The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

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Franciscan Institute Publications Philosophy Series No. 16 BX Edited by Stephen F. Brown, O. F. M.

3601 S143 no. 16







By John E. Lynch, C. S. P. , Ph. D.









Franciscan Institute



Edited by STEPHEN F. BROWN, O. F. M.





John E. Lynch, C.S.P. , Ph. D.



Printed by Ferdinand Schöningh, Germany




Chapter I. II.








V. VI.









204 212

BIOGRAPHICAL DATA Of Vascones or Gason ancestry, Vital du Four was born at Bazas in Aquitaine, about thirty-five miles southeast of Bordeaux.¹ The date of his birth must be fixed at approximately 1260. The surname, de Furno in Latin or du Four in French, came either from a ¹ The details of Vital du Four's life may be found in several works. Vitalis de Furno Quodlibeta Tria, ed. F. Delorme, Rome, 1947 , v—xvii . C.-V. Langlois, Histoire Littéraire de la France, Paris 1927, XXXVI , 295-305, 647-52. G. Mollat in his extensive notes to the new edition of S. Baluzius, Vitae Paparum Avenionensium, Paris, 1927, II , 162–66. (The Popes at Avignon, 1305—1378, trans. from the 9th French ed. by J. Love, 1963.) J.-C. Tillier, Le Cardinal bazadais Vital du Four et la vie intellectuelle de son temps (1260—1327) , dans Bulletin de la Société des Bibliophiles de Guyenne 83 (1966). Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique, ed . Vacant, Paris, 1950, XV. 2, Cols. 3102-3115 (P. Godefroy). F. Stegmüller, Repertorium Biblicum Medii Aevi, Tomus V : Commentaria Auctores R- Z, Matriti 1955 , 424-25, 8309-8312. 2 : N- C 1260 C 1291-1292 legit Sententias Parisiis 1292-1294 magister regens Parisiis lector Montpellier 1295 lector Toulouse 1297 1307 provincialis Aquitaniae Cardinalis 1312 obiit 1327 The King of Aragon received a letter from his agent at the Papal Court dated April 18, 1315 , which refers to Vital as : "Vasco est et origine Vasatensis.” (H. Finke, Acta Aragonensia, Berlin, 1908 Band I , p . 355. ) 2 The date of Vital du Four's birth can only be conjectured . Manuscript evidence places him at Montpellier in 1295. Allowing sufficient time for him to complete his studies at Paris, one can reasonably conclude that he was born about 1260. Codex Vat. 1095, saec, XIV, membran. , Vitalis de Furno Quaestiones super IV libro Sententiarum reportatae in Montepessulano in summa pagina manu eiusdem aetatis : "Iste quartus sententiarum fuit recollectus parisius per Magistrum fratrem vitalem de furno qui postea fuit Cardinalis sub Magistro fratre Iacobo de Carceto. Et postea per eundem fratrem vitalem, fuit lectus in Monte pesulano, tempore quo frater Iacobus de fabriano ibi erat studens . Quem frater Iohannes de fonte recollegit sub eodem fratre vitale. " (D. 50, q. ult. f.66r)



3 place name or from a bakehouse once constructed for the family. He entered the Franciscan Order at an early age and was sent to the Studium Generale at Paris in 1285. There he studied the Book of Sentences of Peter Lombard under Jacobus de Carceto or de Quesmoy and very likely under Raymond Rigault as well. Vital himself read the Sentences at Paris in 1291-1292 .

No date can

be assigned for his reception of the baccalaureate and master's degrees.5 Manuscript evidence testifies that Vital du Four lectured on the Fourth Book of the Sentences at Montpellier during the school year of 1295-1296 . Montpellier was then the principal center of medical "addente librario et hec de reportacionibus super 4 sententiarum post fratrem vitalem de furno de provincia aquitanie lectorem montis pesulani . anno domini M cc 1 xxxx v quo ad principium . et vi quo ad terminum dicta sufficiant." Codices Vaticani Latini , ed . A. Pelzer, Bibliotheca Vaticana, 1931 , t. II pars prior Codices 679-1134, Codex 1095, 698. ³ Vital alludes to his surname in Quodlibet II (q . 3, p. 63 ) while discussing the question of bilocation, whether a body could be at Rome and at Paris at the same time : "Parisius in furno, Romae in Tiberi ... in uno loco occiditur et in alio nutritur, et sic vivit et non vivit." 4 It is thought that Vital entered the Franciscans in the convent of his native city which belonged to the guardianship of Bordeaux . As a cardinal writing to the General Chapter of his order assembled at Barcelona, he indicated that he entered as a young man : " matris nostrae religionis sanctissimae, quae ab infantia suo lacte dulcissimo nos nutrivit et tenere educavit.” (Letter of May 8, 1313 , edited in Estudios Franciscanos XII ( 1914 ) , 126 f. , cited by Delorme, Quodlibeta Tria, p . vi . ) The fact that Vital studied under Jacobus de Carceto is recorded in Codex Vat. 1095 (cf. note 2 above) . Fr. Delorme thinks it very likely that Vital also studied under Raymond Rigault, who was teaching about 1288-1289 , because Vital frequently reproduces or abbreviates this author in his Quodlibeta (Quodlibeta Tria, p. vi, n. 8) . 5 It is possible that his fellow Franciscan Duns Scotus was in Paris at the same time ( 1292) ; it is very probable that Scotus was there from 1293—1296 . A. Callebaut, "Le B. Jean Duns Scot étudiant à Paris vers 1293—1296, " Archivum Franciscanum Historicum, XVII ( 1924 ) , 2—12 . C. K. Brampton, "Duns Scotus at Oxford 1288-1301 , " Franciscan Studies, 24 ( 1964) , 5—20 . • Cf. notes 2, 4 above . The same fact may be ascertained from the process of canonization for St. Louis of Anjou . From the history of the times it is known that St. Louis passed through Montpellier at the beginning of November 1295 after his release from captivity. During the canonization Fr. Barandus de Anicio, O.P. , a lector at Marseilles, testified : "... juratus et diligenter interrogatus . . . ipse vidit dominum Ludovicum, quando veniebat de Cathaulonia, in scholis Fr. Min . in Montepessulano respondentem de



studies in Europe. Although Vital du Four did not follow a formal course in medicine, he read extensively on the subject and drew upon it for many examples in his writings. A curious treatise entitled Pro conservanda sanitate, reprinted as late as 1531 , has long been attributed to him. " While at Montpellier he re-edited the Lectura of his master James of Quesmoy. In 1297 Vital du Four transferred to the University of Toulouse where he was to continue teaching for the next ten years.

At the

direction of his Franciscan superiors Vital du Four engaged in the theological debates that raged over the doctrines of Peter Olivi , who died in 1298.9 During his regency at Toulouse he published (1305) the Speculum morale totius Sacrae Scripturae, a dictionary or encyclopedia based on the Old and New Testaments. The professorial career of Vital du Four came to an end with his election as Provincial of Aquitaine in 1307. He was not destined , however, to devote himself exclusively to administrative duties. A serious split had developed in the Franciscan ranks over the theory and practice of poverty. The majority of the Community (Communitas Ordinis, i . e. , the generality of the Order) maintained that the Franciscan vow of poverty did not forbid the poor use of things (usus pauper) but only the expropriation of property (abdicatio dominii) . The Spirituals refused to tolerate this mitigation and the una questione Fr. Vitali, tunc ibi lector et nunc magistro in theologia et ministro in Aquitania et valde bene se habebat dictus dom . Ludovicus in responsionibus secundum etatem suam. " (C. Vielle, S. Louis d'Anjou, Vanves (Seine) , 1930, 167-68.) For the literature on this work see P. Godefroy, Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique, XV. 2, cols. 3112-3113 . • The register of the University of Toulouse has this entry: "Anno 1297, praeside et rectore domino Petro Guillelmo de Castronovo, praesentibus inter alios fratre Guillelmo Petri, Ordinis Praedicatorum, et Fr. Vitali, lectore Ordinis Minorum, post celebrationem missae Universitatis in ecclesia Fr. Praedicatorum facta fuit creatio bedelli Academiae. " (J. Percin, Monumenta conventus Tolosani O. Fr. Praed. , Tolosae 1963 , De Academia Tolosana, p. III , c . 2 , 158 — cited by Delorme, Quodlibeta Tria, p. vii. ) "Peut-être quelque lecteur de l'AFH sera-t-il intéressé de savoir ... que Vital du Four O.F.M. est mentionné comme lecteur à Toulouse ( 1297—1307) dans le Ms. 83 f. 35r : ' Fratri Vitali de Furno lectori fr. min. tholose dentur. ' (Codices Burghesiani conserves a la Vaticane . )" AFH, XLVI ( 1953) , 343 . 9 • A recent summary of the controversy may be found in C. Partee, “P. J. Olivi : Historical and Doctrinal Study, " Franciscan Studies, 20 ( 1960) , 215-60. S. Gieben, "Bibliographia Oliviana 1885-1967, " Collectanea Franciscana, 38 (1968), 167—195.



accompanying abuses. Because of Peter Olivi's incisive defense of the Spiritual position , the Community combed his extensive writings for errors in their effort to discredit the rigorist movement . Thus the controversy gravitated around the observance of the Rule and the doctrinal orthodoxy of Olivi . To get at the facts of the case, Pope Clement V in 1309 summoned the Minister General and the leaders of the Spirituals to a confrontation.10 The Spirituals were asked four questions concerning : (a) their relationship with the Sect of the Free Spirit ; (b) their persecution by the Community ; (c) the observance of the Rule ; and (d) the writings of Peter Olivi. The Community was represented in this inquiry by the following theologians of the Order : Alexander of Alexandria ; Vital du Four ; Giles, Provincial of France ; and Martin Alnwick, Provincial of England. The dispute was ultimately referred to the approaching Council of Vienne, which had Church reform high on its agenda. Fourteen Franciscan provincials and theologians , including Vital du Four and Richard Conington, were called upon to take part in the Council of Vienne (the fifteenth Ecumenical Council) , which opened October 16, 1311.11 The decision of the Council proved to be inconclusive. There is still some question whether or not the dogmatic decree Fidei catholicae fundamentum is a formal condemnation of Olivi's doctrines. As for the dispute concerning the Rule, the bull Exivi de paradiso was so worded that both sides claimed vindication. 12 Vital du Four's talent as a negotiator in delicate affairs was recognized not only by his Order, but also by the Holy See. On June 28, 1310 he was delegated by Pope Clement V, the Gascon pope and a compatriot , to receive testimony in the farcical process instigated by Philip the Fair against the deceased Pope Boniface VIII.13 Two

10 For a recapitulation of this phase of the struggle see the bull Dudum ad apostolatus, in Wadding, Annales Minorum, ad an. 1310, n. 3 , VI, 188–91 . 11 Denifle-Ehrle, Archiv für Literatur und Kirchengeschichte des Mittelalters, Berlin, 1887 , III , 39, lists Vital du Four among those assisting at the Council of Vienne . Also see Archivum Franciscanum Historicum L ( 1950), 150-51 . 12 Conciliorum Oecumenicorum Decreta, editio Altera, Basileae , 336-37, 368—77.


13 Histoire Lit. de la F. , 297, refers to C. Eubel, Bullarium Franciscanum V, 167.



14 years later he was created Cardinal- Priest by the same Clement V, ¹ª who systematically packed the Sacred College with Frenchmen after the transfer of the papacy to Avignon . The Pope continued to employ Vital du Four in the settlement of Franciscan business. After the death of Clement V, Vital du Four campaigned effectively for the election of Pope John XXII ( 1316) and subsequently received many favors from the new pontiff. One of the first crises to confront Pope John was the revival of spiritualist agitation . In a brief dated April 22, 1317 the Pope commissioned Vital du Four to bring back the Spirituals of Narbonne and Beziers to the obedience of their regular superiors. The papal bull Quorundam exigit of October 7, 1317, legislating a mitigated form of the Rule was no doubt obtained through the influence of the Cardinal. When the Spirituals formally rejected the right of the Holy See to tamper with their observance of evangelical poverty, Vital du Four collaborated with ten masters of theology in refuting this flagrant attack on papal power. 15 On November 8, 1319 Cardinal Vital du Four assisted at the translation of the relics of St. Louis de Toulouse in the Franciscan church at Marseilles. In December he took part in the negotiations to have the nephew of Clement V, Bertrand de Got, return 614,000 florins which supposedly had been collected for a crusade. In recognition of his diplomatic skill Vital du Four was consecrated CardinalBishop of Albano in 1321 . The Cardinal remained in favor until April 1322 when the dispute

over poverty broke out once again . In view of his previous opposition to the Spirituals it comes as a surprise to read of a near disastrous episode in which Vital du Four involved himself. When Pope John XXII solemnly posed the question whether it was heresy to maintain that Jesus Christ and His Apostles had never possessed property individually or in common, Vital declared passionately 14 L. Wadding, Annales Minorum, Quaracchi, 1931 , VI, 224 : "(Vital) Vasatensis Vasco, sacrae Theologiae Magister, et Ministro provinciae Aquitaniae, creatus Presbyter Cardinalis ... postea Episcopus Cardinalis Albanus a Joanne XXII factus. . . ." Vital inherited the sacred vestments and liturgical books of Matthew of Aquasparta and John de Murro. 15 C. Eubel, Bullarium Franciscanum V, 1128. The reply of Vital and the ten other masters on June 11 , 1318, is to be found in Denifle, Chartularium Universitatis Parisiensis, Paris, 1889-1897, II , 215—18, n. 760 : "Vota quorumdam magistrorum theologiae contra tres articulos partes fratrum Ord. Minorum. "



for the Franciscan thesis of their absolute poverty, even though the Sovereign Pontiff was of the contrary opinion . There ensued a 16 violent scene in which the Pope berated the Cardinal for heresy.¹ The following year Vital du Four presented a long memorandum defending his stand on the question but finally submitted to the Pope. A few years later (May, 1328) another famous theologian who had sided with the Spirituals, William of Ockham , fled with Michael

16 This scene with P. John XXII was provoked by the consultation which the Pope demanded from each cardinal relative to the poverty of Christ and the Apostles in 1322 (Vat. MS 3740 , f. 3—42 , 80—81 , 85—87) . Pope John XXII proposed this question in his bull Quia nonnumquam of March 26, 1322 : " utrum asserere Christum et apostolos non habuisse aliquid in communi sit haereticum ? ” (C. Eubel, Bullarium Franciscanum V. 224.) Michael of Cesena records in his Chronicle : “ Nam quia in consistorio coram ipso domino Joanne ipse dominus Vitalis dixit quod predicta asserere non erat hereticum, sed erat hereticum contrarium asserere judicandum cum determinationi contente in decretali domini Nicolai III repugnaret, ipse dominus Joannes verbis acerrimis publice arguit et confudit ipsum dominum Vitalem dicens sibi pluries et frequenter : Dicatis hereses vestras, eum de heresi cum animi impetu ob hoc arguens et reprehendens . Unde ipse dominus Vitalis ex hiis comminationibus metu perterritus, de predictis que dixerat inductus fuit ut in consistorio publice diceret culpam suam et solemniter revocaret." The text of Michael is taken from Mollat's notes to Baluzius, Vitae Paparum Avenionensium, 162–63. It is also to be found in Histoire Littéraire de la France, XXXVI , 298-99. On this occasion Robert of Leicester wrote a coherent and persuasive plea on behalf of evangelical poverty. It has recently been edited by C. Walmsley in Collectanea Franciscana 30 ( 1960) , 78—100. William of Ockham probably had Vital in mind when he wrote in a compendium of errors of Pope John that the Pope had been admonished by certain cardinals : " nec profuit correptio cujuscumque. Quinimmo correptores suos et admonitores in tantum terruit quod etiam cardinales episcopi et in theologica facultate magistrati, qui aliquando fortissime sibi restiterant et ipsum reprehenderant de suis erroribus prophanis et detestandis, timentes ipsius furiam a suis correptionibus salutiferes, ne dampna temporalia incurrerent, pavidi cessaverunt. " Mollat, op. cit., p. 164. Vital left no doubt about his theoretical position on the question of poverty : " Hec duo pronomina, meum et tuum, introducta sunt ex malitia gentium ." (Histoire Lit. de la F. , 299.) In practice, however, Vital accumulated a large estate, most of which was left to the Church. A second matter on which the Pope asked for written consultations concerned a reply to the ambassador of the king of France in 1323 about a projected crusade . Vital advised that the Pope exact financial guarantees. (Histoire Lit. de la F., 303-304 .)



of Cesena, Minister General of the Franciscans, to the protection of Louis of Bavaria rather than yield to the Pope.17 These are but a few instances of the troubled times during which Vital du Four was called upon to be a counselor of two popes. As well as administrative ability he had talent as a preacher, which was well recognized . 18 He was called upon to deliver the opening address at the General Chapter of the Franciscans at Marseilles in 1319. His forensic skill is to be seen in the controversies with the Spirituals and the Dominicans . After a busy life as professor, preacher, administrator in the Order, and Counselor of the Church, he died at Avignon August 16, 1327 and was buried in the Franciscan Church there .19 Vital du Four's modern editor, Ferdinandus Delorme, O.F.M. , has compiled a catalogue of the Cardinal's scholastic writings which are preserved in four codices . 20 The following works are listed as 17 A history of the controversy may be found in M. D. Lambert, Franciscan Poverty: The Doctrine of the Absolute Poverty of Christ and the Apostles in the Franciscan Order. 1210-1323, London 1961 . "It (the dispute over the poverty of Christ) led directly to the Michaelist revolt within the Franciscan Order ―― a revolt which numbered among its members William of Ockham. On his own admission, Ockham was led into his radical criticism of the medieval Church from his conviction that in the poverty of Christ controversy the Pope had imposed heresy on the Church . It would be hard to overestimate the effects of Ockham's criticism, directly and indirectly, on the history of the late medieval Church ; and their starting point lies in the Bulls of John XXII . ” p . 224. 18 Eubel, Bullarium Fransc. V, n. 710. For the sermon at Marseilles cf. AFH, XXIII ( 1930), 149 f. Fr. Bernard Delicieux considered Vital in 1319 as one of the four cardinals of the curia most hostile to the cause of the Spirituals. (Histoire Lit. de la F. , 298.) 19 Wadding VI, 391 : "Hoc ipso anno ( 1320) quo creatus Bertrandus , obiisse in eodem civitate alium Cardinalem Minoritam fratrem Vitalem de Furno, Episcopum Albanum , sepultum etiam ad suos Consodales scribit Ciaconus ; sed errasse probant nostri historici, qui anno MCCCXXIII ajunt causam Minorum in controversia de paupertate Christi defendisse, ut tunc narrabimus. " The greater portion of his estate of 20,000 florins was willed to the Augustinian priory of Saint Sernin. 20 Delorme, Quodlibeta Tria, ix-xvii, describes the four codices containing the works of Vital : (a) Cod. 1/15 Collegii S. Isidori Romae, xiv saec. , pagg. 205 numeratione moderna. This contains the De rerum principio. b) Cod. Borghes, 192 Bibl. Vaticanae, saec. XIII- XIV. (c) Cod. Vat. lat. 1095 saec. XIV.



certainly authentic : three Quodlibeta ; six disputed questions De rerum principio (seven questions , however, in a shorter redaction) ; six disputed questions De anima et eius potentiis ; Commentarius in IV Sententiarum ; and eight disputed questions De cognitione. Fr. Delorme is also quite convinced of the authenticity of three Memoralia or memory aids : one extracted from John de Persora ; one from Vital's own writings ; and one from the works of Peter Olivi . The doubtful works include : summaries of twenty-eight questions taken from Godfrey of Fontaine, the Abbreviatura ; nine disputed questions De numero, tempore, instanti , etc. Among the non-philosophical works of Vital du Four first mention

should be made of the Speculum morale totius Sacrae Scripturae, which has been printed at least four times. It is, to be sure, nothing but a moralizing explanation of the Bible, a tissue of citations and banalities. 21 Another Scriptural work is the Postilla super Apocalipsim, a compilation of nine commentaries, including those of St. Augustine, St. Jerome, and the Venerable Bede. In addition to several polemical writings dealing with the question of poverty, the Cardinal left a few sermons and letters. For centuries a number of Cardinal Vital du Four's Disputed Questions were attributed to Duns Scotus. They were included in the pseudo-Scotist treatise De rerum principio by Luke Wadding who published an edition of Scotus ' works at Lyons in 1639.2 Wadding accepted the authenticity of the De rerum principio on the strength of a single manuscript (Codex 15 of the College of St. Isi(d) Cod. 95 Bibl . Communalis Tuderti saec. xiv. A list of his works may be found in P. Glorieux, Répertoire des Maîtres en Théologie de Paris au XIIIe Siècle, Paris, 1933 , II : 137—40, Vital du Four n. 330. P. Glorieux, La littérature quodlibétique Paris ,... 1935 , II : 280-83 . 21 Histoire Lit. de la F. , 296 : “ ... . le Speculum morale totius Sacrae Scripturae, aurait été composé dès 1305. ” Langlois comments, 301 : "Nous avons lu cet ouvrage dans l'édition princeps. Il n'est pas intéressant pour la connaissance du passé, étant tissé de citations et de banalités ; les allusions à l'état de choses que l'auteur avait sous les yeux sont toujours vagues. ” Editions : Lyons 1513 ; Venice 1594, 1603. For a note on the Postilla in Apocalypsim see V. Doucet, AFH, XXVII (1934) , 556–57 . The manuscript is in Bibl. Assise n. 50, 71 . 22 Cod . 1/15 Collegii S. Isidori Romae (cf. Delorme Quodl. Tria, x) . C. Balić, "The Nature and Value of a Critical Edition of the Complete Works of John Duns Scotus, " John Duns Scotus, 1265-1965 ed . J. K. Ryan and B. M. Bonansea, Washington, 1965. (Studies in Philosophy and the History of Philosophy Vol. 3.)



dore in Rome) . Even there the ascription to Scotus is in a colophon of a much later hand . Wadding's edition was reprinted by Vives in the final years of the nineteenth century ; the De rerum principio is to be found in Vol . IV of the Omnia Opera. The De rerum principio was reprinted separately at Quaracchi in 1910. Countless commentators of Scotus were misled because of the importance attached to these unauthentic texts. As a result , they hopelessly confused the picture of Duns Scotus' philosophy. Critical scholarship of the last fifty years, however, has established that most of the Questions in the De rerum principio were written by Vital du Four.23 The studies leading to the restoration began with the discovery of a fourteenth century manuscript which 23 For a brief chronology of the discovery see F. Pelster, "Neue Textausgaben von Werken des hl. Thomas, des Johannes Pecham und Vitalis de Furno, " Gregorianum XXXI ( 1950) , Rome, 298–303 . (This is a review of Delorme's edition of the Quodlibeta Tria.) F. Delorme, "Autour d'un apocryphe scotiste, " La France Franciscane, VIII (1925) , 279—95. F. Delorme, " L'oeuvre Scolastique de Maître Vital du Four d'après le Ms 95 de Todi," La France Franciscaine, IX ( 1926) , 421—471 . E. Longpré, " Pour la défense de Duns Scot, " Revista di filosofia neoscolastica, Milan, XVIII ( 1926), 32—42 . C. R. S. Harris (Duns Scotus, Oxford, 1927, I, Appendix III , 364-75) argued that the De rerum principio was an authentic work of Scotus. P. Glorieux, "Pour en finir avec le De rerum principio, ” Arch. Franc. Hist., XXXI (1938), 225—34. On the basis of Ms 95 Bibl . de Todi , Delorme attributed to Vital three of the questions which are found in the De rerum principio. Questions 13 , 14 , 15 of the Vivès edition of Duns Scotus (IV : 546 f.) correspond to Questions 1 , 2, 4 of the Eight Questions on Knowledge published by Delorme (Archives d'histoire doctrinale et littéraire du moyen âge, II ( 1927 ) , 151-337) .

Scotus Opera : De rerum principio (Cod. 1/15 Col. S. Isidori, Romae, ascribed to Scotus by a much later hand.) Qq. 1-6 De rerum prin.

Qq. 7-12 De anima et eius potentiis Qq. 13-15 De cognitione (I , II , IV) Qq. 16-24 De numeris, tempore et instanti

Other Manuscripts which match the material in the De rerum ascribed to Scotus.

Cod. 95 Todi f. 18a-22a. Alie questiones Vitalis ... the 6 Qq. of De rerum in brief. corresCod. 95 Todi f. 24b-51b pond literally (no title). Cod . 950 Tdi f. 58b-89a between 2 Quodlibeta of Vital. Cod. Borghes 192 Bibl. Vat. anonymous.



ascribed six of these Questions to Vital du Four (Codex 95 , Bibl. Communalis Tuderti) . There are four main arguments for rejecting the Scotistic authorship of the De rerum principio : ( 1 ) its teaching contradicts the certainly genuine works of Scotus and exhibits a strong Augustinian coloring ; (2 ) the author shows a deep concern and intimate acquaintance with the doctrines of Peter Olivi which is not to be found in the Subtle Doctor's other writings ; (3 ) the only manuscript attributing this work to Scotus dates from the end of the fourteenth century, but the actual ascription was added at least a half-century later ; (4) Scotus ' contemporary John of Reading does not mention it among Scotus' other works, neither do his immediate successors, such as William of Ockham. The manuscript evidence for Vital's authorship, then, must be preferred . In addition, Vital du Four refers back to certain Questions of the De rerum principio in his later works, particularly in the De cognitione . The style as well as the doctrine of these Questions is so similar that now Vital du Four is almost unanimously accepted as their author. This study will be principally concerned with the eight disputed questions De cognitione, which were written at Toulouse between 1297 and 1300. The six disputed questions De anima et potentiis (De rerum principio VII - XII) are important for the psychological doctrine of Vital du Four. He frequently refers to them in the De cognitione. The three Quodlibeta, also written during the Toulouse regency, are of lesser value in understanding our author's epistemology.

Qq. 25-26 Finales.

Cod. Borghes 192 Bibl . Vat. anony. but correspond with Quod VIII of Godfrey of Fontaines.

Texts of Vital du Four: Eight disputed questions on the problem of knowledge ed. Delorme , Archives d'histoire doctrinale et littéraire du moyen âge, II ( 1927) , 151–337 . Three Quodlibets : ed . Delorme, Vitalis de Furno Quodlibeta Tria, Spicilegium Pontificii Athenaei Antoniani 5 , Rome 1947. ( This edition includes : extractum triplex ex reportatione IV Sent. Vitalis ; Memoralia Quaestionum J. de Persora ; Memoralia Quaestionum fr . V. de Furno ; Memoralia quarundam Quaestionum fr. P. I. Olivi. ) A brief redaction of the six questions De rerum principio, ed. Delorme, Sophia XX (1942) , 290—327. The first Quodlibet of Vital was originally edited in La France franciscaine XVIII ( 1935) , 113-42 by Delorme.

CHAPTER I THE RATIONAL SOUL The study of Vital du Four's theory of knowledge must begin with his doctrine of the rational soul and of man. It will not be possible to treat his psychology exhaustively, for that would properly involve another study. It will suffice here to take up in summary fashion those positions which have a direct bearing on his epistemology: (1 ) the nature of the soul ; ( 2 ) its relation to the body ; (3) the unity of man ; and (4) the relation of the soul to its faculties. Vital du Four holds that the soul, created out of nothing, is a composite of matter and form. The soul is composed of matter because, like every creature, it is necessarily mixed with potency, which is identified with matter.¹ Every substance, then, whether spiritual or corporeal, has its proper matter as well as its proper form .

The soul occupies a middle position between substances

which are wholly separate from corporeal matter and material forms which are entirely bound up with corporeal matter. Though the soul is destined to inform the body, it can subsist of itself. The soul has certain powers whereby it can operate in a separated state, that is to say, powers which are not dependent upon matter, namely, the intellect and the will.³ Unlike natural forms which are educed from matter, the rational soul is a spiritual form directly produced by God . By that very fact the soul is an individual in and of itself, for every action must terminate at the individual or the hoc aliquid. The soul receives its individuation as a result of its creation by God and without reference

1 De rerum principio VII , 119–146 : " Utrum substantia spiritualis per se subsistens, vel apta nata subsistere, innitatur fundamento materiae ?" 2 De rerum principio VIII , 2 , n. 260 : " Ego autem ad positionem Avicembroni redeo, et primam partem, scilicet quod in omnibus creatis per se subsistentibus, tam corporalibus quam spiritualibus, sit materia, teneo, sicut ostendi in praecedenti quaestione .” ³ Quodl. III, 4, p. 127 : “... sic dico quod anima habet quasdam potentias secundum quod nata est per se subsistere secundum quas . . . non est nata esse actus alicuius partis corporis. "

2 John E. Lynch


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

to the body. If the body were an intrinsic cause of individuation , the soul could not exist apart from the body after death.¹ Souls vary substantially insofar as they participate in the nature of the human species more or less completely. Any number of grades fall within the range of the rational species. Nothing prevents individuals from participating unequally the same species while still remaining men. A species has a greater unity than does a genus, so that the individuals of a species do not differ as widely as do the various species within a genus . Because specific differences are greater, we readily distinguish members of one species from those of another. Within the same species, however, where the differences are more subtle, we do not easily discriminate between them. Even if the senses cannot detect all the different grades within a species, the intellect must conclude that each individual participates the species in a unique way. Nature cannot produce two individuals which participate the same species in an identical mode and grade . One man is more truly human than another man according as his rational soul is more perfect and participates the nature of the species more completely.5

* Quodl. III , 3 , PP. 124—125 : "Item, esse individuum est esse actu, esse actu est esse simpliciter ; quod ergo dat esse individuum, dat esse simpliciter ; ergo corpus daret esse simpliciter animae ; quod est impossibile. --Item , si corpus est causa individuationis animae, aut intrinseca aut extrinseca ; si intrinseca, ergo anima non potest esse sine corpore individua : quod est error ; si extrinseca, ergo efficiens vel finalis : non finalis, quia, ut dicit Aristoteles, corpus est propter animam et finis nobilior est his quae sunt ad finem ; nec efficiens, quia, cum creatio non terminetur nisi ad rem individuam, sequeretur quod corpus crearet animam. - Item impossibile est aliquam rem existere vel subsistere nisi sit individua ; ergo si anima habet esse individuum per corpus, anima subsistit vel existit per corpus ; hoc autem omnino falsum est : per illud enim existit per quod in esse producitur et hoc est Deus, subsistit etiam per naturam suam in quantum est non solum forma, sed hoc aliquid ; unde, cum in quantum est ultima forma media inter substantias omnino separatas et formas materiales habeat quod possit separata existere, non autem hoc habet a corpore, aperte patet quod nec individuationem habet a corpore." ¹ Quodl. I, 9, p. 21 : “ Secundo, quantum ad causam multiplicationis , dicendum quod gradus contenti in latitudine speciei sunt causa multiplicationis individuorum sub illa specie. Verbi gratia, summum in specie animae humanae tenet Christi benedicta anima, infimum ut credo anima antichristi ; et infra istos terminos est latitudo : quia continentur infiniti gradus, id est non tot quin plures, et isti sunt causa quare multiplicantur individua . ”

The Rational Soul


Though the soul can subsist of itself, its natural state is to be the form of the body. The intellective soul as such has an essential inclination towards the body in order to receive perfect subsistence and become a perfect supposit . The soul has this inclination even though it is united to the body through other forms. If it were not the nature of the intellective soul to inform the body, the soul would exist and would carry on intellectual activity just as well separated from the body as united to it. " The soul is united to the body as form to matter. The essential union thus formed is more intimate and more perfect than any other in the physical universe . The more perfect the form, the more dispositions matter requires to receive it . The intimacy of the union of form and matter, which depends upon the degree of preparation, is in direct proportion to the perfection of the form . Since the human soul is the highest form capable of uniting with corporeal matter, the body must be disposed in every possible way to receive the soul." That is why Vital du Four brands the theory of metempsychosis absurd . The proper form must inhere in

Quodl. III, 4, p. 116 : " Cum enim natura generis participetur a speciebus secundum magis et minus et una species perfectius eam participet quam alia, ut rationale quam irrationale . . . nullum inconveniens est quod natura speciei etiam in individuis inaequaliter participetur ; sed quia maior est unitas speciei quam generis ac per hoc minus distant sive differunt individua quam species, ideo eorum substantialis differentia et maior et perfectior est, in individuis autem non sic est nobis nota sicut perfectior et imperfectior participatio generis a suis speciebus. " De rerum principio IX, 2 , n . 347 : ". . . sed etiam in eadem specie unus homo magis est homo, et magis unus quam alius, secundum quod anima rationalis est completior et perfectior quam alia. " De cognitione I , p. 164 : " Intellectus autem quasi syllogizando concludit quod natura se explicat in agendo, quod omnia individua naturaliter producta individuo modo et singulari participant naturam speciei , et etiam duo poma in una arbore nunquam habent eumdem aspectum ad caelum." • De rerum principio IX, 2, n. 322 , n. 323 : “...intellectivum de se, inquantum tale, habet inclinationem essentialem ad corpus . . . ergo si intellectiva non est forma, non habet rationem inhaerentis per se ; ergo ita habet perfectum modum existendi separatim sicut unita ; ergo etiam perfectum modum intelligendi ; quod est contra Augustinum ."

De rerum principio IX, 2, n. 344 : ... intellectus verius et perfectius unitur humano corpori ut forma, quam aliqua forma suae materiae ; ac per hoc inter omnes effectus naturae, homo magis est unus, quam aliquod aliud compositum. "


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

its proper matter. No other body has the complex and exalted dispositions required by the human soul. Thus in man there are two natures, the corporeal and the spiritual . The corporeal nature or body is ordered to the spiritual as the imperfect to the perfect . Although the soul is the form of the body, it is not the only substantial form in man. Vital du Four maintains that there are many different forms in man giving different kinds of being . The body has a number of forms of its own so that the soul is not the immediate form of prime matter. The matter that the soul informs and animates is the body subjected to various subordinate forms. The body must have a corporeal being apart from the rational soul, for at death the body perdures under some formality. The generation , too , of a human being argues for a plurality of forms. Since the rational soul is created directly by God , man could not be said to generate offspring unless there were some form for which he was responsible. If there is to be a term or object of human generation , there must be more than one substantial form in man.10 In addition to the rational soul the body must have subordinate forms which give it its organic complexity and its corporeity.11 The lower forms of the body are related to the higher ones in the way that matter is related to form. The various forms are never terminated until the body has the ultimate or specific form which is the rational soul . The rational soul perfects the body in all its being. There is nothing real in the body which the human soul does not inform ; that is why at death , when the soul departs, all the other forms begin to corrupt . The human body and its parts are the more excellent because they are informed by the intellective soul . Human 8 De rerum principio XII , 2 , n. 429 : " Sed haec ratio plus habet de fatuitate quam de apparenti ratione, pro eo quia propria forma est in propria materia, et actus activorum est in passo et disposito : nullum autem corpus praeter proprium habet talem gradum mixtionis et complexionis qualem requirit rationalis anima, ideo in nullo alio potest esse . " De cognitione I , p . 166 : " Suppono quod in homine sunt plures formae et quod posterior respicit omnia praecedentia in ratione materiae ; non enim anima rationalis est forma materiae primae, sed . . . est perfectio corporis humani secundum omne esse, quod praecedit etiam rationem intellectivi seu rationalis, non quidem dicendo illa esse praecedentia formaliter, sed quia corpus sub illis omnibus est sicut materia animae intellectivae." 10 De rerum principio X, 2 , nn. 363–365 . 11 De rerum principio XI , 2, n. 401 : " Secundo, non sequitur, quod si intellectivum dat esse sensitivum et vegetativum, det esse corporeum vel mixtum , quae sunt generis magis remoti."

The Rational Soul


flesh and bone are more truly flesh and bone than are the corresponding animal components. In giving one being to the whole body, the soul communicates itself to all the members and bestows on them a more vigorous being than they would have through a subordinate form alone.12 Though Vital du Four holds to a plurality of forms in the human body, he refuses to accept any complexity in the soul but insists on its essential unity.18 If substantial multiplicity were introduced in the soul, the soul would then be either corruptible or in fact three souls . He, therefore , rejects Robert Kilwardby's theory that the soul is an integral whole composed of three substances, the vegetative, the sensitive, and the intellective, so that the first functions. as matter to the second, and the second as matter to the third. Since an integral whole dissolves when its parts corrupt , the human soul would corrupt with the corruption of the vegetative and sensitive parts at death . 14 Peter Olivi's theory may be more acceptable , observes Vital , in that it does not jeopardize the immortality of the soul, but it, too , is pernicious. According to Olivi , the soul is composed of three formal parts so that the vegetative and sensitive parts inform the body formally, while the intellective is united to the body only consubstantially. Thus the union of the intellectual form with the body is mediated by a sensitive form. Olivi argues that the intellective form cannot give formal being because no corporeal matter can receive intellectual operations. If the rational soul were per se the form of the body, the body would be intelligent,

12 Quodl. I, 10, p. 23 : " Praeterea, anima rationalis intimo attingit omnia membra corporis et propter hoc verior caro, os, et sic de aliis, et virtuosior est in homine quam in brutis propter huiusmodi nobilis formae intimitatem . . . et sicut anima dando unum esse toti corpori intimat se membris singulis et dat vigorosius esse quam haberent per formam sensitivi solum, sic etiam potentia intellectiva per actum qui est intelligere intimat se potentiis sensitivis et vigorat eas ut virtuosius agant, et propter hoc dicitur videre et audire etc." 13 De rerum principio IX, 2 , nn. 310-349 ; X, 4 , nn . 376—387 ; XI, 2 , nn. 396–403 . In Quodl. I , 12 (pp. 27—30 : “ Utrum vegetativum, sensitivum, et intellectivum in homine sint una essentia vel plures ?") Vital du Four lists seven opinions held by his contemporaries. 14 De rerum principio XI , 2, n. 397. For Kilwardby see his Letter to Peter Confians, ed F. Ehrle, " Beiträge zur Geschichte der mittelalterlichen 1: Scholastik," ALKM. , V ( 1889) , 628 .


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

free, and immortal.

Vital du Four believes, however, that Olivi's

theory leads to the admission of three souls in man . ” . Since Vital du Four strongly insists on the indivisible unity of the human soul, he maintains that the rational soul as such is united to the body as its specific form making man to be man . If the soul is to be a human soul, it must inform the body as rational, for it is not because of his sensitive nature that man is called man.¹ Furthermore , unless the intellective soul were united to the body as its form, there would be no essential ordering of the one to the other . There can be nothing real in the soul which does not inform the body. Besides , experience attests that understanding is not an act of the soul alone but of the composite , which also feels and lives.18 The objection to the intellectual soul being the form of the body assumes that every form equally communicates being and operation to matter. It is argued that just as the body senses, so it must think if the intellective soul is to be its form.19 This need not be the case, Vital maintains , if the hierarchy of forms is kept in mind . The perfection of a form depends upon its separation from matter. The more perfect a form is, the less is its power exhausted in communi-

15 De rerum principio XI, 2 , n . 398. Also see Petrus Johannis Olivi OFM. , Quaestiones in IIm librum Sententiarum, ed . B. Jansen , Quaracchi, 1924, II , 537. For a recent defense of Olivi see, C. Partee , “Peter John Olivi : Historical and Doctrinal Study, " Franciscan Studies, XX ( 1960) , 215—260. L. Hödl , " Anima forma corporis . Philosophisch-theologische Erhebungen zur Grundformel der scholastischen Anthropologie im Korrektorienstreit (1277—1287) , ” Theologie und Philosophie, 41 ( 1966) , 536–556. 16 R. Zavalloni, Richard de Mediavilla et la controverse sur la pluralité des formes, Louvain, 1951 , 340—342 treats this text of Vital du Four. 17 De rerum principio IX, 2, n. 319 : “... ergo sicut corpus humanum dicitur humanum per id quod complet rationem corporis talis in tali gradu organizationis et mixtionis et compositionis, sic anima humana per illud , quod formaliter dicitur humana, necessario habet rationem informantis ; hoc autem est intellectus , non enim dicitur humana per sensum . ” 18 De rerum principio IX, 2 , n. 312 : “ Verum quia , sicut alias est ostensum, ad experimentum animae intrinsecus omnis certitudo quam habet anima de aliquo in via reducitur, sicut esse mobile ad immobile, sic per experimentum, quod est omnis nostrae certitudinis principium, patet quod intellectus forma sit hominis . Circa quod est ostendendum, quia per actus in notitiam potentiae, et per potentiam in notitiam substantiae devenimus, quod intelligere actus est non solius animae, sed et compositi . ”

10 De rerum principio IX, 2, n. 336.

The Rational Soul


cating material operations to matter.20 The highest form capable of uniting with corporeal matter, the human soul, does more than communicate vegetative and sensitive life to the body. True, it does confer a more vigorous animation because it is a rational soul. But as intellectual, the soul soars beyond matter : it is independent of the body and can carry on activity even in a disembodied state.21 The intellective form communicates its actuality to the body, that is, it perfects the body in being , and does this differently from a mere sensitive form . It remains to be seen why the one rational soul communicates a threefold being (vegetative, sensitive, and intellective) , but not corporeal being in man . A higher form contains virtually the lesser perfections of a related genus, not those of a genus more remote. Because plants , animals, and men all belong to the family of living things, the rational form can give sensitive being, but not the corporeal being, which pertains to a more distant genus. The perfections must also be ordered one to another. The vegetative principle of a plant or the sensitive principle of an animal is not ordered to man's rational nature . But the human vegetative and sensitive principles are so ordered . 22 To live , to sense, and to think are three activities of the human soul, subordinated one to another. Far from being 20 De rerum principio IX, 2 , n. 332 : “Aliqualis est ordo in formis omnibus ; quia sicut formae quanto sunt imperfectiores et materiae propinquiores, tanto suas operationes habent magis infirmes, quia materia quasi trahit formam ad suam fidem et fines, et forma quasi trahit materiam ad suum modum, et quanto perfectiores et a materia corporali remotiores sunt formae, tanto operationes perfectiores habent, et minus immersas materiae." 21 De rerum principio XI , 2 , n. 333 . 22 De rerum principio XI , 2 , n. 401 : “'... . non sequitur, quamvis una forma rationalis det esse triplex , scilicet vegetativum, sensitivum et intellectivum, quod propter hoc est necesse quod det esse aliarum. . . . Perfectum enim semper continet imperfectum sui generis propinquioris, non remoti (continet, dico, virtute quantum ad actum primum respectu subiecti, et quantum ad actum secundum respectu operationis, ut per praedictum exemplum patet, et in quantitate, et in omnibus perfectis et imperfectis ordinatis essentialiter) . ... Non enim perfectum sensitivum asini vel muscae potest dare sensitivum equi, quia unum ad alterum non ordinatur. ... Nunc autem, quamvis vegetativum plantae, et sensitivum equi , non ordinentur ad intellectivum hominis, tamen vegetativum et sensitivum hominis ordinantur ad intellectivum et sunt eiusdem generis quodammodo propinqui , scilicet vivi. Secundo, non sequitur, quod si intellectivum dat esse sensitivum et vegetativum, det esse corporeum vel mixtum, quae sunt generis magis remoti."


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

composed of formal parts, then, the intellective soul contains the sensitive and vegetative principles in an eminent way ; it contains them virtually, not substantially or formally. In explaining how the soul animates the body, Vital du Four calls attention to a twofold composition in the human body.23 First, the body is a substance perfectly disposed for the soul by the forma mixti,24 which unifies the heterogeneity of the material elements in the body. The body thus has its own substantial form which gives it corporeity and prepares it for the final perfection, the rational soul . The body has another composition of a special kind whereby the various organs have their determinate character, proportionate to each sense power and apt to receive different sensible species. It seems, therefore, that each organism has a plurality of organic forms which cannot be identified with the forma mixti or the form of corporeity, though the sense organs are necessarily included by a priority of nature in the body ultimately disposed for the human soul . The form of the body qua body, then, is distinct from the specific or rational form and from the forms of the several sense organs. All the previous forms and the matter that they inform stand in a potential relation to the ultimate form , the human soul . For the unity of the composite it suffices that the real parts be ordered one to another.

23 De rerum principio IX, 2, n . 335 : " Propter quod in corpore humano duplex est compositio : una corporis inquantum corpus est substantia mixta, complexionata in altissimo et temperatissimo gradu mixtionis et complexionis ... non includendo in hac compositione distinctionem alicuius organi, appropriati alicui virtuti sensitivae . Et isto modo intellectivum inquantum intellectivum est forma totius corporis, et omnium partium eius, ut unum perfectibile constituunt . . . . Alia vero compositio est in eo corporis , ut est habens proportiones competentes organis, ut sunt susceptiva specierum sensibilium . Et corporis sic accepti sensitivum ut sensitivum est forma. Advertendum etiam hic cum diligentia est, quod anima humana, quae de se est vegetativa, sensitiva et intellectiva, si consideretur ut dans esse substantiale, nec ut sensitiva, nec ut intellectiva est forma corporis ut organici , sed solum ut est corpus mixtum et complexionatum in tali gradu . . . . Nunc autem, ut dicitur, intellectiva non est forma corporis organici ut organicum , nec ut est dans actum primum, nec ut est dans actum secundum, hoc est, nec ut est principium essendi, nec ut est principium operandi ; sensitiva autem quamvis non sit proprie forma et perfecte corporis organici , ut est principium essendi, est tamen eius perfectio inquantum organicum est, inquantum est principium operandi...." 24 See Avicenna, Metaphysica IV, 2 (Venice, 1508) , fol . 85r, 1 , 45.



