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his position the thought
our estimate of the manner in which Aquinas developed his CHAP. I. main theory, it must be admitted that his treatment of the Difficulty of Aristotelian philosophy can scarcely be accepted as a satis- in relation to factory solution of a great difficulty. To reconcile, indeed, of his age. is ever a harder task than simply to proscribe, and it is but just to remember that it was the fate of Aquinas to encounter in their first impetuous influx, a tide of theories, dogmas, and interpretations, which might well have filled with despair a less masculine and sinewy intellect. There is much in the conflict which his age beheld between Oriental and Grecian habits of thought and the widely different tendencies of the West, that very forcibly recalls the mental phenomena of the fourth and fifth centuries. The mere geography of the intellectual activity of these times is suggestive of the meeting of strongly opposed currents, a glare of differently coloured lights, which seem in some instances to have neutralized each other, in others merely to have stood out in strange and inharmonious juxtaposition. The thinkers who at the commencement Varied chaof the century most strongly influenced Europe, were of Se-activity of mitic race and pagan faith; while those who rose within the Church were of widely separated lands; Albertus was a native of Swabia; Aquinas studied at Naples, his family was Italian and distinguished in the service of the house of Hohenstoffern; William of Moerbecke, the translator of Aristotle, died archbishop of Corinth; Duns Scotus was probably a Northumbrian; Bonaventura was a Tuscan; Alexander Hales, an Englishman who taught at Paris. Amid an almost chaotic aggregation of past and contemporary thought the great schoolman took his stand, and strove to evoke order out of confusion, harmony out of discord. The dogmas of Rome were the Procrustean measure to which each theory had to be stretched or to be reduced; a task sufficiently arduous in the case of Aristotle, in that of Averroes absolutely impossible. The strongly Platonic cast of thought in the writings of Augustine added another element of difficulty, and the influence of Moses Maimonides', from whose Dux Perplexorum Aquinas
racter of the intellectual
1 On the influence of this writer upon Scholasticism see Studien über
Religionsphilosophie, von Dr. A.
CHAP. I. (as recent investigation has shewn) so largely drew, contributed still further to the complication. If we add to these elements his frequent but capricious employment of the Byzantine logic, which afterwards produced such important results in the hands of Scotus and Occam, the Neo-Platonic tendencies of the widely circulated De Causis', we must admit that the task essayed by Numenius or Clemens was one of comparative simplicity. We marvel how the great schoolman could have ever ventured to essay the passage of so dark a current, wherein, as round the hero of old,
order to save
κυκώμενον ἵστατο κύμα,
ὤθει δ' ἐν σάκεϊ πίπτων ῥόος· οὐδὲ πόδεσσιν
The course to which Aquinas found himself ultimately Averroes in impelled, may be briefly characterised as the sacrifice of Aristotle. Averröes to save Aristotle. As the interpretations of the Arabic commentators became more fully understood their incompatibility with the teaching of the Church grew evident, and in 1240 Guillaume d'Auvergne, the archbishop of Paris, denounced as heretical another series of propositions taken chiefly from the De Causis. The facts presented to our observation exhibit, accordingly, Aquinas as, on the one hand, following almost implicitly the method of Averröes and imbibing many of his tenets, on the other hand as strenuously opposing him whenever his teaching threatened to endanger the cause of orthodoxy.
Albertus Magnus drew from his
1 The De Causis was another
M. Renan remarks
ceeding by regular gradations, the idea of creation transformed into the doctrine of a process of evolution grounded in immanent necessity.' Church Hist. VIII 206.
2 It is not uninteresting to note in these times the first appearance of that singular theory, revived amid the metaphysical jugglery of the present century, which would explain all contradictions by suggesting as a solution that what is true in science may be false in theology, and vice versa. Roger Bacon (Opus Tertium, c. 23, 24) indignantly repudiates the sophism, and Mr. Lewes (Hist. of Philosophy, II 83) has noticed his disclaimer with complacency. It is
however that in general he appears to have regarded his CHAP. I. Arabian teacher rather as a pagan deserving compassion in his ignorance, than as a blasphemer to be execrated.
The details of the system pursued by Aquinas obviously Failure of his lie beyond the range of our enquiry, but in pursuance of our endeavour at elucidating the peculiar manner in which the philosophy of these times entered into their whole spirit of instruction, we propose to briefly point out how, on one important point, the method of the schoolmen failed equally to avert the censure of authority and the reproach of the philosopher.
