Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Dictionary of philosophy and psychology including many of the principal conceptions of ethics, logics, aesthetics ... and giving a terminology in English, French, German and Italian, vol. 2 [lead-zwing]
Baldwin, James Mark
in mind that Arabian Aristotelianism was 
conceived in a Neo-Platonic sense. It was 
pantheistic in tendency, denying the tran¬ 
scendence of the absolute reason or God ; 
holding to the eternity of matter, ‘creation' 
being the realization of potentiality, not a 
distinct act of effecting the world out of 
nothing ; and denying the individual immor¬ 
tality of the soul. Hence Albertus and St. 
Thomas must, while adhering to Aristotle, 
justify the doctrines of the transcendent and 
creating God, and the immortal individuality 
of the soul, as distinct from its realistic absorp¬ 
tion in deity. Cf. St. Thomas (philosophy of). 
The Aristotelianism of these men produced 
a reaction, of which Duns Scotus is the leader : 
Bonaventura and Eckhart are classed among 
the mystics. Their controversy concerned 
three points in particular : ( i ) the relation 
of faith to reason ; ( 2 ) the relation of intellect 
and will ; (3) the nature of individuality. 
(1) In spite of (or, better, because of) the 
conviction of Albertus and St. Thomas as to 
the relation of Aristotle to Church dogma, they 
are compelled to set aside certain doctrines 
as simply the products of revelation, utterly 
inaccessible to the natural mind—it being clear 
that Aristotle had not taught the doctrine of 
the Trinity or the Incarnation, &c. (In this 
period, as in the earlier one, it was the 
mystics who, drawing on Neo-Platonism, 
attempted a speculative construction of these 
doctrines.) They are above reason, but not 
contrary to it. The natural light can lead to 
certain truths, the content of natural religion 
and morality; but above this is supernatural 
religious and ethical truth, which is ‘ of 
grace,’ not of nature, and is revealed, not 
discovered. This, the so-called doctrine of 
the twofold truth, is the basis of the teach¬ 
ings of Albert and St. Thomas. But having 
gone so far, it is difficult not to go further ; 
and here is the rift in the lute which finally 
destroys the unity of scholasticism. Duns 
Scotus (generally regarded as the most acute 
philosophical mind of the period) held that 
theology was only a practical matter, aiming 
at salvation from sin, having to do with the 
will, not the intellect, while philosophy is 
pure theory. Each is right in its own sphere. 
The doctrine was conceived in good faith in 
order to give to dogma a claim untouched by 
reason; for Scotus was acute enough to see 
that if reason can assist or confirm theology, 
it can also attack or criticize it. But its 
actual effect was in the other direction. 
Reason was given greater scope and stringency ; 
all sorts of propositions, theologically here¬ 
tical, were proved, with the pious clause 
(sometimes in good faith, sometimes not) that 
though this was so according to reason, the 
opposite was true according to faith. 
(2) The same insistence upon the practical 
side is found in the psychology and ethics of 
Scotus. While St. Thomas followed the Greek 
position which uniformly made knowledge, con¬ 
templation, identity of subject and object in 
rational intuition, higher than the will, Scotus 
followed Latin thought, which had found its 
religious expression in St. Augustine. The will, 
according to the Thomists, is determined by 
the good, which is discerned, both in general 
and in particular cases, by the reason (see 
Pekseity) ; moreover, reason has an objective 
metaphysical significance, an intrinsic relation 
to truth. But Scotus gives a psychological, 
or historical, account of knowledge ; it is a 
natural process, and hence, if the will is 
dependent upon it, it in turn is really 
determined by nature with its necessity. 
Hence the will, as self-included power of 
choice, is really fundamental. God is free, 
because of the radical primacy of the will. 
He created the world out of his sheer will, 
not in conformity to prescriptions of reason— 
a position which, of course, dovetailed excel¬ 
lently into the separation of theology from 
philosophy. Moreover, salvation is not the 
eternal vision or contemplation of God, but 
a state of will—love—superior to contempla¬ 
(3) The emphasis upon reason tends to 
leave the individual in a precarious condition, 
for it is connected with the Greek realism, 
the assertion of the higher reality of uni¬ 
versal. While Aristotle bad held to God as 
a transcendent individual, as pure form, 
Averroës had insisted that there is no form 
without matter, and thus developed a pan¬ 
theistic theory. St. Thomas here, as in his 
theory of the sphere of grace and of nature, 
attempted to establish an equilibrium. In the 
immaterial world, pure and subsistent forms 
are real and active without any attachment 
to matter; while in the material, forms are 
realized only in matter (are inherent). Now 
man belongs to both worlds : as rational soul, 
he is the lowest of pure immaterial forms ; as 
animal soul (having body), he is the highest of 
the other type. And in man both of these are 
bound together into a single unity—the only 
form which is both subsistent and inherent. 
But St. Thomas had also to deal with differ¬ 
ences of personality—the so-called jyrincipium 


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