The Rational Soul

If the body is considered under the first type of composition , that is, prescinding from the sense organs, the intellective soul is the form of the body and of all its parts, bestowing on them substantial being. The intellective soul is the form of the body as of an integral whole, not according as the body is organic or has distinct organs accommodated to the various sense powers. If the body is considered under the second type of composition, that is, as equipped with sense organs, the intellective soul is not the form or principle either of being or of operation. The intellective soul does not give substantial being to the body considered as organic . The sensitive soul is the perfection of the body as organic . Insofar as the soul perfects the body giving it being absolutely, 25 it is present uniformly throughout the body even in the organs . On this level one cannot speak of organic or non-organic parts ; all parts of the body have the same disposition for receiving this act of being. The organs do not differ among themselves, considered as perfected in being by the substance of the soul. The soul may also be considered as the principle of operations . With regard to intellectual or volitional acts, the intellective power is only accidentally in the whole body in that it is identical with the substance of the soul. With respect to bodily operations, the sense power is present in the whole body and in all the organs. When the organs are regarded as perfected by the soul operating through them , the organs do differ ; they require different dispositions to fit them to receive the various sensible species. They are the instruments of the soul.26

25 De rerum principio XI , 3 , n. 417. Quodl. II, 2, P. 54 : " Ut enim dixi in quaestione De potentiis animae, anima, ut consideratur ut perfectio substantialis et formalis dans esse corpori simpliciter, aequaliter perficit et simul totum corpus et omnes eius partes, organicas et non organicas, ita quod omnes habent eandem dispositionem ad hunc actum suscipiendum nec hanc perfectionem unum membrum recipit mediante alio quocumque modo, et isto modo simul a toto et ab omnibus partitibus recipitur et recedit. . . ." 26 De rerum principio XI , 4 , n . 419 : " Ad sextum, quod si organa hominis accipiantur ut perficiuntur in esse primo a substantia animae, sic non differunt inter se, sicut nec anima in informando, sed uno et eodem aspectu respicit ea, sub uno et eodem gradu complexionis et commixtionis, ut paulo antea visum est. Si autem accipiantur ut perficiuntur ab anima tamquam instrumentum coniunctum a motore, ut sunt media operandi , secundum quem modum proprie dicuntur organa, sic inter se differunt, ut sint mediae proportiones sensibilium. ”


The Rational Soul Up to this point the emphasis has been on the soul's perfection

of the body in being, its communication of first act . Now it is necessary to clarify the soul's perfection of the body with regard to operation, its communication of second act. Vital du Four begins by distinguishing between that which thinks or senses and that by means of which these operations take place . " That which acts is the whole man ; that by means of which he acts is the substance of the soul. A further distinction must be made between the remote principle by which one acts and the proximate principle . The remote principle is the substance of the soul as such ; the proximate principle is the power or faculty , that is to say, the soul insofar as it is capable of operating in a particular manner. The sense faculty does not sense per se, because sensation requires the body as an instrument. The proximate and immediate principle of vision, for example, is the faculty joined with the organ of sight . The proximate principle of thought is the intellectual faculty . Unlike the sense faculty, the intellect is not bound up with any corporeal organ or with any part of the body. That is why the separated soul can think and will but not carry on any sense activity. The sense powers remain in a disembodied soul only in a rudimentary form due to the deprivation of the organs . The intellective substance is in matter because it is the ultimate and specific perfection of the human body. The intellective potency as such is in no way the perfection of matter. The intellect as substance is the form of the body ; as potency it is not the form . The sensitive potency , on the other hand , as the principle of operation does perfect the body in its organs.28 Hence it does not follow that if the intellective soul is the form of the body , the body must think even as it feels . The intellective potency as such , as the principle

27 De rerum principio XI, 2 , n. 336. 28 De rerum principio IX, 2, n . 339 : “Tertio modo dicitur separatum a corruptibili materia , quia non habet eam partem sui, nec est eius perfectio, ut est organica ; est tamen in materia, quia est perfectio eius, ut est simpliciter substantia in tali gradu mixtionis et complexionis, sicut dictum est de substantia intellectiva. Quarto modo, quia non habet materiam corporalem partem sui ; est tamen perfectio materiae corruptibilis, non solum ut est substantia mixta et complexionata , sed etiam ut organica. Et isto modo potentia sensitiva, ut est principium operandi , est a materia corporali separata . Intellectiva autem, ut dixi, nec ut dans esse, nec ut principium operandi praecise habet aspectum ad materiam corporalem organicam, ut organica est, secundum quod instrumenta virium sensitivarum. ”

The Rational Soul


of operation, is independent of the body and of bodily organs , even though it is in the whole body as the specific form. The sense power is not only in the body as the substance of the soul, but it is in the organs , perfecting them as the principle of operation . Thus the body senses but does not think. Since the intellective power is united with the body through its substance, but not as a perfection of the body, the intellect is not immersed in matter or restricted in 29 any way."

29 Professor E. Gilson states that, according to Vital du Four, “ The intellective soul is the true and specific form of the body ; but it is not as intimately united to it as the sensitive soul . " History of Christian Philosophy in the Middle Ages, New York, 1955 , p. 694. In the text which Professor Gilson cites (De rerum principio IX, 2 , 2 — n. 325 in the Fernandez edition) , however, Vital du Four is criticizing the opinion of Peter Olivi . Vital had previously expounded Olivi's opinion along with the arguments advanced . Thus in n. 306 : "Est etiam haec unio intima ; cum enim et sensitivum et intellectivum sint simplicia, et in eadem materia spirituali et simplici radicata in uno simplici supposito, ac per hoc sibi invicem unitissima et adhaerentia, non potest intime sensitiva humano corpori uniri, quin etiam eidem corpori intellectiva intime uniatur : non tamen immediate, nisi secundum quod immediatio dicit praesentiam." Later Vital du Four rejects Olivi's opinion . See n. 325 : " Non videtur ergo sufficere dictum, quod intellectivum uniatur unitate consubstantiali, et non formali , corpori. ... Patet etiam, quod haec unio non est intima et fortis. . . ." Vital du Four's texts on the relation of the soul as the intellective form and as sensitive form to the body are not altogether clear. C. Partee in his study of Peter Olivi criticizes Vital : "This complete identity of the three potentiae animae (vegetativa , sensitiva, intellectiva) seems to have been taught by Alexander of Hales, St. Bonaventure, and Duns Scotus, as well as Vital du Four, though we do not believe any of them says with Jansen (i. e . , the editor of Olivi's Quaestiones) , that the anima intellectiva informs the body as intellective. Vital holds a sort of real distinction between a faculty taken as essentia and as potentia, so that it can inform something as essentia and not as potentia, which Olivi ridicules. In Vital's hypothesis of a purely relative distinction of the faculties, he might just as logically hold that the soul could inform the body as sensitive and not as intellective, which, indeed, he seems to do in places, as Olivi points out ; and this is all that Olivi's teaching amounts to, except that he denies the possibility of the faculties being thus completely identified, so as to constitute one simple essence of which they are but different intentions or relations . " (Op. cit. , pp. 252-253) . I must take issue with the criticism of C. Partee. Vital du Four could not have stated any more explicitly that the " anima intellectiva informs the body as intellective. " See, for example, De rerum principio IX, 2 , n. 335 : "Et isto modo intellectivum inquantum intellectivum est forma totius corporis, et omnium partium eius, ut unum perfectibile constituunt."


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four Though the intellect in its proper operations is independent of

any material organ, Vital du Four insists that asthe highest cognitive power it does perfect the sense powers. 30 The intellective power is present to the senses and to their sensations, because all the faculties have their foundation in the substance of the soul, which is present in every part of the body. The powers of the soul are so ordered that the higher powers can attain whatever the lower ones can. Just as flesh and bone are more perfect in being because animated by a rational soul , so the sense powers are perfected in their operation because they are rooted in the rational soul.31 As immaterial and not immersed in matter, the intellect encompasses the acts of all lower cognitive powers. The intellect " intimates" itself to the sense powers invigorating them to act more perfectly.

There is some confusion, to be sure, with regard to the organs of the body. Vital states that the soul does not give substantial being to the body as organic ; the soul is not the form either as sensitive or as intellective (see n. 23). Yet he does say that the sensitive soul is the form of the various organs insofar as the organs are proportioned to the various sense powers. He adds the qualification that the sensitive soul is not properly or perfectly the form of the body qua organic as the principle of being, but only as the principle of operation. Then he concludes : " Ex praedictis patet, quod intellectiva forma aliter communicat actualitatem suam corpori, hoc est, sub ratione perfectibili respicit corpus, ut dat actum primum, quam sensitiva.” (n. 335.) Perhaps the clearest text on the organs of the body is found in a discussion of the soul and its faculties, De rerum principio XI , 4, n. 419 : “. . . si organa hominis accipiantur ut perficiuntur in esse primo a substantia animae, sic non differunt inter se, sicut nec anima in informando, sed uno et eodem aspectu respicit ea, sub uno et eodem gradu complexionis et commixtionis, ut paulo antea visum est . Si autem accipiantur ut perficiuntur ab anima tamquam instrumentum coniunctum a motore, ut sunt media operandi, secundum quem modum proprie dicuntur organa, sic inter se differunt, ut sint mediae proportiones sensibilium . " 30 De cognitione I , p. 166 : “ Sicut ergo esse humanum in ratione perficientis est praesens omni alii esse in homine, sic potentia, quae consequitur hominem in quantum homo, est praesens in ratione perficientis omnibus aliis potentiis, quae consequuntur hominem secundum alios modos essendi ; ergo omnibus sensitivis." 31 Quodl. I , 12, p. 30 : " (Anima rationalis) ut autem universalis facit omnes effectus inferiorum potentiarum vigorando eas in actione et propter hoc homo habet perfectiorem carnem et ossa et nervos quam bruta, et pari ratione caro mortua non est ita perfecta caro sicut viva, quia tunc non vigoratur forma carnis in actione sua per formam vivi. "

The Rational Soul


Intellectual activity terminates in the senses but does not take 32 place through sense organs.3 In the Franciscan tradition Vital du Four holds that the powers

of the soul are really the same as the substance of the soul ; they constitute a single essence, that of the soul informing the body.33 The powers are not distinct from the soul, nor do they differ absolutely among themselves. It is possible, however, to speak of a differentiation of powers insofar as the soul is related to various objects and operations. The soul is called a form in relation to the body to which it gives substantial being. It is said to have faculties only in relation to its activities, which have their source in the substance of the soul itself. 34 Thus the will designates the soul's relation to the good, and the intellect its relation to truth. Considered as a substantial form perfecting the body, bestowing substantial being upon it, the soul is without distinction or determination . As a principle of operation , on the other hand, the soul does have a certain plurality and distinction , because it is related to objects which are formally distinct. This is not to say that the soul acts through any faculty really different from itself. In this respect the soul is a substance under the mode of an accident. 35 What are the various ways in which the soul may be related to its objects ? Since some objects such as truth and goodness are not limited or determined in any manner, the soul must know them universally. Accordingly, the soul is wholly unlimited and not united to an organ . This relationship " causes" the intellective power. 32 Quodl. I, 10, p. 23 : “... sicut anima dando unum esse toti corpori intimat se membris singulis et dat vigorosius esse quam haberent per formam sensitivi solum, sic etiam potentia intellectiva per actum qui est intelligere intimat se potentiis sensitivis et vigorat eas ut virtuosius agant, et propter hoc dicitur videre et audire etc." 33 De rerum principio XI , nn. 391—422 : “ Utrum anima sit sua potentia ?" Quodl. I, 12, pp. 27–30 : “ Utrum vegetativum, sensitivum, et intellectivum in homine sint una essentia vel plures ?" 34 De rerum principio XI , 3 , n. 406 : “ . . . substantia animae est idem quod sua potentia realiter, ita quod anima dicitur forma per comparationem ad corpus quod perficit, cui dat esse substanțiale ; sortitur vero nomen et rationem potentiae solo respectu et comparatione ad varia obiecta et operationes . ..." 35 De cognitione IV, 2, p. 249 : " Et voco hic ‘ accidens, ' sive sit vere accidens, ut caliditas in igne, sive sit substantia sub modo accidentis, sicut dictum fuit de potentiis animae. " De rerum principio XI , 4, n. 420 : " Sic anima inquantum anima est de genere substantiae, inquantum potentia est in genere relationis."


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The intellect is distinct from the will, which is also universal, in that the intellect indicates a relationship of knowledge rather than one of affection. Other objects are restricted to certain modes of being, such as sensible being. The soul, then, must have a relationship that is limited to such being . The determination of the relation does not come from the soul itself, because the soul would at the same time be limited and unlimited . The determination arises from the body, not as the body is perfected by the soul, but as the body is the means and instrument of the soul's operation . In general , the sense powers are constituted through the soul's relation to sensible objects as determined by bodily organs. The soul, considered as the principle of sensation, is united to the sense organs as the artisan to his tools.36 . There are as many senses as there are distinct organs. 37 The sense power consists in the relation of the organ to its particular object . The organs are adapted to various kinds of objects through certain dispositions found in the organs : one in the eye for receiving color, another in the ear for receiving species of sound , and so forth . The sense powers cannot act without the body ; they need a corporeal instrument. 38 This does not mean that the particular senses cease to exist when the bodily organs corrupt . As principles of operations the sense powers remain radically in the separated soul, even though they cannot operate due to the lack of bodily organs.39 A certain plurality and distinction , then, may be attributed to the soul inasmuch as it is related to different kinds of objects. It is these relations that constitute the powers. With respect to the soul the powers are alike and identical with the soul. They differ according to the soul's relation to various objects. Just as one relation is not another, neither is one power the same as another. Con-

36 De rerum principio XI , 3 , 2, n. 418 . "" oportet ergo in homine 37 Ibid. Also see Quodl. III , 10, 1 , p . 179 : omne sensibile ordinaipsum ad esse omnem virtualitatem sensitivam, quia tur ; sed varietas sensuum varietatem requirit organorum ; hanc autem varietatem nullum corpus simplex potest habere , cum causetur ex diverso gradu mixtionis ; ergo necessario quod perficitur ab anima rationali est corpus mixtum." 38 Quodl. III , 4, 4 , P. 127. 39 De cognitione I , I , I p. 172 : "... sensus particulares non corrumpuntur quantum ad virtutes, sicut ostensum fuit in quaestione De potentiis animae, sed quantum ad organa et quantum ad usum. . . .”

The Rational Soul


sidered as potencies, the intellect and will, for example, have different essences. It is not inconsistent for things to be the same in essence when essence is taken as substance and to be different in essence when essence is taken relatively.40 Vital du Four's basic reason for holding to a real identity of the soul with its powers is the principle of economy. He will not postulate an unnecessary plurality of principles. In general, a simple explanation is to be preferred to one more complex ; beings should not be multiplied.41 Since all activities of the human soul can be accounted for without a real composition , no additional formalities are to be posited . He also advances theological reasons for his position. The Christian doctrine that man is the image of God can best be upheld by comparing the relation of the soul and its faculties to the Trinity - one divine essence distinguished only by relations.42 Since the soul is destined for immediate union with God who is eminently one, the faculties of intellect and will through which the soul is united to Him must be one with the soul, if the union is to be perfect. Experience , too , confirms this identity. It is a fact that one power exercises an influence on another, intensifying or impeding the operation. This phenomenon can easily be accounted for if the powers are all essentially the same.43 Just as the intelligible and the sensible are really the same in the object , so are the potencies by which the object is apprehended . The following chapters on the objects and process of knowledge will draw upon the psychological background we have been considering. In the development of Vital du Four's theory of knowledge 40 De rerum principio XI , 3 , 2, n. 418 ; XI , 4, ad 7, n. 422. 41 De rerum principio XI, 2, n. 401 : “Generale enim principium est, quod si aliquid potest aeque bene fieri per pauciora sicut per plura, nullo modo talis pluralitas debet poni ... Si igitur anima humana, absque compositione multiplicis partis formalis, per solam intellectivam formam potest facere quidquid potest cum illa triplici formalitate, nullo modo debet talis triplex formalitas in ea poni. " (Vital du Four cites Aristotle's Physics I, 7, 189b23 . ) 42 Quodl. I, 12, p. 29 : "Praeterea, sic salvatur melius ratio imaginis quam alio modo : quia essentiae respondet essentia et diversis relationibus personas constituentibus diversi respectus constituentibus diversi respectus constituentes potentias ." 43 De rerum principio X, 4, n. 379 : " Movet nos ad hoc experimentum ; quia videmus quod aliae facultates animae in suis actibus se retrahunt, et impediunt, et expediunt ; quod non esset nisi in una substantia animae radicaliter essent. Item, experimur, quod simul separantur. " Also see De rerum principio XI, 3 , 1 , n. 412 .


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it will be necessary to amplify some of the positions just presented . The perfection of the senses by the intellect , for example, plays an important part in the knowledge of singular things. The implications of Vital's psychology for his theory of knowledge will be brought out as our study progresses .

CHAPTER II THE KNOWLEDGE OF SINGULAR THINGS Philosophers in the last quarter of the thirteenth century showed an increasing concern for concrete singular things, a concern that would culminate fifty years later in the conceptualism of William Ockham with the denial of all reality to universality. This trend, so characteristic of all Franciscan School, seems to have been inspired by Roger Bacon's Communia Naturalium written about 1268.¹ In Roger's opinion the emphasis on the universal at the expense of the singular has been the source of difficulties in the study of logic, of natural science, and of metaphysics. A single individual is worth more than all the universals in the world . Experience bears witness that in such important affairs as the acquisition of food , clothing, and other necessities, we search out singular things ; universals are in no way helpful. Theology confirms this. God has not created the world for universal man but for singular persons ; He has redeemed individuals and prepared beatitude for them. Obviously , then , the particular has a primacy over the universal. To determine the order and excellence of all things, one must start with the individual. Bacon maintains that the whole crowd of philosophers (totum vulgus philosophorum) exalt the universal because of certain texts in Aristotle . The ignorant worship the universal because Aristotle said that it is always and everywhere, while the singular is only in

¹ Professor E. Gilson (History of Christian Philosophy in the Middle Ages, New York, 1955 , p. 311 ) remarks : " Experimental science (scientia experimentalis), whose name seems to appear for the first time in the history of human thought under the pen of Roger Bacon, prevails over all the other kinds of knowledge by a triple prerogative ." (Bacon attributes the term scientia experimentalis to Ptolemy. Cf. Gloss on Secretum Secretorum, V ; ed. Steele, V. 9. ) Fr. Theodore Crowley (Roger Bacon : The Problem of the Soul in his Philosophical Commentaries, Louvain, 1950 , p. 64) states, “ Duhem's study proves conclusively that the work in its present state was written or compiled after 1268. " According to Fr. Crowley, the Communia Naturalium and the Communia Mathematica contain the maturest expression of Bacon's thought on many problems .

3 John E. Lynch


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time and place . Bacon sets out to give a fresh interpretation of the Philosopher and thus demonstrate the pre-eminence of the individual.2 The problem was not to be confined , however, to the interpretation of Aristotelian texts. On March 7, 1277 the Bishop of Paris struck out at a naturalism which stressed the rights of pagan nature against the Christian supernatural and which preferred philosophy to theology. At this time 219 propositions were censured , some of which were taken from the philosophy of St. Thomas. Soon afterwards an English Franciscan, William de Mare , wrote a Correctoria, a series of corrections to be read in conjunction with the writings of St. Thomas. One of his chief criticisms centers around Aquinas' teaching on the knowledge of singular things . He takes that teaching to be an outright denial of the possibility of any knowledge of singulars. William of Mare appeals to St. Augustine as a champion of direct intellection of singulars . St. Thomas is stigmatized as opposed to the faith, to St. Augustine , to philosophy , and to good morals . When the Franciscans officially adopted William of Mare's Correc-

2 Roger Bacon, Communia Naturalium (Opera hactenus inedita Fratris Rogeri Baconis) , ed. R. Steele , Oxford 1905 , II , 92-95 . For a treatment of Aristotle's doctrine see : A. Preiswerk, " Das Einzelne bei Platon und Aristoteles," Philologus Suppl . band 32 ( 1939 ) ; A. M. de Vos, " La ' Vraie Substance ' d'après la Métaphysique d'Aristote , " Library of the Xth International Congress of Philosophy, Amsterdam, 1949, I , 1094-1098 . (This is a summary of " Het ' Eidos ' als ' Eerste Substantie ' in de Metaphysica van Aristoteles" Tijdschrift voor Philosophie IV ( 1942 ) , 57—102 ; S. Mansion, Le Jugement d'Existence chez Aristote, Louvain, 1946 . 3 Chartularium Universitatis Parisiensis , ed . H. Denifle and A. Chatelain, Paris, 1889, I , 543-558 . " The list of the Thomistic propositions involved in the condemnation is longer, or shorter according as it is compiled by a Franciscan or by a Dominican . P. Mandonet, O.P. , counts about twenty of them. " (E. Gilson, History of Christian Philosophy , p . 728 , n. 52. ) 4 P. Glorieux, Les premières polémiques thomistes ; I. Le " Correctorium QUARE," édition critique, Kain (Belgium) , 1927 (Bibl . Thomiste) , IX , 12-14. V. Heynck, " Zur Datierung des ' Correctorium fratris Thomae Wilhelms de la Mare' Ein unbeachtetes Zeugnis des Petrus Johannis Olivi," Franziskanische Studien, 49 ( 1967 ) , 1-21 . A. Pelzer, " Prétendus auteurs de repliques au Correctoire de Guillaume de la Mare," Etudes d'histoire littéraire sur la scolastique médiévale . Receuil d'articles mis à jour à l'aide des notes de l'auteur par Adrien Pattin et Emile Van de Vyver, Louvain, 1964. (Philosophes Médiévaux VIII).

The Knowledge of Singular Things


toria at the Council of Strasbourg in 1282 , the controversy was broadened to a doctrinal dispute with the Dominican Order. 5 In his commentaries on the works of Aristotle, as well as in his more personal works, St. Thomas returned again and again to the problem of an intellectual knowledge of singulars . Strictly speaking, he asserts , our intellect does not know singulars, but only universals. Singulars are known incidentally (per accidens) . By direct or per se knowledge, that is, by knowledge through the intelligible species, the intellect knows the universal ; it knows the singular indirectly. To attain the material singular, the intellect must act in collaboration with the sense powers in a composite, undivided operation® . St. Thomas tried many times to explain how the intellect works with the senses to produce this indirect knowledge of the singular. The key to the problem is the mind's association with the imagination in the production of knowledge . The mind has contact with singulars (se immiscet) insofar as it has continuity (continuationem) with the sensitive powers, which have particulars for their object ." Just as continuity between a sensible object and the sense knowledge of it is maintained through the sense species , which is abstracted from the object , so there is a certain continuity between the intellect and the phantasm from which the intelligible species is abstracted. More often St. Thomas uses the term reflexio to designate the action by which the intellect knows singulars . The mind in knowing its object, namely, some universal nature , reflects or returns to a knowledge of its own act, then to the species which is the principle

5 M. Burbach , " Early Dominican and Franciscan Legislation regarding St. Thomas," Mediaeval Studies, IV ( 1942) , 141–144 . De ver., II , 6 : ed . Spiazzi , p . 42a : “ ... per se loquendo, singularia non cognoscat, sed universalia tantum. Omnis enim forma, in quantum huiusmodi, universalis est ... Sed per accidens contingit quod intellectus noster singulare cognoscit . " Also see S. T. I , 86, 1 ; Quodl. XII , 11 . ' De ver., X, 5 ; ed . Spiazzi , p . 199b : " Sed tamen mens per accidens singularibus se immiscet, inquantum continuatur viribus sensitivis, quae circa particularia versantur. " See G. P. Klubertanz, " St. Thomas and the Knowledge of the Singular, " New Scholasticism, XXVI ( 1952) , 135—166 . 8 De ver. , II , 6 ; ed Spiazzi , p . 42a : “ ... unde, sicut species quae est in sensu , abstrahitur a rebus ipsis, et per eam cognitio sensus continuatur ad ipsas res sensibiles ; ita intellectus noster abstrahit speciem a phantasmatibus, et per eam cognitio eius quodammodo ad phantasmata continuatur."


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

of its act, and finally to the phantasm from which it has abstracted

the species." St. Thomas emphasizes that the movement of the sense powers terminates in the intellect . There is a line of causality, a continuity, which the intellect can retrace to obtain some knowledge of singulars . In the same vein he speaks of the intellect bending back to the imagination and sense, " to apply" the universal species, which it has abstracted from singulars , to the singular form retained in the imagination . The intellect thus connects the two : "intellectus speciem universalem, quam a singularibus abstraxit, applicat formae singulari in imaginatione servatae ." 10 For complete intellectual knowledge, St. Thomas insists , the singular must be known. The nature of a stone or of any other material thing cannot be known completely and truly, unless it is known as existing in the particular. But we apprehend the particular through sense and imagination. Hence it is necessary, in order that the intellect may actually understand its proper object, that it turn to the phantasms to see the universal nature existing in a particular.11 Though the knowledge of singulars does not strictly belong to the perfection of speculative knowledge, such knowledge is essential to the perfection of practical knowledge. " For it is not important, nor does it contribute much to the perfection of the intellect to know the variable truth of contingent, operable things. " ' 12 Only the practical sciences deal with contingent things inasmuch as they are contingent, that is, as particulars . Man's intellectual knowledge of singulars in the philosophy of St. Thomas is, at best , indirect . Though we can know natures and essences, we merely describe individuals or point them out in experience. We know intellectually that they are individuals , but we do not grasp them in their individuality. Material individuality escapes the capacity of human understanding . The intellect knows De ver. X, 5 ; ed . Spiazzi, p . 199b : “ Et sic mens singulare cognoscit per quandam reflexionem prout scilicet mens cognoscendo obiectum suum, quod est aliqua natura universalis , redit in cognitionem sui actus, et ulterius in speciem quae est actus sui principium, et ulterius in phantasma a quo species est abstracta ; et sic aliquam cognitionem de singulari accipit. " 10 In II Sent. , d . 3 , q . 3 , a. 3 , ad 1 (ed . Mandonnet, II , 122 ) . 11 S. T. I, 84, 7. 12 S. T. III , II, I ad 3. Also see In Eth . Ar. VI, lect. 3 ; ed . Spiazzi , n. 1152.

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such individuality externally, as it were, as a determination of the here and now of sense. Unable to assimilate the material singular, the intellect must be content with knowing it indirectly by some reference to sense knowledge.¹³ So much for the indirect knowledge of singulars which William of Mare considered to be in fact no knowledge at all . Within a year or two of Bishop Tempier's 1277 condemnation , Matthew of Aquasparta, the famous Italian disciple of St. Bonaventure, took up the question of the knowledge of singulars14 and stressed that the truths of faith, the authority of divine precept , and the demands of reason , all oblige us to admit that the human intellect does indeed know singulars.15 Since divine revelation concerns such singular events as the Incarnation, the death and resurrection of Christ , and the Redemption, we must know singulars through faith, which is, to be sure, an act of the intellect . God has further instructed us to love our neighbor. This we cannot do in the abstract or universal ; we must know and love individuals. Reason , too , advances convincing arguments for such knowledge . For example, among powers that are ordered one to another, the higher power can accomplish more perfectly whatever the lower one can . If no one doubts that sense and imagination can apprehend the singular, why should there be any question of the intellect doing so ? Again, the intellect would not be able to abstract the universal from the particular unless it first knew the singular. Nor would the intellect be able to syllogize without a prior knowledge of particular terms. The fact, then, that singulars are known must indubitably be granted, but Matthew admits that it is difficult to see the mode in which such intellection takes place. After giving a faithful exposé

13 For additional information on St. Thomas ' doctrine see J. Webert, "'Reflexio'. Étude sur les opérations réflexives dans le psychologie de Saint Thomas d'Aquin, " Mélanges Mandonnet, Paris, 1930, I. 285-325 . J. Mar" Laval Théologique et cotte, "The Knowability of Matter ' Secundum se," Philosophique, I ( 1945 ) , 103-118 . J. S. Stromberg, " An Essay on Experimentum," Laval Théologique et Philosophique, 23 ( 1967) , 76-115 ; 24 (1968), 99-138. 14 Matthew of Aquasparta, Quaestiones disputatae de fide et de cognitione, Quaracchi, ed. 2 , 1957, Q. IV, 274-291 . The introduction states that these questions were disputed at Paris c. 1278-1279. 15 Matthew De cog. , IV, 279 : " Dicendum indubitanter quod intellectus noster cognoscit sive intelligit singularia ; et hoc necessario convincit veritas fidei, auctoritas divini praecepti et violentia argumenti . "


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of St. Thomas' position , Matthew judges it unsatisfactory because it allows a knowledge of singulars only through a reflection on phantasms. How can the intellect know the singular in the phantasm when the phantasm is not actually intelligible ? And how can the singular be known in the intellect if the intelligible species must be stripped of all individuating notes ?16 . As for himself Matthew of Aquasparta argues that the intellect knows singulars properly and per se, not per accidens . It knows singulars through singular species and universals through universal species. By a universal species every man is known insofar as he is a human being ; but for knowledge of this man , the intellect must have a singular species of him. Thus the intellect will have as many singular species as it knows individual men. Although the first apprehension of a singular is through sense, the intellect comes to know it without the aid of sense or imagination.17 The intellect has abstract knowledge of an individual man with those conditions and circumstances that distinguish him from other men , but it still needs the senses to know of the singular's existence here and now. Roger Marston, another Franciscan writing after 1282 , agrees with Matthew of Aquasparta that the intellect has direct knowledge of the singular : " Concedo igitur quod singulare per se ab intellectu cognoscitur et directe. "' 18 The universal is the primary object of the intellect , as color is of sight . But the singular is the per se object. Just as color of itself cannot move the sense, but only through a definite color , so the universal cannot be the per se object of the intellect . 19 Every singular, Roger Marston avers , has its proper and distinct truth and, therefore, must fall within the intellect's range . Every individual has its proper quiddity by which it differs in number from another individual. It is known by a singular intelligible species. Every individual has a proper quiddity by which it differs numerically from every other individual . . . Just as every species [ subdivision of a genus]

16 Ibid ., p. 28 . 3 17 Ibid. , p. 285. 18 Roger Marston, Quaestiones disputatae de emanatione aeterna, de statu naturae lapsae et de anima, Quaracchi, 1932, Q. II , 240 . 19 Ibid. , p . 238 : "Veritas rei universalis est obiectum intellectus primum et non per se, sicut color visus ; veritas autem rei singularis est obiectum per se, prout ' per se ' dividitur contra ' per accidens, ' sicut color albus vel niger est obiectum visus. "

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has a common quiddity by which it is known, so every individual has a singular quiddity.20 When the intellect understands a universal, Roger Marston continues, it denudes from its apprehension all individual signed matter. When it understands a singular substance , it denudes the " appendages" of matter (denudat ipsum ab appendiciis materiae) , namely, accidents manifesting individuation which are apprehended by the senses -corporeity and sensibility.21 Thus the intellect makes a triple abstraction. In the first it abstracts a singular intelligible species, leaving aside accidents ; in the second it abstracts a common quiddity from several substances ; in the last it abstracts the genus to which many species belong. A substance is formally known by the singular intelligible species. A common quiddity could not be abstracted unless the individuals were first directly known . No phantasm suffices to manifest a substance, for every phantasm is an accident and quantified.22

Vital Du Four Following as he did these Franciscan Masters at Paris, Vital du Four could not help but be deeply concerned with the problem of how singulars are known.23 Sometime between 1289 and 1297 he took up the problem in an important disputed question.24 He is 20 Ibid. , p . 241 : Habet tamen secundum veritatem quodlibet individuum suam propriam quidditatem qua differt numero ab alio individuo ... sicut species habet quidditatem communem qua cognoscitur, sic individuum singulare. 21 Ibid. , p. 242 : "Ad sextum, quod intellectus, quando debet intelligere universale, denudat apprehensum a materia, hoc est ab individuo signato ; quando vero intelligere vult singulare substantiae, denudat ipsum ab appendiciis materiae, quae sunt accidentia individuationem ostendentia, et . . . materialitas haec nihil aliud est quam corporeitas et sensibilitas, sub quibus a virtutibus sensitivis apprehenditur.” 22 Ibid. , p. 240. 23 For a résumé of the controversy over direct and indirect knowledge of singulars see : H. D. Simonin, " La connaissance humaine des singuliers matériels d'après les maîtres franciscains de la fin du XIIIe siècle, ” Mélanges Mandonnet, Paris, 1930, II , 289–303 ; C. Bérubé, “ La connaissance intellectuelle du singulier matériel au XIIIe siècle , " Franciscan Studies, XI . 2 (1951 ), 157-201 . C. Berubé, La connaissance de l'individuel au moyen âge, Montréal , 1964. 24 De cognitione, Q. I , pp. 156-185 : " Supposito quod anima intellectiva in quantum intellectiva sit forma corporis, est quaestio nostra utrum intellec-


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

said to have made the most thorough exploration of the knowledge of singulars undertaken in the thirteenth century. It is not surprising, therefore, that later Scotists, ascribing some of Vital du Four's works to Scotus, have drawn heavily upon this analysis . The authentic texts of Scotus are not nearly as rich as those of Vital du Four on the mode of intuitive knowledge of singulars. Scotus will have the word, the technical expression or definition , but Vital already had the notion . Vital du Four's analysis, more psychological than metaphysical, grows out of his conviction that knowledge must be attributed to the whole man . Man as a unit , body and soul, carries on intellectual activity.25 tus coniunctus intelligat singulare. " (All further references to the eight questions on knowledge edited by F. Delorme in the AHDL will be indicated merely by the number of the question . ) 25 C. Bérubé, " La connaissance intellectuelle, " p . 193 : "Cette question de Vital sur la connaissance du singulier nous semble ce qui a été écrit de plus complet sur ce problème au XIIIe siècle et il ne faut pas s'étonner que les scotistes y aient puisé, depuis Wadding , la substance de leurs exposées . Duns Scot lui-même ne sera pas si riche quant au mode de la connaissance intuitive du singulier. Il aura le mot, la définition technique, mais déjà Vital a la chose . Il l'enchâsse dans une analyse psychologique de la connaissance dont saint Thomas et Duns Scot pourraient avantageusement étoffer l'un son intellection indirecte, l'autre son intuition du singulier. ” In his later work Bérubé retracts this judgement of Vital's theory : “On devine dès lors que nous ne pouvons nous ranger sans de sérieuses restrictions à l'avis des historiens qui voient dans l'intellection directe du singulier proposée par Vital , l'équivalent de l'intuition , tout en reconnaissant que Vital ne lui donne pas ce nom. A vrai dire, l'attribution au cardinal Vital du Four de l'intuition du singulier matériel est devenue classique, au point que son dernier historien écrit sans hésiter : "Alle Autoren, die über diese Lehre des Vitalis geschrieben haben , geben zu , daß es sich hier um eine intuitive Erkenntnis handelt" (2 ) . Et il cite à l'appui le témoignage de H. D. Simonin, O.P. , et de A. Pisvin, O.F.M. Nous-même écrivions jadis : Duns Scot "aura le mot, la définition technique (de l'intuition) , mais déjà Vital a la chose" (3 ) . Mais nous croyons aujourd'hui que ce jugement ne tenait pas un compte suffisant de la notion de l'intuition propre à Vital . Nous venons de le noter, Vital en effet n'emploie pas le mot intuition à propos de la connaissance intellectuelle du singulier matériel. Ce fait n'a pas échappé au P. Léo de Untervintl, O.F.M. Cap. , pas plus que le fait que Vital ne parle que d'une intellection per accidens de l'actualité du singulier. Aussi ne propose-t-il qu'une intuition au sens large, ou intuition per accident. Mais voilà tout justement ce qui nous arrête . Cela a-t-il un sens pour Vital ? Nous ne le pensons pas et voici pourquoi . ” (p . 126) I should like to argue, however, that Vital du Four does in fact hold to an intellectual intuition of the singular. He distinguishes (n. 88 infra)

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Vital du Four begins by discussing the relationship between sense knowledge and intellectual knowledge. Perhaps the most characteristic theme in Vital's philosophy is the unity of operation in man. The union of soul and body is a substantial union , more intimate and perfect than any other in the physical universe . 26 The human soul, the highest form capable of uniting with corporeal matter, bestows upon the composite the noblest being possible. Man is thus more truly one than any composite in nature, for unity and being are convertible and proportionate.27 Though vigorously insisting on the substantial unity of man and the unity of the human soul, Vital du Four acknowledges subordinate bodily forms which contribute to the human composite their own proper being. These forms place the body in potency to the rational soul , so that the soul perfects the acts of all other forms and bestows upon them a more vigorous being. This may be seen from the fact three acts of the intellect (de actione intellectus intuitiva, reflexiva , collativa) . In its first act, which is intuitive, the intellect apprehends the actual existence of the sensible thing. Sometimes Vital uses speculari as an equivalent term for intuition (n. 54 infra). The intellect deals with the knowledge of actual existence in a threefold way : speculatively, reflexively, and comparatively (speculando, reflexive, et comparando (n. 59 infra) . In a later Question, treating the soul's knowledge of itself, because he is closely following Matthew of Aquasparta, Vital will contrast speculative and intuitive knowledge. The first is a quidditative knowledge of a thing ; the latter is a grasp of the thing in its actual existence . (Q. IV, pp. 232—233 . ) It does not weaken the argument for intuition to admit that the intellection must be through the medium of the senses. How else could the intellect know external material reality except through sensation ? Furthermore I cannot agree with Untervintl that Vital holds the intellect knows the actuality of a singular only per accidens . When Vital uses the term per accidens he is referring to the connection that the intellect has with an organ. It is not in the very nature of the intellect to be bound up with an organ. Per accidens , however, it needs an organ to know an existing material thing. Indeed, Vital insists that the intellect perfecting the sense power truly knows that a singular sensible thing exists. (... quod talis vis sensitivam perficiens vere cognoscat esse singulare sensible ut est in anima coniuncta, patet. Q. I , p . 172) . 26 De rerum principio IX, 2 , n . 344 : “ . . . intellectus verius et perfectius unitur humano corpori ut forma, quam aliqua forma suae materiae ; ac per hoc inter omnes effectus naturae, homo magis est unus, quam aliquod aliud compositum. ” 27 De rerum principio IX, 2, 4, n . 345 : “ Item, unum et esse . . . convertuntur et proportionantur : sed tota ratio essendi quae potest excogitari dari alicui "" composito naturali, datur ab intellectiva suae materiae . . .'


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that when the soul departs at death , the other forms begin to corrupt.28 Just as man's corporeal nature is ordered to his spiritual nature as the imperfect to the perfect , so is sense cognition ordered to intellectual cognition . Sense knowledge is confused , indeterminate, and indistinct . As Aristotle said, children at first call all men " father" and only gradually distinguish among them. It is frequently difficult, Vital continues, to identify a person at a distance ; a closer inspection is needed . Similarly there is natural progression from sense knowledge to intellectual knowledge . The latter is more certain and more perfect.29 On the level of sense the lowest and most basic cognition is that which apprehends the actual existence of a sensible thing. Sensible being as such is fundamental to nature . What can be produced or conceived of nature that is not sensible ? Since nothing is less abstract than the actual existence of a sensible thing , the potency that grasps it must be the lowest and least abstractive , namely, the particular sense power.30 The cognitive powers form a kind of hierarchy in which the more perfect are more abstractive and simple ; they have a greater degree of independence in their operation . The particular sense power, on the other hand , in order to act requires an organ, the presence of the object, certain minimal conditions of distance, and a medium of transmission . The common sense and the imagination, more removed from matter, do not need nearly as much. A power so composite and non-abstractive as the particular sense is at the bottom of the scale of cognition.31 The grossest kind of cognition is that which involves no abstraction, but which serves as the basis of abstraction . All abstraction begins with a thing's actual existence , which is in no way abstract, either in reality or in concept , for the actual existence of a thing 28 De cognitione I , p . 166 : " Suppono quod in homine sunt plures formae et quod posterior respicit omnia praecedentia in ratione materiae ; non enim anima rationalis est forma materiae primae, sed ... est perfectio corporis humani secundum omne esse, quod praecedit etiam rationem intellectivi seu rationalis, non quidem dicendo illa esse praecedentia formaliter, sed quia corpus sub illis omnibus est sicut materia animae intellectivae.' 29 Q. I , p. 159. Reference is to Aristotle's Physics I, 1 , 184b 14. 30 Quodl. III, 4. p . 113 : "Videmus autem cognitionem humanam a natura inchoari, cuius basis et fundamentum et minimum est cognitio sensitiva particularis . . . ” 31 Q. I, p . 160.

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includes every determination.32 Particular sensations, which apprehend such being, offer the most unrefined kind of knowledge. :

The sense of touch, according to Aristotle, is presupposed by all the other senses.33 Inasmuch as man possesses sense powers , he must have the sense of touch to know actual being. Particular sense knowledge is definitely not scientific, for science, grasping as it does the unchangeable , endures forever . Particular sense knowledge by very definition cannot last . If, for example , I see a stone, and then the stone is either removed or I close my eyes, the sensation of the stone ceases . As the Sixth Book of the Ethics reminds us, if particular contingents are beyond the range of our observation, we do not know whether they exist or not . 34 Knowledge of the actual existence of a thing which is subject to change cannot be permanent and, therefore, cannot be scientific.35 To know scientifically is to apprehend the truth of a thing . The senses attain only material truth in that they attain something that exists .

Even at this level they often have to be perfected in

truth by the intellect . To the sense of sight , for instance, the sun appears smaller than it really is ; the intellect must correct this impression. If the senses could attain truth formally, they would attain all truth, including the universal, in the same way that all sensible being falls within their range . The humble knowledge provided by particular sensations is the root of all cognition, the origin and principle of all science. The imperfect is the principle of the perfect as the semen is the source of all bodily organs, or the acorn is the source of the branches and the leaves of a tree. Particular sensation is the basis of all humanly acquired science. Being, the object of the intellect , cannot be attained apart from a sensation . Though the intellect can know existence , it does so only through the particular sense.37 For this reason, Vital 32 Q. I , p . 160 : “... omnis abstractio fit ab actuali existentia rei et tale esse a nullo abstrahitur nec re nec intentione, cum de se dicat omnem signationem et determinationem ultimatam tam secundum rem quam secundum intellectum. " 33 De Anima II , 1 , 426b 20. Also see Quodl. III , 10, pp. 178—179 . 34 Nichomachean Ethics VI , 3, 1139b 22. 35 Q. I, pp . 160-16 . 1 36 Ibid. , p. 161 : "Item scire est veritatem rei apprehendere, quam sensus non apprehendit, sed solum apprehendit id quod est et verum . . .” 37 Q. I, p . 161 : “... ergo impossibile est quod aliquis lumine naturali habeat scientiam nisi cognoscat huiusmodi esse ; sed huiusmodi esse saltem


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

reminds the reader, Aristotle said that if a person were deprived of one of his senses, he could not have any scientific knowledge pertaining to that sense . 38 Thus a man blind from birth could never have the science of colors. There can be, therefore, no scientific knowledge of what does not exist . Since actually existing being is the only true being , it is impossible to know any other. It does happen, however, that future events, such as lunar eclipses, are frequently foreseen and predicted. In these cases this is still knowledge of actual existence , but of existence as it is in its cause . A creature cannot have scientific knowledge of anything unless the actual existence of it is first known in some way. In order to know, we must have some way of apprehending a particular fact in its actual existence. Every intelligent being must have a basic experimental power in order to attain its first knowledge of actual being. Just as man has sense powers to afford such knowledge, so must the angel and the separated soul have some means for knowing actual existence in the first instance.39 Otherwise they would be like God, with a natural science of all future events. This means of knowing actual existence must in some way be distinct from the scientific intellect which is, as such , the subject of science. Like sensation in man, this power will first experience the actual existence of a thing, the germ of all scientific knowledge.40

originaliter et primordialiter non attingitur nisi sensu particulari ; quia etsi intellectus ipsum cognoscat, non nisi mediante sensu particulari ; ergo fundamentum omnis scientiae humanitus acquisitae est particularis sensitiva." 38 Posterior Analytics I , 18, 81a 38 . 39 The question of angelic knowledge was widely debated at this period . Duns Scotus, too , will maintain that separate substances must receive some knowledge from sensible things, that infused knowledge is not sufficient . “ Il y a donc au moins un mode de connaissance des choses que l'ange ne peut acquérir sans elles, c'est la connaissance intuitive de leur existence, car il pourrait en avoir sans elles une connaissance abstraite mais, sans elles, il n'on peut avoir l'intuition . . . ” (E. Gilson , Jean Duns Scot, Paris , 1952 , p. 430. ) See Op . Ox. , II, d. 9 , q . 2 , n . 22 ; II , d . 3 , q . 11 , nn. 4—6. 40 Q. I, P. 162 : ... oportet quod in angelo et in anima separata sit aliqua vis, per quam cognoscatur et apprehendatur primo actualis existentia rei . Non tamen est sensitiva nec corpori alligata nec sic obtusa vel brevis aspectus ut sensitiva , sed est infima et quodam modo alia ab intellectiva scientifica, quae in quantum talis subiectum est scientiae . . . ”.

The Knowledge of Singular Things


The Problem of Knowing Singulars Having made these preliminary observations on the relationship of intellect to sense, Vital du Four carefully circumscribes the problem he proposes to investigate . First the very term " singular" must be clarified : it can have either an existential or an essential meaning. It may signify the actual existence of a thing with position in space and time ; as such it is the terminus of an operation. It may also signify the actual difference between two individuals of the same species, that is to say, the individual essence or distinct grade of being that each one has. Two individuals never participate a species in exactly the same way, any more than two species equally share the nature of a genus. "Singular" may be taken in two ways : in the first, it indicates the actual existence of a thing in its here and now conditions, the term of an operation ; in the second, "singular" signifies the distinct grade of nature by which one individual differs from another within the same species.41 The actual existence of an individual , as we have indicated , is experienced by sense and is known by the intellect . As for the singularity of an individual , this cannot be apprehended by sense . When presented with two white objects or two hot objects or two objects that are very similar, sense does not grasp their difference , but rather judges that they equally share that nature . Sense can apprehend only notable differences . The intellect, however, by a quasi-syllogizing process concludes that each individual participates the species in a unique mode and that two apples on a tree never have identical relations.42 The problem of singularity was to intrigue Duns Scotus and provoke one of his most characteristic doctrines, that of haecceity.43 But 41 Q. I , pp. 163–164 : “Singulare duobus modis accipitur : primo modo ut dicit actualem rei existentiam , ad quam sequitur hic et nunc secundum quod singulare dicit terminum operationis ; alio modo secundum quod singulare dicit gradum distinctum naturalem unius individui a gradu naturae alterius individui eiusdem speciei . . .". 42 Q. I. p. 164. Also see Quodl . I , 9 , p . 21 : " Secundo , quantum ad causam multiplicationis , dicendum quod gradus contenti in latitudine speciei sunt causa multiplicationis individuorum sub illa specie . Verbi gratia, summum in specie animae humanae tenet Christi benedicta anima, infimum ut credo anima antichristi ; et infra istos terminos est latitudo ; quia continentur infiniti gradus, id est non tot quin plures, et isti sunt causa quare multiplicantur individua." 43 Op. Ox., II, d . 3 , q. 6, n. 12 .


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

Vital du Four was more interested in the fact of existential knowledge, in the link between intellect and singular object, rather than in the mode by which the individual is represented in its uniqueness . He sought to explain how the intellect knows something as actually existing. His concern was psychological, whereas Scotus was more the metaphysician . In the treatise De potentiis animae Vital du Four argued that it is the whole soul that hears, sees, and engages in any sense activity.44 It is not through the eye or outside the eye that the intellect understands a white object or the sensation of a white object , but it understands in the eye . Similarly, it is in the ear and not through the ear that the intellect understands a sound and knows the sensible apprehension of sound , and so on for the other senses. The act of sensing is impregnated with intelligibility.45 Vital now proposes to establish two further propositions : first , that the intellect by the five sense organs does apprehend actually existing particulars insofar as it terminates its operations in these organs ; second , that this intellectual act is immaterial , for it takes place not through the organs but in them.46

Presence of Intellect to Sense In bestowing one being on the whole body, the soul permeates each member of the body giving it a more vigorous existence than it would have through the sensitive form alone.47 Because all man's cognitive powers are rooted in one principle, indeed , are really one with the substance of the soul, sensation and intellection have the closest possible ordering one to another. 48 In the same way that the soul is present to all parts of the body, the intellect is present to the sense powers . It is present, not only through its influence, but substantially, because the soul is the substantial form of the body and 44 De rerum principio XI , 3 , nn . 414—418 ; XI , 3 , nn . 433—434 . Vital du Four refers to Questions IX and XI of the De rerum principio as De potentiis animae. 45 Q. I , p . 164 : “ ... tota anima audiat et videat, et sic de aliis potentiis animae, intellectus non per oculum nec extra oculum, sed in oculo intelligit hoc album et hanc visionem albi . ...” 46 Ibid. , pp. 164—165 . 47 Quodl. I , 10, p. 23. See Chapter I , n . 12 . 48 Quodl. I , 12 , p . 28 : “ ... omnes potentiae sunt idem realiter, immo una sola essentia animae informans corpus , quae dicitur potentiae diversae secundum diversos respectus . . . ." Also see Chapter I , n. 34 .

