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By Copleston, Frederick

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Extra info for A History of Philosophy - Ockham to the Speculative Mystics (Christian Library)

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2. The commentary on the first book of the Sentences was written by Ockham himself, and the first edition of this Ordinatio seems to have been composed between 1318 and 1323. The commentaries on the other three books of the Sentences are reportationes, though they also belong to an early period. Boehner thinks that they were composed before the Ordinatio. The Expositio in librum Porphyrii, the Expositio in librum Praedicamentorum, the Expositio in duos libros Elenchorum and the Expositio in duos libros Perihermenias appear to have been composed while Ockham was working on his commentary on the Sentences and to have antedated the first Ordinatio though not the Reportatio.

For the knowledge which attains to the thing precisely as the thing exists is more perfect than knowledge which attains to the thing in a manner in which the thing does not exist. But it is clear that a universal thing does not exist, except in individual things and through individual things, as the Philosopher says against Plato, in the seventh book of the Metaphysics. … It is quite clear that science, which apprehends essences (quidditates), does not apprehend things precisely as they exist… but knowledge of this precise individual is knowledge of the thing as it exists.

An individual man, for example, can be conceived distinctly as Socrates or Plato, or he may be conceived ‘confusedly’ not as this or that individual, but simply as ‘man’. The similarity which makes this possible is, of course, objective; but the genesis of the universal concept is due to this confused impression of individuals, while the universality, formally considered, of the concept is due to the work of the mind. 5. It is clear enough that the three thinkers, some of whose philosophical ideas we have considered in this chapter, were not revolutionaries in the sense that they set themselves against the traditional philosophical currents in general.

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A History of Philosophy - Ockham to the Speculative Mystics (Christian Library) by Copleston, Frederick


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