« PreviousContinue »
to formal Logic.
since the time when Carneades and the disciples of the Later
Academy proposed no longer to aspire to the possession of Influencedis positive or absolute truth, but to rest contented in the hope produced by that they had attained to the probable. It was one of the sive attention effects, and undoubtedly a very pernicious effect, of the
almost exclusive study of the Categories, that the men of this time were beginning to imagine that neither knowledge nor faith was of any assured value or certainty unless reducible to formal logical demonstration ; not merely that conformity was deemed essential to those laws of thought of wbich the syllogism is the embodiment, but that all belief was held to be susceptible of proof in a series of concatenated propositions like a theorem in geometry. It was consequently only in compliance with the fashion of his time that Berengar thus moulded the form of his first treatise, and incurred the ridicule of Lanfranc for his pedantry. In method he followed, while in argument he challenged, the traditions he had inherited.
The spirit in which Lanfranc sought to defend the opposite interpretation indicates no advance upon the conventional treatment; and the whole tenor of his argument reveals rather the ecclesiastic alarmed for the authority of his order than the dispassionate enquirer after truth. It must, how
be admitted that the general tone of Berengar's treatise was ill-calculated to disarm hostility. If his mental characteristics may be inferred from thence, we should conclude that he was one in whom the purely logical faculty overwhelmed and silenced his emotional nature; one unable to comprehend that union of faith and reason which commends itself to those in whom the religious sentiment maintains its power.' The mind of the archbishop to some extent resembled that of the archdeacon. Then came the inevitable collision. The one sternly asserting the claims of authority; the other contemptuously demonstrating the rigid conclusions of logic. At first it seemed that the former would secure an easy triumph. Berengar, to save his life, capitulated at the summons of the second Lateran Council, and formally recanted his opinions ; but, in a short time, he had revoked
Mental characteristics of Berengar.
his recantation, and again betaking himself to those weapons of logic which he wielded with such remarkable adroitness, successfully parried the attacks of his opponents. The decisions of three successive Councils vainly denounced his tenets. Protected by the powerful arm of Hildebrand, the archdeacon of Angers died in full possession of his honours, unsilenced and unconvinced. The following year died Lanfranc, and the mitre of his episcopacy descended to his pupil Anselm.
But before Anselm succeeded to the see of Canterbury, Anselm. another controversy had arisen, which unmistakably attested a 1103. how the chord somewhat roughly touched by Berengar had found response in the growing thoughtfulness of the time. Speculations once confined to solitary thinkers were now beginning to be heard in the schools and to be discussed in the cloister. It was at the request of his fellow monks, as Anselm himself tells us', that he entered upon those subtle enquiries wherein we find the echo of Augustine's finest thought, and the anticipation of Descartes. But it is rather as participant in the controversy which would appear to mark the true commencement of the scholastic era’, that this illustrious thinker claims our attention, and here, before we become involved in the great metaphysical dispute, it
1 Præfatio ad Monologion.
: 'It may appear at first singular that the thought which suggested itself to the mind of a monk at Bec should still be the problem of metaphysical theology; and theology must, when followed out, become metaphy. sical; metaphysics must become theo. logical. This same thought seems, with no knowledge of its mediæval origin, to have forced itself on Descartes, was reasserted by Leibnitz, if not rejected was thought insufficient by Kant, revived in another form by Schelling and Hegel; latterly has been discussed with singular fulness and ingenuity by M. de Rémusat. Yet will it less surprise the more profoundly reflective, who cannot but perceive how soon and how inevitably the mind arrives at the verge of
human thought; how it cannot but encounter this same question, which in another form divided in either avowed or unconscious antagonism, Plato and Aristotle, Anselm and his opponents, (for opponents he had of no common subtlety), Leibnitz and Locke; which Kant failed to reconcile; which his followers have perhaps bewildered by a new and intricate phraseology more than elucidated; which modern eclecticism harmonises rather in seeming than in reality; the question of questions; our primary, elemental, it may be innate or instinctive, or acquired and traditional, idea, conception, notion, conviction of God, of the Immaterial, the Eternal, the Infinite.' Milman, Hist. Lat. Christianity, Bk. Vili c. 5.
INTRO: becomes necessary to turn aside awhile to examine briefly a DUCTION.
preliminary and not unimportant question. Dictum of
It was originally asserted by Cousin, and his dictum has orientale been repeatedly quoted, that the scholastic philosophy had Philosophy. its origin in a sentence from the Isagoge of Porphyry as
interpreted by Boethius. 'Scholasticism,' he says, 'was born at Paris and there it died; a sentence from Porphyry,—a single ray from the literature of the ancient world,-called it into being; the same literature, which when more completely revealed, extinguished it?' This statement, startling though it may appear, is probably substantially correct; it is certainly not conceived by Cousin in any contemptuous spirit; but it has been insisted on by a later writer in another tone, and apparently under considerable misapprehension with respect to its real import; and a fact which simply points to the scantiness of the sources whence the earlier schoolmen derived their inspiration, has been wrested into fresh proof of their proneness to convert a purely verbal or grammatical distinction into a lengthened controversy. It may accordingly be worth while here to endeavour to ascertain, in what sense influences which so long controlled the whole course of education and learning can with accuracy
be referred to so narrow and apparently inadequate a source. The original The
passage in Porphyry, which is nothing more than a Porphyry. passing glance at a question familiar to his age but not
admitting of discussion in an introduction to a treatise on logic and grammar, is to the following effect,
Having premised that he must equally avoid questions of grave importance and those of a trifling character, he goes on to say :-* Thus, with respect to genera and species, whether
1 The terseness of the French is sur cette phrase et autour d'elle que not easily preserved:-un rayon dé- va peu à peu se reformer une philorobé à l'antiquité la produisit; l'an- sophie nouvelle. Les commencements tiquité tout entière l'étoufia ...... 'Il de cette philosophie seront bien faut supposer,' he adds, "le monde faibles, il est vrai, et se ressentiront ancien détruit, la philosophie ancien- de la profonde barbarie du temps; ne ensevelie avec la civilisation dont mais une fois née, la puissance de elle faisait partie, et la longue et l'éternal problème la développera et brillante polémique qui avait fait la lui ouvrira une carrière immense.' vie même de cette philosophie, ré- Fragments Philosophiques, Abélard, duite à la phrase de Porphyre dans pp. 82, 88, 89. ed. 1810, la traduction latine de Boëce. C'est
known to the
medium of two translations.