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the intellect is identical with the soul.49 This presence of the intellect is more intimate than that of any other universal cause in nature, because the unity of man's being is more perfect than any other. A universal cause like the sun concurs at a distance with the tree in the production of fruit . But the intellect is wholly present to each part of the body. Since it uses no organ, the intellect has no position in the body ; it is in every part as is its subject, the soul . The intellect is not only present in sensation , it perfects sensation . From the sense knowledge of actual existence and from the intellectual knowledge of the same existence there results an integral cognition, just as from the concurrence of the sun and the tree there results a single growth. In the order of being the soul perfects the body so that the subordinate bodily forms are related to the soul as matter to form . Similarly, in the order of operation the intellect perfects all the lower powers, which belong to man in his other modes of being. In addition to the substantial presence which it shares with the generative and motive powers, the intellect is present to the cognitive powers in a perfective role, for those powers are naturally ordered to the intellect as to the highest knowing power. If, as the De Anima50 states, all the particular senses are synthesized and rooted in the common sense , with how much more reason should all the cognitive powers be unified and perfected by the intellect. The objection may be raised that the intellect is not in fact related to the senses as universal to particular causes . Particular causes cannot act without a special influx of the universal cause, whereas the senses do apprehend without the intellect , as happens in the case of a sleeping man or an insane person . But , Vital assures us, when he affirms that the intellect unites with the other powers as a universal cause, he certainly does not mean to suggest that the lower powers can never act without an influx from a higher cause—a proposition condemned at Paris in 1277.51 It still remains true, however, 49 Q. I, p. 165 : "Potentia intellectiva est praesens sensitivis non solum per influentiam sicut sol, sed etiam per substantiam, ita quod quanto maior est unio in homine quam in toto universo, tanto maior est praesentialitas virium superiorum ad inferiores quam causarum universalium ad particulares. ..." 50 De Anima III , 2, 426b 10. What Vital du Four says is vaguely implied in Aristotle. 51 Q. I , p . 167. Denifle- Chatelain, Chartularium Universitatis Parisiensis, I, 552, n. 473 : " Prop. 156 Quod si caelum staret, ignis in stupam non ageret, quia Deus non esset . " This is the Proposition cited by Vital du Four.


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that the actions of particular agents are not perfect or complete without such an influx and presence by virtual contact. That is why fruits do not ripen and why the human body does not develop properly when heavenly influences are removed.52 All sense apprehensions, whether of the particular senses or of the imagination, can be faultless in their kind, yet monstrous, unless perfected by the intellect. The sense of sight , for example, judges that the sun is two feet wide ; the intellect has to make the correction that the sun is eight times greater than the earth . Then the cognition will be perfect. Again, the sensations of a madman are incomplete and deranged in the absence of intellectual control. A third illustration is a sleeping man who judges a dream to be real. The intellect perfects sense knowledge by raising an initial cognition to the level of science . As the sun , a universal cause of generation , perfects the operation of lower forces, so the intellect , a universal cause in the microcosm , perfects all the cognitive powers in their activities. In perfecting the lower powers, the intellective potency, of itself universal, is contracted by the particular senses . It sees or knows a white object in the eye ; it hears a sound in the ear. When the solar power is applied to a particular agent , such as a tree, it effects one numerical action with that agent. In a similar way the intellective power is applied to particular sensations to apprehend and to understand the actual existence of a sensible thing. The concurrence of the intellect is far more intimate than the sun's, because the intellect is present by substance as well as by power. So , too , is the joint action of sense and intellect apprehending a material object more perfectly one than the production of fruit by plant and sun. It is impossible for the intellect to know the actual existence of a

Also condemned was the proposition that all that happens here below is subject to the necessity of heavenly bodies (p . 486) ; and that the will and the intellect are not moved to their acts by themselves but by an eternal cause, namely, the heavenly bodies (Prop . 153 ) . T. Litt, Les Corps Célestes dans l'Univers de Saint Thomas d'Aquin , Louvain, 1963. (Chs . VII , VIII La nature de la causalité des corps célestes, pp. 149—219 .) 52 Mediaeval philosophers commonly held that the heavenly bodies exerted some influence on human affairs . See St. Thomas, SCG III , 99 : “Virtus autem activa universalis ad particularem effectum producendum determinari potest dupliciter : Uno modo, per causam mediam particularem : sicut virtus activa caelestis corporis determinatur ad effectum generationis humanae per virtutem particularem quae est in semine . . . . "Also see Vital du Four, Quodl. I , 12, p. 30.

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sensible thing apart from a particular sensation, as experience clearly manifests . So long as I am looking at this white thing, the intellect can say, "This white object exists. " But if I close my eyes, there is no way of knowing whether that white thing still exists , because it could possibly be corrupted or annihilated . The intellect can know the actual being (esse) of a material object only when joined to a particular sense, just as the sun can produce fruit only when its power is joined with that of a tree.53 To know the actual existence of sensible reality, the action of the intellect must be contracted and determined . The contraction occurs primarily in the sense organ . To be sure , the intellect knowing truth or the universal does not know it in the foot or in the ear but in the intellect itself, without any organic determination . But when the intellect understands the actual being of a sensible thing , it is dependent upon the sense organ. This does not mean that the intellect uses an organ in the way that the visual power does, but that the intellect knows this existence as grasped by the senses. In knowing the particular sensation, the intellect knows the object as it exists in external reality . It is only in and through the sensation that the intellect by observation (speculando) can know the actual existence of a material thing.54 Though the intellect is restricted to sense organs for such knowledge , it is essentially non-organic in that it apprehends truth, which is wholly abstract , applying to all spirituality, even to God .

53 ³ Q. I, p. 169 : “. . . impossibile est quod intellectus cognoscat esse actuale rei sensibilis ut est res signata extra nisi dum unitur et coniungitur sensui particulari . . . . ” 54 Q. I , p. 169 : “ Unde intellectus cognoscendo hanc particularem visionem huius signati albi ut actu est, cognoscit hoc album signatum ut actu est in re extra, nec aliter nec alibi quam in ipsa visione vel per ipsam visionem potest intellectus speculando cognoscere aut scire hanc rem signatam sensibilem actu esse in re extra, ut patet in ratione praecedenti ; et quia visio est in organo determinato, intellectus sic cognoscens non erit nisi in hoc oculo. Et idem dico respectu omnium aliorum particularium sensuum. ” Matthew of Aquasparta uses “ intueatur ” and “speculetur” as equivalent terms (De cognitione, IV, 286) : “ Sed illud idem singulare non potest cognoscere esse, ut scilicet ipsum intueatur vel speculetur, nisi per sensus , quibus mediantibus defertur species eius et loci et actus usque ad intellectum , in qua intueatur ipsum. " The term " speculari " is the Latin translation of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics VI, 3, 1139b 21-22 : " Si singularia contingentia extra speculari fiant, nescitur utrum sint vel non sint. " Compare with the texts of Vital cited in n. 59 and n. 88 infra.

4 John E. Lynch


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four There is also a determination and contraction in the very opera-

tion of the intellect knowing a material thing. When joined to a sensation , that action is limited by the sensation and becomes numerically one with it . The composite action is usually spoken of as sensation, but it should properly be termed particular cognition. The apprehension of actual existence is a joint work of intellect and sense.55 The intellect can no more know of existence apart from a particular sense than the sun can produce fruit without a tree . When fruit is fully ripened , the tree's action ceases, but the sun can still affect the fruit , for example, by generating worms or causing putrefaction.56 So , too , when the sense cognition of a thing's actual existence ceases, the intellect can continue to treat of that thing : analyzing it ; determining its quiddity , genus, properties, etc. The intellect carries on these operations without knowing the thing's existence . Such knowledge ceases in the intellect when it ceases in the sense. From all that has been said, it is clear that the knowledge of an external, particular, sensible thing is the basis of all natural knowledge and of all science . It is not so clear, however, how the action of the intellect and sense can be numerically cne. If they are , either the action of the intellect is organic , or the same action is simultaneously organic and non -organic . Since there has to be a sensation for the intellect to know actual existence , the operation of the intellect can be called organic , at least to the extent that it occurs in an organ and not apart from an organ . The situation is entirely different for an act of vision or for any other sensation . Sensations occur directly (per se) through an organ . We say per se, because a sense power of its very nature is bound to an organ . The intellection of an actually existing thing is through and in an organ only per

55 Q. I , p. 169. 56 In medieval science " vital heat " was the source of all vital activity. “It was the cause of the ripening of fruit , of digestion which was a kind of cooking, and it determined the degree to which an animal would approach the adult form on being extruded from the parent . ... The corruption of the form of a dead organism generated the forms of lower creatures which then organized the available matter, as worms generated in dung . The vital heat of the sun also caused spontaneous generation , and the Arabs and scholastics generally supposed that such forms were supplied by celestial 'virtue'." (A. C. Crombie, Medieval and Early Modern Science, New York, 1959, I , 152—153. )

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accidens, inasmuch as the intellect cannot know it without a sensation . Such intellection is not per se through an organ, because the intellect of its nature is not bound to an organ. It is not inconceivable that the one composite action be organic per se from one point of view and organic per accidens from another. This operation is not unlike that of generation , a composite of seminal and solar activity. While the seminal power works in the



seed per se, the solar power acts there per accidens. It is not unfitting, therefore, that one power of the soul be organic and another not, though the faculties are really identical with the substance of the soul. The intellect is present to all the senses through influence ,


through substance, and as their perfectant in the cognitive order. Since the perfection must be proportioned to the perfectible, the intellect in its act must be proportioned to the particular sense act and contracted to it ; otherwise, the intellect would not be perfective in the knowledge of actual existence.57 In its perfective role the intellect is a universal cause par excellence. In the macrocosm there are, in addition to particular causes , universal ones such as the heavenly bodies.58 So, too, in the microcosm , man, there are the particular causes or sense powers and a universal cause, the intellect . In both worlds the particular causes are peifected through association with the universal cause. To the extent that man's unity surpasses that of the universe, a unity of essence as compared with a unity of mere aggregation , so will the presentiality and the unity of universal to particular causes excel in him. Though there are several universal agents in generation (the sun , moon, and stars) , there is only one universal knowing power. In bringing the knowledge of actual existence to completion , the intellect acts in a threefold way. First it contemplates (speculari) the thing as actually sensed ; here the action of the intellect is one with sensation . It is this mode of knowledge that has just been treated at length. In a second mode the intellect acts reflectively (reflexive) ; it knows that it understands . Because direct and reflex action are not the same, this operation of the intellect is distinct from sensation ; it is not contracted or in a determined organ. In a third 57 Q. I, p . 170 : " Potentia intellectiva est praesens omnibus sensitivis per influentiam, per substantiam et etiam sub ratione perficientis eas in "" genere cognitionis . ... 58 For the background on man conceived as a microcosm, see Gilson , History of Christian Philosophy, p . 264 and p. 664, n . 48.


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mode the intellect discerns the universal in its apprehension. It understands that this whiteness not only exists, but that it is also a color. Here, too, sense plays no part.59 Up to this point Vital du Four's reasoning has been based on the intimate relationship of all the cognitive powers. He now proceeds to offer several arguments for an intellectual knowledge of singulars , which are the common property of the Franciscan School , apparently originating with William of Mare's Correctoria. Whatever participates in the formal object of a potency comes within the range of that potency. Anything colored , for example , can be seen, for color is the formal object of sight . Since the intellect comprehends (aspicit) being as being or the true as true, it can know truth wherever it is found , whether in the universal or in the singular. In apprehending the truth as such , the intellect has scientific knowledge ; but to have this knowledge , it must first " contact" the actual existence of sensible reality, which is the material cause of all science . The cognitive powers are so ordered that a higher power can know all that falls within the competence of a lower power. As the highest power, the intellect can attain eminently all that the sense powers can. Consequently, the intellect will know singulars as existing, for such knowledge is possible to the particular sense powers . The intellection of the singular is also established from the activities of the practical and the speculative intellect. The practical intellect must know singulars if it is to consider and direct various courses of action. The speculative intellect often uses singular terms in forming a syllogism, for example, " Peter is a man. " The use of such terms presupposes the knowledge of singular beings . The intellect, furthermore, could not even abstract universals from singulars unless it first knew those singulars.60 59 5º Q. I, p. 171 : “ ... intellectus tripliciter versatur circa cognitionem actualis existentiae rei : uno modo speculando ipsam actu esse in ipsa sensatione, et sic est una actio intellectus et sensus, modo iam dicto ; alio modo reflexive, intelligendo se intelligere illud esse actu ... tertio modo comparando illud ad universale , intelligendo quod haec albedo non solum est actu , sed etiam est color . . . .” 6º Q. I, pp. 172—173 . Vital states : “ ... syllogizare autem contingit assumendo alterum terminum singularem , et hoc in omni figura, ut patet I Priorum . ” Aristotle , however,、 es not use singular terms, but rather particular ones. See J. Lukasiewicz (A. istotle's Syllogistic from the Standpoint of Modern Formal Logic, Oxford, 1951 , pp . 6—7) : “ Aristotle emphasizes that a singular

The Knowledge of Singular Things


Indirect Mode of Knowledge After establishing the fact that singulars are known , Vital du Four considers the manner in which such knowledge is obtained . Many Masters maintain that the intellect cannot know the singular directly and primarily, but only indirectly in a sort of reflex action . Vital proceeds to examine two theories which uphold an indirect knowledge, but for different reasons.61 The first theory, undoubtedly that of St. Thomas, argues that the principle of individuation and singularity in sensible things is matter. In its act of understanding, however, the human intellect must abstract the intelligible species from matter and from all material conditions, that is , from the here and now determinations which are consequent upon singularity. Because the intelligible species cannot represent the individual, the intellect grasps only the absolute nature or essence , not the material singular.62 This line of reasoning Vital rejects because it is based on a false supposition, the supposition that the intellect can understand only through a species that is abstracted from material conditions. Vital

term is not suited to be a predicate of a true proposition, as a most universal term is not suited to be a subject of such a proposition. . . . It is essential for the Aristotelian syllogistic that the same term may be used as a subject and as a predicate without any restriction . In all three syllogistic figures known to Aristotle there exists one term which occurs once as a subject and then again as a predicate. ... Syllogistic as considered by Aristotle requires terms to be homogeneous with respect to their possible positions as subjects and predicates. This seems to be the true reason why singular terms were omitted by Aristotle ." 61 Q. I, p. 174 : "Est enim opinio quorumdam quod singulare ab intellectu modo directo non apprehenditur nec primo, sed indirecte et per quamdam lineam reflexam. In hoc autem corcordant duae solemnes opiniones. " 62 Q. I, p. 174 : "Ratio autem unius qui hoc ponit est, quia principium individuationis et singularitatis in rebus materialibus est materia, intellectus autem humanus coniunctus intelligit abstrahendo speciem intelligibilem a materia et conditionibus materialibus ... quare haec species non potest repraesentare individuum. ” F. Delorme, the editor of Vital's Quaestiones, attributes this opinion to Giles of Rome. The editors of Roger Marston's Quaestiones Disputatae (Q. II , 231 , n . 2 ) attribute it to St. Thomas. St. Thomas (S. T. , I , 86, 1c) obviously follows this line of argument : ". . . principium singularitatis in rebus materialibus est materia individualis : intellectus autem noster . . . intelligit abstrahendo speciem intelligibilem ab huiusmodi materia. Quod autem a materia individuali abstrahitur, est universale. Unde intellectus noster directe non est cognoscitivus nisi universalium. ”


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

insists that the intellect also understands through intelligible species that do represent such conditions. What Aristotle says, Vital concedes, is perfectly true : the intellect does understand through universal species and in so doing differs from the sense powers which cannot reach the universal.63 This does not mean, however, that the intellect cannot understand singulars unless the species are abstracted from material conditions ; but rather that in this mode of operation the intellect does not differ from the senses. It is only because the Philosopher wishes to emphasize the difference that be says, "The intellect understands the universal, the sense the singular." The second theory of indirect knowledge that Vital du Four examines is held by Henry of Ghent.64 It is argued that singularity must add something to the universal , both in reality and in concept . If not, one man would not differ at all from another man, just as he does not differ in species. To understand the singular directly , therefore, the intellect would have to be determined in a way corresponding to the determination of the universal by the singular. But the 63 Q. I, p. 178. De Anima II , 5 , 417b 23 . 64 Neither the editor of Vital's Quaestiones nor the historians referring to the text have identified the holder of this opinion . Bérubé writes : “Le mode de connaissance du singulier est l'object d'une longue démonstration . Deux opinions qui professent l'intellection indirecte du singulier y sont d'abord exposées et réfutées. La première semble bien celle de saint Thomas, la deuxième évoque une doctrine qui n'est pas sans analogie avec celle de Duns Scot, bien que la raison donnée de la non-passivité de l'intellect à l'égard de la singularité ne soit pas celle de Scot . " (" La connaissance intellectuelle de singulier matériel, " Franciscan Studies , XI ( 1951 ) , p. 195. ) Vital states (Q. I , p. 174) : “ Ratio alterius est, quia ratio singularitatis necessario aliquid addit supra rationem universalis vel re vel intentione , alioquin duo individua non different inter se sicut nec differunt in communi ratione speciei. Ex hoc igitur patet quod singulare non apprehenditur ab intellectu nisi per quamdam determinationem factam in intellectu correspondentem determinationi universalis factae in ipso singulari ; sed intellectus talem determinationem non patitur, quia impediret receptionem formae universalis, quia determinatum non potest esse indeterminatum, et sic nullo modo intellectus apprehendere posset universale, si talem determinationem haberet." An inspection of Henry of Ghent's text, which immediately follows , will show that Vital has given almost a word for word presentation of Henry's text. There can be no doubt that the opinion represents the thought of Henry on the subject : " . . . intellectus noster conjunctus, primo aspectu, et directe singularia intelligere non potest, quia ut iam dictum est , singulare sub

The Knowledge of Singular Things


intellect cannot be so determined , because this would impede the reception of the universal form.65 The determinate cannot be indeterminate. If the intellect were to be determined by singular knowledge, it could not thereafter know the universal. Vital du Four concedes that the singular must add something to the notion of the universal, but he denies that a singular determination of the intellect will prevent the reception of a universal form . If the determination were through an impressed intelligible species, there could well be such an impediment , but there is no problem with an expressed determination . When the mind expresses determined knowledge, nothing prevents it from proceeding to express anything else whatever.66 The notion " man" certainly adds something to that of " rational ," "body" , and " substance ". Yet , according to the theory under discussion, such knowledge would be impossible . If a singular determination impedes the reception of a universal , then the determination of a species should be an obstacle to knowing the genus. Even if the intellect did understand by impressed species (which Henry of Ghent denies) ,67 that determination would not interfere with the knowledge of universal forms. The sensible species of white and black do not block each other from the same ratione singularis apprehendi, sive cognosci non potest, nisi per aliquam determinationem in cognoscente, respondentem determinationi super rationem universalis in ipso singulari . ... Determinationem autem ad rationem singularis nullo modo potest in se recipere intellectus, quia impediret receptionem formae sub ratione universalis. . . . Indirecte, autem, et quasi quadam reflexione convertendo se ad phantasmata, in quibus sunt formae sub ratione Sed quomodo hoc fiat, adhuc latet . " (Quodlibeta , Paris 1518 , singularis. Quodl. IV, q. 21 , f. 137rvM .) 65 The Latin translation of De Anima III , 7 429a 20-21 is as follows “Intus apparens enim prohibet extraneum, et obstruet. " Aristotle is here trying to prove that feeling and thinking are not analogous. This argument has been traditionally used to prove the immateriality of the intellect. Averroes comments (In Aristotelis de anima Librum Tertium C. 4, 385 : 74. 386 : 79) : " Et ex hiis duabus sequitur quod ista substantia que dicitur intellectus materialis nullam habet in sui natura de formis materialibus istis. Et quia forme materiales sunt aut corpus aut forme in corpore, manifestum est quod ista substantia que dicitur intellectus materialis neque est corpus neque forma in corpore. ... " See "The ' Intus Apparens ' and the Immateriallity of the Intellect, " by R. Connell in New Scholasticism, 32 ( 1958) , 151—186 . 66 Q. I , p. 178. 67 J. Paulus, " A propos de la théorie de la connaissance d'Henri de Gand ," Revue philosophique de Louvain, 47 ( 1949) , 494-495 . Vital du Four treats Henry of Ghent's position at length in Q. II , pp. 185—196.


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

point in the atmosphere, because they are intentionales .

Much less

would an intelligible species , singular or particular, do so in the intellect , because it is more intentional and spiritual. For different reasons , then, these two theories conclude that the intellect can have only an indirect knowledge of singulars. They maintain that the intellect understands singulars by reflexion. The sensation is transmitted to the imagination and finally to the intellect . There it is indeed apprehended , but not under material conditions as it was in sense, because the intellect is non-organic . The agent intellect strips and abstracts from the species in the imagination all the individuating material conditions , so that the universal representation remains. The abstracted species is not imprinted on the possible intellect (here Vital has Henry of Ghent in mind) , but rather the possible intellect apprehends the universal directly. The cognition of the universal is like a straight line running from the singular in the phantasm to the abstract universal . If a straight line is turned back so that the end is joined to the beginning , both points are the same and differ only logically.

Similarly, the possible in-

tellect , by reflecting , sees that the universal and the particular are the same and differ only in reason ; that is to say , the object conceived under determining conditions is singular , conceived without them, is universal. Knowledge that is obtained in this way is not erroneous , because abstraction is not real , but only mental . By reflecting the expressed universal back on the singular phantasm , the intellect knows the singular through the universal. So it is that the universal, which the possible intellect knows directly and per se, is the same in reality as the singular which the imagination directly apprehends . The same thing, then, is considered under two modes : in one, under determined conditions ; in another, without them . There is just a logical distinction between imagining the singular and understanding it, depending on the means employed . Imagination knows the singular through a singular species which is not abstract ; the intellect knows

68 For a discussion of sense impression see Yves R. Simon, “An Essay on Sensation, " Philosophy of Knowledge, Selected Readings , ed. R. Houde and J. Mullally, New York, 1960, pp. 55-95 , esp. 73 ff. 69 Q. I , p. 175 : "... ut sic cognitio universalis fiat secundum modum cuiusdam lineae rectae, cuius principium a quo est ipsum singulare ut cognitum in phantasmate, punctus finalis est universale ut cognitum in rati one universali abstracta. "

The Knowledge of Singular Things


the singular through the universal. It would be a comparable situation if the sense of sight were to see an impressed intentional species and then through that species see the external colored object . According to the indirect theory of knowledge , therefore, the intellect knows the singular as it is in the imagination ; it knows the singular through the medium of the universal. After this prolonged examination of the indirect theory of knowing singulars, Vital du Four proceeds to reject it.70 He has clearly shown that intellect is present to all the senses and their organs through its substance, through its power, and through its perfecting influence. Since the senses attain the actual existence of sensible reality, so also must the intellect . It does not seem right, furthermore, to place the burden of singular knowledge on the imagination, for this faculty cannot know actual existence in the absence of sensation . A blind man, for instance, cannot judge colors, though he still has an imagination. Even when the singular is actually present to sense, the imagination does not grasp its existence, for it would be superfluous to posit two such apprehensive powers, unless one were perfective of the other. The imagination , however, does not perfect sense. In a waking or sleeping state, the imagination is more likely to be mistaken about the actual existence of a thing than is the particular sense . This is not the case with the intellect , which does perfect sense . While the intellect is always correct, the phantasm is not. If the intellect had no knowledge of actual existence except as presented by the phantasm, it would in effect not know such existence at all. This would be a false and heretical position . False, because many truths about a thing's existence can indeed be attained, and it is only the intellect that knows the true insofar as it is true. Heretical, because belief is an intellectual act, and we must believe singular facts. The Apostles believed an actually existing man whom they saw to be God. " Handle and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as you see me to have," said Jesus to the Apostles after his Resurrection (Lk 24, 39) . What the hand felt, what the fingers probed , what the eyes beheld was indeed the actual existence of a sensible , visible, palpable being. This being , the intellect believed to be God . In believing, the intellect necessarily grasped singular existence. 70 Q. I, p . 176 : "Hic est modus quem ponunt magni viri ... modum istum bene non capio esse verum, nec concordat articulis supra positis . "


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

There is a flaw in the argument of those maintaining an indirect knowledge . They contend that the intellect cannot apprehend the singular because this would mean determining the intellect , just as the universal is determined by the singular. How, then , can the universal lead to a knowledge of the singular, as this theory alleges, if the universal does not have that determination which the singular adds ? The universal cannot be a principle of singular knowledge, even as applied to the phantasm in a reflex action of the intellect. That by which things are alike cannot be the means of knowing their differences. Again, if the intellect is to abstract the species , it must know beforehand that from which the species is abstracted . It must know the singular before the universal . Lastly, it does not seem fitting for God to know individual men by distinct ideas (per distinctas ideas) , as St. Augustine affirms, " while we know them by one universal species.

Direct Mode of Knowledge Since an indirect knowledge of singulars is unsatisfactory, Vital du Four sets out to justify a more immediate knowledge . He will hold that so long as a particular sensation lasts, the intellect can know an existing sensible being directly, but in a way different from sense . The sense faculty through the species or likeness in the organ attains the thing by a sort of spiritual touch , which is called "experience ." The intellect attains the same actuality present in sense because it directly apprehends the sensation or motion which the sensible object makes. In and through that sensation the intellect knows the existing object . The intellect does not extend its view in a quasi-tactive way to the thing as it is external, but it knows the existent being only as it is in sense . Thus the sense both knows and experiences actual existence , while the intellect only knows it.72

Just how intellect and sense differ in their apprehension of sensible being is brought out in an analysis of the cognitive order . The most elementary object of cognition is the existence of something, 7¹ St. Augustine, Ep. ad Nebridius (Ep. 14, n . 4), PL 33 , 80 ; CSEL 34, I-2 ; 35. 72 Q. I , p. 179 : " Intellectus ... non tamen extendit aspectum quasi modo tactivo supra huiusmodi illam actualitatem sensibilis ut est extra secundum quod est extra , sed solum secundum quod est in ipso actu sensus; et ideo sensus cognoscit et experitur huiusmodi actualitatem intellectus autem solum cognoscit."

The Knowledge of Singular Things


insofar as it is grasped without any abstraction whatever. The highest object of knowledge is being as being which must undergo :

every possible abstraction . The lowest cognitive power is the particular sense, the highest is the intellect. As the highest power, the intellect can attain everything within the ambit of the lower powers. The most elementary faculty , on the other hand , must have a function which does not pertain to a superior power as such. The particular sense, the lowest cognitive power , exercises a mode of acting which does not belong to the intellect. The difference does not concern the cognition itself, for both sense and intellect know actual existence. The difference lies in the experimental mode of knowledge which is proper to sense . Once again Vital du Four uses the sun to illustrate the proper role of sense in knowing real being.73 As a universal cause in nature, the sun cooperates with matter, energizing and warming it . But at the same time, the particular cause has its own mode of action which the sun only re-enforces. It pertains to the particular cause to organize and direct the matter. Because the particular cause does have its proper mode of acting appropriate to the effect , the effect is attributed to it more than to the universal cause. So, too , in apprehending an existing thing, sense has its proper mode of acting . Even though the particular sense determines the intellect and provides the material of science , the scientific habitus must not be termed sensible rather than intellectual . Sensation specifies the intellectual act only with regard to real existence . At that point the action of sense and intellect are numerically one and the action is properly termed sensation . But the succeeding cognitive actions, for example, the abstraction of the universal, are attributed to the intellect alone, since they are beyond the range of the sense powers. 74 To continue the analogy of the sun : the production of

73 ¹³ Q. I , pp. 179–180. Vital frequently compares the intellect to the sun. See Quodl. I, 10, p . 23 : “ ... sicut sol habet actum proprium, ut lucere ut est quid distinctum et singulare, et praeter hoc in quantum causa universalis habet multos effectus facere et in inferioribus, quia per eius virtutem fiunt corruptiones et generationes . . . sic etiam potentia intellectiva per actum qui est intelligere intimat se potentiis sensitivis et vigorat eas ut virtuosius agant , et propter hoc dicitur videre et audire etc. " Also see Quodl. I, 13 , p . 30. 74 Q. I, p. 180 : "Aliae autem actiones hanc sequentes, pote quod hic color est color, conferendo universale ad particulare, tribuuntur soli intellectui, vel apprehendere se hunc colorem intelligere. " Vital du Four's notion of abstraction will be treated in the next chapter. A very important study has


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

fruit, to be sure, is ascribed to the tree, which is a particular cause, and not to the sun as a universal cause. But whatever happens to the fruit afterwards, such as an infestation with worms, is imputed , not to the tree whose power has already been exhausted , but to the action of the sun. Scientific knowledge cannot be called sensible, furthermore, because in every genus in which there is a scale from imperfect to perfect, the first in that genus lacks every perfection to be introduced into the genus.75 The apprehension of actual existence comes first in the order of cognition and is the foundation of science. This may be seen from the fact that when a sense is deficient , so is the scientific knowledge proportioned to it . As the initial and imperfect cognition , sensation is no more scientific than the semen, precisely as semen, is a hand or a foot. The intellection of actual existence, on the other hand , is on the level of reason ( ratiocinativa) and is thus radically scientific. Sense knowledge as such consists in apprehending what is true, not truth itself. It is proper to the intellect , not only to know something as true, but to know the truth itself.

The intellect perfects sense

knowledge by formally recognizing truth . It perfects sense much as an agent perfects matter, not on the level of matter, but by raising it to a higher act of perfection . The intellect in knowing the actuality of whiteness , for example, knows its truth . But prior to any intellectual knowledge of the sensible thing, the particular sense must experience it . This experimental knowledge is the germ and origin of all scientific knowledge . It is true knowledge but not yet knowledge of the truth. It is clear, then, that the intellect can attain external reality only mediately through the senses. The senses may sometimes have knowledge apart from the intellect , even if it is imperfect cognition as in the case of the insane. An object of knowledge such as actual been made by J. Rohmer, “La théorie de l'abstraction dans l'école franciscaine, de Alexandre de Halès à Jean Peckham, " Archives d'Histoire Doctrinale et Littéraire du Moyen Age , III ( 1928) , pp. 105–108 . 75 See Aristotle's treatment of definition by division in the Posterior Analytics II , 13 , 96b 36 ff. Also see St. Thomas, In Anal. Post. II , lect . 14 ; ed. Leonine, n. 541. Vital du Four refers to his own discussion in De primitate materiae (De rerum principio VIII , 3 , n. 237) . 76 Q. I , pp. 180-181 : "Cognitio quam habet intellectus de actualitate rei est ratiocinativa ac per hoc scientifica, est etiam cognitio veri non solum in quantum verum, sed veritatis in quantum veritas. ”

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existence can be related to one faculty per se, to another per accidens, depending upon the immediacy involved : "aliquid duobus convenit, uni per se, alteri per accidens , secundum aliquem modum immediationis debetur."" The sense will be fixed more immediately on its external object than will the intellect , because as such it is the sense's object. The external thing is the object of the intellect per accidens , because the object of the intellect is an object not as external but as apprehended in sensation. 78 Since the more immediate mode of attaining a sensible thing is the experimental mode , the particular sense is said to experience its actuality, while the intellect just knows it . It is important to note that the intellect knows actual existence only in the sensation . The sensible species as such offers no certitude of existence. There may well be a species in sense without an actual apprehension of an external thing. An example would be that of a man who looks at a colored object for some time and then closes his eyes ; it will seem to him that he still sees the color. " There cannot , however, be an actual sensation unless the sensible is present , just as I cannot see a white object or touch a hot one unless it is actually there . To experience a material object means to establish a certain contact with it . The experiencing power must either touch that reality or the reality must somehow be in the power.80 Such experimentation cannot be attributed to the intellect , for the sensible is not in the intellect (as Aristotle says

"the stone is not in the soul" ) , nor

does the intellect incline toward (tendat) and become immersed , as it were, in external sensible reality . Intellection is a motion inward toward the soul , while sense tends outwards through its projections. Vision, for example, does not take place through attraction , but rather through a strong direction and projection of sight on the thing. Only the particular sense, the crudest and most elementary

77 Q. I, p . 181 . 78 Q. I, p. 181 : ". . . immediatius feretur sensus in obiectum suum extra quam intellectus, quia obiectum suum est in quantum tale , intellectus autem solum per accidens, ut dixi : quia non ut est extra, sed ut est actu in sensu per sensationem, ut dixi : immediatior autem modus attingendi in sensibile est experimentativus ; ergo sensus particularis experitur hanc actualitatem, non intellectus." 79 See Aristotle , On Dreams II , 459a29-459b 20. 80 Q. I, p. 181 : " Item, experimentatio de actualitate rei dicit quemdam contactum ipsius actualitatis rei sensibilis, quod non potest esse nisi virtus , quae experitur, tangat actualitatem rei vel ipsa actualitas sit in virtute ."


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

cognitive power, experiences and knows the existence of an external sensible object . The intellect , though it knows such existence certitudinaliter, does not experience it . The action of the intellect is more subtle and immaterial. Even among the particular senses there is a gradation of perfection . The tactile sense is the lowest because it requires a more intimate contact with its object . The union is quite obvious in the sense oftaste, which Aristotle considers to be a kind of touch.81 That very intimacy insures that the sense of touch will have a more certain apprehension than the other senses. In order that the Apostles might experience more vividly the truth of His resurrection, Christ told them to feel His body and asked Thomas to put his finger in the wounds. St. Gregory commented

that mere sight would not

have removed all doubt ; that is why Christ wanted to be touched and handled.82 Just as the tactile sense is more certain of its object than any other sense because of its close conjunction with that object, so the particular sense is more certain of actual existence than is the intellect or any other knowing power, because the particular sense alone experiences the actually existing object . In this way is a singular apprehended and known by both sense and intellect . That is why Aristotle can say, "When a contingent thing is beyond the range of our observation , we do not know whether it exists or not . "

The knowledge afforded by a sensible

species may be compared to that of a picture which represents a certain person. The image is a principle of knowledge, but is not yet perfect knowledge , because through it the knower cannot experience whether that person is living or not. Again , just as the name " Peter" signifies Peter absolutely, so the species of a thing leads to knowledge of the thing , but not to its actual existence . Thus the sense must in some way reach beyond the species to attain its object , since the sensible thing in its real existence is not in the sense : " sensus aliquo modo ultra speciem attingit sensibile , cum ipsum sensibile secundum actualitatem suam non sit in sensu . ” 84 Similarly for the intellect 81 De Anima II , 9 , 421 a 16—27 : " . . . taste is with us more discriminating because it is itself a form of touch, and this sense in man is highly discriminating ... among the human race men are well or poorly endowed with intelligence in proportion to their sense of touch, and no other sense. ” 82 St. Gregory the Great, Hom . in Evang. XXVI , 1 (PL 76 : 1197—1198). The Gospel text is from St. John 20 : 27-29. 83 Nicomachean Ethics VI , 3 , 1139b22 . See n. 54 above. 84 Q. I, p. 182 .

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to know actual existence , knowledge of the sepcies is not enough ; the intellect must know the very sensation. "Singular," Vital du Four insists again, does not refer exclusively to an actually existing being . It can have an essential meaning as well : a particular being considered as capable of representation in a picture or of receiving a proper name. The intellect knows such a singular directly in and through the imagination , or through such knowledge that remains after the intellect has apprehended its actual existence . 85 The next chapter will investigate whether the singular is known through an impressed or expressed species. In whatever way "singular" is taken , the intellect must know the singular before it knows the universal. A universal cannot be abstracted unless that from which it is abstracted is previously known. Knowledge of actual existence precedes every other knowledge both in time and in place. When I see something at a distance but do not yet know whether it is a cow or an ass, I already know that it is something actual. Gradually I become aware that it is a certain species of animal ; finally I know what kind of animal it is . Knowledge of actual existence is also prior in time, for a child would not call this or that man " father" unless he first perceived something real. The original foundation for all cognition is esse actuale. Vital emphasizes that he is speaking here " radically, " of knowledge at its source, for if a thing were to be destroyed after the apprehension of its actual existence , knowledge of it would remain in some mode, both in the intellect and in the imagination.86 The fact that knowledge of a distant object becomes gradually more precise does not mean that the universal is known before the singular. There is a certain ambiguity in the use of the term " universal knowledge ." From the point of view of the clarity of the knowledge, the general and universal aspects of a thing are known before ts distinctive features. The intellect at first has a confused knowl85 Q. I, p. 183 : "Si autem accipiatur singulare non pro ipsa actualitate existentiae, sed pro re quadam particulari, secundum quod repraesentatur imagine vel specie vel significatur a nomine, secundum quem modum de ratione singularis non est actualis existentia, sic dico quod intellectus cognoscit directe singulare in actu et per actum imaginationis aut etiam per cognitionem derelictam in eo, dum coniungebatur cum sensu . . . ." Note that here Vital refers to a singular known as a definite and distinct individual as a "particular" being. 86 Q. I, p. 183 : " Unde fundamentum originale, a quo movetur omnis cognitio, dico radicaliter, est esse actuale ."


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

edge ; it knows only that there is something real. By degrees it arrives at a perfect knowledge of the thing . With regard to the mode of operation, however, the intellect must attain the singular before the universal. The universal as such does not exist in reality, but has to be abstracted from singulars. From the singular as from a sort of matter the intellect forms the universal. Thus, materially speaking, the intellect knows the particular before the universal. Although an existing thing is most particular and concrete , its actual existence is confused and indeterminate with respect to the other singular notes and with respect to the senses which know them. Just as the concepts of animal, man , and this man presuppose the more universal and confused concept of being, so in an actually existing man, " this humanity" and " this animality" presuppose "this real being," both absolutely and with respect to sense cognition. The actual existence which sense and intellect first know is a confused and universal knowledge . But it is a singular existence and not a universal one that is known. Such confused knowledge does not exclude the “ here and now, " as would a true universal, but rather includes it . I would never know what "man" is, or " animal, " or " this man" or " this animal, " unless the senses first apprehended "this actually existing thing ." The strict universal is different because it explicitly excludes "here and now" conditions, determination, and actual existence.87 Vital du Four has taken great pains to point out the equivocity of the term "universal, " because the crux of his position is that the intellect knows singulars directly and not in a reflex action after it has known the universal or the essence . He has had to face the objection that experience testifies that our knowledge moves from the confused to the perfect, from the more general to the particular. Vital insists that the intellect first knows that " this being exists" and then gradually achieves a more definite knowledge of it . In that first intellectual knowledge is contained confusedly all the determinations that will later be known. There is no immediate abstraction for Vital du Four as there is for the proponents of the theory that singulars are known indirectly.

87 Q. I , p. 183 : tamen ipsa actualitas existentiae quamtumcumque sit haec et signata, ut dicitur ab aliis rationibus quae sunt in ea, habet rationem confusi et indeterminati et in se et respectu sensus et respectu aliarum rationum singularium quae sunt in ea."

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Hence, there can be no doubt , Vital concludes, that the intellect apprehends the actual existence of a sensible thing . This act of the intellect he calls intuition . The intellect intuits by knowing the sensation which occurs in the bodily organ. Because in this operation its action is numerically one with sensation , the intellective potency may be called organic per accidens . Such is not the case when the intellect reflects that it understands an existing thing or when in a collative action it attributes actuality to the universal by affirming that whiteness is a color. Reflexion and collation are not organic, either per se or per accidens. What has been said about the various operations of the intellect with regard to sensation may be applied also to the imagination . In the natural order the intellect first apprehends the actual existence of sensible reality. From this apprehension the intellect can abstract the universal before the imagination acts . Secondly, the intellect apprehends the act of the imagination and the thing imagined . From this apprehension , too , the intellect can abstract the universal.88 If the universal is abstracted from the phantasm in the imagination , the particular will be known before the universal . (The singular considered as a distinct individual, Vital has previously stated , is known in and through the imagination .) If, however, the abstraction is made immediately from the sensible in the particular sense, the universal will be known before the particular is apprehended by the imagination . In this case there will be intellectual knowledge of the singular (considered as an existing being) prior to the formation of an image of the particular in the imagination and , therefore , prior to the intellect's understanding of the singular in the phantasm . But in no case can the apprehension of the universal be prior to some original sensation of the singular . 88 38 Q. I , p. 184 : “ Eodem modo dico de actione intellectus intuitiva , reflexiva, collativa ad actum imaginationis , quantum ad unitatem et differentiam , sicut dixi respectu sensus . Et quia reflexio et collatio praesupponunt simplicem apprehensionem , dico quod naturali ordine intellectus primo apprehendit actualitatem existentiae rei sensibilis et ab ista potest abstrahere universale ante actum imaginativae ratione universalis . Secundo naturali ordine apprehendit actum imaginationis et rem imaginatam, et ab ipso potest similiter abstrahere universale per considerationem, ut sic sit verum quod apprehensio universalis semper est posterior apprehensione particularis ; sed potest esse prior apprehensione particularis facta ab imaginativa, quia potest abstrahi ab ipso sensibili in sensu particulari . . . . ”

5 John E. Lynch


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

The intellect , Vital du Four concludes, knows a singular being in its existence by knowing the sensation that takes place in one of the sense organs. Sometimes the intellect knows the thing as a universal before it knows the thing as a particular by abstracting directly from the sensible species in the senses. Sometimes it first knows the particular in the phantasm before it abstracts the universal. In any event, both intellect and sense have some knowledge of the singular before the universal is known.89 Both grasp the singular as an actually existing being. 89 Q. I , p. 185 : "Comparando autem intellectum ad sensum particularem, prior est notitia singularis et a sensu et ab intellectu quam notitia universalis . ”



Historical Background No philosopher at the University of Paris at the turn of the fourteenth century could ignore Henry of Ghent (d . 1293 ) .¹ Roger Marston refers to him as a solemn and famous modern doctor engaged in the study of philosophy from his infancy . Vital du Four and Giles of Rome list him among the great contemporary masters 3 (Magni) . Duns Scotus can hardly be read without a copy of Henry of Ghent's work close at hand . All of these philosophers are unanimous in rejecting the Solemn Doctor's position on the intelligible species.5 1 For a treatment of Henry of Ghent see J. Paulus, Henri de Gand : Essai sur les tendances de sa métaphysique, Paris , 1938. 2 Roger Marston, Quaestiones Disputatae De Emanatione Aeterna, De Statu Naturae Lapsae et De Anima, Quaracchi , 1932, p . 412 : " Sciendum est ergo quod quidam solemnes moderni doctores, ab infantia in philosophicis studiosi et famosi, dicunt quod intellectus, qui est apprehensivus simplicium intentionum, nullam habet in se speciem qua cognoscat, sed in phantasmate rei singularis, in quo secundum veritatem vere relucet natura universalis , speculatur et intuetur ipsum universale. . . ." 3 Vital du Four, Q. I, p. 185 : " Circa primum sciendum quod quidam magni dicunt qui intellectus in nullo statu indiget specie impressa." Giles of Rome, De cognitione angelorum , Q. IV (Venice, 1503) , f. 82rb. 4 E. Gilson, History of Christian Philosophy in the Middle Ages, New York, 1955, p. 447. R. Bourgeois, "La théorie de la connaissance intellectuelle chez Henri de Gand, " Revue Philosophique de Louvain , 36 ( 1936) , 255 : "Comme l'ont remarqué les historiens , l'adversaire principal de Scot est Henri . Contre lui, sans trêve il bataille, et l'on peut dire que souvent le scotisme s'édifie par opposition à l'henricianisme . . . . Il y revient à plusieurs reprises, en se fondant sur une théorie aristotélicienne de l'abstraction, sans laisser de place à l'illumination. " A good illustration of the stir caused by Henry of Ghent's rejection of the intelligible species is a newly edited text of Hervaeus Natalis . "La prima critica di Hervaeus Natalis O.P. alla Noetica di Enrico di Gand : il 'De intellectu et specie ' del cosiddetto ' De Quatuor Materiis . "" Ed . by P. Stella, Salesianum, 21 ( 1959) , 125—170 . The editor states (p. 129, n. 23 ) : " Nel 1279 Egidio Romano disputava la sua serie di Quaestiones de cognitione angelorum,


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

Henry of Ghent seems to have been the first scholastic to eliminate the impressed species or intentional forms from the process of intellection. He reached this position gradually as he became increasingly aware that the Aristotelian machinery of abstraction and species was out of place in an Augustinian mind, and it was to St. Augustine that he had vowed his fundamental allegiance . At the beginning of his academic career (c . 1270) he adhered closely to Peripatetic principles, but after 1279, particularly in the Quodlibeta, he realized the incompatibility of Augustine and Aristotle . A failure to recognize this shift in thought has led historians to contradictory interpretations of Henry of Ghent ." recensendo e criticando le tesi enriciane. È a tali critiche che Enrico intende rispondere, soprattutto nel Quodl., V, 14. ” 6 J. Paulus , " A propos de la théorie de la connaissance d'Henri de Gand," Revue Philosophique de Louvain , 47 ( 1949) , 494-495 : “ Puisque les textes henriciens se contredisent (ce qui explique les contradictions de leurs exégètes) , c'est apparemment qu' Henri a évolué . Le sens de cette évolution est le suivant . Henri a commencé par adhérer à peu près complètement à la théorie aristotélico -averroiste de l'abstraction et de la connaissance intellectuelle , qu'il complétait toutefois par un ensemble de spéculations relatives au verbum et à l'illumination , et reprises à S. Augustin. Après 1279 un tournant décisif apparaît dans l'évolution de sa pensée, notamment en ce qui concerne l'importante question des species impressae. Il commence par exclure les dites species dans les cas où l'objet connu est intimement présent à la faculté connaissante : connaissance de l'intellect par lui-même et connaissance de Dieu- ces considérations jouant d'ailleurs plus directement dans le cas de la connaissance angélique que dans celui de la connaissance humaine . Dans la suite l'exclusion des species est étendue à tous les types de connaissance.... "Il nous paraît que si , le premier sans doute dans la scholastique, Henri rejette, timidement d'abord , sans réserve ensuite, le rouage universellement admis des species impressae, c'est pour des raisons qui tiennent à l'idée qu'il se fait de l'âme connaissante, d'une part, de l'objet connaissable, d'autre part, et qui attestent, ici comme en tant d'autres thèses de sa philosophie, l'influence conjugée de S. Augustin et d'Avicenne . "Il répugnera toujours à un augustinien d'accepter autrement que des lèvres, la thèse aristotélicienne de l'anima, tabula rasa, et l'idée que, dans l'acte de connaissance, l'âme subit comme passivement l'action du monde extérieur. C'est pourquoi , contrairement à la tradition aristotélicienne qui mettait l'accent sur la species, comme condition de la connaissance , Henri se devait de restituer à l'acte cognitif lui-même sa spontanéité et sa primauté. "A une condition , toutefois, c'est que l'objet à connaître soit directement accessible. L'idée fondamentale d'Henri de Gand est que les conditions de la connaissance sont réunies, lorsque la réalité à connaître et la puissance connaissante se trouvent en présence , nul rouage supplémentaire n'apparaissant nécessaire pour opérer leur conjonction . Dans le cas de la connaissance

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Henry of Ghent began by excluding species in those instances where the object was intimately present to the cognitive faculty, that is, for the soul's knowledge of itself and for its knowledge of God . He eventually ruled out species from all types of intellectual knowledge but maintained them for sense knowledge. An Augustinian can hardly pay more than lip service to an intellect as tabula rasa undergoing passively the action of the external world . That is why Henry of Ghent rejects the Aristotelian species in intellectual knowledge . He seeks to restore to the cognitive act its spontaneity and its primacy. He stresses the simplicity of intellection and suppresses any intermediary, thus establishing between the intelligible and the mind a relation of easy contact . The problem of the impressed species brings into sharp focus the Platonic and Aristotelian tensions in mediaeval philosophy. For the Platonists, as exemplified in the mature Henry of Ghent , there was a double world : the world of essences enjoying its own reality (esse essentiae), which has eternally emanated from the mind of God ; and the world of concrete things with the reality of existence (esse existentiae) , which has been produced by the will of God . For Henry of Ghent, as for Plato, the soul does not have to do anything to produce knowledge. The intelligible is directly accessible to the intellect. Objects from without do not affect the mind. The conditions of knowledge are realized when subject and intelligible objects are present to each other. In the Phaedo' we are told that the soul is in immediate communion with the unchangeable essences or forms ; they are her kindred , for "the soul is in the very likeness of the divine, and immortal, and intelligible."8

intellectuelle, la réalité à connaître n'est autre que l'essence abstraite et universelle . Celle-ci n'a aucune réalité existentielle aux yeux d'un aristotélicien, pour qui ne subsistent que des choses concrètes et particulières. "Nous avons montré, au contraire, que sous l'influence de Platon, de S. Augustin, et surtout d'Avicenne, Henri croyait à la réalité d'un double univers : l'un, l'univers des essences, douées d'esse essentiae, et émanées de toute éternité de l'Intellect Divin , l'autre, l'univers de choses concrètes, douées d'esse existentiae, et dues à l'intervention du Vouloir de Dieu . Dès lors, du point de vue d'Henri, il n'y a nulle nécessité que l'essence intelligible soit rendue présente à l'intellect humain ou angélique par l'entremise de l'espèce intelligible. De par l'esse sui generis dont elle bénéficie, elle s'offre immédiatement au regard de l'intellect, à qui il suffit de la contempler." 7 Phaedo : 78E-80 B (Jowett trans. ) . › Avicenna located all the pure intelligible forms in the Intelligentia in


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

Aristotle accused Plato of needlessly duplicating the world of sense with the world of intelligibility." Aristotle knows only one world where intelligibility is deeply embedded in sense. There is no innate knowledge : whatever knowledge the mind has must be laboriously extracted from the perceptions of sense . The mind is said to possess knowledge when it acquires a similitude of the object. The mind, "although impassive , must be receptive of the form of an object ; that is, it must be potentially the same as its object , although not identified with it ... mind has no actual existence until it thinks."'10 Matter is the root of unintelligibility and of individuality : form alone is intelligible and form is universal. Somehow the mind must break through to get at the forms of things. The intellect in knowing becomes its object by assimilating the form of the object ; thought is moved by the intelligible . The cognitive faculty cannot be identical with the objects themselves, for the stone does not exist in the soul, but only the form of the stone.¹¹ For a follower of Aristotle , as Henry of Ghent was in his early career, the means by which the object "moves" or actuates the intellect is called the intentional form or species. "Species" in general indicates the complete nature or essence of a thing . Since the nature is determined by the form, it is appropriate that the determination effectu. These forms are the principles of our knowledge ; they emanate in our souls when our souls are in a fit condition to receive them : "Sed causa dandi formam intelligibilem non est nisi intelligentia in effectu , penes quam sunt principia formarum intelligibilium abstractarum . . . ex consideratione eorum aptatur anima ut emanet in eam ab intelligentia agente abstractio. Cogitationes enim et considerationes motus sunt aptantes animam ad recipiendum emanationem. " De Anima, V, 5 (Venice, 1508 ) , f. 25rb ; ed . Van Riet, pp. 126—127). St. Thomas (S.T. , I , 85 , 1c) explains the facile contact of intellect with intelligible in Plato : "Plato vero, attendens solum ad immaterialitatem intellectus humani, non autem ad hoc quod est corpori quodammodo unitus, posuit obiectum intellectus ideas separatas ; et quod intelligimus, non quidem abstrahendo, sed magis abstracta participando." • Metaphysics M, 4, 1078 b34-1079a2 : “... and the result was very nearly the same as if a man who wishes to count a number of things were to suppose that he could not do so when they are few, and yet were to try to count them when he has added to them. For it is hardly an exaggeration to say that there are more Forms than there are particular sensible things (in seeking for whose causes these thinkers were led on from particulars to Ideas)." 10 De Anima III , 4, 429 a13, 24. 11 De Anima III , 8 , 431b20f.

