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feel how vain must be the effort to realise the conditions CHAP. II. under which that thought was conceived. The materials and the sympathies that should enable us to recover some adequate impression of those days have alike vanished. It would consequently be hopeless to seek to depict the Oxford of the beginning of the fourteenth century, or to give colour and life to the career of the greatest of the English schoolmen1. We must pass by even the fragmentary data we possess concerning that career; its early triumph and its sudden close; the fierce controversy concerning the Immaculate Conception which he was summoned to Paris to allay; the peremptory mandate in obedience to which he repaired so promptly to Cologne, from the green fields near Paris where he was seeking a breathing space of repose, his manuscripts left behind, his farewells to his friends unsaid; his mysterious death, and the dark rumours that gathered round the termination of that short but eventful life. Whatever attention we may venture to claim for Duns Scotus must be restricted to a brief consideration of his philosophy and his influence as an authority in our universities.
We have already adverted to the arduous character of Progressive the task which devolved upon the schoolmen of the preced- the history ing century; the vastness, the novelty, and the heterogene- cism. ous nature of the thought they were called upon to interpret; and we have shewn that, however meritorious the spirit in which they essayed to grapple with overwhelming difficulties, the verdict of posterity has failed to ratify their decisions or their method. With the dawn of another century, when the waters, turbid with their first inrush, had become com
CHAP. II. paratively tranquil and clear, we naturally look for the manifestations of a more critical spirit and a more deliberate estimate. Nor shall we be disappointed. The decisions delivered at Paris, if not altogether reversed at Oxford, reappeared only with numerous and important modifications. An improved canon and the accession of new material equally conduced to such a result.
There is, indeed, no graver error with respect to the schoolmen than that which would lead us to regard them as expending their efforts in one uniform direction, their arguments revolving in one vicious circle and around the same hopeless points of discussion; and, so long as metaphysics hold their place in the domain of speculative enquiry, the thinker who anticipated Hegel on the one hand, and Spinoza on the other, would seem entitled to some recognition in the Researches history of human thought. Nearly half a century ago archbishop Whately called attention to the want of a treatise on the literature and antiquities of the science of Logic, and while he insisted emphatically on the high qualifications requisite in the writer of such a work, fully recognised the interest and value that its efficient performance would possess for a select, though somewhat limited, circle of students'.
of recent writers.
1 The extensive research which would form one indispensable qualification for such a task, would be only one out of many, even less common, qualifications, without which such a work would be worse than useless. The author should be one thoroughly on his guard against the common error of confounding together, or leading his readers to confound, an intimate acquaintance with many books on a given subject, and a clear insight into the subject itself. With ability and industry for investigating a multitude of minute particulars, he should possess the power of rightly estimating each according to its intrinsic importance, and not (as is very commonly done) according to the degree of laborious research it may have cost him, or the rarity of the knowledge he may in any case have acquired. And he should be careful, while recording
the opinions and expressions of various authors on points of science, to guard both himself and his readers against the mistake of taking anything on authority that ought to be evinced by scientific reasoning.' Whately's Logic (ed. 1862), p. 2. In striking contrast to the view above indicated, Dean Mansel considers that a historical account of the Scholastic Logic ought to confine itself to commentaries and treatises expressly on the science; and the scholastic contributions to the matter of Logic should be confined to such additions to the Aristotelian text as have been incorporated into the Logica docens.' (Introd. to Artis Log. Rud. p. 31.) But in treating a time when the application of this Logica docens underlay almost every treatise of a didactic character, it is evident that to restrict the historical survey to the abstract art
This want, at least up to the conclusion of the scholastic era, CHAP. II. has now been to a great extent supplied by the labours of Prantl, to whose researches, together with those of Hauréau and Charles Jourdain, we have been so far indebted that it is necessary to state that, without the aid of these writers, many pages of this volume must have remained unwritten. To the first named we are especially indebted for an investigation into the progress of that new element, the tertium to the new Aristotle and the Arabian commentators, which hitherto appearing only at intervals and exercising but little influence on the philosophy of the schoolmen, now assumed in the writings of Duns Scotus such considerable and significant proportions. The Byzantine logic has a peculiar interest, inasmuch as it Influence of associates the learning of the Latins with that of the Greek Logic. empire, and may be regarded as a stray fragment of those literary treasures which, two centuries later, rolled in such profusion from Hellas into western Europe.
nople in the
In the eleventh century the seat of the Cæsars of the State of East, which had so often defied the fiercest assaults of the Constantiinfidel, and had not yet been subjugated to the rule of an illite- century. rate Latin dynasty, still preserved some traces of that literary spirit that in the West was almost solely represented by the victorious Saracens. The masterpieces of Grecian genius were still studied and appreciated; the Greek language was still written with a purity that strongly contrasted with the fate that had overtaken the tongue of Cicero and Virgil'; and
would be to diminish, very materially, both the value and the interest of the whole work.