The theory respecting the intellect which Aristotle sets Especially forth, in the third book of the De Anima', is familiar to all ence to students of psychology. He regards the intellectual faculty as existing under a twofold form,—the passive principle Theory of the and the active principle. This theory has its basis in a presumed analogy; as, throughout nature, we are conscious, on the one hand, of matter, representing the potential existence of objects, and on the other of the causative principle, or form, which gives them an actual existence, so we are entitled to look for a like duality in the human intellect; and hence the Aristotelian division of the soul into two distinct principles: the active intelligence, v évteλexeia, and the passive intelligence, v dvváμe. Of these the former is the superior, and to it we ascribe the attributes of imperishability and impassibility; this is the eternal principle which endures, while the merely passive principle is the subject of change, and, separated from the active principle, perishes. Such is the theory unfolded in the De Anima,—a theory scarcely in harmony, it is true, with other portions of the Peripatetic philosophy, being a reflex apparently of the voûs of Anaxagoras, but where recognised almost invariably interpreted as a decisive utterance on the part of Aristotle
however but fair to recognise that the conservative party were equally loud in their denunciations of such suggestions. 'Dicunt enim,' says Etienne Tempier, in his preamble to the articles selected for condemnation in 1277, 'ea esse nota et vera secun
dum Philosophiam, sed non secundum
1 De Anima, III c. 5.
CHAP. I against the belief in the immortality of the soul'. Such teaching, it is evident, could not fail to encounter the condemnation of the Church; but his own heterodoxy was almost lost sight of in the still less ambiguous theory maintained by his Arabian commentator. It was not impossible for the schoolmen to maintain, as later interpreters have done, that Aristotle did not really mean to deny the immortality of the soul, and that the inferences that appear warranted by the De Anima are contradicted by the tenour of passages in his other writings; but the corollary appended to the theory by Averröes admitted of no dispute. The active principle, said this philosopher, if alone possessed of immortality must necessarily be anterior to the passive principle. But when we take the individual man we find the potential principle preceding the active, and it is consequently.evident that the active principle, the imperishable and ever-existent, must not be sought for in the individual. The active principle is devoid of personality, is one and absolute. It was thus that Averröes deduced the doctrine of the Unity of the Intellect, known in the time of Leibnitz as Monopsychism.
Extension given to this
How far this reasoning represents a legitimate deduction theory by the from Aristotle we are not here called upon to enquire, but
it is well known that his Arabian commentators have frequently brought into undue prominence questions which he has but very briefly indicated, or essayed in a purely tentative manner. His immediate followers had certainly
1 'Il a bien dit que l'entendement était un principe divin dans l'homme, indestructible, éternel. Il a bien dit aussi que ce principe était en nous une véritable substance. Mais quelle substance? Nous l'avons vu; dans l'entendement lui-même, il y a une partie périssable, comme sont périssables l'imagination, la sensibilité, la nutrition et cette partie, c'est la partie passive, celle qui est, en quelque sorte, la matière de l'intelligible. L'intelligence active, celle qui fait l'intelligible, survit éternellement au corps, qui seul doit périr. Mais dans cette vie nouvelle, il ne reste rien de
la personalité humaine, de cette personalité sans laquelle l'immortalité de l'âme n'est qu'un vain mot et un leurre.' Barthélemy Saint-Hilaire, Psychologie d'Aristote, Preface, p. xxxix. L'opinion du philosophe à cet égard ne saurait être douteuse. L'intellect universel est incorruptible et séparable du corps; l'intellect individuel est périssable et finit avec le corps.' Renan, Averroès et l'Averroisme, p. 153. See also Mr. Grote's Essay on the Psychology of Aristotle, appended to the third edition of Mr. Bain's Senses and the Intellect.
not deduced any such doctrine from his teaching; Alexander CHAP. I. of Aphrodisias having been, it would seem, the first to bring the theory into notice. Themistius, who lived in the reign of Theodosius, informs us that it was a prolific source of controversy in his day; it arrested, again, the searching glance of St. Augustine; but Averröes was the first to give it that developement which constituted it the leading heresy of the thirteenth century. Such was the theory to the refutation of which, as contravening the doctrine of the resurrection and of the immortality of the soul, Aquinas devoted the full force of his intellect, and in his indignation at its author stigmatised him as non tam Peripateticus quam Peripatetica philosophiæ depravator1.
sed by the
Other and not unimportant doctrines maintained by the Arabian commentators, sometimes in conformity with the teaching of Aristotle, though more frequently in excess of the earlier Peripateticism, encountered the censure of the Church'; but it was chiefly against the theory of the Unity of the Intellect that the scholastic artillery was directed, and in direct connexion therewith arose the fierce controversy of the next generation, respecting the principium individuationis. It has already been observed that at the commencement of Views espouthe controversies to which the new Aristotle gave birth, other Franciscans. views than those of Albertus and Aquinas were espoused by the Franciscans-of comparatively small importance however in relation to the progress of philosophic opinion. Foremost among the leaders of this order was the Englishman, Alex- Alexander ander Hales, who taught at Paris with distinguished success, d. 1245. It is now known that the commentary on the Metaphysics once attributed to this writer is by a different hand, but in his Summa Theologia we have ample indications that he ventured to dangerous lengths under the guidance of Averröes3.
1 De Unitate Intellectus, p. 257. Among them Renan enumerates 'la matière première et indeterminée, la hierarchie des premièrs principes, le rôle intermédiaire de la première intelligence à la fois créé et créatrice, la negation de la providence, et surtout l'impossibilité de la création. Le
commentaire du vin livre de la Phy-
3 On peut désigner comme les