Intelligible Species in Knowledge


of the intellect in knowledge should be termed a " form" or "species. " It is called an "intentional" form to distinguish it from those forms, substantial or accidental, which fix things in their extramental or physical reality . The intentional form or species is not something absolute ; it determines the knower in his " stretching out towards" (in-tendere) the object.12

12 Henry of Ghent, Summae Quaestionum Ordinariarum ( 1520 edition, reprint St. Bonaventure, N.Y. , 1953 ) , I , a. I , q. 5, f. 14v B : "... quod omnis cognitio est per assimilationem cognoscentis ad cognitum ... non enim oportet, ut [intellectus] sit naturae ignis ad hoc ut cognoscat ignem. Sed solum oportet ut assimiletur eis [rebus] informatus per earum species, unde secundum quod determinat II et III de Anima, oportet intellectum esse potentiam passivam speciei susceptivam ; et se habere ad intelligibilia sicut sensum ad sensibilia. ... Est ergo de se in potentia essentiali receptiva, quae per se non exit in actum, sed per illud quod recipit de specie intelligibilium. Ipsae etiam species intellectus quibus in rebus sensibilibus informari debet, extra intellectum non sunt intelligibiles in actu, sed in potentia solum ; et ideo nec de se possunt fieri in actum ut moveant intellectum passivum. " This Question of the Summa was written early in the career of Henry of Ghent, 1276. See J. Gómez Caffarena, " Cronologia de la ‘ Summa ' de Enrique de Gante por relacion a sus ' Quodlibetes, "" Gregorianum, 38 ( 1957) , 116—133 . A chart of the inter-relations of the Summa and the Quodlibeta is presented on p. 133. Quodl. , I , 12, f. 10vI : "Aliud est verbum de re apud animam, aliud species eius. Species enim est imago vel idolum rei qua anima informatur, ut determinatum verbum de ipsa re concipiat et formet de illa, quod nullo modo posset facere sine illa. Verbum autem est ipsa notitia mentis, quae est veritas quiditatis rei apud animam, in qua formaliter rem intelligit, quam per speciem intelligit tamquam potentia et vi formativa verbi in potentia animae existente ; immo quod verius est tamquam dispositione determinante potentiam ad verbum determinatum formandum quae de se indeterminata est . . . . Unde est verbum sicut forma quaedam in anima generata, potentia animae sicut calor naturalis activus in semine ; species vero in anima sicut virtus principalis agentis in calore. " (This text is contemporaneous with the Summa text above. ) Henry of Ghent, Quodlibet V, 6 f. 161гL : "Unde dicitur intentio quasi intus-tentio, eo quod mens conceptu suo in aliquid quod est in re aliqua determinate tendit, et non in aliquid aliud quod est aliquid eiusdem rei , ut sic super idem in re, per intellectum, cuius est dividere ea quae sunt idem in re, formentur diversi conceptus, ut de diversis penes conceptum mentis, eisdem autem in re. Vital du Four (Q. II , p. 194) cites a text of Henry of Ghent which indicates the latter's use of species : " Si species impressa requiritur tamquam similitudo essentiae cognoscendae, a qua inhaerente intellectui actus eliciatur intelli" gendi, sequitur, ut dicunt , quod actus intelligendi non est voluntarius. . . .' (Cf. Henry of Ghent, Quodl. , V. 14, f. 175 VF.)


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

By the thirteenth century, philosophers were confronted with a dilemma of innatism and empiricism.13 Henry of Ghent attempted an unsatisfactory escape in eclecticism . For his metaphysical inspiration he turned to Plato and Avicenna . There his thought moves "on the level of pure intelligible essences which are grasped through innate ideas and with the help of divine illumination . " For his natural philosophy, on the other hand , he relied upon Aristotle and Averroes. There he is concerned with " individual things, grasped by the senses and intellect through a process of abstraction . ”’ ¹4 Henry of Ghent realized to a certain extent the incompatibility of Platonic idealism and Aristotelian empiricism and tried to effect some reconciliation.15 A major move in that direction was the suppression of the intelligible species. To eliminate the species, however, is to destroy the delicate equilibrium of Aristotle's moderate empiri13 E. Gilson, Etudes sur le rôle de la pensée mediévale dans la formation du système cartésien, Paris, 1930, p. 199 : " Il n'y a guère que deux grandes voies ouvertes à la spéculation métaphysique : celle de Platon et celle d'Aristote. On peut avoir une métaphysique de l'intelligible, méfiante à l'égard du sensible, de méthode mathématique et se prolongeant par une science qui mesure ; ou une métaphysique du concret, méfiante de l'intelligible, de méthode biologique et se prolongeant par une science qui classe ." 14 A. Maurer, "Henry of Ghent and the Unity of Man, " Mediaeval Studies, 10 (1948) , 19 . 15 Henry of Ghent, Summae, I , q . 4 f. 12vE : "Et est hic advertendum ad cognoscendum perfectum modum generationis perfectae scientiae in nobis et cognitionem sincerae veritatis, quod non sufficit conceptus mentis informatus a specie et exemplari accepto a re . Sed requiritur species et exemplar aeternum, quod erat causa rei ; et quod etiam non agit ad generandum notitiam et scientiam veritatis in nobis secundum communem cursum acquirendi scientiam et notitiam veritatis in nobis exemplar aeternum, nisi mediante exemplari temporali, sicut dictum est in quaestione praecedenti. Ex quo patet, ut dictum est ibi, quod modus Aristotelis , si non sensit id quod dixit Plato, erat diminutus, quia nimium attribuebat, immo totum causis particularibus non attribuendo causae universali nisi mediatam actionem et universalem imperfectionem quam determinant agentia particularia. "Patet etiam quod modus Platonis, si non sensit quod Aristoteles similiter erat diminutus, quia nimis parum attribuebat causis particularibus, nihil eis attribuendo in principali actione generationis verbi scientialis et informationis veritatis ; sed solum eis attribuendo actionem in disponendo per modum amotionis eius quod prohibet, non per modum agentis, quod promovet et quod totum id agit universale agens. . . . Dictum ergo utriusque et Aristotelis et Platonis coniungendum est in omnibus et istis generationibus istarum formarum ; et sic erit ex utrisque eliquata una verissimae philosophiae disciplina, ut dicit Augustinus."

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cism¹6 and to expose one's thought to the irresistible pull of nominalism . Henry of Ghent rejects the intelligible species as unnecessary, for the phantasm is bursting with intelligibility. Such a position necessarily implies that the agent intellect no longer has an essential function to perform, and it will not be many years before Durandus of Saint Pourçain will do away with the agent intellect completely ;¹7 he will maintain that since there is nothing

who also suppresses intelligible species , will even more emphatically insist that whatever is outside the intellect is singular ; things do not share a common essence or a common form . 18

Henry of Ghent's Position At the beginning of his Question on intelligible species , Vital du Four remarks that some eminent contemporary philosophers (Magni) 16 E. Bettoni , Il processo astrattivo nella concezione di Enrico di Gand, Milan, 1954, p. 90 : " In terzo luogo mi sono reso conto, per parte mia, quanto sia vitale, nell'ambito dell'aristotelismo, la teoria della ' species intelligibilis ' ; respingerla o comunque modificarla vuol dire perdere ' ipso facto' quella posizione di equilibrio, in fatto di dottrina della conoscenza, che va sotto il nome di empirismo moderato o aristotelico. Questa osservazione, in verità, avrebbe bisogno di altre conferme storiche : in attesa di aggiungerne altre, questa di Enrico di Gand mi è parsa già da se stessa molto significativa." 17 Durandi de S. Porciano O.P. Quaestio de natura cognitionis, ed . J. Koch, Munster in W. , 2nd ed. 1935 , I , 3, 5, n. 4. 18 R. Bourgeois, " La théorie de la connaissance intellectuelle chez Henri de Gand, " Revue Philosophie , 36 ( 1936) , 258-259 : " Niant l'existence de l'universel dans les choses , Occam semble retourner contre l'aristotélisme luimême la critique que faisait Aristote des idées platoniciennes. On aboutit donc à ceci : Henri nie les espèces intelligibles parce que les choses et le phanles nominalistes les nient parce que ni tasme sont gonflées d'universel les choses ni le phantasme ne contiennent l'universel, pure construction de l'esprit. Il y a donc antithèse totale, encore que coïncidence verbale. "Ainsi donc dans la synthèse henricienne les choses nous sont connues par l'intermédiaire des sens. . . . L'intellect agent, qui est une faculté de l'âme non réellement distincte ni de l'âme ni des autres puissances , dénude le phantasme, débarrassant l'intelligible de sa gangue . Il éclaire en outre cet intelligible, qui informe l'intellect possible. Cette actuation se fait sans l'intervention d'aucune espèce intelligible . ... Peu de docteurs ont soutenu avec une pareille netteté la théorie à tant d'égards si platonicienne du phantasme spiritualisé . Le rejet des species sera repris par les nominalistes, mais en un sens antiplatonicien qui empèche absolument qu'il y ait entre eux et Henri dépendance profonde."


universal in things, there is no need to abstract . William of Ockham ,


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

deny that the intellect needs a species in order to understand.¹9 Before he will argue for such species, he thinks it advisable to present as faithfully as possible the position of his adversaries. There can be no doubt whom he has principally in mind, for generous portions from Henry of Ghent's Quodlibeta appear in the exposé.20 Henry of Ghent was quite prepared to say that a species or form was imprinted on the imaginative faculty in the process of sensation , but he vigorously rejected a corresponding impression on the part of the intellect . A sensible quality, such as color, existing naturally in a substance, generates its similitude in the organ of sight . The similitude is further generated in the organs of memory and of imagination, where it exists as an accidental form in a subject . There theprocess terminates. The intellective power is not impressed or informed by a species . The passivity of the intellect , as maintained by Aristotle , means only that the intellect is in potency to receive a knowable object.21 Because of such passivity , it is necessary to posit an agent intellect : potency can be reduced to act only by something already in act . There must be an active intellect to bring the possible intellect to the act of understanding, just as light must activate the sense powers . To determine the precise way in which the intellect is passive , we must contrast it with the passivity of the senses. Sensation is

19 Vital du Four, Quaestio II , p . 185 : "Quaestio nostra est, supposito quod intellectus coniunctus directe intelligat singulare secundum modum in praecedenti quaestione expositum, utrum talis intellectus intelligat universale vel particulare per speciem aliquam in intellectu impressam . . . quidam magni dicunt quod intellectus in nullo statu indiget specie impressa . " 20 Henry of Ghent takes up the problem of intelligible species in Quodlibet IV, 21 , f. 136r : "Utrum intellectus coniunctus possit aliquid intelligere, ” Quodlibeta, Paris (Badii) , 1518 (reprinted Heverlee-Louvain , 1961 ) . Henry refutes attacks on his position in Quodl. V, 14, f. 174 : "Utrum intellectus Angeli intelligat res alias a se per suam essentiam an per rerum similitudines an per praesentiam quidditatum earum .” Vital du Four weaves together excerpts from both Quodlibeta in his exposition. For Henry's teaching on the process of sensation, he will draw upon Quodlibet XI, 5 , f. 451 v—452r and Quodlibet XI , 7 , f. 458r. . . secundum Philo21 Henry of Ghent, Quodlibeta IV, 21 , f. 136v H : " ... sophum in tertio de Anima ( III , 4 , 429 a 15 ) et Commentatorem (Averroes C. 3, 382 : 10-23 ) , intellectus noster possibilis est de genere virtutum passivarum quoquo modo, quia scilicet recipit formam, quam apprehendit, et est in potentia ad eam, sed non transmutabilis ab ea, quia non est materialis, sicut est sensus.

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not formally passive ; it is not the replacement of a state by its opposite ; but it is called passive to the extent that it must receive in order to act . Sensation , then, receives a twofold stimulation : the impression of a species which concerns principally the corporeal organ and, secondly, the inclination of the sense power to operate.22 It sometimes happens that the organ will receive a species without an ensuing inclination of the sense power. An impediment such as sleep or deep concentration may prevent someone from hearing the sound of a bell or from noticing a passer-by. If sensation is to take place, there must be a firm impression of a species on the organ and a strong pull, as it were, on the sense power so that it will actually perceive. A defect may occur in the species or in the organ. In the case of a person hard of hearing, a slight noise may impress a species on the ear without a corresponding sensation . Once a sufficiently strong sensible is presented, however, the power is immediately inclined and perceives . All told , there are four requirements for sensation : a external sensible, a medium, an organ, and a sense power. First , the object or the external sensible generates its similitude in the medium ; second, the medium immediately touching the organ generates in the organ the species with which it is informed ; third, a sufficiently strong species in the organ inclines the power so that it is "intent" for perception ; lastly, the sensation is formed in the composite of the sense power and the impressed organ. The sensation is elicited principally by the inclined sense power, instrumentally by the organ informed with the species, and per se by the composite . The species of a sensible thing, then , is impressed with relation to the organ and expressed with regard to the power. The expressed species is more properly a cognitive means than is the impressed species.23 The act of intellection takes place in a way that is somewhat like sensation and yet somewhat different . Just as an external sensible quality modifies or affects the sense, so the phantasm moves the intellect ; and just as corporeal light gives color the power to move 22 Vital du Four, Q. , II , p . 186 : "... secundum Philosophum, III De Anima, et suum Commentatorem, intellectus noster possibilis est de genere virtutum passivarum quoquo modo, in quantum scilicet est in potentia ad recipiendum in ratione cognoscentis obiectum quod apprehendit." 23 Vital du Four, Q. II , p. 187 : " Ex hiis patet, quod species rei sensibilis est impressa respectu organi et est expressa, et non impressa, respectu potentiae, et quod magis habet rationem cognitivi medii in quantum expressa quam in quantum impressa."


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

sense, so the agent intellect works upon the phantasm , bestowing power to move the possible intellect . This is not to say, however, that the agent intellect gives the species in the phantasm power to impress its similitude on the possible intellect . No species at all is impressed on the intellect . Rather the object known by the imagination under particular conditions is considered by the agent intellect without those conditions. The intellect knows the object as a universal.24 As presented by the agent intellect , the object has the power of moving and inclining the possible intellect to understand it ; no impressed intelligible species is necessary . The intention represented by the agent intellect is united with the possible intellect , not as an accident with its substance or as an impressed species with its organ, but it is united as an organ with a knowing subject . The composite, therefore , is not a third thing as is the composite of matter and form ; rather it is a union of a thing known with the knower.25 The very same thing that is in the imagination in a particular mode is known by the intellect as a nature stripped of those individual conditions . In reality the objects of sight, imagination , and

24 Vital du Four, Q. II, p . 188 : “ .… . . nulla species in eo (possibili) imprimatur, sed quia obiectum imaginatum cognoscebatur ab imaginativa sub conditionibus particularibus, quae sunt hic et nunc sub tali figura et tali quantitate et huiusmodi , intellectus agens considerat illud idem re absque huiusmodi conditionibus. ” 25 Vital du Four, Q. II , p . 188. Duns Scotus in his Lectura in Librum Primum Sententiarum d. 3 , pars 3 , Q. 1 (ed . Vat . XVI, 328 : 15—25 ) summarizes the opinion of Henry of Ghent as follows : “Ista autem species primo recepta in sensu multiplicatur usque ad memoriam et phantasiam, et tunc sequitur actio intellectus agentis, abstrahentis obiectum ab obiecto et non rem a re : nam illud obiectum quod relucet in phantasmate sub ratione singularis, virtute intellectus agentis relucet ut universale per actionem eius, quod quidem sic relucens praesens est intellectui possibili . Et hoc est abstrahere obiectum ab obiecto : facere illud quod relucet ut singulare , relucere et repraesentare ut universale . Aliter enim si species in phantastica virtute actione intellectus agentis gigneret speciem in intellectu possibili, esset abstractio rei a re et non obiecti ab obiecti . " Henry of Ghent, Quodl. IV, 21 , f. 136, vH : “... intentiones imaginatae non movent, ut obiecta intellectum materialem, nisi quando efficiuntur in actu universales, postquam erant in potentia, et per hoc fiant in intellectu possibili, non sicut in subjecto, sed sicut in cognoscente, ut sic componantur intellectus materialis et intentio intellecta . Ita quod compositum non sit tertium ex eis, sicut est de aliis compositis ex materia et forma ut dicit Commentator super 3 De Anima."

Intelligible Species in Knowledge


intellect are the same ; they differ only logically or modally. For example, a color as present is the object of sight ; as absent, it is the object of the imagination with all its individual conditions ; present under a non-singular aspect , it is the object of the possible intellect . The intellect knows, not through an impressed species, but through an expressed species , which is the intention of the object universalized by the agent intellect.26 The universal intention obtained from the phantasm affects the possible intellect far differently from the way that the external object affects sense . Whereas the species impinging on the sense organ effects a true change, the universal intention does not cause a corresponding alteration of the possible intellect . There is no impression on the intellect , no informing , only a presentation of the universal object which inclines the possible intellect to perceive it . The intellective act assimilates the object more effectually than a species ever could , because the species assimilates only as an image, while intellection is a properly cognitive operation. The reason why no change occurs in the intellect at this assimilation , as occurs in sense at the impression of a species , is explained by the difference in cognitive presence . Because the sensible object cannot be present to sense in its substance, it must be present through its species. The intelligible object as intelligible , however, can be present to the intellect.27 The universal intention 26 Vital du Four, Q. II , p. 188 : "... Ut vero absens re, praesens tamen in ratione cogniti non singularis, est obiectum intellectus possibilis, non per speciem impressam, sed expressam, quae quidem species est ipsa intentio obiecti universalis facta universalis ab intellectu agente." Henry of Ghent is here in effect denying any direct knowledge of the singular. See Vital du Four, Q. I , p. 174 and this study Chapter II , n . 86. 27 Vital du Four, Q. II , pp. 188-89 : " Ex quo patet quod differt illa immutatio quae fit in sensu ab obiecto extrinseco ab illa quam facit phantasma seu intentio universalis a phantasmate accepta in intellectu possibili ; quia illa est vera immutatio per speciem impressam in organo, his autem non est talis mutatio vel alteratio, quia nulla fit impressio , sed solum praesentatio universalis per intellectum agentem, universalis obiecti dico inclinantis possibilem ad sui perceptionem. Et ipse actus magis assimilat intellectui rei intellectae quam faceret species, quia species solum assimilat in ratione speculi, actus autem in ratione cognoscentis ; causa autem quare in intellectu non fit talis transmutatio sicut in sensu per speciem impressum est quia, cum obiectum in ratione cogniti debeat esse praesens vi cognitivae, obiectum autem sensibile secundum substantiam non potest esse in sensu, ut ipsum moveat oportet quod sit praesens per suam speciem modo exposito ; intelligibile autem sub ratione intelligibilis bene potest esse praesens intellectui. " See Henry of Ghent, Quodl. XI , 5 , f451 vD - 452r.


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

is present , not as in a subject , but as an object known in the knower. When the object itself is present, it moves far more effectively than does its species, because it has more actuality with which to perfect and incline a potency.Thus intellection requires no impressed species as does sensation ; but the existing intelligible object inclines the potency to act . The intelligible object is not what the phantasm presents, for that is singular ; rather, the intellect's object is the universal intention prepared by the agent intellect and offered to the possible intellect . Presented with its object, the possible intellect is inclined, that is to say , it receives its final disposition to act.28 Though the phantasm may be said to move the intellect, it does not do so in the way that the sensible moves the sense . The sensible is material and embedded in matter . Even if the sensible species is without matter, it still has the conditions of matter. The phantasm, too, has the conditions consequent upon material things. Insofar as it is a species in the imagination , the phantasm does not move the intellect , nor does it serve as the subject of abstraction . But insofar as the phantasm stands for the thing imagined , it can move the intellect when abstracted from the material conditions upon which the imagination depends . Since the possible intellect cannot understand without a phantasm , it needs some power to make the imagined object, which is potentially intelligible , universal and understood in act . Such a power is the agent intellect , which enables the universal to attract the possible intellect and incline the intellect to know.29 Since the universal is immediately present to the intellect , the intellect need not be informed or impressed by an intelligible species. The very same thing that is imagined under particular conditions is understood as universal without those conditions. The universal is really the same as the particular and is present in it . If a universal is to be present to the intellect as a universal, it must also be present as an object to the imagination . The possible intellect can under-

28 Vital du Four, Q. II , p. 189. 29 Vital du Four, Q. II , p. 190. See Henry of Ghent, Quodl. V, 14, f. 176 v0. For Henry of Ghent the universalized intention seems to be only a sine qua non for the act of knowledge, since it does not inform the possible intellect. See Vital du Four, Q. II , p. 189 : “... quae inclinatio est ultima dispositio possibilis intellectus ad intellectionem, tamquam ad suam propriam operationem, non tamquam ad aliquam mutationem , quae sit actus imperfecti secundum quod imperfectum, sed tamquam ad actionem perfecti secundum quod perfectum est."

Intelligible Species in Knowledge


stand nothing unless it is joined with an act of the imagination which considers the particular under particular conditions. For the intellect to know whiteness as whiteness, for example, the imagination must apprehend a white thing with its definite figure and spatiotemporal conditions. That is why Avicenna says that the intelligible remains in the possible intellect only so long as it is actually understood ; at other times it remains potentially in the phantasm of the imagination . It must once more be abstracted by the agent intellect in order for the possible intellect to understand again.³⁰ To clarify the function of the agent intellect with regard to the phantasm, Vital du Four makes use of Henry's own example of light.³¹ The phantasm mixed with the quasi-light of the agent intellect moves the possible intellect as a species of color mixed with light moves the sense of sight . There are, however, differences. Whereas light is an accidental form inhering in the diaphanum, the agent intellect is not an accidental form of the possible intellect, but an active power consubstantial with it, just as both intellects are consubstantial with the intellective soul . Unlike light , which causes the diaphanum to receive impressed species, the agent intellect impresses no species from the phantasm on the possible intellect ; rather the phantasm as universalized by the light of the agent intellect moves the possible intellect.³² Corporeal light communicates to color a certain actuality so that it can affect the sense of sight. Similarly the spiritual light, the agent intellect, endows the phantasm with an actual universality to move the possible intellect . While color acts upon the eye through 30 Henry of Ghent, Quodl. V, 14, f. 176vo : " Propter quod bene dixit Avicenna in suo libro De Anima, quod in intellectu possibili non manet intelligibile nisi cum actu intelligit, sed solum manet ut in potentia in phantasmatibus existentibus in vi sensitiva." Avicenna, De Anima, pars V, c. 6, f. 26rb—va (ed . Van Riet, pp. 144—5, 147) : "Quod autem debes scire de dispositione formarum quae sunt in anima hoc est quod dicemus, scilicet quod imaginata et quaecumque adhaerent eis cum anima avertitur ab eis sunt reposita in virtutibus conservativis eorum , quae vere non sunt apprehendentes. . . . Impossibile est enim dici hanc formam esse in anima in effectu perfecte, et non intelligi ab ea in effectu perfecte. ” 31 An explanation of the mediaeval theory of light will be given in Chapter VI. 32 Vital du Four, Q. II , p. 191 : “ Intellectus autem agens non est forma accidentalis possibilis, sed solum vis activa, et potentia consubstantialis, sicut et uterque, scilicet agens et possibilis, est consubstantialis animae intellectivae. "


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

an impressed species, the phantasm is not joined to the intellect directly or through an impressed species, but it is present to the intellect as something known . Furthermore , it is of the nature of light to be visible, although when mixed with color , light cannot be seen due to its greater simplicity. The agent intellect , on the other hand , is not of itself intelligible ; it merely enables the intelligible to be understood . The agent intellect is known only by inference (arguitive), in that the knowing process demands such a light.33 Henry of Ghent's basic reason , then , for rejecting an impressed intelligible species is that the object of the intellect , the universal , is present to the intellect as knowable and can move the intellect more effectively than any species . It is only because the sensible thing cannot itself be in the sense that an impressed species is required for sensation . Henry of Ghent will further argue against species that the intellectual act affords a more perfect assimilation of the object . The intellectual act assimilates the object precisely as knowable, while the species assimilates it only as an image.34 From the point of view of the object three conditions are necessary for knowledge : 35 the object must become one with the intellect , it must be understood as universal , and it must be present as knowable to the intellect . These conditions in no way, according to Henry, require an impressed species . First , the object must certainly 33 Vital du Four , Q. II , p . 191 : “ Intellectus autem agens non est per se intelligibile, sed solum dat efficaciam intelligibili ut intelligatur, et si intelligatur hoc est tantum arguitive, in quantum scilicet per rationem concludimus tale lumen esse in nobis ." 34 Vital du Four, Q. II , p . 192 : “Ecce fundamentum positionis , quae dicit quod intellectus noster nullam habet speciem impressam . . . quia scilicet intellectus obiectum, quod est universale, praesens est vel esse potest intellectui in ratione cogniti , ideo magis potest movere intellectum quam eius species ; sensibile autem per se esse non potest in sensu , quia oportet quod imprimatur species . Alia est etiam ratio, quae in parte tacta est, quia scilicet actus intellectus magis assimilat obiectum potentiae quam faceret ipsa species, et hoc in ratione cogniti , quia species solum assimilat in ratione speculi . . . . ” Duns Scotus presents an extensive exposition of Henry of Ghent's position in both the Ordinatio and Lectura when he takes up the problem of De imagine, Ordinatio, I dist . 3 , pars 3 , q. 1 , nn . 333—345 (Vatican Ed . III , 201—208) ; Lectura I , dist. 3 pars. 3 , q. 1. nn . 249—263 (Vatican Ed . XVI, 325—330) . 35 At this point Vital du Four begins to follow Giles of Rome , who has marshaled Henry of Ghent's arguments under three headings : ex parte obiecti, ex parte speciei, et ex parte actus . De Cognitione angelorum , q . 4 (Venice, 1503 ) , f. 82rb-83rb : "Quid sit illud per quod intellectus angelicus intelligit alia a se, utrum sit species vel habitus connaturalis ? ”’

Intelligible Species in Knowledge


become one with the intellect in the cognitive order. But an impressed species enters into a union like that of matter and form , which is far different from the union that should exist between the knower 36 and the known. A species , then, ought not to be postulated to account for the cognitive union of intellect and object . Second, whereas the object must be known as universal, the species can represent it only as singular. Since the object exists in reality as singular and not as universal, any similitude it gives rise to will be in accord with its real existence, which is particular. It is impossible for a species to 37 convey universal knowledge. Third , the species does not cause the presence of the object , rather the object accounts for the presence of the species, as is evident in sensation . It is the presence of an external color, for example , that causes the species of color in the eye, and not the other way around. If one were to look directly at the sun and then close his eyes, because of the strong impression , the species would remain , even if the sun were to disappear behind a cloud. If, on the other hand, in the absence of an object a species were to be supernaturally impressed on the eye, the species would not make the object present . The presence of the object to the intellect is not explained by an impressed intelligible species.38 Nothing, therefore, on the part of the object forces us to include an impressed species in the knowing process . A consideration of the nature and function of species will also show that they are inappropriate for intellectual cognition . If the intellect is to understand through impressed species, it will have to be endowed with the species of all intelligible things, for nature does nothing in vain and does not fail to provide whatever is necessary. Since the species of figures and numbers are limitless , that would mean the actual existence of an infinite multitude in the 36 Vital du Four, Q. II , p. 193. See Henry of Ghent, Quodl. V, 14, f. 175 F. 37 Vital du Four, Q. II , p. 193. See Henry of Ghent, Quodl . V, 14, f. 174Z. 38 Vital du Four, Q. II , p . 193. See Henry of Ghent, Quodl. V, 14, f. 174Z . The possibility of an intuitive knowledge of a non-existent object will become a key factor in Ockham's philosophy : Quodlibet VI , 6 (Ockham : Philosophical Writings, ed . P. Boehner, Nelson Philosophical Texts, 1957, Pp. 25-27). "Among the mainpoints of continuity in later mediaeval philosophy, there are two doctrines which make their appearance at the end of the thirteenth century, which receive a considerable refinement in the early fourteenth century, but which are not known to St. Bonaventure and to St. Thomas. The first is the distinction between intuitive and abstractive

6 John E. Lynch


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

intellect, which is obviously impossible.

If, furthermore, the intel-

lect depended upon impressed species, what would explain a given act of knowing ? The mind is certainly not considering the quiddity of a stone at all times. But the new actualization of the intellect does not come from the species , which is always informing it , nor from the object itself, which may have ceased to exist .4º An impressed species would even obstruct knowledge of the object . Knowledge of a species could not lead to knowledge of anything else, any more than the soul's substance could be the basis of knowledge of other things-only the divine essence, as cause of all things, can be that . A species in the intellect cannot be the means of knowing anything except itself. From the point of view of the act of intellection , as well, intelligible species are inefficacious . Such an act must be at once voluntary, in the intelligible order, and relative. All of these conditions are incompatible with the aforesaid species. An impressed species would render the act of knowing necessary and not free, so long as the species inhered . Just as a luminous body, when it has the form of light , must naturally shine, so the intellect while it has the species must understand and it must simultaneously understand all its species.41 The act of knowing must belong to a distinctive order. But if the intellect were informed by a species, it would not differ from any other subject informed by an accident. The reception of the species would be just like the reception of any form in nature ; the intellect would have a real passivity and would not grasp its object in the intelligible mode. The reception of such a form also rules out the relational or intentional aspect of knowing. Intellection would not be a movement from the mind or toward the mind, but an absolute action , just as shining is an absolute action

cognition ; the second is the associated doctrine of the intuition of non-being. . . (There is) a very fertile text of Cardinal Matthew of Aquasparta in which the doctrine of the cognition of non-being is formulated in what is historically its oldest form . " A. C. Pegis , " Matthew of Aquasparta and the Cognition of Non-Being," Scholastica ratione historico-critica instauranda , Romae , 1951 , pp. 463–480. Matthew of Aquasparta's text should be dated c. 1278—1279. 39 Vital du Four, Q. II, p. 193. Henry of Ghent, Quodl . V, 14, f. 174vZ . 40 Vital du Four, Q. II , p . 194. Henry of Ghent, Quodl. V, 14, f. 174vZ : "Immo etiam positis (i . e . , species intelligibiles impressivae) oportet ponere alium motivum ad eliciendum actum intelligendi, quod etiam sine ipsis aequaliter natum est ipsum elicere et cum ipsis." 41 Vital du Four, Q. II , p. 194. Henry of Ghent, Quodl. V, 14, f. 175 F.

Intelligible Species in Knowledge


of a luminous body informed with light. The fact that knowing is a motion from the thing to the soul will, therefore, exclude impressed species from the cognitive process.42 In the opinion of Henry of Ghent , therefore, whether one approaches the problem from the point of view of the object , the species, or the act of intellection , impressed species are at best unnecessary and at worst impossible. There is no need of a substitute for the intelligible object as there is in the process of sensation , because the universalized object existing in the phantasm is immediately present to the understanding. Both subject and object participate in immateriality, the very condition of intelligibility (eadem est ratio intelligibilis et intelligentis, scilicet separatio a materia) .43 The notion itself of a species is incompatible with intellectual knowledge. The intellect knows its object as universal , while the impressed species must represent it as singular. If, furthermore, the intellect were informed by a species, knowing would not be distinguished from physical becoming. According to Henry of Ghent and his followers, then, the universal intention, which is produced by the agent intellect and presented to the possible intellect , cannot be imprinted on the possible intellect or unite with it as form with matter or as an accident with its subject. Rather, the intellect and the intention are united as the knower with the known or as the mover with the thing moved. This universal intention cannot be called an impressed species like the species in the sense powers, but is is an expressed species in that it expresses the true quiddity of the thing.44 Thus Henry of Ghent distinguishes between three kinds of species. The first is the natural form by which a thing is what it is through its essence , as humanity is man's form and species . In this sense one may speak of the species of God, meaning the form of the divine essence or the essence itself formally considered . St. Augustine , accordingly, says that to see God per speciem is to see Him face to 42 Vital du Four, Q. II , pp. 194–195 . Henry of Ghent, Quodl. V, 14, f. 175 F. 43 Vital du Four, Q. II , p. 192 . 44 Vital du Four, Q. II, p . 195 : intentio universalis per intellectum

agentem facta, praesentata ipsi possibili, non imprimitur ei nec fit unum cum eo sicut ex forma cum materia vel ex accidente et subiecto , sed sicut ex cognoscente et cognito vel ex movente et moto. Nec haec intentio universalis potest dici species impressa, sicut in viribus sensitivis , sed expressa , quia veram rei quidditatem exprimit. "


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

face.45 A second species is the likeness of a thing which informs the sensitive part of the soul, but not the intellect ; this is the impressed species. The third species is the thing as known existing in the intellect and informing the act of understanding , but not in the manner of an impressed species.46

Vital du Four's Critique After this accurate and detailed presentation of Henry of Ghent's position, Vital du Four subjects it to critical analysis, He begins with the general observation that Henry of Ghent has misunderstood the distinction between the agent and possible intellects and has erred in the functions assigned them.47 When Henry of Ghent asserts that the agent intellect produces universality by abstracting it from particular conditions , he affirms that it is not the agent intellect but the possible intellect that understands . He says that the agent intellect illumines the phantasm. But what else


"illumine" mean , asks Vital, except to " know" ? The agent intellect , therefore, necessarily understands. That being the case , comments Vital, the agent and the possible intellects are not two powers . 48 Henry of Ghent , furthermore, declares that the agent intellect abstracts the universal intention . What , Vital persists , does he mean by "abstraction " ? It is clear that for Henry "abstraction" is the consideration of a thing in one mode apart from those intentions that would place it in another mode -for example, to consider man as man and not as this man. Again , Vital claims, to consider a thing in such a way is really to understand it . It is , therefore , the agent intellect that knows and consequently accounts for all intellectual activity. Vital du Four is himself of the opinion that the agent and the possible intellects are not distinct as two potencies or powers , since 45 St. Augustine, De Trinitate, I , 8 , 16 ( PL 42 : 830) : "Sed quia omnes justos, in quibus nunc regnat ex fide viventibus mediator Dei, et hominum homo Christus Jesus, perducturus est ad speciem, quam visionem dicit idem Apostolus, ' Facie ad faciem. "" 46 Vital du Four, Q. II , pp . 195–196 . 47 Vital du Four, Q. II , p . 196 : “ Duo autem sunt dubia in isto modo ponendi . Primum est circa assignationem et differentiam intellectus agentis et possibilis ." 48 Vital du Four, Q. II , p . 196 : “ . . ergo, si actio intelligendi requirit intellectum possibilem et agentem, non sunt duae potentiae nec duae vires, agens et possibilis .

Intelligible Species in Knowledge


there is just one act of understanding and one formal object . One and the same power is called passive insofar as it passes into act, receives species and is informed by habits. It is called active insofar as it judges, compares, considers, and carries out similar activities. If any distinction is to be made, instead of calling the agent and possible intellect two powers, it is better to say that they are two functions of one power.49 Therefore , he cannot accept Henry's opinion with regard to the distinction of the two intellects or to the operations attributed to them. 50 To reject an impressed intelligible species, Vital du Four observes, is to contradict the saints, the philosophers, and reason . St. Augustine speaks of four forms or species : ( 1 ) the form of the object ; (2 ) the form produced in sense ; (3) the form produced in the memory ; and (4) the form produced in thought when we actually remember. Thought is thus formed by the species preserved in the memory.51 Aristotle , too , insists Vital, teaches that the intellect is in a certain sense passive , inasmuch as it must receive species ;

49 F. Delorme in his edition of Vital du Four's Quaestiones (p. 197, n. 1) indicates that Vital is here following St. Bonaventure, II Sent. , d . 24, p. I , a. 2, q. 4, ad 5 ( II, 571 ) : “ Et ita cum cogitamus de intellectu agente et possibili, non debemus cogitare quasi de duabus substantiis, vel quasi de duobus potentiis ita separatis, quod una sine alia habeat operationem suam perfecte... sed sic cogitandae sunt esse illae duae differentiae, quod in unam operationem completam intelligendi veniant inseparabiliter, sicut lumen et diaphanum veniunt in abstractionem coloris." Gilson's exposition of St. Bonaventure's opinion confirms the similarity : "En second lieu, il est clair que dans la doctrine de saint Bonaventure l'intellect agent et l'intellect possible ne sont pas deux facultés réellement distinctes l'une de l'autre ... saint Bonaventure substitute aux deux facultés réellement distinctes de l'aristotélisme chrétien ou , comme il le dit fortement, à ces deux substances, deux simples différences de fonctions au sein d'une même substance et deux aspects corrélatifs d'une même opération. ” La Philosophie de Saint Bonaventure, 2 ed . rev. Paris, 1943, p. 296. 50 Vital du Four, Q. II , p. 197. 51 St. Augustine, De Trin. , XI , 9 , 16 ( PL 42 : 996) : " In hac igitur distributione cum incipimus a specie corporis, et pervenimus usque ad speciem quae fit in contuitu cogitantis, quatuor species reperiuntur quasi gradatim natae altera ex altera. . .. A specie quippe corporis quod cernitur, exoritur ea quae fit in sensu cernentis ; et ab hac, ea quae fit in memoria ; et ab hac, ea quae fit in acie cogitantis ; quapropter voluntas quasi parentem cum prole ter copulat : primo speciem corporis cum ea quam gignit in corporis sensu : et ipsam rursus cum ea quae fit ex illa in memoria ; atque istam quoque tertio cum ea quae ex illa paritur in cogitantis intuitu. ”


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

Aristotle also calls the soul " the place of species ." 52 Avicenna, Vital's third authority, argues that species must be abstracted from material things, if those things are to be understood . 53 Separate substances, however, can be understood without abstraction ; the soul is sealed (sigilletur) with them : "what we know of separate substances is imprinted on us by them. " 54 It is useless for Henry of Ghent to object that the "species" in the above texts refer to expressed species or to the assimilative act of the intellect. 55 Aristotle requires a species because the object itself cannot be in the soul. The species does no more than substitute for the thing. Whether the species or the thing is present, there would still have to be an intellective act for the thing to be known . The species that Aristotle speaks of is prior to the act of knowing, a prerequisite for that act ; it is, therefore , an impressed rather than an expressed species.56 It is equally pointless to object that the Philosopher means only the impressed species in the sense powers. For Aristotle does not say that the whole soul is the place of forms, but that the intellect is the place of forms. The intellective power is rooted in the essence of the soul, while the sense powers as such are rooted in the corporeal organs which receive the sensible species.

Epist. 7, c. 2, n. 3 (PL 33:69 ; CSEL 43:14) : "Nihil est aliud illa imaginatio, mi Nibridi , quam plaga inflicta per sensus, quibus non, ut tu scribis, commemoratio quaedam fit ut talia formentur in anima, sed ipsa hujus falsitatis illatio, sive ut expressius dicatur, impressio." 52 Aristotle, De Anima III , 4 , 429a 27—29 : “ It has been well said that the soul is the place of forms, except that this does not apply to the soul as a whole, but only in its thinking capacity, and the forms occupy it not actually but only potentially." 53 Avicenna, III Meta. , c . 8, Venice 1508, 82r C : " Illae aliae egent abstractione quousque abstrahatur ab eis intentio quae possit intelligi. Istae vero non egent aliquo nisi ut intelligantur esse ut sunt et sigilletur anima per eas."

54 Vital du Four, Q. II , pp. 197-98 . 55 Henry of Ghent, Quodl. V, q . 14c, f. 167M ; cf. Scotus, Ordinatio, I, d. 3 , p. 3 , q. 1 , ( III : 206, n . 342 and III : 238, n. 391 ) . 56 Vital du Four, Q. II , p. 198 : "... ergo cum, secundum Philosophum et etiam secundum quod haec positio dicit, species ad hoc ponatur quia res inesse non possunt, planum est quod species non plus faciunt, si ponantur in intellectu, nisi quia supplent vicem rei absentis ; ergo, si praesente re adhuc esset necessaria intellectio, eodem modo, praesente specie, adhuc est necessaria intellectio. Non ergo superfluit ponere speciem in intellectione. ”

Intelligible Species in Knowledge


The intelligible species are received in the intellect and consequently in the soul in which the intellect is rooted . 57 Henry of Ghent has tried to use Aristotle's assertion that the intellect cannot think without a phantasm as the basis of an argument against species. If there were such species in the possible intellect, the intellect , argues Henry, would not have to depend on phantasms. Vital du Four, however, easily disposes of this objection . A phantasm cannot move the possible intellect without first producing in it a species, for the same reason that the mere imposition of a sensible object on a particular sense does not make a sensation. There must always be a medium wherein a progressive spiritualization takes place to bring about a proportion between agent and patient. Now the phantasm has a quasi-material being with regard to the intellect , but a spiritual being with regard to sense . Between the two extremes of phantasm and intellect , there must be a mean . That medium is the intelligible species which is more removed from material conditions than is the phantasm, but yet is not as spiritual as the concept . 58 Many reasons may be offered why the intellect needs the phantasm along with the intelligible species. Unlike the intellect in the state of innocence, it is now joined to a corruptible body and cannot reflect clearly upon itself. Consequently, it cannot reflect upon its species or concepts without struggling in some way through sense and imagination . Through a conversion of this kind the species in the intellect receives the actuality needed to move the intellect . From the phantasm the species receives being and generation and,

57 Vital du Four, Q. II , p. 198 : "Nec est intelligendum quod Aristoteles intelligat species tantum esse in potentia intellectiva, et non in sensitiva ; sed ideo hoc dicit, quia potentia intellectiva fundatur in essentia animae, potentiae autem sensitivae in quantum tales fundantur in organis corporalibus, in quibus sensibilium species recipiuntur, intelligibilium autem in intellectu et per consequens in anima, in qua intellectus fundatur. " Henry of Ghent, Quodl. V, 14. , f. 176 K. Cf. Scotus, Lectura I , d. 3 , P. 3 , q . 1 , (XVI : 338). 58 Vital du Four, Q. II, p. 200 : "Nam phantasma habet esse quodam modo materiale respectu eorum quae sunt in intellectu , quamvis habeat esse spirituale respectu eorum quae sunt in sensu seu rerum sensibilium. . . . Huiusmodi autem medium est species intelligibilis, quae non habet adeo esse materiale sicut phantasma nec ita spirituale sicut intellectio. " Henry of Ghent, Quodl. V, 14 , f. 176 O. See Giles of Rome, De cognitione angelorum, Q. 4, Venice 1503 , f. 83 vb.


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

therefore, perfection . For when joined to its principle (the phantasm illumined by the agent intellect) , the species, like any other cause, has more efficacy to move the intellect than it does when not so joined. The separated soul, however, does not need to refer to the phantasm , for with the light of the agent intellect it can freely concentrate on the species alone . 59 After he has shown that authority cannot be invoked for the elimination of species , Vital du Four considers the principal philosophical arguments directed against such species. He takes up first a difficulty that had been raised in the discussion of how singulars are known. Henry of Ghent maintained that the singular could be known only indirectly ; otherwise knowledge of the universal would be impossible. 60 Henry argues that in the order of cognition there would have to be a singular determination over and above that of the universal, just as there is in the order of nature. This added determination would impede universal knowledge . Vital du Four replies that just as the same reality is both man and this man and the notion of one does not impede the notion of the other, so the determination made by the impressed species of one need not impede that of the other.61 The arguments for the Solemn Doctor's position are easily refuted . He bases much of his case on the fact that the condition of knowing and of intelligibility is the same , namely, separation from matter. As the intellect is of itself intelligible without abstraction, so is it fully equipped to understand without impressed species. Vital du Four dismisses this reasoning as specious. Obviously, it is not true that what is intelligible can of itself actually know. Even if from the point of view of the intellect's actualization no species

59 Vital du Four, Q. II , p. 201 : "... oportet quod anima exerceat se supra phantasma, ut per talem conversionem species intelligibiles recipiant actualitatem , qua mediante moveant intellectum ad intelligendum. . . . Clarum autem est quod sicut quaelibet res, ita maxime species, ut est coniuncta suo principio, scilicet phantasmati illustrato lumine intellectus agentis, fortius et perfectius esse habet ad movendum intellectum ad actum suum. ” 60 Henry of Ghent, Quodl. IV, 21 , f, 136rv ; Vital du Four, Q. I, p. 174. Cf. supra p. 47, n . 62. 61 P. W. Nash, "Intention in Knowledge according to Giles of Rome," L'Homme et son destin, Louvain, 1960, pp. 654–655 . (Giles of Rome, De cog. angelorum, Q. 7, ad 5 , ad 11.)

