilization seems to be crumbling around us these days. Governments are corrupt and ineffectual, political rhetoric has become increasingly unhinged, the universities, flush with cash, spend it on hiring legions of non-teaching middle managers. The controversies within the Church grow ever darker and run deeper...

If all this is getting you down, why not spend the remaining years of your life coming to grips with a new 830 page book from Leuven University Press?

For a cool 200 euros, you can own the new critical edition and study of Petrus Thomae's Quaestiones de ente. Available here. This work details various properties of being, such as univocity and analogy, defending the Scotist conception, though reworking the position a fair bit and abstracting from the applications in which Scotus discussed it (i.e. natural knowledge of God, divine simplicity). Thus one could almost say that it is "systematic". It should be noted, that while many theologians and philosophers think that the analogist and univocalist positions are incompatible, Scotists have always held the opposite, that in fact univocity and analogy are complementary. Peter Thomae is no exception, and of all the Scotists, he probably discusses analogy the most. Hence the title of the post: A New Front, in that it is a (today) unknown take on being.

Anyway, here is the publishers blurb:

Editio princeps of Peter Thomae’s De ente
It is generally acknowledged by historians of philosophy that medieval philosophers made key contributions to the discussion of the problem of being and the fundamental issues of metaphysics. The Quaestiones de ente of Peter Thomae, composed at Barcelona ca. 1325, is the longest medieval work devoted to the problem of being as well as the most systematic. The work is divided into three parts: the concept of being, the attributes of being, and the descent of being. Many of the philosophical tools that Peter pioneered in this work, such as the distinction between objective being and subjective being, and various modes of quiddities and abstraction, were adopted by later thinkers and discussed up to the eighteenth century. Apart from defending and further extending Scotistic doctrine, one of Peter’s achievements in the De ente is to fully reconcile Scotistic univocity with the traditional doctrine of the analogy of being.

In addition to the critical edition, the present volume also contains a detailed introduction and study of the philosophy and the manuscripts of the De ente, with an appendix containing the question on univocity by Francis Marbres (John the Canon), who copied extensively from the De ente.

From the Thomist perspective, it must look something like this:

Friday, August 17, 2018

Interesting Thoughts around the 'NET

There have been a number of interesting posts today, or at least I first noticed them today.

First is Robert Pasnau, with some reflections on how to form a canon of medieval philosophy. He points out that there isn't a narrative for the period 500-1500 like there is for other periods in the history of philosophy. He does not mention the narrative that arose simultaneously with the modern study of medieval philosophy, that is the Thomist one.

Pasnau links to Martin Lenz, who points out that such narratives have ideological origins and uses, and change when the dominating ideologies change.

Finally, Derrick Peterson posted a paper on his blog about "deleting theology", the narratives surrounding secularism. He provides a fascinating quote from Ian Hunter the gist of which is that the various accounts from religious thinkers or anti-religious ones are not themselves historical accounts or based on empirical histories, but are rather ideologies. Now while I may be sympathetic to this, I can't help but wonder if something like "empirical history" is itself free of "cultural-political agendas", as if there is some historical viewpoint that is free from theological or philosophical conditioning.

In any case, there are many interesting thoughts to be had today.