1 If we accept the account of Philelphus, this contrast was still to be discerned even so late as the period immediately preceding the fall of Constantinople before the Turks in 1453. Since the barriers of the monarchy, and even of the capital, had been trampled under foot, the various barbarians had doubtless corrupted the form and substance of the national dialect; and ample glossaries have been composed, to interpret a multitude of words, of Arabic, Turkish, Sclavonian, Latin, or French origin. But a purer idiom
was spoken in the court and taught
CHAP. II. Works of extensive erudition and much critical acumen attested, from time to time, that though the age of poetic genius and original conception was past, scholarship and learning were still represented by no unworthy successors of Strabo and Aristarchus. Among such writers the name of Michael Constantine Psellus, a learned professor at Constantinople towards the close of the eleventh century, deserves a foremost place; and to his treatise on logic, Σύνοψις εἰς τὴν ̓Αριστοτέλους λογικὴν ἐπιστήμην, we must refer those influences upon the method of the schoolmen which now offer themselves for our consideration. This manual, though representing, according to Prantl, little more than 'the content of the school logic received up to the close of antiquity',' and therefore in no way comparable for originality with the works of Avicenna and Averroes, would, notwithstanding, seem to have affected the developement of logic in the West to an extent of the treatise Singularly in excess of its real value. Among the contem
of Psellus by
poraries of Aquinas was the once famous Petrus Hispanus, a
Petrus Hispanus was forestalled, by at least twenty years, by Translation an eminent Oxonian, William Shyreswood, whose name,
Shyreswood. though it has now passed from memory, was long identified
who have escaped the contagion, are
1 Gesch. d. Log. 11 265. Anm. 6.
tion to his Artis Logica Rudimenta, has expressed his belief, in which he informs us he is supported by the authority of Sir William Hamilton, that the work attributed to Psellus is, in reality, a translation into Greek of the work of Petrus Hispanus! In the later editions of the above work he has however omitted to notice the most recent contribution by Prantl to the literature of the whole subject. See sixth edition of Artis Logica Rudimenta, p. 33.
at Oxford with the introduction of the new element. William CHAP. II. Shyreswood was a native of Durham, who, after having studied both at Oxford and Paris, succeeded to the dignity of the chancellorship at Lincoln'; where he died in the year 1249. As a writer on logic he exercised a potent influence on the developement of that study in England. Internal evidence, indeed, favours the supposition that there existed a version of portions of the treatise by Psellus in circulation prior even to that of Shyreswood, but on this point we have no certain information; and the method of Duns Scotus, which was founded, in no small degree, upon the Byzantine logic, does not appear to have traced back its inspiration further than to this writer. In Shyreswood we first meet with the familiar mnemonic verses of the Moods of the Four Figures, still preserved in every treatise on formal logic'; and it would appear, that from the time of Roger Bacon down to that of Ben Jonson his reputation as a logician was undiminished in the university which he adorned.
of the Oxford
As regards Petrus Hispanus, it would seem, if we accept the conclusions of Prantl, that he was not only not the first translator of Psellus, but that his performance was in every way inferior to that of our own countryman : the work of the one being spiritless and servile, while that of the other shews Superiority indications of a genuine effort at intelligently appreciating translation. the meaning of the original, characteristics which we may suppose contributed not a little to procure for him the warm eulogium of Bacon', whose severest contempt was always reserved for a mechanical spirit of interpretation, whether in teacher or learner. The historian has, indeed, even ventured to conjecture that Pope John may merely have transcribed a
1 For duties of the chancellor of a cathedral see Ducange, s. v.
Thus given by Prantl: Barbara, Celarent, Darii, Ferio, Baralipton, | Celantes, Dabitis, Fapesmo, Friseso. morum, Cesare, Campestres, Festino, Baroco, Darapti, | Felapton, Disamis, Datisi, Bocardo, Ferison.
Gesch. d. Log. i 15. 3. Here is to the fruit of Pem, Grafted upon Stub his stem,
With the peakish nicety