Intelligible Species in Knowledge


were needed, a species would still be required on the part of the object to render it present as known to the intellect.62 Henry of Ghent maintained that from the point of view of the object all the conditions of knowledge are realized without a species. 63 A species, he insisted , would be united to the intellect as form to matter, which is far from being a properly cognitive union. This argument, Vital charges, serves only to emphasize Henry of Ghent's inconsistency, for he admits that such a species is necessary for sense knowledge. If a sensible species can effect a cognitive union , why cannot an intelligible species do so on its own level ? A further objection was raised by Henry of Ghent that the object of the intellect is universal, whereas the impressed species is particular. Granted that the species itself is something particular, replies Vital, it is universal as representing the object. The universality comes, not from the object, but from the consideration of the intellect , which looks at man as man and not merely as this man . Similarly the intellect considers the species as the species of man, not as the species of this man. Even though in the real order man and this man are the same, in the intellect there is one species for man and another for this man, because there are different considerations involved . Since consideration takes place through species, there must be different species for the universal and for the singular . The objection that the species does not account for the presence of the object, but just the reverse, may be refuted with a similar distinction. A thing may be made present in two ways : in the order of being and in the order of representation . In the order of being the object is responsible for the presence of the species, because it causes it . In the order of representation or intentionality the species renders the object present, because the species is more spiritual and formal . An object, then, may be present in actual existence or present in knowledge. 64 It has to be actually present 62 Vital du Four, Q. II, p. 202 : " Deficit etiam ratio, quia quamvis diceretur quod intellectus de se habet quod possit intelligere absque additamento et sic non indigeret specie ex parte sui, adhuc tamen indigeret ratione obiecti, quod non est praesens in ratione cogniti nisi per speciem. " 63 Vital du Four relies heavily on Giles of Rome (De Cog. Ang. , Q. 4, f. 84 vb- 85 vb) in answering the objections, but Vital does so more succinctly. 64 Vital du Four, Q. II, p. 203 : " Quamvis species, quae est in intellectu, in se et in comparatione ad obiectum sit res quaedam particularis, in repraesentando tamen et respectu obiecti est universalis ; quam universalitatem non habet ab obiecto unde oritur, sed ab intellectus consideratione, conside-


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

for all sense knowledge, unless God were to imprint supernaturally a species in the eye . Cognitive presence , however, does not depend upon the actual existence of the object , as the operations of the imagination and the intellect bear witness . But cognitive presence cannot be dissociated from the impressed species . Consequently, if God were to imprint a species in the imagination or the intellect, the thing would necessarily be cognitively present . Considering the knowing process from the point of view of the object, therefore, there seems to be no reason why intelligible species are not feasible. Henry of Ghent argued that the very notion and function assigned to impressed species render them inappropriate for intellectual cognition . Nature at the outset would have to furnish the intellect with an infinite number of species, which is inconceivable. Vital du Four replies that nature has certainly provided an intellect capable of becoming all things, but that it is not constrained to supply the intellect beforehand with all it will need by way of an extrinsic condition of knowing . Now, impressed species are necessary extrinsically, as a hammer is necessary for a carpenter. Nature does not have to equip the intellect with intelligible species any more than it has to supply the senses with sensible species . Another difficulty must be faced : how will the intellect be brought from potency to act if there are no species ? Obviously, it is not always considering a certain species even though informed by it . Once again the objection of Henry of Ghent may be turned against his own position . He maintains that the agent intellect abstracts a universal intention from the phantasm ; but why does it abstract from one among the many phantasms simultaneously present in the imagination ? Vital du Four calls attention to the remark of St. Augustine : "It is not in the soul's power what the eye lights on, whether on higher or lower objects, but it is in its power to '65 accept or reject something.' The determination may come , according to Vital, from many causes. God can illumine one phantasm rather than another so that a man will repent of a particular sin . A sense apprehension may excite the

rando hominem in quantum homo , non solum ut hic homo, cum sit virtus non organica ; et similiter considerat speciem in quantum species hominis, non ut huius hominis."

65 De libero arbitrio III , 25 , 74 (PL 32 : 1307 , CSEL 74 : 151 ) .

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mind to think of something similar or contrary, of something ante, in a cedent or consequent to it . Sometimes habit inclines the mind familiar direction ; sometimes it is a need such as hunger or thirst, or an immoderate hope or love . Just as various factors incline our dreams to be of one kind rather than another, so do different influences determine an alert mind to consider one thing rather than another. Henry of Ghent's third argument against the notion of species maintained that they cannot account for knowing things, because they are not the causes of things . Vital du Four replies that this argument would also rule out the phantasm, the act of understanding, and the concept , for neither do they cause the known object . It is true that only the divine essence is the principle of understanding other things in that it is their cause. But species , too , can be a principle for knowing things, just as any effect can lead to a knowledge of its cause . Thus there does not seem to be any difficulty in the notion of an impressed species that would render it inapt for intellectual cognition . An examination of the intellectual act will likewise show that Henry of Ghent's objections are groundless . He maintains that once informed by a species, the intellect will always necessarily understand, just as the sun always shines, whereas , in fact , the act of understanding is a voluntary act . Vital du Four points out that a species is not a natural form of the intellect as light is of the sun. Furthermore, some philosophers hold that a species is required only to represent the object, not to actuate the intellect . There is no question of necessity, for unlike physical powers the intellect is indeterminate. Just as the operation of the intellect is subject to free will, so too are the species in the intellect in moving it to understand.

The Solemn Doctor insisted that if species were impressed on the intellect, intellection would not be a properly cognitive act ; it would not differ from the modification of a subject by an accident . Vital du Four once more turns the argument against his adversary. By the same reasoning, the impression of sense species would make sensation a physical rather than a psychological fact . Species, to be sure, must be considered under their twofold aspect : as representative of the object and as informative of the intellect . Species , in the opinion of some philosophers, are necessary just to represent the


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

object ; it is accidental that they inhere in the intellect .

From this

point of view, species are clearly in the intelligible order. Species may also be considered as informing the intellect ; then they belong to the physical order . Because, however, the function is secondary, they belong more properly to the cognitive order. Henry of Ghent , in fine, protested that if the intellect understood through impressed species, the act of knowing would not be a movement from the thing to the intellect , but an absolute action with no extrinsic term, like the shining of the sun . Vital du Four rejoins that intellection is indeed a movement from object to soul , insofar as the thing is responsible for the impression of the species. Intellection is at the same time a movement from the soul to the object, to the extent that it is caused by the species as representative of the object . Thus a thorough investigation of all the objections against the existence of species has established that the act ofunderstanding is in no way prevented or impeded by them. Vital du Four's Own Doctrine Now that he has effectively refuted Henry of Ghent , Vital du Four is prepared to elucidate the part played by impressed species in intellectual knowlegde . Not all who defend the necessity of such species, remarks Vital, do so for the same reasons. Some argue that species are required not only to present the object to the intellect , but also to actuate the intellect , so that without the actuation there would be no act of understanding . According to this position (which is that of St. Thomas) no matter how intimately present the object is to the intellect , as in the intellect's knowledge of itself or of its habits , a species must first be impressed on the intellect.67 66 Vital du Four, Q. II , p. 207. See Giles of Rome, De Cog. Ang., Q. 4, 85vb : "Dicemus ergo quod species illa dupliciter considerari potest : videlicet, ut est informativa subjecti ; vel ut est repraesentativa objecti. Ut informet subjectum et ut est aliquid inhaerens intellectui hoc accidit sibi . ” 67 St. Thomas, De veritate, X, 8 ; ed . Spiazzi, pp. 207—208 : “Si igitur consideretur quantum ad apprehensionem, sic dico , quod natura animae cognoscitur a nobis per species quas a sensibus abstrahimus. Anima enim nostra in genere intellectualium tenet ultimum locum, sicut materia prima in genere sensibilium, ut patet per Commentatorem in III de Anima . Sicut enim materia prima est in potentia ad omnes formas sensibiles, ita intellectus noster possibilis ad omnes formas intelligibiles ; unde in ordine intelligibilium est sicut potentia pura, ut materia in ordine sensibilium. Et ideo, sicut materia non est sensibilis nisi per formam supervenientem, ita intellectus possibilis non

Intelligible Species in Knowledge


Others maintain- Giles of Rome, for example-that the only reason species are necessary is to present the object to the mind . In the opinion of these men it is not essential that the species inform the mind . If the object itself were present to the mind , or if the species could be present to the mind without inhering in it, the intellect would be fully equipped to act . 68 It is because species are accidents that they must inhere in the intellect . Accordingly , the intellect needs no impressed species to know the soul, its habits, or objects which are already present to the intellect . The intellect needs. impressed species merely to represent objects which cannot in their own substance be present to the intellect . If the object were so present, it would more perfectly represent itself and more perfectly move the intellect than its species does. The species causes the act of understanding only in virtue of the object from which it arises, that is, as representative of the object . The species, therefore , does not move the intellect as an inhering accident but as a substance . For the time being , Vital du Four defers deciding whether a species is required to actuate the intellect or just to present the object . He will return to the problem of a species in the soul's knowledge of itself and its habits . He can establish the necessity for impressed intelligible species merely by showing that they are required to present the object . There is no need at this time to determine if species also contribute to the perfection of the intellect by actuating it. In order to clarify the status of species as accidents in the soul, Vital du Four suggests a comparison with the illumination of the est intelligibilis nisi per speciem superinductam. Unde mens nostra non potest seipsam intelligere ita quod seipsam immediate apprehendat ; sed ex hoc quod apprehendit alia, devenit in suam cognitionem ; sicut et natura materiae primae cognoscitur ex hoc ipso quod est talium formarum receptiva." 68 Giles of Rome, De cog. ang. , Q. 4, 84 vb- 85ra : " Propter quod sciendum quod in quaestionibus praecedentibus tangebatur per se requiritur species ut suppleat vicem objecti . Quod enim ipsum objectum faceret si esset praesens intellectui hoc facit ipsa species ut est repraesentativa objecti .... Sed quod species illa informet intellectum hoc quodammodo accidit . Si enim illa species quae est similitudo objecti posset existere in intellectum absque eo quod inhaereret sibi, multo magis et fortius causaret actum intelligendum in intellectum per quem intelligeret objectum. " Also see n. 66 above, which continues, " Quare si non inhaerens vel si obiectum per seipsum posset ibi esse multo magis posset causare in intellectu actum intelligendi. Sed quod repraesentativa objecti hoc est per se primo modo species intelligibilis."


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

atmosphere. Air receives light by means of the diaphanum, a potentially transparent medium , which is a permanent accident . Light itself is a transient accident . The intellect , too , has its transient and permanent accidents. The transient accident , analogous to light , is the intellective act . The permanent accidents in the intellect are the habitus of science with regard to conclusions and the species with regard to understanding simple quiddities .“⁹ Vital du Four appeals to authority in his defense of impressed species . According to Averroes, the intellect receives universal forms as matter does individual forms.70 What are those universal forms but the impressed intelligible species ? To interpret the universal forms as known objects or concepts will not do away with impressed species . Matter must be prepared to receive particular forms through inhering dispositions .

Similarly, the intellect is

prepared to receive concepts through impressed species. A comparison with the will confirms the place of species in intellectual activity. Willing is a movement from the soul to the thing loved , while understanding is a movement from the thing to the soul . Since the will through the act of willing truly attains the thing which it loves, the thing known will truly attain the intellect which it arouses.71 It is generally admitted that the phantasm in some way moves the intellect . Now a creature can move something only by a kind of contact , that is to say, through a substantial application or through an influx or through a species . In the case of the phantasm ❝ Vital du Four, Q. II , p. 209 : “Nunc autem ita est quod actus intellectus est transiens accidens seu transmutabile, intellectus autem substantia permanens ; ergo sicut aër mediante diaphaneitate, quod est accidens permanens , recipit lumen, quod est accidens transiens, sic et intellectus recipiet intellectionem per accidens permanens , quales sunt habitus scientiales respectu veritatis conclusionum et ipsae species respectu actus intelligendi quidditates simplicium. " 70 Averroes, Commentarium Magnum in Aristotelis De Anima, ed. F. S. Crawford, Cambridge (Mass .) , 1953 , III , Comm . 5 , p. 387 : 27f : “ Et cum ista est diffinitio intellectus materialis, manifestum est quod differt apud ipsum a prima materia in hoc quod iste est in potentia omnes intentiones formarum universalium materialium, prima autem materia est in potentia omnes iste forme sensibiles non cognoscens neque comprehendens. Et causa propter quam ista natura est distinguens et cognoscens, prima autem materia neque cognoscens neque distinguens , est quia prima materia recipit formas diversas, scilicet individuales et istas , ista autem recipit formas universales. ” 71 See Scotus, Ordinatio, I , d. 3 , pars. 3 , q. 1 , III : 203 , n. 336 , n. 338 .

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the only possible way it can affect the intellect is through a species generated from the phantasm . Henry of Ghent acknowledges that the phantasm stimulates the intellect because it is related to the intellect as the sensible object is related to sense . But, asks Vital, if no sensation follows when the sensible object is placed directly on the sense, why should the intellect be immediately moved by the phantasm ? Rather, it is more reasonable that the intellect be moved through intelligible species begotten from the phantasm. From what has been said , it is clear that intelligible species are required on two counts. The first is the materiality of the object . Because the species of sense and of the imagination are corporeal, they cannot move the intellect which is immaterial. There must first be an abstraction or, better, a multiplication of the intelligible species by means of the agent intellect . The intellect cannot understand corporeal things unless such a species is abstracted or multiplied from the species in the imagination . The second reason for intelligible species is the absence of the object . In the present life the intellect needs such species to know both the material and the immaterial . The separated intellect needs them to know material things and at least those immaterial things that are distinct from itself and that are not in the intellect.72 Whether impressed species are necessary for the intellect's knowledge of itself and of its habits will be discussed in Chapter V. Vital du Four sums up his position as follows : the intellect understands both the universal and the particular through an informing species, the one through a universal species, the other through a

72 Vital du Four, Q. II , p. 210 : “Ex hoc apparet quod species intelligibilis requiritur in intellectu propter duo : unum est, si res intellecta sit corporalis, quia species sensus nec imaginativae, cum ambae sint corporales, propter suam materialitatem et improportionem non possunt movere intellectum, et ideo est necesse ut fiat ab ea abstractio seu , ut melius dicam, multiplicatio speciei intelligibilis in virtute luminis intellectus agentis ; et tali specie sic abstracta seu multiplicata a specie quae est in imaginativa indiget intellectus coniunctus ad intelligendum res corporales. Secundo, requiritur species propter obiecti absentiam et tali specie indiget intellectus coniunctus tam respectu materialium quam immaterialium ; tali autem specie indiget intellectus separatus ad cognoscendum materialia et immaterialia, saltem alia a se et ad cognoscendum alia quae non sunt in eo. "


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

particular species.73 There are three possible sources from which the intellect draws or " gathers " (colligit) the universal and the singular species.74 Sometimes the intellect obtains the species from sensation and thereby knows that a certain thing really exists. When the sensation ceases, a species of the corporeal sensation does indeed remain in the intellect , but from it the intellect cannot ascertain the actual existence of the external thing, only that it once did apprehend such an existent . Whether or not the thing exists now cannot be known without an actual sensation . The intelligible species may, in the second place, be gathered from the sensible species of the singular existing in a particular sense. Even though a sensible species is present in sense, the intellect cannot know of the thing's actual existence . Rather it knows the singular absolutely. The image of Peter, for example , cannot furnish knowledge of whether Peter actually exists or not , but only a knowledge of Peter . Similarly the word " Caesar" does not signify whether Caesar exists or not, but Caesar absolutely. So , too, the species in the particular sense or in the imagination , or intellect , cannot account for actual existence . In the third place, when the sense is not in act or the intellect

73 Vital du Four, Q. II , p. 210 : " Dico ergo quod intellectus per speciem informantem intelligit tam universalia quam particularia et alia specie particularia et alia universalia ." 74 The term " colligere " seems to come from Matthew of Aquasparta, Quaest de cog., Q. IV, p. 285 : “ Prius igitur defertur species singularis ad intellectum et ex illa colligit intentionem universalem, quam ipsum universale intelligat. Oportet enim cognoscere ea ex quibus intentionem cognoscibilem colligit sive abstrahit, ut praedictum est. ” Also see ibid. , p. 281 : “ Intellectus colligit et abstrahit universale ex particularibus sive singularibus ; ex incognitis autem nullo modo posset intentionem cognoscibilem colligere ; ergo necesse est quod singularia et particularia cognoscat." Matthew writes in Quaest de fide, Q. I , ad 10, P 54 : "6‘. . . universale est in

rebus particularibus et in anima ; sed non est in rebus particularibus absolute, sed per comparationem unius ad aliam . In quolibet enim particulari est aliquid quo distinguitur ab alio, et haec sunt principia particularia, ut sua anima, suum corpus ; est etiam aliquid quo convenit cum quolibet alio, sicut anima et corpus. Unde et est hic homo ex hac anima et hoc corpore compositus, et homo compositus ex anima et corpore . Quod dico ' hominem, ' dico universale ; quod dico ' hunc hominem, ' dico singulare . Universale, prout dicit rem aliquam, non est in anima, sed species universalis, id est istius naturae communis, ex qua colligit intentionem hanc propter convenientiam multorum, et vocat universale. "

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does not advert to the sensation , the intellect can gather a singular species from the imagination . Thus the singular intelligible species may originate from an actual sensation, from a sensible species informing the sense, or from the species in the imagination or sensitive memory. The universal species has a parallel genesis. The intellect may gather it from a sensation , from a sensible species in sense, or from one in the imagination . Once the intellect apprehends the sensation, since it is a reflexive and comparing (collativa) power, it immediately knows what kind of a sensation it is, for example, " this is a color. "75 Or, if the intellect knows the particular thing through a species gathered from the sense or the imagination, it immediately considers that thing under a universal aspect. In understanding this color, for example, the intellect through the species of color produced in it considers color as such. The agent intellect can thus multiply intelligible species in the possible intellect from the species that is in sense as well as from the species that is in the imagination . The universal is a product of the possible intellect considering the By means of reflection and comparison the intellect singular. draws the universal from its knowledge of sensation and from the sensible species . It will be helpful now to summarize what Vital du Four has so far established . One must keep in mind that a " singular" may mean . either a thing in its actual existence or a thing in its uniqueness. "7 Through an action numerically one with that of the lower powers, the intellect apprehends in sensation the actual existence of a sensible 75 Vital du Four, Q. II , p. 211 : "...Cognita ipsa sensatione immediate, cum sit virtus reflexiva et collativa , cognoscit quidditatem sensationis universalis ." Cf. Q. I, p. 184 : "Actio autem reflexiva, quae scilicet intelligit se huiusmodi actualitatem intelligere, et actio collativa, qua confert illam actualitatem ad universale dicendo quod illa albedo est color, istae inquam duae actiones intellectus nullo modo sunt organicae nec per se nec per accidens ." 76 Vital du Four, Q. II , p . 211 : "Ab omnibus istis speciebus, pote sensationis, a specie rei sensibilis ut est in sensu , ut est in imaginatione , colligit speciem rei universalis intellectus . . . . Sic enim potest virtute intellectus multiplicari species intelligibilis in intellectu a specie quae est in sensu sicut a specie quae est in imaginativa. " See Matthew of Aquasparta , n. 74 above and Roger Marston, De Anima, Q. II, p. 240 : " Sic igitur dico quod species huius substantiae singularis, abstracta ab omni accidente, est illud quo formaliter haec substantia cognoscitur." 77 Vital du Four, Q. I, pp . 163-164 ; p. 183.

7 John E. Lynch


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

thing . Whereas the intellect merely knows such existence , the sense experiences it . Sense in some way goes beyond the sensible species to attain the external object in its actuality.78 The intellectual apprehension of real existence is the source of all further knowledge. Whether the intellect abstracts the universal immediately from this apprehension or from a subsequent phantasm in the imagination, the singular is known before the universal.79 St. Thomas denied a direct knowledge of singulars because the intellect can operate only by abstracting species from matter and from material conditions , which are the principle of individuation . In flat opposition Vital du Four insists that the intellect does understand through species representing individuating notes.80 Singularity adds something over and above the universal intention and this the intellect apprehends.¹ The intellect knows the singular in its particularity directly in and through the act of the imagination or through the knowledge left in the intellect when joined with sense. 82 Because of the materiality of sensible species and because the object is not present to the intellect , both universal and singular knowledge require intelligible species . The agent intellect abstracts or "gathers" singular species either in the same act by which it knows the real existence of the object perceived by sense , or from the sensible species , whether in the particular sense or in the imagination. Only the species that arises directly from the sensation , however, furnishes knowledge of the singular as actually existing . To what extent the species obtained in these three ways differ

78 Ibid. , p. 182 . 79 Ibid . , P. 184. 80 Vital du Four, Q. I , p. 178 : " . . . falsum est omnino, quia etiam per species sub talibus conditionibus intelligit ." 81 Ibid. , p. 178 : “Quod dicitur quod ' ratio singularis' etc. [necessario aliquid addit supra rationem universalis vel re vel intentione, alioquin duo individua non differrent inter se sicut nec differunt in communi ratione speciei , p. 174 ] concedo . ... Dato etiam quod intellectus intelligeret per speciem impressam , de quo forte adhuc disputabitur, talis determinatio non impediret rationem formae universalis ." 82 Vital du Four, Q. I , p . 183 : “ Si autem accipiatur singulare non pro ipsa actualitate existentiae, sed pro re quadam particulari , secundum quod repraesentatur imagine vel specie vel significatur a nomine , secundum quem modum de ratione singularis non est actualis existentia, sic dico quod intellectus cognoscit directe singulare in actu et per actum imaginationis aut etiam per cognitionem derelictam in eo , dum coniungebatur cum sensu ; non dico utrum per speciem impressam vel expressam, nam de hoc intendo quaerere . ”

Intelligible Species in Knowledge


from one another remains to be seen. From any one of the three species thus obtained , the intellect may gather the species of the universal. It is from the singular intellectually known that the intellect draws a universal intelligible species . Just how abstraction takes place will be treated in the next chapter.

CHAPTER IV THE PRODUCTION OF INTELLIGIBLE SPECIES : THE ROLE OF OBJECT AND INTELLECT Although the scholastics of the late thirteenth century generally acknowledged the necessity for impressed species in human cognition, they differed widely in explaining the interplay of object and intellect in the production of those species . The difficulty lay in safeguarding the reality of knowledge without imperiling the transcendence of the soul . Once again the basic antithesis of AugustinianPlatonism and Aristotelianism stood out in all its starkness . Knowledge must involve the synthesis of intellect and object , but what is the respective causality of each ? The Franciscan School formulated the question in this way : granted that the intellect understands through an impressed species, does it receive that species from the object or does it form the species of itself ? ¹ Roger Marston observes that the numerous controversies among the Masters witness to the complexity of the problem. He confesses that his modest talents and slow wit are hardly equal to the task of expounding to the uninformed the subtle solutions proposed . His perplexity is due not a little to the fact that St. Augustine has apparently not taken a stand on this question . An exhaustive examination of the great Doctor's works has failed to turn up a single passage explaining how species appear in the intellect , though there is no lack of information about sensible species . Much to Roger's chagrin 1 Vital du Four, Q. III , p. 211 : “ Quaestio nostra fuit , supposito quod intellectus humanus coniunctus intelligat per speciem informantem utrum illam speciem recipiat ab obiecto vel formet eam de se ipso. ” Matthew of Aquasparta, Q. III , p . 248 : “ Tertio quaeritur utrum cognoscendo accipiat seu recipiat species a rebus, an formet de se vel habeat in se . ” Roger Marston, Q. IX, p . 406 : " Supposito quod in anima sensitiva non fiant species ab obiecto [se ] multiplicante in eam , quaeritur utrum species , quibus mens intelligit, veniant in intellectum a rebus extra animam an fiant de ipsa anima . ” Duns Scotus, Lectura , I , d . 3 , pars 3 , q . 2 (ed . Vat . 16 : 349) : “ Utrum memoria intellectiva, in quantum est intellectiva et aliquid animae intellectivae praecise, gignat notitiam . "

The Production of Intelligible Species


many Masters steeped in the thought of St. Augustine argue that the soul does not receive an impressed species , merely on the ground that no explicit text on the subject can be found in Augustine's works ?? It is well to keep in mind the paucity of textual evidence as Vital du Four unfolds the debate in which all sides claim to be following the Bishop of Hippo . Vital du Four opens his discussion of the problem by eliminating some of the solutions offered by philosophers of old . Avicenna and Algazel , he says, erred in calling for a separate Intelligence to impress intelligible species on our intellects. The reliance on an external principle in the knowing process disparages the dignity of the human soul . The soul would not of itself be fully equipped to carry on a natural operation . Among contemporary philosophers, our author continues, there are those who insist that species come not from things but from the intellect . Things serve merely to stimulate the possible intellect which has in itself the seeds of all intelligible species. This seems

2 Roger Marston, Q. IX, pp. 411-412 : “ Huius quaestionis difficultatem declarat controversia magistrorum contraria opinantium circa eam et sollerter et subtiliter suas opiniones munientium . Ad quas intelligendas et explicandas simplicioribus insufficientem reputo sensus mei penuriam et tarditatem. Perplexum nihilominus me reddit aliquantulum quod nusquam reperio Augustinum expresse suam intentionem in hac materia declarantem. Nam ubicumque loquitur in libris suis,quos legere potui et diligenti indagine perscrutari, nusquam occurrit passus vel sententia in quibus, tangens modum specierum in anima fiendarum, aliquid exprimat de intellectu, sed tantummodo de anima sensitiva, in qua communicamus cum brutis . . . . Unde supra modum admiror et fere in admiratione deficio quod magni doctores et in S. Augustino plurimum studioso verba Sancti in locis superius allegatis inducunt de anima intellectiva, quod ipsa non recipiat speciem ab extra, cum reperiri non possit quod aliquid loquatur de intellectu sive mente." ³ Avicenna, Metaphysica, IX, c. 3 , E : “ Similiter est quousque pervenitur ad intelligentiam a qua fluit super nostras animas, et haec est intelligentia mundi terreni, et vocamus eam intelligentiam agentem." Algazel, Meta . Pars II , Tract. 5 (ed . Muckle p. 184) : “ Sensus vero de agente est, quia semper est agens in animas incessanter. Et hec omnino est de numero substanciarum intelligibilium, de quibus iam certificatum est in tractatu divinorum. Que autem dignior est ex omnibus illis ut hoc attribuatur ei est intelligencia, que est ultima decem intelligentiarum ; lex eciam manifeste docet quod hee cogniciones non fiunt in hominibus et (pro) prophetis, nisi mediantibus angelis." Vital du Four refutes this neo- Platonic position more thoroughly when treating the cognition of substance (Q. V, pp. 252—254) .


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

to have been the opinion of Thomas of York , one of the early Franciscan Masters at Oxford (d . 1260) .

As Vital du Four understands

the theory, those who deny any reception of species from things maintain that the species are in the intellect in much the same way that the seeds of all natural forms are in matter while being distinct from the essence of matter. In natural generation it is from these seeds and not from without that forms are educed. Similarly, through the action of the agent intellect with the phantasm as an instrument , intelligible species are educed from the possible intellect and not from external objects . 5 4 A. Prezioso, "L'attività del soggetto pensante nella gnoscologia di Matteo d'Aquasparta e di Ruggiero Marston ," Antonianum 25 ( 1950), p. 268 : "A tale corrente dottrinale pare s'inspirino, tra i Francescani , Tommaso di York e Ruggiero Bacone, che si muovono ambedue nell' orbita del platonismo-agostiniano . Tommaso di York è il noto autore del Sapienziale, che costituisce per il medioevo il primo sfozo di sistemazione metafisica, la prima Somma veramente filosofica di fronte alle Somme teologiche dell' Alense e dall ' Aquinate . Egli , già nel primo libro della sua opera, si orienta verso Platone ed Agostino . Ivi, infatti, criticando gli argomenti aristotelici contro le idee platoniche, tra l'altro, osserva che duplice è la via della conosscenza umana : la via inferiore dei sensi , che è incerta, e la via superiore della recezione dalla Causa prima che è più sicura. Quella è propria del filosofo pagano, Aristotele, questa dei sapienti cristiani. "Ma in che cosa consiste quest' ultima via ? Il Nostro ce lo chiarisce e precisa nel sesto libro della stessa opera : ' Dico ergo tibi secundum sententiam Augustini et Platonis, quod triplex est esse rei , videlicet in mente divina, in intellectuali natura et in propria existentia ; et quod esse eius in natura intellectiva, anima videlicet et intelligentia, medium est inter esse primum et tertium ; et quod omnes formae, quae exprimuntur in materia , prius naturaliter sunt concreate in intelligentia sive anima, quoniam natura pares sunt, sicut dicit Augustinus De libero arbitrio lib . II . Et hoc est consonum propositioni De Causis, quae dicit quod : omnis intelligentia est plena formis. Hoc esse verum manifestat sermo Augustini quem dicit De quantitate animae quod anima secum attulit omnes artes. Per artes intelligens formas sive species rerum, quas habuit anima : nam dicuntur formae, artes, numeri, species, licet diversi rationibus , sicut tu postea scies. " This citation is taken from the Sapientiale VI , c . 26 (Cod . Vat. Lat . 5771 , f. 47 va, 216rb) . 5 Vital du Four, Q. III , p . 213 : "Et sic secundum istam positionem intellectus non recipit species a rebus, sed solum excitationem : ut sicut in materia ab aliquibus ponuntur seminaria respectu omnium formarum naturalium, quae non sunt de essentia materiae . . . sic in intellectu possibili sunt seminaria respectu specierum intelligibilium, quae differunt a substantia animae, ex quibus actione intellectus agentis mediante instrumento quod est fantasma educuntur species intelligibiles rerum, ita quod sint ab intra de intellectu possibili et non ab extra, scilicet a rebus . "

The Production of Intelligible Species


What happens when the soul understands , according to Vital du Four's interpretation of the theory, is that the phantasm through the power of the agent intellect educes the intelligible species from the possible intellect , so that the species which was there only in potency is now there as an accident in a subject . The dictum of the Liber de Causis, “omnis intelligentia est plena formis, " applies to God, to angels, and to men in analogous ways. God has in act an infinite number of ideas, ideas of particulars as well as of universals. The angelic intellect has actual ideas of universals, while its ideas of particulars are only potential. The human intellect, however, because of its inferior status , has no actual species at all . What it has are species in a seminal mode . Thus Boethius can say : " Some seed of truth remains within which learning germinates" (Haeret introrsum profecto semen veri, quod excitatur doctrina). This opinion, in Vital du Four's appraisal , goes counter to St. Augustine who speaks of an image as a "wound inflicted by the senses. " Neither can it be reconciled with Aristotle's statement 8 that the phantasm stands to the intellect as the sensibles to sense , for the senses receive sensible species rather than form them. Experience, too , tells against the seminal theory of species . The intellect needs phantasms not only for forming new species but also for reconsidering knowledge previously obtained . If the theory were true, the conversion to phantasms would not be necessary. An agent no longer needs an instrument once the effect has been produced. After the eduction of the species the intellect should have no need of the phantasm, which is manifestly not the case . Furthermore, the seminal theory renders an intelligible species unnecessary and thus eliminates an essential factor in knowledge . In order for the agent intellect to educe the appropriate species from the pos9 sible intellect, it would have already to know the phantasm. This

Boethius De Consolatione, III , metr. II (CSEL 63:73 ; PL 63 : 776) St. Augustine, Epist. 7 Ad Nebridium n. 3 ( CSEL 43:14 ; PL 33:69) : "Quae si absurda sunt secuti sunt, nihil est aliud illa imaginatio, mi Nebridi, quam plaga inflicta per sensus, quibus non, ut tu scribis commemoratio quaedam fit ut talia formentur in anima, sed ipsa hujus falsitatis illatio, sive ut expressius dicatur, impressio. " 8 Aristotle, De Anima , III , 4, 429a13 . • Vital du Four, Q. III , p . 215 : "Intellectus agens educendo hanc speciem aut agit a casu aut a proposito ; non a casu , quia operatio naturalis est ; ergo a proposito, cum sit agens per cognitionem ; sed omne agens a proposito agit


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is to return to the position of Henry of Ghent which has been refuted in the previous chapter. Vital du Four considers next a solution which is in basic agreement with the seminal theory . John Peckham seems to be the philosopher our author has in mind . 10 According to the opinion under discussion, no species whatever is received from things, either in the sense, the imagination , or the intellect . The species serve merely to alert these powers which in turn configure and assimilate themselves to the thing known . The rational soul is potentially the similitude of all things, both sensible and intelligible, as Aristotle clearly taught.

praecogitando illud quod intendit agere et praehabendo speciem eius, ut patet in artificialibus ; ergo et intellectus agens, antequam educat speciem de possibili , necessario praecognoscit eam et illud propter quod elicit illam ; ergo frustra elicit , cum per cognitionem eliciat .” After noting that Vital du Four has followed Matthew of Aquasparta quite closely in defining the problem and in examining some of the theories, Prezioso cites this text as an example of Vital's original contribution : “ Aggiunge nondimeno alcuni suoi rilievi degni di nota. Così per es. , nella critica dell' innatismo, formula questo chiaro dilemma . . . ." Antonianum 25 ( 1950) , p. 281. 10 Though Vital du Four makes no definite attribution, his summary is in literal agreement with the text of John Peckham. Vital du Four, Q. III , pp. 215-216 : " Est alia positio , quae convenit cum ista in fundamento, quod scilicet intellectus nullam speciem recipit a rebus, differt tamen, quia non ponit potentiam sensitivam nec imaginativam nec intellectivam aliqua specie informari , sed solum per species excitari et per excitationem rebus cognitis configurari et assimilari . Modus autem positionis talis est . Dicunt quod anima rationalis quantum ad partem sensitivam est per suas potentias similitudo omnium sensibilium, per potentiam intellectivam potentialiter similitudo omnium tam sensibilium quam intelligibilium ... anima unitur corpori per suam substantiam sicut forma et perfectio, unitur autem organis diversis per suas potentias secundum diversitatem dispositionis organorum respectu diversorum obiectorum . . . anima secundum suas potentias se conformat et assimilat immutationibus factis in organis modo iam dicto. Immutat autem unum organum immutatum aliud propter naturalem colligantiam. . . . ” John Peckham, Quodlibet IV, 9 ; ed . V. Doucet, Antonianum 8 ( 1933) , P. 456 : " Dico ad praesens quod impossibile est speciem corporalem imprimere in animam rationalem , sicut Augustinus 6 Musicae (dicit) , sed excitatur a sensu et format in se de se similitudines spirituales illorum quorum similitudines corporales sunt in sensu, illustrante luce aeterna . Sed quaeris qualiter ? Dico quod quia colligatur anima corpori sicut perfectio perfectibili et advertit naturaliter immutationes corporis et transformat se in illam similitudinem.”

The Production of Intelligible Species


The soul becomes an actual similitude, according to Vital du Four's summary of Peckham's position , in the following way. Through its substance the soul is united to the body as its form and entitative perfection . Through its powers the soul is united to the different organs, perfecting them in their operation, according as they are disposed towards various sensibles. When the species of color, for example, is impressed on the eye, the power or the sense of sight, the perfection of the eye , is excited , pulsated , and inclined by the stimulation, because it is truly united with the organ as its essential mover. The sense of sight " configures" itself to that motion. It is this conformation of the soul or its powers on the occasion of the impression of the organ that is called the sensation of seeing or hearing. The sense power receives nothing from the species ; it need only conform itself to the motion made in the organ. The organ is informed by the species, but the sense power is not . On the occasion of a change in the organ the power adapts itself by similar changes. When the highest sense power, the imagination , has adapted itself to the change, the intellect in turn adjusts itself so that it understands what the imagination has apprehended . Thus the intellect knows without receiving a species from things.¹¹ In this theory, to which John Peckham adheres , there are several refinements in which the higher power abstracts from the lower, for example, the intellect from the imagination . This is not to say that something extrinsic enters the essence of the soul or that a species is introduced. Rather, the soul according to its powers conforms and assimilates itself to the changes in the organs.

Owing to the natural solidarity existing among the organs, a change in one brings about a change in another. Similarly, a change in the organs means that the sense power will adapt itself because of the natural bond by which it is united to the organ as its mover. In no case does it happen that a species from without impresses the cognitive powers. Neither is the species educed from the possible intellect or from a seed previously existing in the intellect , as the

11 Vital du Four Q. III , p. 216 : “ . . . intellectus configurat et assimilat se illi immutationi, quae facta erat in organo phantasiae, et sic intelligit quidquid imaginatio apprehendit nihil accipiendo omnino a specie quae est in phantasia, sed solum configurando et assimilando se immutationi quae facta erat in organo phantasiae. . . .”


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

previous theory asserted . No species is required in the intellect beyond the assimilation of the faculty which the intellect makes. Many texts in St. Augustine lend weight to this theory. The De Trinitate, for instance, affirms that we have in common with the animals those parts of the soul which are informed or shaped by the likeness of corporeal things. The intellect , on the other hand, does not undergo any bodily action ; it produces and combines images from its own substance. 12 When we see a corporeal object for the first time, "the body does not make its own image in the spirit, but with marvelous speed the spirit makes the image in itself. ” ¹³ The texts of St. Augustine which seem to indicate that something is actually received from without , Peckham contends, need cause no embarrassment . One may speak of something being received to the extent that the soul awaits a stimulating occasion . The propagation of species from species or the abstraction of an intelligible species from a phantasm is not a causal action. Many arguments have been advanced to support this theory. First of all , the reception of a species would seem to debase the soul. Unless the species is produced from the soul itself, the union of the knower and the intelligible will be less perfect than the union of matter and form.14 The corporeal origin of a species, too , renders it inapt for intellection . How can a species which is corporeal in the phantasm become spiritual in the intellect ? From the point of

12 St. Augustine , De Trinitate, 10, 5 , 7 ( PL 42 : 977) : “ Et quia illa corpora sunt ... (mens) nec secum potest introrsum tanquam in regionem incorporeae naturae ipsa corpora inferre, imagines eorum convolvit, et rapit factas in semetipsa de semetipsa. Dat enim eis formandis quiddam substantiae suae : servat autem aliquid quo libere de specie talium imaginum judicet, et hoc est magis mens, id est rationalis intelligentia, quae servatur ut judicet. Nam illas animae partes quae corporum similitudinibus informantur, etiam cum bestiis nos communes habere sentimus." 13 St. Augustine, De Gen. ad lit. , 12, 16, 33 (CSEL 28. 1 , 2 : 402 ; PL 34 : tamen eandem eius (objecti) imaginem non corpus in spiritu, sed 467) : ipse spiritus in seipso facit celeritate mirabili , quae ineffabiliter longe est a corporis tarditate ; cujus imago mox ut oculis visum fuerit, in spiritu videntis nullius puncti temporalis interpositione formatur." 14 Averroes, Commentarium Magnum in Aristotelis De Anima, III , Comm. 5, p. 404 : 501f : " Et est etiam manifestum quod materia et forma copulantur adinvicem ita quod congregatum ex eis sit unicum, et maxime intellectus materialis et intentio intellecta in actu ; quod enim componitur ex eis non est aliquod tertium aliud ab eis sicut est de aliis compositis ex materia et forma."

The Production of Intelligible Species


view of the object , furthermore, it is impossible for a sensible form to generate two wholly different effects , one corporeal and one spiritual. A species generated from a corporeal form must be sensible and not intellectual. A corporeal form can act only on matter ; it has nothing in common with the powers of the mind. The influence of the object cannot last or extend beyond the activity of the object . But experience teaches that species are retained in the intellectual memory, even though the object is absent. All these reasons , therefore , persuade John Peckham, among other philosophers, that species are not received from things, but that the mind forms them of itself. A more common opinion, shared among Franciscans by St. Bonaventure and his pupil Matthew of Aquasparta , as well as by St. Thomas, maintains with a greater degree of probability, according to Vital du Four, that the intellect does indeed receive from things the species by which it understands. 15 According to this position human knowledge is so dependent upon the senses that if one sense be lacking, a corresponding knowledge is also absent. The intellect receives the species in the following manner. A sensible object multiplies its representation or species in a medium such as air, where the species receives a spiritual existence . If the species sufficiently stimulates the bodily organ, the sense power perfecting that organ is proximately disposed and an act of sensation follows . More refined species are then offered to the common sense, which 15 Vital du Four seems to have in mind especially Matthew of Aquasparta, though St. Bonaventure had maintained a more unqualified doctrine of receptivity. Matthew of Aquasparta, Q. III , p. 267 : “Sic igitur dico sine praeiudicio, quod anima sive intellectus accipit sive capit species a rebus extra, non virtute rerum corporalium agentium in animam vel intellectum , sed intellectus sua virtute facit et format. Huic sententiae Augustinus concordat in auctoritatibus adductis in opponendo ; concordat nihilominus Philosophus . Et ideo huic positioni ad praesens adhaereo. " St. Bonaventure, De reductione artium ad theologiam, 8 (V : 322a) : "Nullum enim sensibile movet potentiam cognitivam, nisi, mediante similitudine, quae egreditur ab obiecto, sicut proles a parente ; et hoc generaliter, realiter, vel exemplariter est necesse in omni sensu . Illa autem similitudo non facit completionem in actu sentiendi, nisi uniatur cum organo et virtute ; et cum unitur, nova fit perceptio, et per illam perceptionem fit reductio ad obiectum mediante similitudine illa . Et licet non semper obiectum sentiatur, semper tamen quantum est de se, gignit similitudinem, cum est in sua completione. "


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

judges between particular sensibles , and to the imagination, the most spiritual of the sense powers. In the imagination the sensible species is perfected so that through the power of the agent intellect the intelligible species can be drawn from it.16 This process by which the soul grows in knowledge strikingly confirms the unity of man , for the soul attains its own perfection in a way corresponding to that by which as form it perfects the body. As the form of the body, the soul develops the organism to physical maturity be means of nourishment taken from without. In the course of digestion the food does not act on the body, but the soul acts on the food as on matter to transform it, thereby perfecting the body. Analogously, as the cognitive form capable of knowing all things, the soul effects a perfect act of cognition by means of species received from external reality. All objections to the soul's reception of species , based as they are on the impossibility of body acting on spirit or of the spiritual arising 16 Vital du Four, Q. III , 218—19 : “ Res ipsa sensibilis multiplicat speciem suam in medio et species habens esse spirituale in medio immutat organum, ita quod si illa immutatio fuerit fortis ut quantum oportet nata sit vocare illam potentiam quae perficit organum in ratione motoris, talis vocatio seu excitatio potentiae est ultima dispositio ad actum sentiendi . ... Facta autem tali multiplicatione in organo phantasiae, quae est ultima potentia sensitiva et per consequens spiritualior de intellectu , tunc species est in ultima dispositione, non quod eadem quae est in illo organo fiat in intellectu , sed quod ex ea multiplicetur species intelligibilis et spiritualis virtute luminis intellectus agentis, cuius actio est dare phantasmati talem virtutem ut sic ex eo gignatur talis species spiritualis . . .. (Anima) in quantum est forma cognitiva apta nata perfici notitia omnium rerum habet in se vim activam per quam sumptis ab extrinseco speciebus, se potest ad actum perfectum cognitionis deducere . " Matthew of Aquasparta, Q. III , 263—65 : “ Quando autem est in ultimo sensitivo in quo est ultimum organi complementum , quod est dispositio qua mediante unitur intellectus corpori, illa species est in ultima dispositione simplicitatis et depurationis secundum exigentiam organi corporalis ; et tunc est quodam modo apta intellectui . . .. Non igitur patitur anima aliquid a rebus sensibilibus sive corporeis, sed potius facit ex illis et de illis, et format sibi species aptas et proportionatas secundum exigentiam organorum et virium, quousque det sibi esse intelligibile et coaptet eam et formet sive transformet eam in intellectum possibilem, quo est omnia fieri . ... . . . Species autem rerum gignuntur ab ipsis rebus, et ideo in cognitionem ducunt ipsarum rerum ." A. Maier, " Das Problem der ' species sensibiles in medio' und die neue Naturphilosophie des 14. Jahrhunderts, " Ausgehendes Mittelalter, Rome 1967 , II , 419—51 .

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from the material, fail, according to our author, to take into account the present order of the universe. Since material reality is ordered to man, things must be measured according to this disposition.¹7 Corporeal things, existing to serve man and contribute to his perfection, can, then, be transformed so as to become spiritual. Just as nutriment is transformed and ennobled in perfecting the body, so every material thing as potentially knowable is capable of transformation in order to perfect the human intellect . A material object is transformed through the progressive multiplication of species until it becomes intelligible. The transformation of a sensible species into an intelligible one may be illustrated by the phenomenon of refraction (here Vital du Four is indebted to Peter John Olivi) .18 Rays are deflected or refracted when they pass from one medium to another. The sun, for example, appears larger in the morning when seen through dense clouds than it does at noon what the clouds are dissipated . For the same reason a stick partly submerged in water will appear broken , whereas in a uniform medium it will appear to the eye in its natural condition without any distortion . The same holds true for species. They are multiplied in a more or less uniform medium from the sense organ up to the imagination. When they are further multiplied, however, they pass into a completely different medium, the possible intellect . The species are refracted , so to speak, and receive a new mode for representing the universal nature. This is not to say , however, that the species in the intellect represents only the universal. The singular, as well, is known . In the 17 Vital du Four, Q. III , 221 : " Propter quod omnes rationes quae ex natura rei in se arguunt, ut quod corporale non agit in spirituale, ut ex corporali non fit spirituale , omnino deficiunt , quia ad particularem rerum ordinem non attendunt nec ad rationem perfectionis humanae in esse primo et secundo, et tamen, cum homo sit finis omnium secundum eius exigentiam debent omnia mensurari ." Matthew of Aquasparta, Q. III , ad 4 , p. 270 : “ Nam et forma aliquid accipit a materia, sustentamentum scilicet et fundamentum ; et agens physicum etiam patitur a patiente ; et finis non ultimus, sed finis sub fine aliquid recipit ab iis quae sunt ad finem illum. Nam homo, qui est finis creaturarum inferiorum, recipit auxilia ab inferioribus creaturis. ” 18 Vital du Four, Q. III , 222—23 : “... ab ultimo sensitivo fit multiplicatio usque ad intellectum, propter totalem varietatem medii, intellectus scilicet possibilis, species frangitur et recipit novum modum quasi fiat fractio a perpendiculari . . . apta nata sit repraesentare ipsam, scilicet ratio universalis."


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

passage from one medium to another, from the imagination to the intellect , there is a twofold refraction . In the first mode, all materiality per se and per accidens is stripped away leaving a spiritualized species of the singular. In the second mode, not only is all materiality stripped away, but material conditions also , so that the species in the intellect presents the universal quiddity.19 Vital du Four, making this position his own, proceeds to harmonize it with what he has previously established . The intellect can abstract the intelligible species : from the sensation, from the species which is in sense, and from the phantasm when the sense is not in act . As Averroes pointed out, the imagination, the cogitative power , and the memory merely take the place of the sense power . We need the imagination and the memory only in the absence of the sensible thing. These superior sense powers help to present the image of the sensible thing when it is absent , so that the rational power may behold and extract the universal intention . 20 It is clear, then , that the intelligible species is abstracted from sensation or from sense before it is abstracted from the imagination . Material Things Act on the Soul After surveying current opinion on the question and opting for a reception of species from things, Vital du Four proceeds to justify his stand. He will maintain , first of all , that corporeal things do in some way act on the soul insofar as the soul is joined to a body. Fire, for example , by bringing pain to the whole man , acts on the soul. Music can arouse a man's passions to a state of fury.21 A 19 Vital du Four, Q. III , 223 : "Nec ex hoc sequitur quin species in intellectu repraesentet ipsum singulare, immo ex tali fractione a medio denso ad rarum , hoc est ab organo imaginativae ad intellectum, fit duplex fractio : una denudando ab omni materialitate per se et per accidens, qualiter spiritualis dicitur species rei singularis in intellectu , alio modo denudando speciem per considerationem non solum ab omni materia per se et per accidens, sed etiam a conditionibus materialibus, qualis est species in intellectu praesentans quidditatem universalem . ” 20 Averroes, Com . Magnum in Ar. De Anima III , Comm. 7, p. 419 : 57-63 : "Ymaginativa autem et cogitativa et rememorativa non sunt nisi in loco virtutis sensibilis, et ideo non indigetur eis nisi in absentia sensibilis. Et omnes juvant se ad praesentandum ymaginem rei sensibilis, ut aspiciat eam virtus rationalis abstracta et extrahat intentionem universalem et postea recipiat eam, id est comprehendat eam." 21 Vital here (Q. III , 224) cites Boethius, De musica I , 1 (PL 63 : 1170C, 1171 A) .