they have a substantial existence or exist only as mere concepts of the intellect,—whether, supposing them to have a substantial existence, they are material or immaterial,and again whether they exist independently of sensible objects or in them and as part of them,-I shall refrain from enquiring. For this is a question of the greatest profundity and demanding lengthened investigation'.' It is to be noted that of this passage two translations were familiar to the scholars of the Middle Ages: the first that in the translation of Porphyry by Victorinus, to which Boethius appended a commentary in the form of a dialogue; the second that in the passage the translation made by Boethius himself and accompanied through the by a second and fuller commentary, also from his pen.
In the interval between the composition of these two commentaries it is evident, as Cousin has very clearly pointed out, that the views of Boethius had undergone an important change. In the first he insists upon an ultra-Realistic interpretation, and would seem to have misapprehended Porphyry's meaning; in the second, he inclines to a Nominalistic view, and pronounces that genus and species have no objective existence? Our concern however is with two important facts which appear beyond dispute :—first, that the passage in Porphyry was known to the Middle Ages through the medium of two translations; secondly, that in both his commentaries Boethius recognises the question involved as one of primary importance of this the following criticism of passages are conclusive evidence: 'Hæc se igitur Porphyrius his com breviter mediocriterque promittit exponere. Non enim in- tion of vietroductionis vice fungeretur, si ea nobis a primordio fundaret, ad quæ nobis hæc tam clara introductio præparatur. Servat
1 Αυτίκα περί γενων τε και ειδών, το μέν είτε υφέστηκεν είτε και εν μόναις ψιλαϊς επινοίαις κείται, είτε και υφεστηκότα σώματα εστιν ή ασώματα, και πότερον χωριστά ή εν τοις αισθητούς και περί ταύτα υφεστώτα παραιτήσομαι λέγειν' βαθυτάτης ούσης της τοιαύτης πραγματείας, και άλλης μείζονος δεομένης εξετάσεως. .
2 Cousin, Fragments Philosophiques, Philosophie Scholastique, Abé.
lard, pp. 92, 93, ed. 1840. Dean
3 Cousin's remark that Boethius
INTRO. igitur introductionis modum doctissima parcitas disputandi DUCTION.
ut ingredientium viam ad obscurissimas rerum caligines aliquo quasi doctrinæ suæ lumine temperaret. Dicit enim apud antiquos alta et magnifica questione disserta, quæ ipse nunc parce breviterque composuit. Quid autem de his a priscis philosophiæ tractatoribus dissertum sit, breviter ipse tangit et præterit. Tum Fabius :-Quid illud, inquit, est ? Et ego :-Hoc, inquam, quod ait se omnino prætermittere genera ipsa et species, utrum vere subsistant, an intellectu solo et mente teneantur, an corporalia ista sint an incorporalia : et utrum separata, an ipsis sensibilibus juncta. De his sese quoniam alta esset disputatio, tacere promisit: nos autem adhibito moderationis freno, mediocriter unumquodque tangamus':'
The foregoing passage is from the first Dialogue on the translation by Victorinus : the following are from the Commentary by Boethius on his own translation :- Sunt autem quæstiones, quæ sese reticere promittit et perutiles; et secretæ, et temptatæ quidem a doctis viris nec a pluribus dissoluta.......
Ipsa enim genera et species subsistunt quidem aliquo modo, intelliguntur vero alio modo et sunt incorporalia, sed sensibilibus juncta subsistunt insensibilibus. Intelliguntur vero præter corpora, ut per semetipsa subsistentia, ac non in aliis esse suum habentia. Sed Plato genera et species caeteraque non modo intelligi universalia, verum etiam esse atque præter corpora subsistere putat : Aristoteles vero intelligi quidem incorporalia atque universalia, sed subsistere insensibilibus putat, quorum dijudicare sententias aptum esse non duxi. Altioris enim est philosophiæ, idcirco vero studiosius Aristotelis sententiam exsecuti sumus, non quod eam maxime probaremus, sed quod hic liber ad Prædicamenta conscriptus est, quorum Aristotelis auctor est.'
The view taken by Boethius of that which he thus conceived to be the Aristotelian theory respecting Universals,
Criticism of Boethius in his Com mentary on his own version.
Boethius as interpreted by Cousin.
i Boethius, Dialogus 1. ed. Basil.
pr. 7 and 8.
Porphyrium a se Translatum, Lib. i ed. Basil. p. 54.
3 Ibid. p. 56.
2 Boethius, Commentariorum in