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proferred gift can move the will to love. Experience plainly shows that material things do act on the whole man and consequently have some relation to human acts, such as understanding. Material things are to some extent causes of perfections that accrue to man. Since intellective cognition begins with the senses which are affected by species from material things, why is it inappropriate for the species in the sense or in the imagination to be conveyed to the intellect itself ? It must not be thought, however, that a corporeal species , whether in the sense or in the imagination, acts properly on the soul. There can be no intelligible species without the action of the agent intellect. It is more accurate to say that the intellect acts on corporeal species by abstracting the intelligible, rather than to say that the species acts on the intellect . The information of the intellect is due to its own power rather than to that of the species. The corporeal species is that from which the intelligible species is formed ; the agent intellect is that by which it is actually formed ; and the possible intellect is that in which it is formed . 22 Knowing is more an action than a passion and thus the nobility of the agent over the patient is safeguarded . " Certainly it is not to be thought, " cautions St. Augustine, " that any body acts on the spirit, as if the spirit were subjected to the acting body ; for in every way he who acts is nobler than that for which he acts ; in no way is the body more noble than the spirit , but rather the spirit is clearly superior to the body. " 23 There is nothing demeaning in a species being generated in the intellect , for the soul is not as the matter from which the species is formed , but as the matter in which this occurs . The soul forms the species in itself and is, therefore, active rather than passive.24 In the multiplication of species the higher does not come from the lower ; the effect is not more perfect than its cause . 22 Vital du Four, Q. III , 224. " . . . magis dicatur intellectus active se ipso formari quam ab illa specie, ut in tali formatione speciei intelligibilis ipsa species corporalis sit magis seu de quo, intellectus agens sit ipsum quo active fit, intellectus vero possibilis sit in quo formatur." 23 St. Augustine, De Gen. ad lit. , 12 , 16, 33 (CSEL 28. , 2 : 402 ; PL34 : 467) . 24 Vital du Four, Q. III , 224. "Ecce quod expresse dicit quod respectu corporis non potest habere vicem materiae de qua, sed bene potest habere vicem materiae in qua . Nec agens respectu materiae in qua semper est nobilius alioquin anima, cum in se formet species mira celeritate, esset nobilior seipsa; non ergo talis multiplicatio speciei in intellectu ponit ignobilitatem,


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

A species may be considered from two points of view, as a similitude or image representing the thing and as a being in its own right. It is from its principle of origin that it has its representative character and so derives the nature of species. It is due to the soul , however, that it is sensible , imaginable, or intelligible, depending upon the subject in which it is received and upon the power through which it is abstracted.25 The species in sense, in imagination , and in the intellect derive their representative character from the same corporeal object ; in this they do not differ, since all represent the same thing.26 Because a species comes from an object , it represents that object . What determines whether a species is corporeal or non-corporeal is not the subject from which it is multiplied , but the power by which or through which it is abstracted . If the abstractive power is corporeal, the species can only be corporeal. Such is the case with a sensible species abstracted by the power of light.27 Thus species draw their cum non sit materia de qua, sed in qua, nec se habeat in ratione passivi, immo potius in ratione activi. ” 25 Vital du Four, Q. III , 224 : “ Est autem advertendum quod de tali specie dupliciter possumus loqui : aut secundum quod est species vel similitudo vel imago repraesentans rem, et hoc habet a principio suo originali : ab ipso enim habet rationem repraesentandi et per hoc rationem speciei ; aut in quantum est sensibilis vel imaginabilis vel intelligibilis, et haec sunt a virtute animae tam subiective quam effective, quae illam speciem sensibiliter vel imaginative vel intelligibiliter recipit et eam facit. ” Matthew of Aquasparta makes the same distinction Q. III , p. 264 . 26 Vital du Four, Q. III , ad 7 , p . 230 : “ . . . species quae est ratio repraesentandi ab obiecto ipsam generante recipit rationem speciei et repraesentatis, rationem vero sensibilis, imaginabilis , extensibilis, non-extensibilis a subiecto in quo est a virtute ipsam abstrahente ; ideo non oportet quod, si sit organica a corpore, quod sit corporalis, sed quod repraesentet corpus. ” Vital du Four, Q. III , ad 8. p. 230 : “ . . . species illa intelligibilis iam ortum habuit a corpore, quamvis non immediate, nec differunt specie nec genere quantum ad illam rationem quam trahunt ab obiecto, quae est repraesentare, cum idem repraesentent species in sensu , in imaginatione et in intellectu ; sed quantum ad rationem entis quam trahunt a diversis potentiis vel substantiis, cuiusmodi est corporeitatis vel spiritualitatis, sicut causae seu substantia et potentiae differunt, ita et species . " 27 Vital du Four, Q. III, ad 11 , p . 231 : " ... species a subiecto a quo multiplicatur non habet quod sit corporalis vel non corporalis, sed a virtute a qua abstrahitur vel per quam, quae, si sit corporalis, non potest dare nisi esse corporale ; ut patet de specie in sensu , quae abstracta est a virtute agentis corporalis, scilicet lucis, et est in subiecto corporali . Intellecti autem species est spiritualis, scilicet in intellectu possibili . ”

The Production of Intelligible Species


being from different powers , which may be corporeal or spiritual. As the causes or faculties differ, so will the species.

The Intellect Receives Species from Things From the writings of St. Augustine , Vital du Four argues, a good case can be made for the intellect receiving species from things . In the De Trinitate it is said that four species arise one from the other : from the species of body, there arises a species in sense ; from the species in sense originates one in memory ; and from the species in the memory there arises a species in the mind. 28 Again , Augustine refers to the image as a wound inflicted by the senses ; it is the introduction of a similitude, an impression , not something remembered by the mind.29 He marvels how the qualities of corporeal things pass to incorporeal beings as we store up in our memories the corporeal forms we see. 30 Without being separated from their bodies , these forms pass to us while our senses are affected by them . As soon as our eyes behold something, its image is immediately in the soul . When present , corporeal things are seen in their own forms ; when absent , they are known by images impressed on the soul . Many arguments can be marshalled to establish that the intellect

does in fact receive its intelligible species from things. For the intellect to know in this way is consistent with the order and unity of the universe . While the higher principles act on the lower and perfect them, the lower are on occasion the perfection of the higher, not by acting on them, but by producing something with

28 St. Augustine, De Trinitate, 11 , 9 , 16 ( PL 42 : 996) : " In hac igitur distributione cum incipimus a specie corporis, et pervenimus usque ad speciem quae fit in contuitu cogitantis, quatuor species reperiuntur quasi gradatim natae altera ex altera : secunda, de prima ; tertia, de secunda ; quarta, de tertia. A specie quippe corporis quod cernitur, exoritur ea quae fit in sensu cernentis ; et ab hac, ea quae fit in memoria ; et ab hac, ea quae fit in acie cogitantis. " 29 St. Augustine, Epistola 7 ad Nebridium, 2 , 3 cf. above n. 7. 30 St. Augustine, Contra Julianum Pelagianum, V, 14, 51 ( PL 44 : 812 ) : "Mirabilius est autem quando rerum corporalium qualitates in res incorporales transeunt, et tamen fit, quando formas corporum quas videmus, haurimus quodam modo, et in memoria recondimus, et quocumque pergimus, nobiscum ferimus : nec illae recesserunt a corporibus suis , et tamen ad nos mirabili modo affectis nostris sensibus transierunt. Quomodo autem de corpore ad spiritum, eo modo transeunt de spiritu ad corpus. "

8 John E. Lynch


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the help of the higher which the higher principle then uses to perfect itself. Thus the solidarity of powers is maintained . ” As has been seen, a species is necessary in the act of knowing primarily to make the thing present to the intellect . The species represents the thing insofar as it originates from it . The species receives its representative character from its origin rather than from its objective status or from its efficient cause . If, therefore , a species were educed from the soul , it would represent only the soul . Aristotle's De Anima likens the action of the intellect on the phantasm to the action of light on a colored object, and the action of the possible intellect to that of the eye .

Such a comparison

would be meaningless if the possible intellect by the light of the agent intellect did not receive species from the phantasms. In the natural order a lower being does not act on a higher one by producing something from it , but it can effect something in the higher especially with the aid of a superior power. Thus a higher power, such as the imagination , informs itself through an actuated sense power. Since the intellective power is essentially ordered to the sensitive powers, those powers effect something in the intellect , but not from it ; or, to speak more exactly, the intellect forms itself from an informed lower power.33 The external thing which causes the species in sense must in some way cause the species in the intellect , because “ there is nothing in the intellect which was not first in sense. " What kind of a cause is the external thing with regard to the intelligible species ? It is not a final cause because the thing precedes the species. It is not a formal cause because the destruction of the thing has no effect on the species in the intellectual memory, whereas nothing can survive the loss of its form . The thing must necessarily be the efficient or material cause of the species . Through the power of the soul it is the efficient cause of the species ; it is not the material cause of which the species is composed in the way that a knife is made of metal .

31 Vital du Four, Q. III , 225 . 32 De Anima III , 7 431 b2f. (Averroes, Com. Magnum in Ar. De Anima III , Comm. 18, p . 438 : 51 ff. ) 33 Vital du Four, Q. III , 226 : “... Cum sit ordo essentialis intellectivae potentiae ad sensitivas , agunt aliquid non de intellectu , sed in intellectu vel, ut melius dicatur, intellectus format seipsum de potentia inferiori formata. ”

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Those who reject any reception of species by the intellect and argue that the faculty merely forms itself on the occasion of an organic stimulation seem to be going against authority. Aristotle clearly teaches that the intellect, though impassive, must be receptive of the form of an object.34 St. Anselm affirms that the soul cannot frame an image that is completely new; but by drawing upon species in the memory, it may effect innumerable variations. 35 St. Augustine explains that phantasms are just figments of corporeal species drawn from the bodily senses which are committed to memory, later to be divided, multiplied, or otherwise adapted . In sleep, mind can transform what it has received through the senses , but it is impossible for it to form an entirely new species.36 An enigmatic text in St. Augustine affirming that the soul gives something of its own substance to the species need refer only to giving it status in the possible intellect.³7 Vital du Four insists that to say that the object offers no more to the intellect than an occasion of knowledge is an unsatisfactory explanation . What could it possibly mean for the soul, awakened by a stimulation of the sense , to assimilate itself to the bodily

34 De Anima III , 4, 429a 15—16 . 35 St. Anselm, Monologium, 11 ( PL 158 : 159) : " Faber vero penitus nec mente potest aliquid corporeum imaginando concipere, nisi id quod aut totum simul aut per partes ex aliquibus rebus aliquomodo iam didicit : nec opus mente conceptum perficere , si desit aut materia aut aliquid sine quo opus praecogitatum fieri non possit. Quamquam enim homo tale aliquod animal possit cogitando sine pingendo quale nusquam sit confingere : nequaquam tamen hoc facere valet, nisi componendo in eo partes, quas ex rebus alias cognitis in memoriam attraxit." 36 St. Augustine, De Vera Religione , 10, 18 ( PL 34 : 130) : " Phantasmata porro nihil sunt aliud quam de specie corporis corporeo sensu attracta figmenta : quae memoriae mandare ut accepta sunt, vel partiri, vel multiplicare, vel contrahere, vel distendere, vel ordinare, vel perturbare , vel quolibet modo figurare cogitando facillimum est, sed cum verum quaeritur, cavere et vitare difficile. " 37 St. Augustine, De Trinitate, 10, 5 , 7 ( PL 42 : 977) : “... (mens illa) attrahat secum etiam cum ad se cogitandam quodam modo redit. Et quia illa corpora sunt, quae foris per sensus carnis adamavit, eorumque diuturna quadam familiaritate implicata est, nec secum potest introrsum tanquam in regionem incorporeae naturae ipsa corpora inferre , imagines eorum convolvit et rapit factas in semetipsa de semetipsa. Dat enim eis formandis quiddam substantiae suae : servat autem aliquid quo libere de specie talium imaginum judicet, et hoc est magis mens, id est rationalis intelligentia, quae servatur ut judicet."


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

change ? If the intellect is not aware of the stimulation, it is not aroused or excited . If it is aware, by that very fact it knows what has happened and an assimilation will be superfluous. Although the soul does receive an intelligible species from things, it is better to say that the soul forms the species in itself rather than that the thing acts on the soul. There is a sense, however, in which things do act on the soul. Material objects act in a twofold manner. In one mode they affect a subject so that whatever receives such action must communicate in matter. Since the soul and its faculties have nothing in common with material reality, they cannot undergo this kind of action . There is also an intentional mode of acting whereby corporeal things express themselves through species. As far as the reception of species is concerned , all the powers of the soul, even the intellect, do have something in common.38 That is why Aristotle is justified in saying that “ to understand is in a way to be passive. " Even so , the intellect is more active than passive. The intellective act is effectively from the soul but not without a species representing the object which is not present to the intellect . It does not follow that if objects exert causality in sensing and undertanding, that cognition should be attributed to the objects rather than to the faculty. The object or corporeal species is by no means the principal agent ; it is a material cause from which the agent intellect by its own power originally elicits the intelligible species . The object is improperly an agent inasmuch as it is the origin of the intelligible species.39

ista agentia seu obiecta 38 Vital du Four, Q. III, ad 10, p. 231 : naturalia duplicem habent modum agendi : unum scilicet naturalem transmutando subiectum , et quaecumque talem actionem suscipiunt oportet communicare in materia ; anima autem seu potentiae eius sicut nec communem habent cum his quae transmutantur naturaliter, sic nec suscipiunt talem actionem ab obiectis . Alius est modus agendi intentionalis secundum quod naturales res per species se exprimunt ; in quantum ad talem receptionem omnes potentiae animae, etiam intellectiva, aliquid habent commune cum omnibus quae talem speciem suscipiunt propter quod dicit Aristoteles quod 'intelligere est quoddam pati, ' quamvis in tali receptione speciei , ut supra dictum est, intellectus se habeat magis in ratione activi quam passivi. ” 39 Vital du Four, Q. III , p. 228 : " ... omnia ista et similia arguit concludendo acsi species corporalis vel obiectum haberet rationem agentis principalis, quod tamen non est verum, immo habet rationem materialis, ex quo intellectus agens originaliter elicit sua virtute speciem intelligibilem ; nec habet

The Production of Intelligible Species


Since any reception from the object is due to the active, perfective power of the soul itself, the soul is not demeaned , by being formally perfected by something beneath it. The soul bestows subsistence on its perfections or species, and the soul in turn through those perfections acquires a certain limited being.40 There are other instances of the more noble being perfected by the less, as, for example, the powers of the soul by habits , and substances by accidents as well as by faculties. Even if the species do have an extrinsic origin, nothing prevents them from becoming truly one with the intellect . Just as body can never become spirit , so the corporeal can itself never become spiritual ; but from the corporeal it is possible to derive the spiritual. A corporeal object by its very nature diffuses or "multiplies" resemblances of itself. These resemblances are then given intentional existence by the powers of the soul.41 The sensible and intelligible species are thus the joint products of the object and the soul. It may be asked how an intelligible species which is spiritual and indivisible can represent the different parts of a thing. A comparison with an extended and unextended form will resolve the

rationem activi nisi improprie, in quantum scilicet species intelligibilis ab ea originatur modo exposito ." Duns Scotus, Lectura I , d . 3, p. 3 , q . 3 (ed . Vat. 16 : 373) : sic intellectus agens et phantasma se habent respectu speciei intelligibilis, in qua obiectum est praesens intellectui, quod intellectus agens est principalior causa respectu istius effectus, nec dat causalitatem phantasmati, sed simul concurrunt ut una causa totalis respectu productionis speciei . In ista igitur motione qua obiectum efficitur praesens intellectui, intellectus agens est causa principalior non mota." 40 Vital du Four, Q. III , 228 : “ ... Cum talis receptio fiat virtute animae seipsam active et efficienter perficientis, non derogat sibi quod perficiatur ab ignobiliori formali modo, cum talis perfectio subsistentiam recipiat ab anima, anima autem ab illa tale esse secundum quid.” 41 Vital du Four, Q. III , ad 4, p. 229 : “ . . . spiritus, cum sit vere substantia, esse non recipit per multiplicationem, spirituale autem de quo loquimur est intentionale et ideo per multiplicationem recipit esse." According to St. Thomas an intentional being as such cannot cause physical effects. (Intentiones autem non causant transmutationes naturales . S. T. I , 67, 3) . An intentional form does not make its subject this or that kind of being. (Secundum esse spirituale, id est, species, sive intentio qualitatis, et non ipsa qualitas ; sicut pupilla recipit speciem albedinis, et tamen ipsa non efficitur alba. In IV Sent. , d. 44, 2, 1 , 3).


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

difficulty. A material form according to its various parts perfects the different parts of matter ; a spiritual form , insofar as it is indivisible, perfects the whole body and all its parts, however much the parts are distinct from each other. Sensible species in the sense faculties may be likened to extended substantial forms in that the various parts of the species represent corresponding parts of the things, just as in a reflection in a mirror one part represents the nose, another the eye. An intelligible species is like a spiritual substantial form which by one and the same species represents the whole, the distinction and differences of parts. Intelligible species, though indivisible in essence or substance, are multiple in the power of representing, just as the soul itself is in the power of perfecting. Once informed by the species, the intellect can move itself to act, thereby attaining its natural end . Every being is equipped to carry out whatever activity is needed to realize its end, towards which it has an intrinsic and natural ordination . Now the rational soul seeks to be perfected by science , for, as Aristotle points out , all men naturally desire to know.42 That is why there is in the soul "something by which it becomes all things and something by which it makes all things. "43 By understanding, the soul becomes all things subjectively but not materially. It is of the essence of the species to represent , to take the place of the object ; the species renders the object present. That it inheres while representing is only accidental.44 In any event , once the intellect is informed by the species, it can proceed to act. The intellect need not always act when the species is present,

for the intellect is a power depending upon intention . It is not finally disposed to act until the apex of the mind (acies mentis) is brought to bear upon that species. The will directs the attention of the intellect to a particular thing. In requiring the intentio voluntatis for all knowledge , Vital places himself again in the Augustinian

42 Metaphysics I , 1 , 980a22. 43 De Anima III, 5, 430а 10. 44 Vital du Four, Q. III , 232 : "Cum igitur omne activum, si est sufficiens, praesente passo possit egredi in actum, sequitur quod, cum species a rebus accepta rationem veri passivi teneat, scilicet obiecti in quantum ipsum repraesentat, ex eo quod species in quantum species essentiale habet quod repraesentet, accidentale autem est sibi ratione qua repraesentans quod inhaereat secundum modum expositum supra, igitur intellectus informatus specie potest in actum intelligendi exire."

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tradition . St. Augustine, in conformity with his position on the spirituality of the senses, the lack of distinction among faculties, and the dynamism of the soul in knowledge , held that the intention of the will was required for all knowledge. The will had to join sense to sensible, memory to sense, and intellect to memory. St. Thomas did not interpret intentio in this context to mean an act of the will , but rather a metaphysical ordination of a power. Giles of Rome, with whom Vital du Four is very familiar, criticized St. Thomas for misinterpreting intentio.45 There is nothing contradictory in the intellect's moving itself, for it does not follow that the same thing is at the same time both act and potency . Just as an animal moves itself because the soul moves the body , so the intellective power moves itself insofar as it has intellectual light. With respect to a certain species, however, it is in potency and is moved by that species . Once the intellect is actualized and perfected through simple apprehension , it can move itself to a knowledge of conclusions by reasoning. Thus the intellect always moves itself as it is in act, and it is moved to the extent that it is in potency .

Species of Substance Once it is determined that the soul receives intelligible species from things, a further question arises : does the intellect know

45 In the De Trinitate St. Augustine holds that an intention of the will is required for all knowledge ( 11 , 4, PL 42 : 990) . “ Giles of Rome upholds this requirement of a voluntatis intentio for all knowledge but within a different context, that namely of a passivity of the senses and a distinction of faculties. And he maintains that intention here means an act of the will in express opposition to Thomas Aquinas' interpretation . . . . While it is probable that he (S. Thomas) means by intention a metaphysical ordination of a power to act, it is certain that he did not mean an act of the will . "The distinction which Giles makes between the perfection of knowledge, which results from a free conversio, and the preliminary, necessary knowledge which seems to be the formal effect of the determination of a knowing power by an intelligible or even sensible species, enables him to maintain the Augustinian voluntatis intentio for all knowledge . ... Giles equates knowledge in the strict sense, sensible and intellectual , with judgment. And judgment, as in Augustine, always concerns the intention of the will. ” P. Nash, “ Intention in Knowledge according to Giles of Rome, " L'Homme et son destin, Louvain, 1960, pp. 653-61 . See St. Thomas, De veritate, 8 14, sed contra ad 2. See Giles of Rome, De cog. angelorum, Q. 7, ob. II , f. 93ra.


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material things through a proper species of substance or only through accidents ? 46 Though Vital du Four records five current solutions to the problem, each with impressive champions and a certain degree of probability, he treats at length only three of them. One position - that of St. Thomas - maintains that while the intellect knows accidents through a proper species, it can know substance only through accidents and through species collected from accidents.47 If an accident , especially a proper accident , and

46 Vital du Four, Q. V, 252-72 : " Quaestio nostra est utrum intellectus coniunctus cognoscat substantiam rei materialis per propriam speciem substantiae vel solum per accidentia. " Also see Eustachius of Arras (d . 1291 ) Qq. disput. q. 2 in De humanae cognitionis ratione anecdota quaedam, Quaracchi, 1883 , pp. 187-91 ; John Peckham (d . 1292) , Johannis Pechami Quaestiones tractantes de anima, ed . H. Spettmann, Münster i . W. , 1918 (Beiträge, 19, 5-6) , Q. 8 and 39. 47 Vital du Four, Q. V, 257 : .. et habet magnos sectatores - quod

anima coniuncta corpori corruptibili veritatem substantiae nullo modo potest apprehendere nec de substantia quidquam cogitare nisi quantum per accidentia et accidentium species et similitudines potest colligere, quia nullam speciem substantiae recipit, sed solum accidentis. According to St. Thomas, S. T. I , 77, 1 ad 7 : “ Quia tamen formae substantiales, quae secundum se sunt nobis ignotae, innotescunt per accidentia; nihil prohibet interdum accidentia loco differentiarum substantialium poni. " " ... formae substantiales per se ipsas sunt ignotae ; sed innotescunt nobis per accidentia propria. " De spir. creaturis, a. 11 , ad 3 , p. 414. "Sed quia formae essentiales non sunt nobis per se notae, oportet quod manifestentur per aliqua accidentia quae sunt signa illius formae, ut patet in VIII Met ." In II Anal . Post. 1. 13 , n. 533. "Dicendum quod ex hoc ipso quod noster intellectus accipit a phantasmatibus, sequitur in ipso quod cognitionem collativam habeat inquantum ex multis sensibus fit una memoria et ex multis memoriis unum experimentum et ex multis experimentis unum universale principium ex quo alia concludit ; et sic acquirit scientiam ut dicitur in principio Meta et in fine Posteriorum . Unde secundum quod se habet intellectus ad phantasmata, secundum hoc se habet ad collationem. " In III Sent. , d . 14, a . 3 , qla . 6 , sol. 3 . Jacques Maritain insists that the accidents can never be dispensed with : "As far as substantial essences are concerned , J. de Tonquedec was certainly right in noting against Rousselot that ' when it is a question of thinking substance, even in the most imperfect fashion , the mind never ' stops short at the accidents. ' That would be contradictory. It always regards something beyond them. But on the other hand, a moment is never reached when the mind, having left the accidents behind, ' passes beyond ' and ' discovers' the bare substance. It is by remaining attached to the accident that it finds the

The Production of Intelligible Species


its subject are considered as a unit, the composite may be understood through one species, which is formally the species of an accident . According to this position our knowledge of substance is an inferential one gathered from the species of accidents. From the apprehension of various sensibles the intellect receives different species through which it primarily grasps the accidents of which they are similitudes. Since there is a natural bond between substance and its proper accidents linking them always together, from the perception of sensible things the intellect conceives the nature and quiddity of substance . It does so without any further species by extracting the nature of substance underneath the accidents.48 What is known through its proper species is known intuitively, but from experience it is obvious that we do not know material things intuitively; we know them by reasoning.49 Let us say, for example, that I am confronted with snow for the first time. How do I know that it is snow ? Well , I have heard that snow is white, loose, and cold - qualities which may be perceived by sight and touch. By collating this descriptive notion of snow and the notions of whiteness and looseness which accompany it, I verify all this in my first experience with snow. I then conclude that whatever appears to me with similar qualities will be snow. Since I have not seen the substance of snow and have certitude of it only

means of seeing beyond. . . . The mind always goes beyond the accidents, but by continually relying on them. The Degrees of Knowledge, trans. G. Phelan, New York, 1959, p. 204. Maritain refers to La critique de la connaissance by J. de Tonquedec, 1929, P. 538. Also see J. Owens, " Our Knowledge of Nature, " Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association , Washington, 29 ( 1955) , pp. 63—86. 48 Vital du Four, Q. V, 258 : “... quia varia accidentia varias consequuntur substantias ac per hoc est naturalis colligantia inter substantiam et propria accidentia, ex certa perceptione rerum sensibilium naturalis rationis investigatione concipit intellectus per se ipsam absque alia specie substantiae naturam substantiarum et eius quod quid est quasi fodiendo sub accidentibus naturam substantiae , ad quam non pervenit intuitive, sed arguitive. " 49 Vital du Four, Q. V, 261 : "... quod cognoscitur per speciem propriam , cognoscitur intuitive ; sed substantia corruptibilis non cognoscitur a nobis intuitive : experimur enim in nobis solum huiusmodi cognitionem habere arguitive, ex collectione enim multorum accidentium quae in alia re non inveniuntur, arguitive cognoscimus hanc substantiam."


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

through concomitant accidents, I could err if there were two different substances with similar accidents . Common accidents, therefore, which are found in different genera and species, cannot afford any certitude about the substance of a thing. On the basis of color one would judge that snow was flour. A judgment based on proper accidents , however, leads to little or no deception . Where there are such accidents found in no other thing, one may be certain what a given substance is . When similar accidents are found in a few substances, there can be some certitude, but not as much. When the same accidents are found in many substances , deception is quite likely. According to the first opinion, whenever we wish to judge the substances and natures of things, we immediately apply to the particular senses . 50 We see that we can only discern the natures of stones and herbs through their accidents and effects . Similarly we distinguish the stars through accidents in which their differences appear, such as motion, location , quantity. If I am asked what fire is, I will have to answer by circumscribing it through its accidents . If its substantial form were known, I could give a precise definition in terms of the form instead of the accidents . Since the knowledge of material substances comes through accidents and effects, the intellect will never have perfect or complete knowledge of material things . A posteriori knowledge is incomplete and imperfect, whereas a priori knowledge, i . e . , knowledge through the cause, is not.51 In summary , then , this first position holds that we can know substances from their accidents, just as a cause can be known from its effects . The more proper the accidents are, the more certain will the knowledge of the substance be. A second opinion , probably Roger Bacon's, asserts, on the contrary, that the substance of a thing is known by a proper species distinct from the species of accidents. Just as the composite embraces both substance and accidents, which differ in nature , so the

50 Vital du Four, Q. V, 259-60 : “ . . . quandocumque de substantiis et naturis rerum iudicare volumus, eas continuo ad sensus particulares applicamus . . . . Unde si quaeras a me quid sit ignis, non possum respondere nisi circumscribendo ipsum per eius accidentia ." 51 Vital du Four, Q. V, 260 : " ... sunt accidentia et effectus, qui cognitionem faciunt a posteriori, quae est incompleta et imperfecta, cognitio autem per causam, quia est a priori est completa et certa."

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species multiplied by the composite contains the species of both substance and accidents. 52 The species of substance is in the sensitive powers along with the species of accidents but in a different way. The species of an accident is there as apprehended and as moving the sense to which it is proportioned by inferiority and weakness. The species of substance is in the sense as in transit, not as moving the sense. 53 The species of substance is proportioned to the soul ; it is through such a species that the intellect knows the essence of a substance . The species of substance does not cause an impression or motion in sense ; but inasmuch as the senses are ordered to the intellect, it passes through them to the intellect . In a similar way the species of accidents also pass to the intellect . The intellect cannot know a substance without first knowing its accidents . For the species to be presented to the intellect , the sense must first represent the species of accidents , thereby exciting and disposing the possible intellect for the reception of a substantial form . In an intentional action the subject receives first the accidental disposing form and then the substantial form or species . Although a substance has more being than an accident , the species of substance does not make as strong an impression ; thus the intellect is more easily deceived in its judgment of substance. This is not due to any defect on the part of the species, but rather to original sin , which had a more devastating effect on the mind

52 Vital du Four, Q. V, 262 : “Alia est positio etiam magnorum quasi huic contraria, quae dicit quod substantia rei propria specie alia a specie accidentium cognoscitur. Modus autem huius positionis talis est. Dicunt enim quod totum compositum ex substantia et accidente speciem multiplicat modo superius exposito, per quam totum compositum cognoscitur. " This seems to be the opinion of Roger Bacon, De Multiplicatione Specierum I, 2 (ed . Bridges, Oxford, 1897 , II : 423 ) : ... species substantiae non est tantum ipsius formae seu materiae, sed totius compositi ; eo quod Aristoteles vult primo de anima quod omnes operationes sunt ipsius conjuncti et compositi. Etiam nititur ostendere, quod intelligere est ipsius compositi.... Quapropter generatio speciei erit ipsius compositi, et ideo species est similitudo totius compositi . " 53 Vital du Four, Q. V, 262 : “Nam species accidentis est ibi ut apprehensa et ut movens sensum cum quo habet proportionem propter infirmitatem potentiae et debilitatem, sed species substantiae est ibi solum ut in defe"" rente, non ut movens.


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than on the exterior senses , without , however, affecting the mode of human knowing. 54 The vis aestimativa illustrates how a higher power grasps more

than a lower one. According to Avicenna, it is through the vis aestimativa that the sheep apprehends the wolf under an aspect not accessible to sense , i . e. , as inimical and dangerous. 55 Since this intention is not grasped through a sensible species, another species must be assigned to it . If this is the case with the vis aestimativa, with all the more reason must the intellect receive a species of an object of knowledge which sense cannot apprehend, namely, a species of substance. Another argument for substance being known by a proper species distinct from the species of its accidents is based on the very nature of accidents, which are not beings but rather belong to beings. The operation of a thing depends upon its being, for action presupposes being. Since accidents cannot exist unless supported by substance, it is impossible for them to act unless their action is supported by the action of substance . Therefore, when accidents multiply their species, those species must be supported by the species of substance . Since nothing can act per se beyond its own order, no species can lead to a knowledge beyond its own nature . A species of accidents cannot lead to a knowledge of substance. It cannot be maintained that the accident is in fact acting, not by its own power, but by the power of substance. In the intentional order an accident cannot act with the proper power of substance any more than it can in the real order. Because of its obscurity the intellect has but a slight apprehension of the impression made by the species of substance until it is many times stimulated by the accidents. Hence it is that the intellect

54 Vital du Four, Q. V, 266 : “ Modus cognoscendi qui erat in statu innocentiae, non est mutatus, quia nec natura, sed est obscuratus, quia natura vulnerata." 55 Avicenna, De Anima IV, 1 (Venice, 1508 , f. 17va ; ed. Van Riet, pp. 6—7) : “ Deinde aliquando diiudicamus de sensibilibus per intentiones quas non sentimus ; aut ideo quod in natura sua non sunt sensibiles ullo modo, aut quia sunt sensibiles, sed nos non sentimus in hora iudicii . Sed quae non sunt sensibiles ex natura sua sunt sicut inimicitiae et malitiae, et quae a se diffugiunt. Quam apprehendit ovis de forma lupi, et omnino intentio quae facit eam fugere ab illo ; et concordia quam apprehendit de sua socia, et omnino intentio quae gratulatur cum illa ; sunt res quas apprehendit anima sensibilis ita quod sensus non doceat eam aliquid de eis."

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is more often deceived in its judgment about substances than about accidents . For the same reason we do not know the power of substance except through many experiences. Why does not the obscurity of the intellect distort the judgment of accidents as it does substance ? With regard to accidents sense cognition always precedes intellection . Since the senses were not so affected by sin, the intellect through sense cognition is more directed and confirmed in its judgment of accidents . Substance, however, is only known intellectually ; hence there are more mistaken judgments about substance than about accidents. A third position that of John Peckham combines features

of the other two , and it is this theory that Vital du Four himself adopts.56 In the cognition of substance a distinction must be made between the beginnings of knowledge and its term. With regard to its inception substance is known only by reasoning through accidents , effects, and acts. The more proper accidents and acts a substance has, the more certitude there can be about that substance. Contrariwise, the fewer proper accidents there are, the more likelihood of errors in judgment ; lead , for example, is often mistaken for silver because of the similarity of properties. An investigation of the proper accidents and effects leads to the generation of a proper species of substance , for the intellect always understands through a species . 57 Vital at this point deems it advisable to list the various kinds of species. There is first of all the sensible species , which is in the sense organ and which is the basis for understanding a thing as it is present. The imaginative species is in the imagination and enables an absent object to be apprehended under particular conditions. An intellectual species lacks extension per se and per accidens ; it is stored in the intellectual memory or in the mind and accounts for knowledge of the universal or the particular. 58 56 This is the opinion of John Peckham, De Anima Q. 8 and Q. 39 (ed. Spettmann, pp. 85 ff. and 214 ff.) 57 Vital du Four, Q. V, 268 : “. . . Substantiam non cognoscimus nisi arguitive per accidentia et effectus et actus inquirendo, et quanto substantia habet magis propria accidentia et actus, tanto maior certitudo de ea habetur . . . facta autem inquisitione ista per propria accidentia et proprios effectus, speciem propriam generant de ipsa substantia eo quod, sicut dictum est in aliis quaestionibus, semper per speciem intelligit." 58 Vital du Four, Q. V, 269 : "... species intellectualis, quae caret extensione per se et per accidens , quae est reposita in thesauro memoriae intel-


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An abstract species is one that has been extracted from the phantasm by the agent intellect through the multiplication of its similitude in order to be united to the possible intellect . In contrast to this, spiritual substances are said to be per se intelligible , not because they are understood without a species, but because the species is not abstracted from them. There can be an abstract species of only corporeal or sensible things. Spiritual beings may be known in a way wholly independent of corporeal creatures, namely, through innate species which are " concreated" with the soul. In the words of St. John Damascene, "the knowledge of God has been naturally implanted in us. " 59 Other spiritual beings may be known by similar innate species or by certain impressed species which are bestowed on the soul in time by God or by the angels . In addition to knowledge by connate species and infused species , spiritual beings may also be known through expressed species . It is through an expressed species, for example, that the soul knows itself and its habits , as will be seen in the next chapter. It is this species St. Anselm referred to when he wrote : On no ground can it be denied that when a rational mind conceives of itself in meditation, the image of itself arises in its thought ; or rather, the thought of the mind is itself its image, after its likeness, as if formed from its impression. 60 Finally there are fashioned species (species recollecta) . From the rules of justice one who does not have that virtue is able to gather some notion of it . And one who does not have faith can form the species of faith from the rules of faith . The mind may thus construct species by assembling various descriptions . In this way, Augustine 61 says, we may obtain knowledge of a city we have never seen.

lectualis vel in acie intellectus, quae est ratio apprehendendi rem etiam absentem et potest esse ratio cognoscendi universale vel particulare. " 59 John Damascene, De fide orthodoxa , I, 3 ( PG 94 : 794) . Version of Burgundio with partial Latin translation by Cerbanus ed . by E. Buytaert, St. Bonaventure, N.Y. , p. II : "... cognitio existendi Deum naturaliter nobis inserta est." 60 St. Anselm, Monologium, 33 ( PL 158 : 187 ; ed . Schmitt, I : 52 ) : " Nam nulla ratione negari potest, cum mens rationalis seipsam cogitando intelligit, imaginem ipsius nasci in sua cogitatione ; immo ipsam cogitationem sui esse suam imaginem ad eius similitudinem tamquam ex eius impressione formatam ." 61 St. Augustine, De Trinitate , 8, 6, 9 ; 13 , 1 , 3 (PL 42 : 955, 1014) .

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After making these distinctions , Vital du Four is prepared to draw some conclusions. Just as the intellect is able to form a composite species (species collecta) of something it has heard but never seen, so the intellect can fashion a species of things it knows of only by inference from its acts and accidents . It forms this species by associating all the accidents, acts, and effects of a substance. The species will more truly represent the thing the more those accidents, acts, and effects are proper to the thing. It is through such a constructed or formed species that the intellect understands the substance of material things.62 Vital du Four insists that the species through which substance is known is a constructed species, not an impressed one. This knowledge does not constitute an intuition ; it is the term of inferential knowledge. 63 Why does a cognition of the acts of the soul terminate in intuitive cognition through an expressed species , while the knowledge of a corporeal substance through its acts and accidents terminates at inferential (arguitiva) knowledge through a constructed species ? The acts of the soul are so intimately present to it that deception is impossible. Through such acts the soul is most certain that it exists. The same certitude cannot be had with regard to external substances or with regard to other souls, because there is no way of being sure that the acts which appear to the senses really do come from those substances. Tobias, for example, thought that the angel appearing to him was a man because of the actions Tobias. witnessed . 64 The soul does in fact know of itself through its operations, just as it knows other substances through their acts . But it is more certain of its own acts, which in turn lead to a knowledge of that from which they proceed . Thus the knowledge which the

62 Vital du Four, Q. V, 271 :

intellectus de his quae cognovit arguitive

per actus et accidentia inquirendo format sibi speciem collectam , quam sibi ex collectione omnium accidentium , actuum et effectuum format, quae tanto verior est et verius repraesentat rem, quanto illa accidentia actus et effectus sunt magis propria illi rei ; et per talem speciem collatam sive formatam seu fictam , sic enim vocat eam Augustinus, VIII De Trinitate , cap. 6 et XIII De Trinitate , cap. 1 , puto quod intellectus coniunctus corpori corruptibili , et non per aliam, intelligit rei extrinsecae substantiam . " 63 Vital du Four, Q. V, 271 : "Sic ergo puto quod intellectus cognoscat rei substantiam per speciem collectam, quae non facit intuitionem, sed est quodam modo terminus arguitivae cognitionis. " 64 Tobias 12, 19.


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soul has of itself through its proper acts is reflexive and terminates in an intuition, which is more certain because of the certitude which the soul has of its own acts.

CHAPTER V THE SOUL'S KNOWLEDGE OF ITSELF The preceding chapters have dealt with the soul's knowledge of external reality. All such knowledge presupposes sensation, but what about the soul's knowledge of itself ? The Franciscan School does not accept without reservation the principle of Aristotle that all knowledge must come by way of the senses. Has not St. Augustine written : As the mind gathers the knowledge of corporeal things through the senses of the body, so the mind comes to know intercorporeal things through itself ; therefore, it knows itself also through itself, since it is incorporeal ?¹ Here is an important qualification of Aristotelian empiricism. We need sensation to account for our knowledge of corporeal things, but incorporeal things , such as the soul and God , we know through the soul. Professor Gilson finds here the basic divergence between Augustinian and Thomistic metaphysics . " Once St. Augustine ... had chosen as his starting point the evident fact of the existence of the soul, he was bound to pass through the soul in order to reach all other spiritual substances , and more particularly God . His position is, therefore, from the very start very different from that which was later to produce the metaphysics of St. Thomas. It is true that , in both doctrines , it is by the analogy with the soul that God is best known ; but the point of bifurcation between Thomism and Augustinianism lies farther back, at the point where the knowledge which the soul has of itself is defined . According to St. Thomas, the soul is, for man as he is in this life , less known than the body ; for St. Augustine, even in this life, the soul is better known than the body. " In the Augustinian tradition St. Bonaventure taught that the soul acquires knowledge in two ways : with its "lower face" it can turn towards the material world and obtain knowledge through 1 St. Augustine, De Trinitate IX, 3 , 3 ( PL 42 : 962—963 ) . 2 E. Gilson, "The Future of Augustinian Metaphysics, " A Monument to St. Augustine, New York, 1930 , pp. 296–97 .

9 John E. Lynch


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sense perception ; with its " higher face " it can look within and find an intelligible, spiritual world . St. Bonaventure writes : An answer can now be given to the question whether or not all knowledge comes from the senses. And that answer must be no, for the soul knows God and itself and all that is in the soul without the help of the exterior senses. If, then, the Philosopher sometimes says that there is nothing in the intellect that was not first in sense, he must be referring to those things that have being in the soul through an abstract similitude . The latter are said to be in the soul like writing. The Philosopher, therefore, says very pointedly that there is nothing written in the soul, not because there is no knowledge there, but because there is no picture or abstract similitude.¹ Without the help of the senses, then , the soul knows God , itself and all that is in the soul . In the realm of the intelligible no abstracted species is necessary, the mere presence of the object sufficies for the intellect to grasp it. With the increasing popularity of Aristotelianism in the thirteenth century, many accommodations had to be made in medieval Augustinianism . It is against this background that Vital du Four, along with many other Franciscan Masters, posed the problem of self-knowledge . Vital asks , "Does the soul know itself and its habits directly through its essence or does the soul obtain this knowledge through its acts and through a species ?" '5 Our author, following Matthew of Aquasparta , observes that a thing may be known in a threefold way : inferentially (arguitive) , intuitively (intuitive) , and speculatively (speculative) . When I see smoke, for example, I know by inference that there is a fire ; the intellect reasons that if there is an effect , there must be a cause. When my gaze is actually directed to the visible thing, when I contemplate the fire present before my eyes, I know it intuitively. When, thirdly, the intellect understands the universal quiddity of

3 J. Rohmer, "La théorie de l'abstraction dans l'école franciscaine d'Alexandre de Hales à Jean Pecham, ” Archives d'histoire doctrinale et littéraire du moyen âge, II ( 1927) , 73—77. 4 St. Bonaventure , Sent. , II , d. 39 , a. 1 , q. 2 (II : 902) . 5 Vital du Four, Q. IV, 232—52. Mathew ofAquasparta, Quaest. De cog. , Q. V, 292-316 : " Quinto quaeritur utrum anima cognoscat semetipsam et habitus qui in ea sunt per essentiam suam, an per actus tantum ?” Roger Marston, Quaest . Disp. De anima, Q. I , 201—27 : “Et primo quaeritur quo modo anima se ipsam cognoscit et habitus in se existentes, utrum videlicet per essentiam ipsius animae et habitum, an per aliquam speciem ab eis differentem . "

The Soul's Knowledge of Itself


a thing through its species, simply considering the nature of the thing without regard to particular conditions, then the thing is known speculatively. I know fire speculatively when I think about what it is without any regard for time or place . By the inferential (arguitive) ' mode of knowledge we truly know that a soul exists and that it is vegetable, animal, or rational according as it is in plants, animals, or men. Observing certain operations common to plants and animals, such as growth and reproduction, we know that there is a form common to both which we call vegetative . Similarly, when we see that animals and men share a number of activities which plants do not, such as sensing, imagining, and moving, we know that animals and men have a sensitive form. Finally, as we discern that some acts are proper to man - understanding, reasoning, deliberation — we say that there is a special form in man, namely the intellective . In the first mode (arguitiva) I have as little intuitive knowledge of my own soul as I do of yours. Yet, somehow or other, I am more certain that my soul exists in me than yours exists in you. By internal experience I am assured that my acts are such that I can have greater certitude about them than I can about your acts. Indeed , judging from its activities , I cannot be certain in the case

• Vital du Four, Q. IV, 232—33 : “ ... sicut dicitur communiter et bene, contingit rem quamlibet tripliciter cognoscere, scilicet arguitive et intuitive et speculative. Arguitive, sicut cognosco ignem esse videndo fumum ; arguit enim intellectus quod, si effectus est, causa est. Intuitive, sicut dum super rem visibilem dirigitur actu aspectus intuentis. Speculative , sicut dum intellectus intelligit quidditatem universalem rei per speciem eius, quam habet apud se, non ut est haec vel illa, ut est in illo vel in isto, sed simpliciter naturam rei speculando, ut dum cogito quid sit rosa, non cogitando quando est vel ubi est." Matthew of Aquasparta makes the same division of knowledge , Q. V, 300. 7 Arguitive is a particularly hard term to translate . Matthew of Aquasparta uses it as synonymous with "reasoning" : " . . . per manuductivam arguitionem sive ratiocinationem, ut videndo fumum arguo ignem . " From the example used the English " infer" seems to be the closest approximation. Later in the Question (p. 245 ) Vital uses deduco in a similar context : ". . . actus, ex quibus quaelibet anima deducitur in sui ipsius notitiam. . . . ” 8 Vital du Four, Q. IV, 233 : " Sed per istum modum ita parum cognosco animam meam intuitive sicut tuam, quamvis quodam modo cognoscam certius animam meam esse et in me esse quam tuam esse et in te esse : sic quadam experimentatione intrinseca certior sum quod actus mei sunt tales quod de illis maiorem certitudinem habeo quam de tuis . . . ."


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of any soul but my own that it exists in a particular body. A good or bad angel could carry out simulated activities in an assumed body, so that one would be deceived in judging that the acts were performed by a man . In my own case with an infallible interior sense, namely the intellect , I experience various acts , for example, that I will or that I deliberate . When I then infer the existence of my own soul, this inferential knowledge (cognitio arguitiva) will be most certain. The knowledge of my own soul is the principle of all certitude , the immobile center which supports, and around which revolves the flux of all else that is known or believed , at least as respects myself. For I do not know that I believe , nor can I be certain of it , unless I know that I will to believe and will to assent to the articles of faith. In summary, then, we know our own soul inferentially through its acts. This knowledge is not of itself intuitive, but it does terminate in intuitive knowledge, as will be explained later . In speculative cognition a thing is known absolutely, not as this or that , or as mine or yours. This mode of knowing is common to every rational soul and does not pertain to mine more than to yours, since both have the same quiddity . To know one soul is to know all . Such quidditative knowledge of the soul, we have partly from a natural impression . For, according to St. Augustine, the soul has an impressed notion of man's nature , as well as notions of his powers and habits and also of the good . 10 Partly, too, we gain such knowledge from a subtle investigation of substantial acts, so that the soul comes a posteriori to a notion of such a nature . This knowledge of the soul's nature is perfected by the irradiation of the eternal light on the soul. Thus the soul has an impressed notion of its nature

⁹ Vital du Four, Q. IV, 234 : " Et ideo talis cognitio arguitiva de anima mea est certissima, sicut dicit Augustinus . . . immo est principium certitudinis (sic) quam de omni alio habeo et centrum immobile veritatis, circa quod volvitur et cui innititur mobilitas et fluxus omnium aliorum quae sciuntur vel opinantur, et etiam eorum quae creduntur, quantum est ex parte mea . ” 10 St. Augustine, De Trinitate , 8, 4 , 7 (PL 42 : 952 ) : “ ... sed illud quod secundum speciem de homine cogitamus : habemus enim quasi regulariter infixam humanae naturae notitiam, secundum quam quidquid tale aspicimus, statim hominem esse cognoscimus vel hominis formam. " Ibid. , 8,3 , 4 (PL 42 : 949) : “ [neque] diceremus aliud alio melius cum vere judicamus, nisi esset nobis impressa notio ipsius boni, secundum quod et probaremus aliquid , et aliud alii praeponeremus. ”

The Soul's Knowledge of Itself


which is a partial cause of self-knowledge . Reasoning and illumination concur in order to certify the reality and validity of the knowledge. It is difficult to determine just what this impressed notion is. Since it is not an intuitive knowledge , must it be in some way innate ? In this analysis Vital takes his cue from Matthew of Aquasparta , ¹¹ who in turn seeks doctrinal accord with St. Augustine. Perhaps all that Vital means is that the soul is intelligible insofar as it has a spiritual nature. The first mode of cognition (cognitio arguitiva) , Vital du Four continues, terminates at a knowledge of what a thing is. 12 The intellect is led to know the substance of a thing by examining its proper accidents. Once a substance has been so apprehended , the intellect by reasoning a priori can know the accidents . Similarly, once we know a posteriori through acts and operations that the soul exists , we can know a priori that the soul ought to have certain operations. How can a thing be known through its operations unless it first be determined that the operations belong to that thing ? If, for example, in pursuing a criminal who was personally unknown to me, I came upon a number of men in flight, I could not apprehend my man without further information about him. St. Augustine in this connection, our author remembers, remarked that a sign will never lead to a knowledge of the thing signified without previous knowledge of that thing. 13 He uses the illustration of a fowler carrying his nets. If I were unacquainted with the art , the equipment would mean nothing to me. But if I were to see the fowler spread out his nets and capture a bird , then I would know what the gear signified . Again , if I were to see a woman with a veil in her hand , I would not know what it was for . But after seeing her put it on her head, I 11 Matthew of Aquasparta, Q. V, 300-301 : .'Et hoc modo anima vel habitus in se existentes cognoscuntur. Partim per impressam notionem, quoniam anima habet impressam naturae suae notitiam, ut dicit Augustinus. . . . Partim per subtilem investigationem et inquisitionem ; sed consummative per lucis aeternae irradiationem." 12 Vital du Four, Q. IV, 234 : “ Unde videtur mihi quod cognitio arguitiva, quae est per actus et operationes inquirendo, ad istam, scilicet quid sit res, via inquisitiva terminatur." 13 St. Augustine, De Magistro, 10, 34 (PL 32 : 1214 ) : " In quo tamen signo cum duo sint, sonus et significatio, sonum certe non per signum percipimus, sed eo ipso aure pulsata ; significationem autem re, quae significatur, aspecta ."


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would know. Augustine concludes that in the first instance it is the thing signified that leads to a knowledge of the sign . It would seem, therefore, that we could not come to a knowledge of substance through its acts and operations, which are its signs , unless we had first known the substance. St. Augustine, Vital explains , faced this difficulty in his work De Magistro. He laid down the principle that for a cause to be known through its effects, or for a soul to be known through its operations , or a thing signified to be known through a sign, some knowledge of the cause, or of the soul, or of the thing signified must precede. It suffices , however, that this knowledge be general, indeterminate, and quasi-habitual.14 The knowledge will be specified and the nature determined through proper accidents. Thus can the soul be known through its proper accidents. Upon seeing a movement, for example, I am immediately aware in an indistinct way that something moves. Then I investigate until I discover what moves and what is moved . The Bishop of Hippo described the process in the De Trinitate : How does the mind know anything, if it does not know itself ? For it does not know that another mind knows, but is only aware of its own knowing ; therefore, it knows itself. Furthermore, when it seeks to know itself, it knows itself now as seeking ; therefore again it knows itself.15 An effect can lead to more or less knowledge of the cause depending upon whether the effect is self-subsisting and complete or in the process of becoming. Seeing a house, for example, we know that there had to be a cause, namely an architect, but we do not know if the cause now exists. From an effect we can know, too , what the cause is, how great , and what kind , but this will not be intuitive knowledge. The nature of the work, then, yields some incomplete knowledge of the worker.

14 Vital du Four, Q. IV, 235 : "... ad hoc quod cognoscatur causa per effectus, signatum per signum, anima per operationes, et similia, necesse est aliquam cognitionem de signato, de causa , de anima praecedere, quae scilicet sufficit quod sit indeterminata et generalis et quasi habitualis ; quae cognitio specificatur usque ad quod quid est per accidentia propria. ” 15 St. Augustine, De Trinitate, 10, 3 , 5 (PL 42 : 976) : “ Quo pacto igitur se aliquid scientem scit, quae se ipsam nescit ? Neque enim alteram mentem scientem scit ; sed se ipsam. Scit igitur se ipsam. Deinde cum se quaerit ut noverit, quaerentem se jam novit. "

The Soul's Knowledge of Itself


If the effect is still in the process of realization , however, I know that the cause actually exists ; and by studying the nature of the effect , I can infer (arguitive) what the cause is . When I experience myself willing, I know most certainly that my soul exists . Upon further consideration that willing and understanding are spiritual, immaterial acts, I conclude that the soul is a spiritual and immaterial substance. By such procedure anything whatever can be known through its effects . Such an inquiry terminates at the intuition of substance, just as if I were to follow smoke , I would finally come to the intuition of fire . This is the way that all scientific knowledge is acquired . 16

St. Thomas' Rejection of Intuitive Knowledge As for the possibility of a reasoned and speculative knowledge of the soul , Vital du Four says the masters are in general agreement , but the same cannot be said for intuitive knowledge. There are who deny that the soul or many - the Thomists, for example any spiritual being can be known even fleetingly by a direct or intuitive knowledge.17 They insist that spiritual objects can be known only by their acts and operations . Even the acts cannot be known for the briefest time by a direct or intuitive knowledge, because they are just as spiritual as the habits giving rise to them. Rather, as the soul perceives the species abstracted from the phantasm (for all its knowledge begins in the senses) , it perceives its act, as it were by a certain experience (quasi quodam experimento) , and argues to the existence of a potency and a substance. Acts, according to Aristotle, are known through objects, potencies through

16 Vital du Four, Q. IV, 236 : "Et sic procedendo, quidquid sciri potest per effectum, talis inquisitio terminatur ad intuitionem substantiae sicut via ad terminum, ut, si prosequerer fumum, finaliter venirem ad intuitionem ignis. Et iste est modus acquirendi omnem scientiam modo naturali ." 17 Vital du Four, Q. IV, 236 : " Dicunt enim quidam et multi quod anima, quamdiu est coniuncta corpori, nec se nec suos habitus nec breviter aliquam rem spiritualem potest aspicere directo aspectu seu intuitive, sed tantum modo superius dicto, per actus et operationes : non quod actus intueatur tamquam obiectum visionis, cum sint ita spirituales sicut ipsi habitus, sed cum omnis sua cognitio a sensibus incipiat, dum percipit species a phantasmatibus abstractas, percipit actum suum quasi quodam experimento et percipiendo actum arguit potentiam esse et per consequens substantiam...." Vital has in mind the followers of St. Thomas, as will be evident later.


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acts, and the essence through potencies.18 Thus the intellect never intuits itself, its habits, or its acts, but always knows them a posteriori through sensibles. Those rejecting intuitive knowledge , our author continues, maintain that the soul is known in a twofold manner. In the first way the soul knows itself with reference to what is proper to it, i. e., that it is my soul and it is in me alone ; it does not know at this stage that it is a soul. In the second way the soul knows what it has in common with all animals and thus knows what a soul is and what its properties are. There can be no doubt that Vital du Four has in mind the position of St. Thomas. In the De Veritate the Angelic Doctor asserts that each person can have a twofold knowledge of his soul. One of these is the knowledge by which each man knows what is proper to his own soul. The other is the knowledge by which he knows what is common to all souls . Through the first type of knowledge the existence of the soul is known, as when someone perceives that he has a soul. Through the latter type of knowledge one knows what the soul is and what its proper accidents are.19 Vital du Four proceeds to analyze the text of St. Thomas. With regard to the first kind of knowledge, knowledge of what is proper to the soul, a further distinction must be made between actual and

18 Aristotle, De Anima, II , 3 , 415a16—19 : “ But if one is to state what each of them is (e. g. , the thinking , sensitive, or nutritive faculty) , one must again first explain what thinking and perceiving are ; for logically the exercise of their functions comes before the faculties themselves . And if this is so, and if one should have examined , even before these functions , the objects corresponding to them , then for the same reason one must first of all deter39 mine the facts about those objects . . . . ' 19 St. Thomas, De veritate, 10 , 8 (ed . Spiazzi , p . 207) : “ Una quidem qua uniuscuiusque anima se tantum cognoscit quantum ad id quod est ei proprium ; et alia qua cognoscitur anima quantum ad id quod omnibus animabus est commune. ... Unde per hanc cognitionem cognoscitur an est anima, sicut cum aliquis percipit se animam habere ; per aliam, vero cognitionem scitur quid est anima, et quae sunt per se accidentia ejus ." Compare with Vital's text Q. IV, 236—37 : “Dicunt enim quod de anima duplex modus cognitionis haberi potest a quolibet : una cognitio est, qua unicuique anima se cognoscit quantum ad illud quod est ei proprium, secundum quem modum cognoscitur a me anima mea ut mea et ut in me est solum, et non quid est anima ; alia est cognitio de anima, qua cognoscitur quantum ad ea quae habet communia cum omnibus animalibus, et per hanc cognitionem cognoscitur de anima quid est et quae sunt eius proprietates."

The Soul's Knowledge of Itself habitual knowledge. The


soul attains actual knowledge of its

existence only through that which it understands or senses. I perceive that I have a soul, that I have life and existence , because I perceive that I sense, understand , and carry on other vital activities. No one perceives that he understands except from the fact that he understands something, because to understand something is prior to understanding that one understands. As far as habitual knowledge is concerned , the soul knows itself through its essence. Insofar as the soul has such an essence , it can know that it exists in a body. For the soul to know habitually that it exists or that it has habits, all that is required is the presence of the habits and the essence.20 For actual cognition there must be a conversion upon the soul or its habits ; the conversion is an act, and through this act the soul actually knows itself and its habits . With regard to the second kind of knowledge, which involves universal aspects of the soul , a further distinction must be made . There must be both an apprehension and a judgment . The apprehension of the soul's nature requires species abstracted from the senses . The intellect comes to a knowledge of itself through the apprehension of other things, just as prime matter is known from its reception of forms. This knowledge is completed in the judgment which affirms that the soul exists as apprehended . To summarize St. Thomas' position : our mind has habitual knowledge of its existence through itself, but it has actual knowledge through its acts. It knows what it is by inference ( arguitive) , not

20 St. Thomas, De veritate, 10, 8 (ed . Spiazzi, p. 207) : “ Sed quantum ad cognitionem habitualem, sic dico, quod anima per essentiam suam se videt , id est ex hoc ipso quod essentia sua est sibi praesens, est potens exire in actum cognitionis sui ipsius. . . . ' E. Gilson ( The Christian Philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas, New York, 1956, p. 473 , n. 47) comments : " It is not easy to admit that St. Thomas grants a direct knowledge of the essence of the soul , and one that does not come from sense knowledge . What is true is that the soul's presence to itself gives it a corresponding habitus. Thus we have habitual knowledge of the soul's essence, and we have the immediate certitude of its acts (see Aristotle, Nic. Eth. , IX, 9, 1170a25f) , but we infer its existence and its nature from its operations. For a more profound study, see A. Gardeil , ‘ La perception de l'âme par elle-même d'après saint Thomas, ' Mélanges Thomistes (Bibl. Thomiste, III ) , Le Saulchoir, 1923 , pp. 219—36. ”


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

by intuition. This knowledge is obtained through species of other 21 things and through its acts.2 As for the soul's knowledge of habits - Vital du Four's analysis proceeds

St. Thomas holds that like the soul's knowledge of

itself it also is twofold.22 First , the soul knows whether or not it has a habit ; second , it knows what a habit is. The two types of knowledge relate differently to habits than they do to the soul . For the knowledge by which one knows that he has a habit presupposes a knowledge of what a habit is. I cannot know, for example, that I have chastity, unless I know what chastity is . It is just the reverse with the soul, for many know that they have a soul, through acts which they experience, without knowing what a soul is. The reason for the difference may be explained as follows. Even though both the soul and its habits are known only by perceiving the acts of which they are principles, the soul and the habits are principles in different ways. The habit is the cause of a certain kind of act through its essence . The soul is not a principle of operations through its essence but through its powers. From a perception of such acts as movement and sense, we know that the principles of those acts are in the soul, but we do not know the nature of the soul.23

21 Vital du Four, Q. IV, 238 : "Ut sic, secundum hanc positionem, mens nostra cognoscat se esse habitualiter per seipsam, sed per actus suos actualiter, quid ipsa sit arguitive , numquam intuitive in hac vita, per species aliarum rerum et per actus suos apprehensive, iudicative et distinctive per radium divinum, qui super mentem nostram irradiat. ” 22 Vital du Four, Q. IV, 238. See St. Thomas, De veritate, 10, 9 (ed . Spiazzi, pp. 211—12) : “ ... sicut animae, ita et habitus est duplex cognitio : una qua quis cognoscit an habitus sibi insit ; alia qua cognoscitur quid sit habitus. Hae tamen duae cognitiones circa habitus alio modo ordinantur quam circa animam. Cognitio enim qua quis novit se habere aliquem habitum, praesupponit notitiam qua cognoscit quid est habitus ille : non enim possum scire me habere caritatem, nisi sciam quid est caritas. Sed ex parte animae non est sic. Multi enim sciunt se habere animam qui nesciunt quid est anima . . . . Habitus autem per essentiam suam est principium talis actus, unde si cognoscitur habitus prout est principium talis actus, cognosc tur de eo quid est . ... Sed anima non est principium actuum per suam essentiam, sed per vires suas ; unde perceptis actibus animae, percipitur inesse principium talium actuum, utpote motus et sensus ; non tamen ex hoc natura animae scitur . ” 23 Vital du Four, Q. IV, 239. See St. Thomas, De veritate, 10, 9 (ed . Spiazzi, p. 212).

The Soul's Knowledge of Itself


Knowledge of a habit's existence may be either habitual or actual. We actually perceive that we have habits from their acts experienced within . Hence The Ethics remarks that the pleasure attendant on a work is a sign of habits.24 The habits of the soul are known habitually through themselves, because the habit renders one capable of actually knowing. In brief, St. Thomas ' position amounts to this. The soul has actual knowledge of its existence through its acts ; it has habitual knowledge through its essence, that is to say, the soul needs neither habit nor species to actually perceive its own existence. The soul apprehends its nature through the species of the things which it knows , but never intuitively. The following order obtains : first, the soul has habitual knowledge of itself through its essence ; then , actual knowledge through its acts ; thirdly, it apprehends itself by apprehending the species of things ; fourthly, the soul judges what it is.25 Criticism of St. Thomas Vital du Four considers the opinion of St. Thomas probable and well worked out , but he has several reservations. ( 1 ) He thinks it is possible to have an intuitive knowledge of the soul and its habits. (2) He cannot agree that the intellect knows itself and its habits only from species originating from without.26 (3 ) Vital objects to having one method for knowing the soul and another for knowing its habits as though the soul's existence is known before its nature, but the habit's nature is known before its existence.

24 Aristotle, Nicomachaean Ethics, II , 3, 1104b4-5 . 25 Vital du Four, Q. IV, 240 : “ Sic igitur anima cognoscit se esse actu per suos actus, se autem esse habitu per essentiam suam, quia ut actu se cognoscat, nec habitu nec specie indiget ; quid autem sit, apprehendit per species rerum quas cognoscit, sicut sensitiva per formas quas recipit ; nunquam tamen se apprehendit intuitive quid sit. Iudicat autem de se quid sit lumine inviolabilis veritatis, cuius similitudo est mentibus nostris impressa, in qua aliqualiter cognoscimus per se nota atque omnia alia examinamus secundum eamdem in omnibus iudicantes . Ut sic pateat quod cognoscit se habitualiter per suam essentiam, se vero esse per suos actus, quid sit per species aliarum rerum ; quid sit iudicat per lumen divinum, nec aliquo modo intuetur se quid sit.” 26 Vital du Four, Q. IV, 240–41 : " Haec opinio videtur probabilis et bene declarat sua fundamenta, praeter hoc quod dicit quod anima nec se nec suos actus cognoscit intuitive, secundo quantum ad hoc quod dicit quod intellectus nec se nec suos habitus per species originatas ab eis apprehendit. Et ad


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

On the question of intuitive knowledge St. Augustine, it seems to Vital , holds quite clearly that the soul by reflecting on itself can know its existence and its nature , just as it can know the presence and nature of its habits. He points out that " it is one thing to perceive an object through the body and another to perceive a fact in the vision of the mind. " By bodily sense the soul sees exterior corporeal things since they are present to the senses ; by the mind the soul contemplates interior spiritual realities. Thus it is inwardly conscious of its will, its thought , its memory, without the intervention of the body. Augustine writes : " Just as I see corporeal light by a bodily sense, so I am fully aware of my will which is present to my mental faculties."27 Augustine expressly says that the intellect sees its habits not only through their acts but also intuitively. We know, for example, that we have faith, but we do not know this virtue in the way that we know bodies , nor in the way that we conjecture another man must have a soul just like our own. "Nevertheless we see faith in ourselves when that faith is there, because faith even in things that are absent is itself present . " 28 St. Augustine seems to deny, further, that the intellect apprehends itself only through species abstracted from corporeal things . He says that this understanding is not accomplished in us through information furnished by the senses, but "we understand the intellect by the mind itself and the reason acting within us. ” 29 He plainly says that the soul does not behold itself or its powers by any corporeal species.

illud sequitur primum, et e converso ; nam si se intueretur, videtur quod per propriam speciem se cognoscat, et e converso ; idem dico de habitibus. Tertio, quantum ad differentiam ordinis , quam ponit inter cognitionem si est et quid est , animae et habituum. Quantum ergo ad ista tria, non videtur aliquibus quod positio contineat veritatem. " 27 Augustine, Epistola ad Paulinam De videndo Deum ; Epist. 147, I , 6 (PL 33 : 599 CSEL 44 : 280) . 28 Augustine, De Trinitate , 13 , 1 , 3 ( PL 42 : 1014) . 29 Augustine, Epistola ad Nebridium, Epist. 13 , n. 4 (PL 33:78, CSEL 43:31 ) : “ ... veniat in mentem illud quod intelligere appellamus, duobus modis in nobis fieri : aut ipsa per se mente atque ratione intrinsecus, ut cum intelligimus esse ipsum intellectum ; aut admonitione a sensibus, ut id quod iam dictum est, cum intelligimus esse corpus . ” St. Thomas would agree that the soul does not know itself or its powers by any corporeal species.

The Soul's Knowledge of Itself


According to Vital du Four, experience seems to substantiate this direct form of knowledge . When the will moves, I experience this fact and I am aware that I will . Thus an interior sense intuits the willing.30 If the soul were in a body which it could not use at all , it would not apprehend sensible species . That is why a man born blind can never conceive of colors.31 But it is certain that a mind in such a body could apprehend itself. To illustrate this situation , Vital recalls Avicenna's experiment of "the flying man" :32 if a man were created and placed in air with his limbs disjointed so that he could not feel them, he could still affirm his own existence , although he would doubt everything else . Thus it is clear, Vital continues, that the soul can apprehend its own existence without any received species. After it has apprehended that it is, the soul inquires what it is ; once again the soul needs no species from without , but through its most inimate acts experienced within, such as living , willing , desiring, it comes to a knowledge of itself, both as to its existence and nature.33 The soul can also attain this knowledge through acts exercised on external things, but it is not completely dependent upon other things for self-knowledge, as St. Thomas holds. The analogy St. Thomas uses to support his position is false, Vital du Four, maintains, because it is based on a false supposition . St. Thomas argues that just as matter is pure potency in the sensible

30 Vital du Four, Q. IV, 242 : "Experimentum etiam videtur ad hoc facere ; nam dum in voluntate mea oritur ipsum velle, experior me velle et quodam sensu interiori sentio me velle ; ergo tale velle sensus interior intuetur." 31 Aristotle, Physics II, 1 , 193a7—9. 32 Avicenna, De Anima, I , 1 ; Venice 1508 , f. 2rb : " Dicemus igitur quod aliquis ex nobis putare debet quasi subito creatus esset et perfectus, sed velato visu suo, ne videat exteriora ; et creatus esset sic quasi moveretur in aëre, aut inani , ita ut eum non tangeret spissitudo aëris, quam ipse sentire posset, et quasi essent disiuncta membra eius, ita ut non concurrerent sibi, nec contingerent sese ; deinde ut videat si affirmet esse suae essentiae. Non enim dubitabit affirmare se esse, non tamen affirmabit exteriora suorum membrorum, nec occulta suorum interiorum, nec animum, nec cerebrum , nec aliquid talium, sed extrinsecus affirmabit se esse. " 33 Vital du Four, Q. IV, 242 : “Ex quo patet quod anima in corpore apprehendit se esse, nulla specie recepta indiget ; et quia, apprehenso quia est, quaerit quid sit, ideo nec ad apprehendendum quid sit indiget necessario specie alicuius exterioris corporis, sed per actus suos intimos, quos experitur in se, ut se vivere, velle, desiderare et similia, devenit in sui notitiam et quia est et quid est. Potest etiam idem per actus quos exercet de rebus extrinsecis , sed non sunt ad hoc necessarii, ut dicebat positio."


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

order, so the mind is purely potential in the intelligible order. Vital grants the analogy is true with reference to receptivity, for just as matter can receive the forms of all sensible things , so the intellect can receive the forms of all intelligible things . But it is not true to say that just as matter has no form or act whereby it can be sensed until it is endowed with sensible forms , so neither can the soul he understood until it is informed with intelligible species. The soul has more being, more truth, and more immateriality than any natural substance. Therefore, it is more intelligible in its own right. Matter, to be sure, is not of itself sensible, but the soul is in a completely different order. Thus the comparison does not hold.34

Intuitive Knowledge The best refutation of an opinion is to build a strong case for the opposite view, and that is what Vital du Four proceeds to do. He submits that the soul does indeed know intuitively its own existence and nature, as well as that of its habits. "What , " he asks with St. Augustine, "is known so intimately and so perceives itself to be

34 Vital du Four, Q, IV, 242—43 : " Sed si intelligatur quod, sicut materia nullam formam vel actum habet de se unde possit obiective sentiri nisi ut induitur formis sensibilibus, sic nec anima nostra aliquid unde possit intelligi obiective nisi ut induitur formis aliis vel speciebus intelligibilibus, hoc omnino falsum est, cum plus habeat de entitate, veritate et immaterialitate quam aliqua naturalis quidditas, ac per hoc magis est intelligibilis de ratione sua obiective . Non sic autem habet materia de se unde sit obiective sensibilis." The adage of Averroes that our intellect is pure potency in the order of intelligibles was not accepted without qualification by many contemporary philosophers, for example, Giles of Rome. "L'opinion de Gilles paraît fondée sur une conception de l'être intellectif, selon laquelle, dans l'ordre des ' intelligibilia, ' cet être n'est pas seulement ' potentia pura , ' mais également 'virtualiter actu .' C'est-à -dire qu'il entend dans cet être une disposition active vers une actualité intelligible. Il nous paraît dès lors, que dans sa conception, il s'est conscient d'être en progrès sur Averroès dont il n'accepte pas l'adage : ' intellectus est potentia pura in genere intelligibilium sicut materia prima in genere entium ' si ce n'est avec la correction du ' virtualiter actu. ' Aussi, en raison du ' virtualiter actu, ' l'être intellectif peut-être en première instance la ' ratio intelligendi' de son acte de connaissance de soi. " R. Friedemann, Het ' Intellectus noster est potentia pura in genere intelligibilium' van Averroes en de ' ratio intelligendi' in de zelfkennis volgens Aegidius Romanus, Louvain, 1958, p. 69.

The Soul's Knowledge of Itself


itself, as that by which all other things are perceived , that is, the mind itself ? " 35 Our author proposes to clarify the problem by distinguishing two modes of self-knowledge : one with reference to its inception , the other with reference to its termination . In the initial stage there is no intuitive cognition . Knowledge of the soul and its habits begins with their acts. By knowing its acts, the soul can infer its own existence . Once the soul realizes that its acts are reflexive and immaterial , it reasons that the faculties and , indeed , the substance of the soul must also be immaterial. When the intellect finally apprehends the soul's own nature, it terminates in an intuition. At this point the mind, withdrawn from exterior things and reflecting on itself and its habits, intuits them through an intellectual vision , which is fixed on the essence of the soul and its habits.36 Each of the modes of self-knowledge requires further explanation . At the beginning the soul notices such acts as willing, understanding, desiring, etc. In knowing these acts, the soul without a species knows its existence and then proceeds to know its nature and eventually to intuit it . It is impossible to have an intuition of the soul before the soul is aware of its acts through an interior " sense , " which experiences them. Just as the soul's knowledge of exterior things begins with the particular bodily senses, so the soul's knowledge of itself and its habits starts with an interior spiritual " sense" which experiences interior acts.37 What is this interior sense from which all self-knowledge takes its rise ? Just as every created nature is a composite with a superior and inferior component , so Vital thinks every activity except the Divine is in some way composed . The sense power has at its lowest level the particular sense, and at the highest , the imagination

35 Augustine, De Trinitate, 8, 6 , 9 (PL 42 : 953 ) : “Quid enim tam intime scitur, seque ipsum esse sentit, quam id quo etiam caetera sentiuntur, id est, ipse animus ?" 36 Vital du Four, Q. IV, 246 : " Dum autem intellectus quid sit apprehendit, terminatur ad intuitionem, qua mens ab exterioribus sequestrata et super se reflexa, se et suos habitus intuetur per aspectum intellectualem defixum super essentiam animae et habitum." 37 Vital du Four, Q. IV, 243 : "Ut sicut cognitio intellectiva, quam habet anima de rebus exterioribus, a sensu particulari corporali oritur, ut alibi expositum est, sic cognitio intellectiva, quam habet de se et de suis habitibus, a sensu interiori spirituali experimentante actus interiores nostros oritur. "


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

through which it is joined to the intellect . The intellect , too , has a lower part which knows and experiences interior acts , just as the particular bodily sense knows and experiences the actual existence of sensible things.38 The interior intellectual and spiritual sense apprehends our most intimate acts such as willing and loving . If a man has been deprived of a certain sense , the knowledge proper to that sense is lacking . In like manner if there were no spiritual sense by which we experience interior acts , all knowledge of the soul and its habits would be impossible. The soul cannot intuit itself or know its nature without a prior knowledge of its acts, because all knowledge, whether interior or exterior, proceeds from the imperfect to the perfect.39 It is appropriate for the soul to know in this way, because it holds the lowest grade among intellectual forms or substances. Just as knowledge of exterior things begins with the lowest grade of cognition , which is at the particular sense level, so the interior knowledge of the soul and its habits starts with the interior sense. Both types of knowledge are discursive and searching ; both progress from the imperfect to the perfect. In comparison with what follows, the principles in any process,

natural or cognitive, are more certain, fixed , and better known . The sensation of a material thing , for example, is more certain and better known than any other knowledge. With regard to knowledge of the soul and its habits , our interior acts are the principles.40 These interior acts are known before the soul and its habits because I am

38 Vital du Four, Q. IV, 243—44 : “ Et illa est quae se habet ad cognitionem et experimentationem actuum nostrorum interiorum sicut sensus particularis corporalis ad cognitionem et experimentationem actualitatis existentiae rerum sensibilium. ” 39 Vital du Four, Q. IV, 244 : "Sed nihil praedictorum est causa quare non possit intueri se vel quid sit cogitare nisi prius cognitis actibus suis . Causa autem huius iam est in parte tacta : quia omnis cognitio animae coniunctae procedit de imperfecto ad perfectum , et hoc seu cognitio illa habeat ortum a rebus interioribus vel exterioribus. ” 40 Vital du Four, Q. IV, 244 : “……. in quolibet processu naturali principia sunt certa, fixa et notiora, sicut etiam in scientiis. Patet hoc in naturalibus, quia certum est seminarium ex quo fit bos, asinus, faba, triticum vel homo, et in se habet evidentiam maiorem et priorem quam illa quae ex tali semine fiunt. Similiter illud ex quo procedit scientia, oportet quod sit prius et magis notum in se, sicut sensus circa sensibile extrinsecum est certissimus et habet rationem notioris respectu omnium aliorum, sicut se habet materia in artifi-

The Soul's Knowledge of Itself


more certain of intuiting my willing and my thinking than I am of knowing my will and my intellect . Knowledge of these acts, then, must precede all knowledge of the soul. Vital insists, contrary to St. Thomas, that the acts from which the soul is deduced are not limited to acts elicited by the imagination or the senses, because the soul can come to a knowledge of itself through interior acts as well as through exterior ones.41 On the basis of experience Vital criticizes St. Thomas' position that one must know the nature of a habit before knowing of its existence. The act of chastity, for example, can be known in two ways, confusedly or distinctly. In knowing the act of chastity confusedly, I know in a vague way of the existence of some personal habit. By knowing that chastity means abstaining from sexual pleasure, I know the act perfectly and at the same time know what such a habit is. Knowledge of what the act is precedes knowledge of what the habit is. Now if, as St. Thomas maintains , the nature of a habit is known through its acts and object , it seems that the nature of the act should be known before the nature of the habit . Thus the order should be : first, I know the existence of the habit ; then that the habit is in me ; thirdly the nature of the act , and lastly the nature of the habit . It is not the case , then , that the nature of the habit is known before the fact of its presence . According to St. Thomas, unlike a habit , the soul's existence can be known before its nature, because the soul is not the immediate principle of its acts, while the habit is an immediate principle. Vital du Four insists that though the soul is not through its essence the principle of second acts, it is the immediate principle of first acts such as living and being.42 These acts are the first that the soul

cialibus et sicut se habet fundamentum in quolibet processu ordinato . Ergo similiter in notitia quam acquirit anima de se et de suis habitibus, oportet quod incipiat a priori, evidentiori, notiori. " 41 Vital du Four, Q. IV, 245 : "Actus autem nostri interiores sunt huiusmodi respectu animae et habitus, quia certius intueor me velle et intelligere quam cognoscam voluntatem meam et intellectum, et ideo cognitio eorum praecedit omnem cognitionem. Et non intelligo ut dicunt aliqui, quod actus, ex quibus quaelibet anima deducitur in sui ipsius notitiam solum sint actus eliciti ab imaginatione vel a sensibus quia tam per actus exteriores quam per interiores, ut dixi supra, anima potest devenire in notitiam sui." 42 Vital du Four, Q. IV, 246 : "Quod vero addit quod ' habitus sunt per suam essentiam principium actus' ; dico quod, etsi anima non sit per suam substantiam principium actuum secundorum, tamen per suam essentiam

10 John E. Lynch


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

experiences in and of itself. Thus the same order of knowledge should obtain for both the soul and its habit . Vital du Four dismisses the objection raised against intuition to the effect that many have been deceived about the nature of the soul, considering it to be fire , water, etc. He contends that the errors occur, not because an intuition is impossible , but for another reason . The soul can intuit itself, provided it diligently searches within and cuts itself off from material things.43 But just as some so delight and feast upon carnal things that they never savor anything spiritual, so in knowing they are so filled with corporeal forms and images that they do not believe there is anything else but the material . In this regard St. Augustine asks whether an infant knows itself or not.44 Perhaps it is completely absorbed and delighted with its newly discovered bodily sensations. He replies that the infant cannot be ignorant of itself, though it may not think of itself : non ignorare se potest, sed non cogitare se potest. Vital thinks that Augustine's reasons for saying this is that soul is equipped to know itself. Since it can will and elicit interior acts , it cannot be ignorant of itself. The Bishop of Hippo explains why the soul does not think of itself : it is too taken up with the pleasures of external things ; worldly living has dimmed its perception.45 A crucial issue to be settled is the part that a species plays in intuitive knowledge. Vital maintains that the soul knows its acts without a species, by the experience of the mind alone . When, for example, I will , the interior sense of the mind experiences and knows

est principium primorum, pote vivendi, essendi , quae sunt prima quae anima coniuncta naturali ordine in se et de se experitur in quantum principium intrinsecum est quod sum et vivo. ” 43 Vital du Four, Q. IV, 246 : " Hoc enim ideo fit non quin possit se intueri, si diligenter se inquireret seque a rebus corporalibus abstraheret, sed sicut aliqui diligendo carnalia sic sunt depasti carnalibus quod nullum spirituale eis sapit, sic in cognoscendo sunt imbuti formis et imaginibus corporalibus quod nihil aliud quam corporalia esse credunt. " 44 Augustine, De Trinitate , 14, 5 , 7 (PL 42 : 1041 ) . 45 Vital du Four, Q. IV, 244 : “Aestimo autem, quod haec ratio Augustini tangit causam quare anima non potest se ignorare, eo quod habet in se unde se potest cognoscere : quia habet unde potest velle et actus interiores elicere, ac per hoc non potest se ignorare . ”

The Soul's Knowledge of Itself


most certainly that I am willing.46 The soul cannot be as certain of anything as it is of its intrinsic acts . When it wills, the soul knows most certainly that it does will ; and by experiencing those acts, it knows it exists . But it does not know the nature of those acts with the same certitude that it experiences them. Since it is through the nature of the acts that the soul comes to know its own nature , the soul does not know with the same certitude what it is, as that it exists in its body. The soul, aware of its interior acts, immediately infers (arguitive cognoscit) its own existence. These acts without any species are the basis or principle for the soul's consciousness of its existence in a body.47 From a consideration of the conditions of its act the soul knows that the potency from which the act proceeds must be as spiritual and immaterial as the act. Again , no species is necessary as the nature of the act serves as a principle for knowing the soul's nature.48 Only in intuitive knowledge is an expressed species necessary, as will be explained shortly. Once its nature is known , the soul beholds itself intuitively as it withdraws from all corporeal forms and images . Intuitive cognition of the soul and it habits, according to Vital du Four, involves a species which is not properly an impressed one, because it has nothing to do with external things.49 The soul knows itself and its habits through an expressed species which it generates

46 Vital du Four, Q. IV, 247 : "... illos autem actus cognoscit absque specie, sola mentis experimentatione, ut, dum volo, sensus ille interior mentis certissime cognoscit et experitur me velle. Nec anima in hac vita naturali cognitione potest habere tantam certitudinem de aliquo quantum habet de illis actibus suis intrinsecis. . . ." 47 Vital du Four, Q. IV, 247 : " Cognoscit ergo primo aspectu suos actus interiores esse et inesse et ex hoc immediate arguitive cognoscit se esse , ita quod isti actus absque omni specie , sunt ratio cognoscendi quod ipsa est et in corpore. " 48 Vital du Four, Q. IV, 247 : “ ... ut ergo notitia quid sit actus sit sibi ratio absque omni specie cognoscendi quid ipsa sit ; quid etiam sint actus, cognoscit arguitive per conditiones, absque omni specie : in sola enim co"" gnitione intuitiva de se indiget specie expressa de se . ... ' 49 Vital du Four, Q. IV, 247 : .. puto fieri per speciem differentem ab actu, ita quod anima unica cognitione intuitiva se et suos habitus cognoscit per speciem non impressam proprie, nam illa dicitur respectu rerum extrinsecarum secundum modum tactum in praecedenti quaestione, sed per expressam, quam ex reflexione sui ipsius supra se exprimit . . . . "


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when reflecting upon itself, just as the agent intellect by a conversion to the phantasm both abstracts intelligible species and places them in the intellect. Here Vital appeals for support to St. Anselm : "On no ground can it be denied ," contends the Monologium, "that when a rational mind conceives of itself in meditation , the image of itself arises in its thought ; and this image is its word . ” 50 It may be objected that the soul and its habits are so present to the soul that a species is unnecessary ; or that the soul is so similar to itself that no species is needed to simulate it ; or that as a spiritual light the soul no more requires a species than does corporeal light . As for the first objection, the soul and its habits are not present as knowable, until they move the soul ; this can only be done through something impressed or expressed.51 Second , the soul is not similar to itself in the way that a knower is similar to a known object ; such similitude is founded on the expression of the thing known through a species and not through the thing's essence. Lastly, a species is necessary for the perception of corporeal light ; when I am in the dark, for example, I can recall that I have seen light ; I could not do this if there were no species in the memory.

Vital du Four offers a number of arguments to prove that the soul does in fact have intuitive knowledge of itself and of its habits through an expressed species . Insofar as understanding is a kind of receiving, the intellective potency ought to be passive to the object. No agent can act on a subject unless by infusing something into it (per aliquam immissionem in ipsum) . If the soul is to begin understanding itself or its habits, there will have to be some new infusion ; otherwise it would always be knowing itself. The infusion can only be a species of the soul or its habits impressed on the possible intellect . If presence alone were responsible for the object's moving the intellect, the intellect would always be understanding itself, since 50 St. Anselm , Monologium, 33 ( PL 158 : 187 ; ed . Schmitt I : 52) : "Nam nulla ratione negari potest, cum mens rationalis seipsam cogitando intelligit, imaginem ipsius nasci in sua cogitatione ; immo ipsam cogitationem sui esse suam imaginem ad eius similitudinem tamquam ex eius impressione formatam ." 51 Vital du Four, Q. IV, 248 : “. . . dicendum ad rationem de praesentialitate, quod licet anima et habitus ipsi sint praesentes ipsi animae, pro eo quod non distant ab ea, tamen non sunt sibi praesentes in ratione cognoscibilis nisi eam moveant ; quod quidem non possunt facere nisi per aliquid immis" sum vel expressum, quod est species .

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it is always present to itself . Something besides the bare essence must move the intellect ; that can be only the species. When a potency tends to act, it must necessarily receive something new. If the intellect is to understand , it must be related to its object differently from what it was before. The intellect is reduced to act through the intelligible object's being related to it in an entirely new mode. By understanding its essence, the soul sets up a new relation to itself. Whereas the soul had been present to itself through its essence, now it is present as an object known . This can only be through a species. Augustinian thought on the soul's faculties has always been dominated , if not controlled, by theological considerations.52 Vital du Four predictably argues that his position accords beautifully with the doctrine that man is an image of the Trinity. The image is especially realized in the soul's knowledge of itself. Just as God in knowing Himself expresses His Similitude in the Word , so the soul expresses its own similitude in knowing itself. The soul does this more perfectly in understanding itself than in understanding 53 other things ; otherwise it would not resemble the Trinity.5 St. Augustine, according to Vital du Four, clearly affirms that habits are known through species when he compares our knowledge of corporeal things with our knowledge of the habit or virtue of faith . There is a certain trinity, he says, in corporeal knowledge : the body that is seen, vision itself, and the intention of the will. There is a like trinity in the knowledge of faith : faith as an object ; the thought of faith, which is a sort of likeness impressed on the mind (quandam ejus effigiem in contuitu recordantis) ; and the will which connects the two.54 Once again Vital cites the Bishop of Hippo to confirm the fact that species are produced in the mind . St. Augustine asserts that 52 Professor Gilson calls attention to theological influences on a prominent Franciscan (The Philosophy of St. Bonaventure, trans. I. Trethowan, New York, 1940, p. 342) : "For here his (St. Bonaventure's) thought is under the dominant influence of St. Augustine, and the problem that Augustine had raised may be considered as essentially theological . When we formulate the question of the soul's relation to its faculties, we look for a reply to a purely philosophical, even psychological , question ; for St. Augustine, on the other hand, the essential requirement is to describe the structure of the human soul so that it may be revealed as the image of the Trinity." 53 Vital du Four, Q. IV, 250. 54 Augustine, De Trinitate, 14, 3 , 5 ( PL 42 : 1039) .


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everything we know begets in us the knowledge of itself; for knowledge is the offspring of both the knower and the thing known . When the mind knows itself, however, it alone is the parent of its own knowledge, for it is the object known as well as the knower of it.55 In the light of such authoritative texts Vital does not see how anyone could maintain that the object does not act on the faculties of the soul . 56 Knowledge arises from both the object and the knower . But knowledge can arise only from the object if the mind of the one knowing is formed by its species. Vital du Four affirms, in conclusion, that the soul can know itself and its habits intuitively through an expressed species in the mind . Before the soul can attain such knowledge, it must first withdraw and purify itself of all corporeal images and then reason to its own existence and nature. At last the soul's knowledge of itself will be perfected in an intuition . 57 Obviously, the expressed species does not have the same meaning for Vital du Four that it does for St. Thomas. The expressed species for the Angelic Doctor is the concept , the terminus of simple apprehension ; it is distinct from the impressed species which is the principle or starting point of intellectual cognition . Both species are, of course, a likeness of the thing understood . 58 Vital du Four, on the other hand , seems to use the expressed species as a source or principle of understanding spiritual reality . The expressed species is a substitute for the species abstracted from the thing . In the process of knowing itself, the soul reflects on itself and thereupon expresses a species . This species corresponds to the impressed

55 Augustine, De Trinitate, 9, 12, 18 ( PL 42 : 972) . 56 Vital du Four, Q. IV, 251—52 : “Ex ista auctoritate apparet falsum esse quod res cognita seu obiectum nihil agit in potentias animae nostrae cum dicat quod ipsa notitia ab utroque est, scilicet cognoscente et cognito ; nec aliter a cognito ut ab obiecto in intellectu potest esse nisi quia eius specie formatur acies intelligentis . . . .” 57 Vital du Four, Q. IV, 252 : “Sic igitur estimo quod anima sensu interiori seu intellectu reflexo, dum abstractus est et depuratus ab imaginibus rerum corporalium, post arguitivam cognitionem vel inquisitionem sui et suorum habituum quod sunt et quid sunt, intuitive se et suos habitus cognoscit per speciem expressam in acie cogitantis se et intelligentis. ” 58 St. Thomas, S.C.G. I , 53, 4 : “ Haec autem intentio intellecta, cum sit quasi terminus intelligibilis operationis, est aliud a specie intelligibili quae facit intellectum in actu, quam oportet considerari ut intelligibilis operationis principium : licet utrumque sit rei intellectae similitudo. "

The Soul's Knowledge of Itself


species originating from a sensible object which the agent intellect abstracts from the phantasm and presents to the possible intellect . Vital goes so far as to say that the expressed species is an impressed species improperly so-called : "The soul has intuitive cognition of itself and its habits through a species that is not strictly impressed . ”’59 An impressed species properly refers to one originating in extrinsic things . 60 Vital repeatedly says that the soul needs no special species to know its existence . The soul's acts are a sufficient principle for knowing that it exists in a body. In the same way an analysis of the acts leads to a knowledge of the potency. Again , a knowledge of the act's nature is the principle for knowing the soul's nature . No species is needed to know the nature of the acts such cognition is obtained inferentially (arguitive) - and no species is needed to know the nature of the soul . A species is required only for the soul's intuitive knowledge of itself. After the soul has obtained a reasoned knowledge of its nature , it can behold itself, provided it banishes all distracting images. Reflecting on itself, the soul expresses a species of itself. For knowledge, the mere presence of the soul to itself is not enough ; it must be present as knowable, as able to move the intellect , which only a species can do . Knowledge is based on the expression of the object by way of species and not by way of essence . The mind knows the soul and its habits through their essence, in the sense that it truly knows them ; they are objects of its gaze . But the mind does not know them formally through their essence , so that the essence is the principle of understanding. 61 It is the species expressed by the 59 Vital du Four, Q. IV, 248 : "Anima ergo circa se et suos habitus per speciem non proprie impressam . cognitionem intuitivam habet. " 60 Vital du Four, Q. IV, 247 : “ ... anima unica cognitione intuitiva se et suos habitus cognoscit per speciem non impressam proprie, nam illa dicitur respectu rerum extrinsecarum secundum modum tactum. . . ." 61 Matthew of Aquasparta makes the point succinctly (Quaest. De cog. , Q. V, 306) : "... dico quod per essentias suas obiective, ita quod ipsa mens et habitus qui sunt in ipsa per essentias suas sunt obiectum aspectus, et in ipsas dirigit suum intellectualem obtutum ; sed formaliter non per essentiam, ita quod essentia sit ratio cognoscendi, sed per suas species sive similitudines expressas in acie cogitantis...." (Q. V, 309) : "Sic ergo dico quod anima semetipsam et habitus qui sunt in ipsa cognoscit non tantum arguendo, sed intuendo et cernendo per essentias suas obiective , sed formaliter per species ex ipsis expressas, unde formatur acies cogitantis sive intelligentis."


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essence that is the principle of knowledge. Thus the soul knows itself not only by reasoning, but also by intuition in which the acies cogitantis is formed by an expressed species. The problem of species in intuitive knowledge has plagued the Franciscan School for centuries.62 They find it difficult to reconcile a direct view of an object with the mediation of a species . On the basis of economy Ockham ruled out any such species : It is useless for something to be effected through many factors when it can just as well happen through fewer. Now, intuitive cognition can occur through the intellect and the thing seen without any species . . .63 Because of apparently conflicting texts, the commentators of Duns Scotus have long debated whether or not he affirmed the necessity of such species. The best interpretation seems to be that an intuition cannot take place without a species, although the intelligible species plays no part in our knowledge of the object precisely as existing.64 The species renders the object present as knowable, but only the presence of the object accounts for intuitive knowledge of its existence . Insofar as the object is present , it causes its existence to be seen ; insofar as the object acts by species, it is rendered knowable and represented . In its present state the intellect must be moved by a sensible acting from without . Even for self-knowledge sensations must precede and phantasms accompany the intellectual operations. Scotus allows no intuition of the essence of the soul in this life . We do have a consciousness or awareness of the soul's

62 S. Day asks ( Intuitive Cognition : A Key to the Significance of the Later Scholastics, St. Bonaventure , New York, 1947 , PP. 104-105) : " Is a species necessary (or even possible) for intuitive cognition ? This is a problem that has exercised the ingenuity of Scotistic commentators for centuries. ” 63 Ockham, Rep. II , q . 15O ( Traditio I [ 1943 ] , 259) : “Quia frustra fit per plura, quod potest aequaliter fieri per pauciora ; sed per intellectum et rem visam sine omni specie potest fieri cognitio intuitiva. . . . ” 64 E. Gilson, Jean Duns Scot, p . 549. " Les divergences qui encombrent sur ce point l'histoire de la pensée de Duns Scot et celles mêmes qu'on croit constater entre les textes, s'expliquent peut-être par l'oubli d'une distinction élémentaire. Quand l'intellect a l'intuition d'un objet, il le connaît à la fois comme objet et comme existant . Or il est parfaitement exact que l'espèce intelligible ne joue aucun rôle dans notre connaissance de l'objet en tant précisément qu'existant . En ce sens, c'est-à-dire précisément comme cognitio existentis ut existens est, l'intuition ne doit rien à l'espèce. . . . Il ne suit pourtant pas de là que la connaissance intuitive se fasse sans espèce, car s'il n'y en avait pas, il n'y aurait pas d'objet connu . "

The Soul's Knowledge of Itself


acts, which may be called an intuition : "Non enim cognoscitur anima nostra a nobis, nec natura nostra pro statu isto, nisi sub aliqua ratione generali abstrahibili a sensibus. "65 The soul experiences its acts by a certain sense or internal perception (ita quodam sensu , id est, perceptione interiori, experimur istos actus in nobis).66 The intuition attests the existence of a present object causing it . There is no intuition of the immateriality of an act , let alone of the soul's nature. Like St. Thomas, Scotus finds intellectual intuitive evidence for existence, which is grasped in the sensible. For St. Thomas this view of existence is made explicit immediately in the judgment . Scotus simply attributes to the object the power of making itself directly known as existing.67 Scotus may profitably be compared with Vital du Four on the question of self-knowledge . Both recognize that the soul knows its own acts intuitively by means of a certain interior sense . As soon as there is an act of the will, says Vital , I experience the act and am aware that I will through an interior sense intuiting such willing.68 According to Scotus, by a certain " sense, " namely internal

65 Scotus, Ordinatio, Prol . , Pars . I , q. unica (ed . Vat . , I : 17) . 66 Scotus, Op. Ox. 1. IV, d. 43 , q. 2 , n. 11 (Vivès 20:40 ; Nelson Texts, P. 142 ). 67 E. Gilson, Jean Duns Scot, p . 550. ... nous dirons que Duns Scot donne

ici à l'important problème de la connaissance de l'existence une solution qui s'accorde, pour l'essentiel, avec celle de saint Thomas d'Aquin. Les deux doctrines font de l'existence une évidence intellectuelle intuitive saisie dans le sensible. Celle de saint Thomas explicite aussitôt cette vue de l'existence en jugement. Celle de Duns Scot , où l'existence et l'essence n'entrent pas à titre d'éléments distincts dans la composition de l'être, attribue simplement à l'objet le pouvoir de se faire directement connaître comme existant. C'est de ce point de vue et pour cette raison que la distinction scotiste entre cognitio intuitiva et cognitio abstractiva présente une réelle importance, et c'est comme révélatrice de l'existence qu'il convient de l'interpréter, non en prenant occasion pour attribuer à Duns Scot une doctrine de l'intuition intellectuelle des essences que, pro statu isto, il nous a toujours refusée. " 68 Vital du Four, Q. IV, 242 : ". . . nam dum in voluntate mea oritur ipsum velle, experior me velle et quodam sensu interiori sentio me velle ; ergo tale velle sensus interior intuetur." Q. IV, 245 : "Actus autem nostri interiores sunt huiusmodi respectu animae et habitus, quia certius intueor me velle et intelligere quam cognoscam voluntatem meam et intellectum, et ideo cognitio eorum praecedit omnem cognitionem . "


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perception, we experience these acts within ourselves. Both admit that it is only through its acts that the soul can know itself ; they differ on whether the soul must first abstract a species from the phantasm . Vital holds that the soul needs no received species to apprehend its own existence or nature ; its own interior acts are a sufficient principle of this knowledge." Scotus insists that the intellect in its present state can never be moved immediately unless it be first moved by something outside that is imaginable or sensible.70 By right the soul should be able to know itself intuitively, but its fallen state impedes such knowledge in this life . Vital du Four, however, curtails the effects of sin. He does not hesitate to claim that an intuition of the soul is possible, provided that one achieves a high degree of concentration . The intuition comes only after a reasoned knowledge of the soul has been attained ; but ultimately the soul does enjoy an intuitive knowledge of itself. 69 Vital du Four, Q. IV, 242 : "Ex quo patet quod anima in corpore apprehendit se esse, nulla specie recepta indiget . . . sed per actus suos intimos, quos experitur in se, ut se vivere, velle, desiderare et similia, devenit in sui notitiam et quia est et quid est . Potest etiam idem per actus quos exercet de rebus extrinsecis, sed non sunt ab hoc necessarii , ut dicebat positio." 70 Scotus, Op. Ox. , 1. II , d . 3 , q. 8 , n. 13 (ed. Quaracchi, II : 297) : “ Anima de se actu intelligibilis est et praesens sibi ; et ex hoc sequitur quos possit intelligere se , si non esset impedita. ” Ibid. (II : 298) : " . . . intellectus noster pro statu isto non est natus moveri immediate, nisi ab aliquo imaginabili vel sensibili extra prius moveatur."

CHAPTER VI THE PROBLEM OF ILLUMINATION The problem of divine illumination , one of three major issues dividing the Dominicans and Franciscans in the late Thirteenth Century,¹ was bequeathed to the Middle Ages by St. Augustine . The problem concerned the role of God in the attainment of truth . In the tradition of Plato and Plotinus, the great African Doctor distinguished the intelligible world from the world of sense : ‘... sensibilia dicimus, quae visu tactuque corporis sentiri quent ; intelligibilia, quae conspectu mentis intelligi . ” It is useless to expect certitude from objects of sense perception, for they are characterized by instability and flux . No sooner do we say that we have grasped their meaning, than they have changed . Even if the objects remained stable, we who perceive them constantly change : our state of health , our psychological states, internal and external circumstances, all exert a distorting influence. The same individual varies in acuity from year to year, to say nothing of the psychological diversity among individuals. When we add that the senses can be victimized by illusion , unable to distinguish between waking and sleeping states, the problem of certitude seems even more hopeless .3 Yet there are areas in which we do find certitude. First , there are the logical certitudes of the mind, as the principle of contradiction will testify : either we are certain or we are not. The truths of mathematics are beyond question : three times three are nine, seven plus three are ten, whether you add them or I add them , whether I am asleep or awake, ten years old or fifty. Moral principles, too , are inviolable : good is to be done, evil avoided ; one must live justly. Aesthetic principles have a proper stability . Much more than sen1 The other two areas of dispute concerned the relation of the soul's powers to its essence and the seminal principles . See John Pecham, Registrum Epistolarum, ed . C. T. Martin (Rolls Series) , London 1885 , III , 901 . 2 St. Augustine, De civ. Dei, 8 , 6 (PL 41 : 231 ; CSEL 40 : 365) . ³ St. Augustine, De div. quest. , 83 , q. 9 (PL 40:13 ) : " Non est igitur exspectanda sinceritas veritatis a sensibus corporis. "


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sible objects, do intelligible ones have a universality, a necessity, and an immutability unaffected by time or place .

Clearly there is

a world of truth, a common and public world , which we all perceive in knowing the truth. Each one does not make his own truth ; he merely recognizes it or submits to it. " How do we apprehend the truths of the intelligible world ? In all our knowledge of corporeal things the senses in some way collaborate : we can conceive only those objects we have seen, or imagine objects similar to them. But the senses reveal to us a contingent, changing world . What sense could inform us that seven plus three necessarily and always make ten ? There are two sources of knowledge for St. Augustine , one arising in the soul with the body as an intermediary, the other entirely from the soul . Thus there are intelligible objects of immediate perception.

In the De Trinitate Augu-

stine says that the soul knows itself through itself : semetipsam per seipsam novit, quoniam est incorporea ; nothing is known more intimately than the soul : quid enim tam intime scitur, seque ipsum esse sentit, quam id quo etiam caetera sentiuntur, id est ipse animus. Not only do we know the soul, but we know also what the soul is : non enim tantum sentimus animum, sed etiam scire possumus quid sit animus consideratione nostri : habemus enim animam.7 But like the objects of sense, the intellect, too , is insufficient to guarantee truth ; it is subject to change . To explain the necessity and truth of our knowledge , Augustine finds refuge in God . It is not from without that we find truth, but from within , where Christ our Master teaches us ; Him we are to consult for truth : Regarding, however, all those things which we understand, it is not a speaker who utters sounds exteriorly whom we consult , but it is truth that presides within, over the mind itself ; though it may have been words that prompted us to make such consultations.8

4 St. Augustine , De lib . arbit . , 2 , 8, 20 ( PL 32 : 1251 ; CSEL 74 : 56—57) . St. Augustine, De lib. arbit. , 2 , 7 , 19 ( PL 32 : 1250 ; CSEL 74:56) . • St. Augustine, Ep . 147 (De videndo Deo) , 1 , 2 and 5 (PL 33 : 597—98 ; CSEL 44 : 275—78) . St. Augustine , De Trinitate, 9, 3 , 3 ; 8, 6, 9 ; 8, 6, 9 (PL 42 : 962-63 , 953 , 954). 8 St. Augustine, De Magistro, 11 , 38 ( PL 32 : 1216) : “ De universis autem quae intelligimus, non loquentem qui personat foris, sed intus ipsi menti praesidentem consulimus veritatem, verbis fortasse ut consulamus admoniti."

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More frequently St. Augustine accounts for certitude by a divine illumination. The sense of sight is used as a prototype of all cognition , a not unlikely choice, since the Greek root of idea means to see. Now, just as the eye cannot see without the aid of the sunlight , so the mind, the eye of the soul, cannot see truth without the aid of a divine illumination . Light is thus the principle of all knowledge : quisquis concedit recte dici lucem, qua res quaeque manifesta est.⁹ The comparison of light and vision was part of the philosophic heritage. In ancient and mediaeval thought , following the suggestion of Empedocles, a connaturality had to exist between agent and patient , between knower and known.10 Plato calls the eye the most "sunlike of all sense organs. " ¹¹ Plotinus continues the tradition : "To any vision must be brought an eye adapted to what is to be seen, and having some likeness to it , never did the eye see the sun unless it had first become sunlike ." 12 Light is in the eye as in the sun ; light in a cat's eye, for example , illumines its object . Light is not a form, but an act . Plotinus writes : "This may be observed in the case of an animal's eyes where the pupils gleam ; they have a light which shows outside the orbs ." 13 St. Augustine was delighted to find the doctrine of Plotinus in

harmony (consonans) with the prologue of St. John's Gospel, that the Word enlightens every man coming into the world . These words gave the Middle Ages a charter for proclaiming God as the source of light . The problem for interpreters of St. Augustine is to determine just what is meant by this divine light through which we know truth, to penetrate beneath the metaphor to discover the philosophic framework in which it operates. Since truth is unattainable from the senses or from the intellect alone , must there be some

⁹ St. Augustine, De Gen. ad lit. lib . imperf., 5, 24 ( PL 34 : 229) . See Ephesians 5, 13 : " Omne enim quod manifestatur lumen est. ” 10 Aristotle (De Anima III , 3 , 327a 21 ) accuses Empedocles of not distinguishing between thought and perception. 11 Plato, Republic VI , 19 , 508 B (Loeb ed. II : 100) . Plato, Timaeus 45 C (Loeb 101 ) : " Light is thus a kind of extended touch or contact at a distance. E.g. , what happens when I see a mountain ten miles away is this. The light issuing from my eye has for the time being been fused into one homogeneous body with light reflected from the mountain. " See also A. E. Taylor, A Commentary on Plato's Timaeus, Oxford, 1928, P. 278. 12 Enn. I, 6, 9 (MacKenna trans. , pp. , 63-64) . 13 Enn. IV, 5, 7 (P. 335) .


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positive content in the illumination ? What relation is there between the divine illumination and the divine ideas ? How does the divine illumination differ from the natural concursus by which God sustains all secondary causality ? In what sense is it natural ? These questions arose when the re-discovered Aristotelianism of the Thirteenth Century confronted the Masters with a psychology and a metaphysics of nature . The dedicated followers of St. Augustine valiantly attempted to answer these questions in the debates that surged around the controversial doctrine of divine illumination in the last decades of the Thirteenth Century.14

The Immediate Historical Context Though St. Bonaventure had been exposed to Aristotelian influences, he still approached the problem of knowledge from an Augustinian viewpoint based on the fact of creaturehood (involving as it does exemplarism and mutability) and the fact of certitude.¹5 St. Bonaventure took his cue from Augustine who studied creation with an emphasis on exemplary rather than efficient causality. They looked upon a creature primarily as an image of God.16 The theme is expressed in the recurring Ars aeterna : God is an artist, creatures are His handiwork.

14 For a survey of recent interpretations on the meaning of the divine illumination see Augustinus Magister, Congrès International Augustinien, Paris, Sept. 1954 ; Études, Aug. 1955 , pp. 177-85. The opinions of Gilson, Cayré, Kaelin, Boyer, Warnach, Somers, Gardeil, etc. , are discussed . Obviously intensive study through the centuries has not produced general agreement as to what Augustine meant by divine illumination . 15 St. Bonaventure's doctrine on the divine illumination may be found in Quaestiones Disputatae, De scientia Christi, q . 4, ( Bonaventurae Omnia Opera, Quaracchi, 1891 , V : 17ff. ) : “ Utrum quidquid a nobis certitudinaliter cognoscitur cognoscatur in ipsis rationibus aeternis ? " St. Bonaventure asks whether the " eternal reasons are rationes cognoscendi of all our certain knowledge. He concludes (p . 22) : “. . . ad certitudinalem cognitionem intellectus etiam in viatore requiritur, ut aliquo modo attingatur ratio aeterna ut ratio regulans et motiva, non tamen ut sola et in sua claritate, sed simul cum propria ratione creata et ut in speculo et aenigmate cognita.” For a comprehensive treatment see B. Gendreau , " The Quest for Certainty in Bonaventure, " Franciscan Studies, 21 ( 1961) , 104—227. 16 St. Augustine, De div. quest. 83 , p . 46, 1—2 (PL 40 : 29—31) .

The Problem of Illumination


The metaphysics of Bonaventure's exemplarism locates three levels on which creatures resemble God.17 As His sign (ratione vestigii) every creature looks to God as its source or principle. As His image (ratione imaginis) a creature capable of knowing God looks to Him as to its object . As His similitude (ratione similitudinis ) a creature in which God dwells looks to Him as to an infused gift . God's cooperation with the activity of a creature corresponds to its grade of being, the degree to which it is an exemplar of God . God cooperates as the creative source (per modum principii creativi) with every creature in the work that it executes as His sign. He cooperates through a moving "reason" or idea (per modum rationis moventis) with the work that the creature performs as His image, that is, the attainment of certain knowledge . By grace (per modum doni infusi) God cooperates with the meritorious work that the creature achieves as His similitude . The cooperation of God in the acquisition of certain knowledge, according to St. Bonaventure, must be of a higher order than His concursus with works that are only His sign . Since God's collaboration is proportional to the creature's resemblance of Himself, as images of God we must have more help than is given to mere signs, but less than that due to the similitude of grace . 18 Certain knowledge is beyond the operations of nature, but yet is not supernaturally infused. God's cooperation with activity that is in His image is called divine illumination ; it falls between the natural and the supernatural. For St. Bonaventure the divine illumination does not function as the Avicennian separate intelligences.19 It does not emanate intelligible forms in the human intellect , but acts as a moving cause : per modum rationis moventis. 20 This eternal principle is the regulating and motivating source of our certitude : regula dirigens per quam dijudicat mens nostra . The divine light is never present by 17 St. Bonaventure, De scientia Christi, q . 4 (V : 24a) : " Haec autem portio superior est illa, in qua est imago Dei , quae et aeternis regulis inhaerescit et per eas quidquid definit certitudinaliter judicat et definit ; et hoc competit ei, in quantum est imago Dei." 18 St. Bonaventure, De sc. Christi, q. 4 (V : 23b) : A middle way, quasi via media, must be posited which is between that proper to signs and that proper to similitudes . 19 Avicenna, De anima, V, 6 (Venice, 1508 , f. 26va ; éd . Van Riet, pp. 148-9) . 20 St. Bonaventure , De Sc . Christi, q. 4 (V : 24a) .


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

itself but always in conjunction with the created idea which specifies our knowledge . The ars aeterna21 is not itself an object of our knowledge ; it is a cause guaranteeing the certitude of our knowledge. The eternal principle is known indirectly, by an inferential process (contuitio).22 The divine illumination is necessary for certain knowledge, not only in view of man's dignity as God's image, but also because both the human intellect and the objects of cognition are so variable. Certitude is not possible without immutability on the part of the object and infallibility on the part of the subject.23 One must recur to

21 St. Bonaventure, Itinerarium mentis in Deum, 1 , 3 (V : 302) . 22 St. Bonaventure examines three interpretations of the dictum that all certain knowledge is attained in the light of the “eternal reasons ” (De sc. Christi, q. 4 ; V : 22—23) . ( 1 ) The first possibility is that the eternal light would be a ratio cognoscendi tota et sola . He excludes this interpretation as minus recta, because it would mean that all cognition takes place in the Divine Word . There would be no difference between the knowledge of a wayfarer and someone in heaven, knowledge in the Word and in proprio genere, cognitio sapientiae and cognitio scientiae. Nothing certain would be known except : in mundo archetypo et intelligibili, sicut fuerunt Academici primi. (2) A second possibility is that the ratio aeterna concurs quantum ad suam influentiam, ita quod cognoscens in cognoscendo non ipsam rationem aeternam attingit, sed influentiam eius solum . This opinion, however, is in opposition to the text of St. Augustine which says that the mind is regulated by unchangeable eternal norms above it and not by some quality of its own. The influentia must be either general or special. If general, then God bestows wisdom in the same way that He fructifies the earth ; if special, then knowledge is infused and none is acquired . This opinion would lead to absurdities. (3) A sort of middle way provides for knowledge in which the eternal reason or norm is ut regulans et ratio motiva , non quidem ut sola et in sua omnimoda claritate, sed cum ratione creata, et ut ex parte a nobis contuita secundum statum viae.

23 St. Bonaventure , De sc. Christi , q . 4 (V : 23b) : “ ... cognitio certitudinalis esse non potest nisi sit ex parte scibilis immutatilitas et infallibilitas ex parte scientis. Veritas autem creata non est immutabilis simpliciter sed ex suppositione ; similiter nec lux creaturae est omnino infallibilis ex propria virtute, cum utraque sit creata et prodierit de non-esse in esse . Si ergo ad plenam cognitionem fit recursus ad veritatem omnino immutabilem et stabilem et ad lucem omnino infallibilem ; necesse est, quod in huiusmodi cognitione recurratur ad artem supernam ut ad lucem et veritatem : lucem, inquam, dantem infallibilitatem scienti, et veritatem dantem immutabilitatem scibili."

The Problem of Illumination


the ars superna , which gives light to the knower and immutable truth to the object. In St. Bonaventure's philosophy things enjoy three levels of existence :24 in themselves, in the created intellect which knows them , and in the ars aeterna . In themselves and in the human intellect things are changeable and lack the stability necessary for certain knowledge. "Every creature to the extent that it does not adequately represent the divine idea is a lie. " 25 It is to the eternal principle, ad artem supernam, that we must look for certitude. From thence proceeds the light to make the knower infallible and the truth to make the object immutable. At this point the argument based upon mutability joins that based upon exemplarism to justify the divine illumination. The disciples of St. Bonaventure adhere closely to his formulation and solution of the problem of certain knowledge. Matthew of Aquasparta asks whether what is known with certitude is known in the eternal reasons or in the light of the First Truth . 26 He proceeds to argue that truth is indeed the rule or principle of knowledge : "Truth, however, by its very nature is the principle of knowing

24 St. Bonaventure, De sc. Christi , q . 4 (V : 23b) : " Unde cum res habeant esse in mente et in proprio genere et in aeterna arte, non sufficit ipsi animae ad certitudinalem scientiam veritas rerum, secundum quod esse habent in se, vel secundum quod esse habent in proprio genere , quia utrobique sunt mutabiles, nisi aliquo modo attingat eas, in quantum sunt in arte aeterna." 25 St. Bonaventure , In hexaemeron collatio, 3, 8 (V : 344b) ; " Quia vero perfecte non adaequatur rationi, quae exprimit eam vel repraesentat ; ideo omnis creatura mendacium est." Ibid., 2, 10 (V : 338) : " Hae regulae sunt infallibiles, indubitabiles, iniudicabiles, quia per illas est iudicium, et non est de illis . Et ideo clara est haec sapientia. Sunt etiam incommutabiles, incoarctabiles, interminabiles ; et ideo nunquam marcescit. Sic enim certae sunt, ut nullo modo sit eis contradicere 'nisi ad exterius-rationem ' secundum Philosophum, in libro primo Posteriorum . Hae enim radicantur in luce aeterna et ducunt in eam, sed non propter hoc ipsa videtur. Nec est dicendum, quod fundatur in aliqua luce creata, utpote in aliqua Intelligentia, quae illuminet mentes ; quia, cum illae regulae sint incoarctabiles, quia mentibus omnium se offerunt, tunc sequeretur, quod lux creata esset incoarctabilis et esset actus purus, quod absit ; et qui hoc dicit enervat fontem sapientiae et facit idolum, ut Angelum, Deum, et plus quam qui lapidem Deum facit. Haec enim sapientia radiat super animam, quia assistit prae foribus, ut se, inquit, prior illis ostendat. " 26 Matthew of Aquasparta, De cog. , Q. II , 222—48 .

11 John E. Lynch


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and revealing , for as Hilary says, truth is demonstrative of being. ” 27 Of the three states of existence a thing can possess, Bonaventure considers its existence in the divine art to be the only reliable one ; a thing is true to the extent that it corresponds with the divine exemplar manifesting or declaring it.28 Matthew, too, finds that the divine exemplar manifests the truth , not as an object seen, but as an object moving or regulating the intellect . The regulation takes place through a divine illumination . Matthew frequently speaks of illumination as a special



ejus influentiam

specialem) , but finally settles upon a somewhat general influence (quodammodo generalis) .29 Man's true knowledge cannot be explained by God's general concursus ; yet Matthew does not wish to admit. the consequences of a proper special influence, namely, that knowing truth is a supernatural enterprise . Matthew, therefore , holds for an influence that is more special than the general, without being properly special. 30 27 Ibid. , p. 233 : "Veritas autem secundum rationem suam est ratio cognoscendi et manifestandi, prout dicit Hilarius, quod veritas est declarativa esse." 28 St. Bonaventure, I Sent. , d . 3 , p. 1 , dubia 4 (I : 79) : “ Similiter veritas potest considerari in comparatione ad id in quo est ; et sic verum est id quod est ; alio modo per comparationem ad intellectum quem movet ; et sic veritas, ut dicit Philosophus in secundo Metaphysicae, ‘ est finis intelligentiae speculativae. ' Secundum primum modum dicit Anselmus (Monolog. c. 46) : 'Veritas Patris est essentia Patris . ' Quantum ad secundum modum dicit Hilarius (De Trinitate, 5, 3, PL 10 : 131 ) quod ' Veritas est declarativum (sic) esse. ' Et quoniam Filius procedit ut Verbum, cui appropriatur ratio declarandi, ideo ei appropriatur ratio exemplaris et per consequens ratio veritatis, quantum ad secundum modum veritatis ; ipse autem accipit primo modo. " Also see Breviloquium, 6, 8 , 2 (ed. min . p. 227) : I Sent. , d . 40, 2, 1 , ad 1 (1 : 707) . 29 Professor Gilson (A History of Christian Philosophy, p. 690, n. 33) comments : “... following Bonaventure, Matthew posits the divine Ideas as the ' objectum motivum' (p. 254) which, acting upon the data of sense knowledge (a necessary element) , makes us see the immutable truths. We see by this divine light, we do not see it (p. 254) . ” Matthew speaks of the illumination as a special irradiation (Q. II , ad 7, Pp. 224, 230) . Then he prefers quodammodo generalis (Q. II , 233 ; ad 5 , p. 241 ; ad 13 , p. 243) . 30 Matthew of Aquasparta, De cog. , Q. II , ad 4, p. 241 : “... In omni opere naturae rationalis, ut rationalis est, cooperatur Deus quodam specialiori modo, ut quadam specialiori influentia, quam in operibus aliarum creaturarum. " For an extended treatment of the problem see E. Gilson, “ Sur quelques difficultés de l'illumination augustinienne, " Revue Néo-Scolastique de philosophie, Louvain, 32 ( 1934) , 321-31 .

The Problem of Illumination


John Peckham attributes to every man an agent intellect , but requires also a higher agent intellect , namely, God , "Who is the light of minds. " However, the divine illumination " does not exclude the created light of the mind. " 31 Roger Marston also allows God to be called an agent intellect in the context of divine illumination . The illumination is a common influence, inseparable from the human intellect , yet not supernatural , insofar as it does not lead to supernatural knowledge. Despite his efforts to remain on the level of nature, Roger Marston does not admit a knowledge of truth that is wholly natural ; an action supernatural in origin and essence is necessary to account for truth.32 Peter Olivi frankly confesses his inability so solve all the difficulties in the problem of divine illumination. He lists the various elements of the problem to be safeguarded : (1 ) the divine ideas are not " forms" of our intellect ; (2 ) they are not intelligible objects immediately seen and known ; (3) the divine light is not a "natural" principle of cognition ; (4) the intellect has a natural aptitude to grasp absolutely certain truth ; (5) the human mind does not have an innate knowledge of all things . Very guardedly, then, Olivi holds to the doctrine of divine illumination.33 He is loyal to the general tradition of his Franciscan confrères, but does not see his way out of the difficulties it raises for them. By the time of Peter Olivi the Franciscans were uneasy about the doctrine of divine illumination . The dilemma that confronts the followers of Augustine and Bonaventure is this : if the divine illumin-

31 John Pecham, De Humanae Cognitionis Ratione Anecdota Quaedam Seraphici Doctoris Sancti Bonaventurae et nonullorum Ipsius Discipulorum, Quaracchi, 1883. Here is to be found Quod . III, 4 , 179—82 . Tractatus De Anima Ioannis Pecham, ed . P. G. Melani , Quaracchi, 1947. Chapter III, 9—12 safeguards the created light of the intellect . Iohannis Pechami Quaestiones tractantes de anima, ed . G. Spettmann, Münster in Westf. , 1918 (Beiträge, 19, 5—6) . For a discussion of God as agent intellect see Q. 6, Resp. p. 73. 32 Roger Marston (Quaestiones Disputatae, Q. III , 258—60) calls God an agent intellect with certain qualifications. The illumination is not supernatural (ad 14, p. 268) . 33 Peter Olivi, Quaestiones In Secundum Librum Sententiarum, ed . B. Jansen, Quaracchi, 1926, Vol . III , Appendix : Quaestiones De Deo Cognoscendo Q. 2, pp. 506-13 . See Gilson, History of Christian Philosophy in the Middle Ages, pp. 692-93 , n. 40.


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

ation is reduced to the general concursus with which God cooperates in all creaturely activity, then the divine illumination is no more than a metaphor, the sense world becomes stable, and man's intellect fundamentally indefectible, but still capable of error . If, on the other hand, God's action is considered special, it takes on a supernatural character. The ultimate foundation of true knowledge will not rest on the plane of philosophy but of theology ; philosophy becomes skepticism redeemed by fideism. There cannot be a simple truth that is at once natural and necessary, for all necessity demands a supernatural action of God on the mind. It is no wonder that the inherent weaknesses of Franciscan philosophy, when fully recognized, led to a certain agnosticism in William Ockham .

Vital du Four Vital du Four carries on the Franciscan tradition in the period between Peter Olivi and Duns Scotus . Peter witnesses to the disintegration of the doctrine of illumination under the Aristotelian attack. He upholds the doctrine chiefly out of deference to authority, since he was unable to fuse the elements of the problem into a philosophical synthesis. Scotus will discard the theory completely. To what extent Vital recognized the issues at stake and how he proposed to solve the difficulties must now be investigated. Vital intends to treat the human intellect in its present state of union with the body. He is not going to theorize about the absolute power of the intellect , or the condition of the soul as separated from the body immediately after death, or even in the state of beatitude, beholding God face to face. Like Roger Marston , Vital asks the question in a way that brings out the AristotelianAugustinian clash, whether certitude requires the divine light or whether the natural light of the intellect suffices : Our question is whether the intellect in its present state needs for certitude of truth an illumination of uncreated light or whether a natural light suffices, at least for apprehending the truth of lower things.34 Vital du Four outlines at the beginning of the text the order he will follow in treating the question . First he will determine whether 34 Vital du Four, Q. VIII , 311 : " Quaestio nostra est utrum intellectus coniunctus ad certitudinem veritatis indigeat irradiatione luminis increati vel lumen naturale sibi sufficiat ut saltem de rebus inferioribus veritatem apprehendat."

The Problem of Illumination


the natural light of the intellect is sufficient to manifest the certitude of any truth. After this possibility has been rejected , he will prove that for the knowledge of any certain truth and for a necessary judgment an illumination of the intellect by a divine light is required . Thirdly, he will maintain that the divine light is not an object of knowledge but a principle of knowledge.³5

The Necessity of a Divine Illumination Vital du Four proposes to establish the necessity of a divine illumination by showing that the general concursus of God is not sufficient to account for certain knowledge. Our author first explains the position of those who maintain that the intellect by its own power can attain certitude, and then he sets out to prove its inadequacy. He does not identify his opponents, except to say that they are followers of Aristotle. As the exposition unfolds , however, it will be evident that St. Thomas and his followers stand indicted . Under the general influence of God , according to the Aristotelians, the natural light of the intellect is sufficient to know quiddities and to reason with certitude.36 If the intellect did not have the light necessary to understand truths proportioned to it, Aristotle's doctrine would be false , namely, that by the intellect one can become and make all things.37 Augustine seems to corroborate the

35 Vital du Four, Q. VIII , 311 : " Primo, est videndum utrum lumen intellectuale naturaliter nobis concreatum sit sufficiens ad manifestandum certitudinem alicuius veritatis ; secundo, viso quod non, ostendendum est quod cognitio certitudinis veritatis et invariabile iudicium fit ab intellectu coniuncto per lumen divinum irradians menti nostrae ; tertio , ostendendum est quod illud lumen divinum, sub quo fit certum iudicium, non est intellectui coniuncto obiectum, sed solum ratio cognoscendi . " 36 Vital du Four, Q. VIII , 311 : "Circa primum est sciendum quod posuerunt aliqui et adhuc ponunt quod , supposita generali Dei influentia, intellectus noster absque aliqua speciali irradiatione vel illustratione divina per species intelligibiles, quas abstrahit a phantasmatibus et facit eas intelligibiles actu modo superius exposito, habet in se lumen sufficiens ad cognoscendum certam veritatem quidditatum rerum et negotiando circa veritatem iam cognitam via syllogistica , iam factus in actu per illam cognitionem, ducit se in quantum est in potentia ad certitudinem complexorum, ut sic sit idem movens et motum, sed non secundum idem ; nam movet se ut est actu per primam cognitionem simplicium, movetur autem ut est in potentia ad cognitionem complexorum." 37 De Anima III , 5 , 430a10-20.


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

natural sufficiency of the intellect when he remarks that it is the nature of the intellect to see intelligible things in a certain light of the "same" kind (in quadam luce sui generis) .38 The only light of the same genus as the soul is created light ; it is in such a light , then, that the soul knows all things. In addition to arguing from authority, Vital continues, those espousing the natural competence of the intellect advance several proofs based on reason . Every natural being has a proper operation in accord with its form : cuilibet enim rei naturali debetur aliqua propria operatio consequens formam suam.39 Plants and animals , as well as the heavenly bodies, have the necessary means to carry out their proper operations. How, then, can the rational soul , the masterpiece of nature , lack the natural powers needed to elicit its own operations ? It is inconceivable that the intellect would not be equipped to carry out its proper activity of knowing the truth . If the stars move with progressive motion , it is incongruous to say that nature has not furnished them with the requisites for such motion.40 It would be even more unfitting for man not to have the

38 St. Augustine, De Trinitate, 12, 15 , 24 (PL 42 : 1011 ) : “ ... sed potius credendum est mentis intellectualis ita conditam esse naturam, ut rebus intelligibilibus naturali ordine, disponente Conditore, subjuncta, sic ista videat in quadam luce sui generis incorporea, quemadmodum oculus carnis videt quae in hac corporea luce circumadjacent, cujus lucis capax eique congruens est creatus ." Professor Gilson (The Christian Philosophy of St. Augustine, pp. 289—90, n. 46) comments : “ Sui generis may be translated ‘ of a particular kind ' or 'of the same kind as it is. ' We believe the first translation is the more natural one, and that was the opinion of the Augustinian Matthew of Aquasparta (Quaest. Dispt. p. 243 ad 10) . St. Thomas adopts the second translation (De Spirit. Creat. X, praeterea) and Thomistic interpreters generally agree with him." See A. Pegis, "The Mind of St. Augustine , " Mediaeval Studies, VI (1944) , p. 31, n. 135. 39 Vital du Four, Q. VIII , 314. This argument is borrowed from Henry of Ghent's refutation of the extreme illuminationists. Henry of Ghent, to be sure, did admit some divine illumination , as the attacks of Duns Scotus bear witness (Op. Ox. I , dist. 3 , q . 4 , a. 3 ) . Henry of Ghent ( Summae Quaestionum Ordinariarum, I. a.l, q . 2 , f. 4 r B, line 35) argued against the radical illuminationists : "Cum enim cuilibet rei naturali perfectae in forma sua debeatur aliqua actio sive operatio propria naturalis, et ex puris naturalibus per quam potest attingere bonum sibi naturale, ut patet in omnibus rebus aliis naturalibus." 40 Vital du Four, Q. VIII, 314 .

The Problem of Illumination


means of carrying out his proper activity of knowing . Since the rational creature is more perfect than any other in the universe, and since no other creature needs special divine help to operate, man should not need it either.41 Another objection to the divine illumination is that it would make the understanding of truth accidental to man. An operation belonging to an agent through an extrinsic principle must belong to that agent per accidens.42 For example, the fact that air illumines belongs to the air per accidens. Now if the soul understands only through the irradiation of a special divine light, its understanding will be not a proper operation , but only one per accidens. Similarly, an action due to a supernatural principle is supernatural. If man understands only through a divine light , thinking will be a supernatural action.43 For these reasons, therefore , the Aristotelians maintain that man can achieve scientific certitude apart from any special illumination . To assert the contrary would be to degrade the human soul. On the other hand, to insist on the natural capability of the intellect is by no means to exclude the general influence of the First Intelligent Being. God is the principal agent in every act of the intellect, as He is the prime mover in every natural motion . The general influence does not prevent the intellectual operation from being purely natural, because in knowing, man has God's assistance in a natural 44 and unfailing manner.

See Aristotle, De Caelo et Mundo, II, 8, 290 a 30ff (Loeb ed. p . 189) : "Another argument is that it would be absurd for nature to have given them no organs of motion . Nature makes nothing in haphazard fashion, and she would not look after the animals and neglect such superior beings as these. Rather she seems to have purposely deprived them of every means of progresing by themselves, and made them as different as possible from creatures which have organs of motion. " See Henry of Ghent, Summae, I, a. I , q. 2, f. 4r, lines 44-47 . 41 Vital du Four, Q, VIII , 315. 4ª Vital du Four, Q. VIII , 315 . 43 Vital du Four, Q. VIII , 315 . 44 Vital du Four Q. VII, 315 : "Sic ergo concedunt isti quod homo naturaliter per potentiam intellectivam absque alia speciali illustratione potest aliqua certitudinaliter scire et cognoscere, et contrarium derogat rationali animae. Nec excluditur per hoc, ut dicunt, generalis influentia primi intelligentis, quod est primum agens in omni actione intellectus, sicut primum movens movet in omni motu rei naturalis ; nec ex illa influentia tollitur quin cognitio fiat ex puris naturalibus : quia enim homo in cognoscendo quae-


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

Those who reject a special illumination , Vital continues, have a ready answer when confronted with St. Augustine and other authorities who seem to teach that we know all things with certitude in the eternal light . They reply that "the eternal light that is signed upon us" is the intellectual power capable of knowing natural things ; thus to know in the eternal light does not mean that the intellect sees that light or that

the light irradiates in any special

way.45 With these arguments and rebuttals Vital du Four rests the case for the Aristotelians. Turning now to the illuminationist side , he draws upon a number of Augustinian texts that have been the common property of the Franciscan School. The Franciscans contend that the doctrine of St. Augustine demands a special illumination for the attainment of certain knowledge. Vital du Four appeals first to the famous passage in the Confessions: "If we both see that what I say is true, where, I ask, do we see it ? Certainly not I in thee, nor thou in me, but both in the unchangeable truth itself, which is above our minds. "46 St. Bonaventure insisted that Augustine had said truth was known in the

cumque cognoscit, habet sibi illam assistentem quasi modo naturali et indefectibili, ideo quaecumque per illam et cum illa attingit dicitur attingere modo naturali. " Once again Vital is indebted to Henry of Ghent, Summae a. I, q. 3 f. 4v, lines 8-18. 45 Vital du Four, Q. VIII , 315. St. Thomas ( S.T. , 1 , 94 , 5c ) is certainly guilty from Vital's point of view of such a misrepresentation : " Alio modo dicitur aliquid cognosci in aliquo sicut in cognitionis principio ; sicut si dicamus quod in sole videntur ea quae videntur per solem. Et sic necesse est dicere quod anima humana omnia cognoscat in rationibus aeternis, per quarum participationem omnia cognoscimus. Ipsum enim lumen intellectuale quod est in nobis, nihil est aliud quam quaedam participata similitudo luminis increati, in quo continentur rationes aeternae. Unde in Psalmo 4 dicitur : Multi dicunt, Quis ostendit nobis bona ? cui quaestioni Psalmista respondet, dicens : Signatum est super nos lumen vultus tui , Domine . Quasi dicat : Per ipsam sigillationem divini luminis in nobis, omnia nobis demonstrantur." 46 St. Augustine, Confessiones, 12 , 25 , 35 ( PL 32 : 840) : “ Si ambo videmus verum esse quod dicis et ambo videmus verum esse quod dico ; ubi, quaeso, id videmus ? Nec ego utique in te, nec tu in me, sed ambo in ipsa, quae supra mentes nostras est, incommutabili veritate .

The Problem of Illumination


unchangeable truth or rationes, not by it ;47 that is, the divine ideas are attained as a moving and controlling cause, not as an object of knowledge. Vital du Four, like St. Bonaventure before him, then quotes the commentary attributed to Origen on the words of St. John, "The light shines in the darkness ." Just as we do not say that air becomes bright, but rather the darkness , so we must consider our mind as a certain dark substance capable of participating in the light of wisdom. When the air participates in the rays of the sun, the air is not said to shine, but rather the sun's splendor appears in it. Similarly when the rational soul enjoys the possession of the Word of God, it knows intelligible things (and its God) not through itself but through the divine light.48 The distinction that St. Augustine made between the superior and inferior reason has a bearing upon the problem.49 That part of reason is called superior which consults the rationes aeternae, while the inferior busies itself with temporal affairs. This seems to indicate, comments Vital, that the superior part discerns the truth which it sees in the "rules" ; that is, in the divine ideas above itself. Vital du Four considers next the De Trinitate of St. Augustine. In this work it is said that both good and evil men must know truth in the rules transcending the human mind . 50 How is it that the ungodly can form correct judgments about the morals of mankind ? Certainly they judge in accordance with those rules by which men ought to live. They do not see those rules in their own nature, which is admittedly subject to change, because the rules must be, and indeed are seen as unchangeable. Nor do they see the rules in the possession of their own minds, for the rules concern justice, while their minds are unjust . Where can those rules be written but in that book of light which is called truth ? From this truth every just law proceeds as the impression from the seal passes to the wax without leaving the seal. One who knows how he should conduct himself, yet

47 St. Bonaventure, De sc. Christi q . 4, n . 3 (V, 17ab) : “ Si tu dicas, quod ex hoc non sequitur, quod in veritate vel in rationibus, sed quod a rationibus videamus, contra Augustinus duodecimo Confessionum.” 48 For information on this text see the edition of Roger Marston, Quaest. Dispt. Q 3, p. 251‚n. 4 . 49 St. Augustine, De Trinitate, 12 , 12, 17 (PL 42 : 1007) . See J. Peghaire, "Le Couple augustinien ' ratio superior et ratio inferior.' L'interprétation thomiste," Rev. des Sc . Phil. et Théol., 23 ( 1934) , 221—40. 50 St. Augustine, De Trinitate, 14, 15, 21 (PL 42 : 1052 ) . Vital du Four, Q. VIII, 316.


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

does not do so, is turned away from the light which still touches him . Another passage from the De Trinitate serves to emphasize the 51 same point. Just as correct moral judgments made by wicked men presuppose some external light of truth, so do judgments about things in a written passage which the reader finds to be true , either by introspection or in that truth which is the light of the mind. Vital comments that the Bishop of Hippo is here distinguishing between knowledge which the mind sees in itself and that which it sees in the eternal light . How the soul sees some things in itself, and these and other things in the eternal light , Vital now attempts to explain . The mind beholds in the eternal truth , the exemplar of all creation, the form according to which we are and according to which we act, in conformity with true and right reason . "We have, " St. Augustine says, "true knowledge of things so conceived as a sort of word within us ; and by speaking, we beget it from within ; yet by being born, it does not depart from us ." 52 The objections raised against divine illumination are readily answered by Vital du Four . Granted that intellection is a proper and natural operation of man, a divine illumination does not detract from man's nobility. Corporeal vision is certainly a natural operation, but still it requires the radiation of an extrinsic light. For an operation to be natural, it is not necessary that it be brought to completion by natural principles only . All that is required is that the operation originate in a natural power. Such a natural inception is safeguarded in the doctrine of illumination . The other objections can be dealt with in similar fashion . It

would not be correct to call something supernatural merely because it was perfected through a supernatural principle. In human generation, for example, the perfection and form come from a supernatural agency, but that does not place man or the process of his formation on a supernatural level. In refuting the anti-illuminationists, Vital du Four has followed Roger Marston very closely. Vital has not , however, claimed to be speaking for himself alone , but for a body of opinion : Haec positio non videtur aliis vera, et contra eam arguetur. He firmly committed

51 St. Augustine, De Trinitate, 14, 7, 9 ( PL 42 : 1043) . 52 St. Augustine, De Trinitate, 9 , 7 , 12 ( PL 42 : 967) .

The Problem of Illumination


himself to a divine illumination when be outlined his procedure at the beginning of the question . He proposed to consider, first , whether an intellectual light naturally concreated with us is sufficient to manifest the certitude of any truth. Then having seen that it is not sufficient, he will show that the intellect attains certain knowledge and necessary judgments through a divine light illuminating the mind.

God as Agent Intellect In an attempt to reconcile Aristotelian abstraction with Augustinian illumination , John of la Rochelle, one of the first Franciscan Masters at the University of Paris, was willing to call God an agent intellect . According to this Franciscan, each soul has its own agent intellect , a natural power, which is an intelligible light always in act. Superior to the soul and distinct from it are God and the angels who act upon the soul as separate agent intellects . John of la Rochelle is here placing the separate intelligences of Avicenna in a Christian context . God and the angels bestow upon the soul from without intelligible forms which the soul could not acquire by its own natural light . 53 The doctrine of the two faces of the soul is at the basis of this accommodation of Greco-Arabic thought with Augustinianism. The lower face functions in accord with Aristotelian abstraction, the higher face with Augustinian illumination . 54 Roger Marston, whom Vital du Four selects as a current exponent of Franciscan thought on the divine illumination , develops the theory of God as the agent intellect . 55 According to Vital, this theory maintains that " agent intellect" may refer to a part of the individual soul or it may refer to a separate substance. In the first instance , as part of the soul, its function is to illumine the possible intellect . This 53 John of La Rochelle, Summa de Anima, ed. T. Domenichelli, Prato, 1928 (photostat), P. II, c . 36, pp. 289—90 ; III , p. 207. The agent intellect is the intelligible light of the first truth imprinted on us by nature . Also see E. Gilson, History of Christian Philosophy in the Middle Ages, p. 330. 54 See J. Rohmer, " Sur la doctrine franciscaine des deux faces de l'âme," AHDL 2 (1927) , 73-77 ; “ La théorie de l'abstraction dans l'école franciscaine d'Alexandre de Halès à Jean Peckham, " AHDL 3 ( 1928) , 105—84. 55 Vital du Four, Q. VIII , 317. See Roger Marston, Q. III , 259 : " Experti enim in philosophia ab antiquo praedictas sententias docuerunt . Intellectus enim agens , secundum quod dicitur ab actu illuminandi ipsum intellectum possibilem, aliquo modo, licet incomplete, dicitur esse pars animae, sicut perspicuitas naturalis in oculo et naturalis quidam fulgor, quo potest sibi medium


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

it can do only imperfectly and incompletely in the way that the gleam in the eye of a cat or a lion provides some illumination for the animal. In the second instance , the agent intellect is a separate substance, an uncreated light, which illumines the possible intellect in a complete and perfect manner. By providing for two agent intellects , Roger Marston hopes to reconcile the contradictory opinions of the philosophers and masters. It is better far to do so than to deny that Aristotle, in any sense of the term , ever posited a separate agent intellect . 56 The agent intellect, Vital continues, serves a fourfold function. In incomplex knowledge it illumines the material intellect so that it will be able to receive intelligible species, then it abstracts those species from the phantasm. In complex knowledge it provides universal principles in speculative matters , and it also facilitates the deduction of conclusions from the first principles . These four operations with respect to our mind belong eminently and properly to God. 57

aliqualiter illustrare, sicut patet quod in oculo leonis et cati sunt fulgor et perspicuitas partes quaedam ipsius organi . Sed secundum quod intellectus agens dicitur ab actu illuminandi complete et principaliter, est substantia separata, Deus ipse, sicut lux colores illuminat et diaphanum et organum, ut possint ab obiecto immutari. ” 56 Roger Marston , Q. III , 259 : “Cum igitur haec sententia sit doctrinae sancti Augustini et veritati catholicae multum consona et textus Philosophi hoc evidenter praetendat atque eius expositores maximi ipsum sub hac forma declaraverint et haec verba ' possibilis intellectus et agens ' sint a Philosopho, non a Sanctis accepta, longe melius est intellectum agentem distinguere, qua distinctione omnes contrarietates seu philosophorum seu magistrorum solvuntur, quam impudenter definire quod Philosophus omni sensu negaverit intellectum agentem esse substantiam separatam ab anima per essentiam . " St. Thomas must certainly be reckoned among those Masters who interpreted Aristotle differently (S.C.G. ,, II , 78 incip.; ed. Leonine man . p. 186) : “Quia vero plures opinioni supra positae assentiunt credentes eam fuisse opinionem Aristotelis ostendendum est ex verbis eius quod ipse hoc non sensit de intellectu agente, quod sit substantia separata.... Ex his manifeste habetur quod intellectus agens non sit substantia separata sed magis aliquid animae ; expresse enim dicit quod intellectus possibilis et agens sunt differentiae animae, et quod sunt in anima. Neutra ergo earum est substantia separata. " 57 Vital du Four, Q. VIII , 318 : “ Ex praedictis concluditur quod quadruplex est operatio intellectus agentis. Eius enim lumine illustratur anima, abstrahuntur phantasmata, speculantur principia, declarantur ex principiis

The Problem of Illumination


Vital du Four proceeds to give the arguments with which Roger Marston supports his theory. That God alone can illumine the human mind is the express doctrine of Augustine : "... such operations as the illumination of souls which are proportioned to the divinity, God works immediately through Himself." 58 Roger Marston finds in the De Trinitate of St. Augustine that it is God Who illumines phantasms. There Augustine tries to show that corporeal things must be judged by the rules of eternal truth. He uses as an example a man who has suffered many torments for the faith. When we hear about his heroism, we are filled with respect and admiration . Suppose later on we discover that this suffering has all been endured for a sinful motive . Then our attitude towards him changes, even though the man himself has not changed . This turn of events can be explained only on the basis of an immutable eternal pattern upon which our admiration is based : But the form itself of unshaken and stable truth . . . sheds in an immoveable eternity the same light of incorruptible and most sound reason, both upon the sight of my mind, and upon that cloud of images, which I discern 59 from above, when I think of the same man whom I had seen . The divine illumination does not terminate with the illumination of phantasms . The writings of St. Augustine, according to Vital's summary, also bear witness to the fact that per se nota propositions are seen in the divine light. "That truth must be unchangeable, " we read in the De libero arbitrio, " which cannot be called mine or yours, but which reveals itself, a secret and public light for everyone knowing things immutably true. " 60 Even the drawing of conclusions from principles is done in the divine light.61 In the De

elicita. Haec autem quatuor summe et proprie conveniunt soli Deo respectu mentis nostrae." 58 St. Augustine, De div . quaest. 83 , q . 53 , 2 ( PL 40 : 36—37) : "[ Deus] faciens quaedam per se ipsum, quae illo solo digna sunt, eique soli conveniunt ; sicuti est illuminare animas. . . . ” 59 St. Augustine, De Trinitate, 9 , 6, 11 (PL 42 : 967) . 60 St. Augustine, De lib. arbit. , 2 , 12 , 33 (CSEL 74 : 69–70) : " Quapropter nullo modo negaveris esse incommutabilem veritatem, haec omnia quae incommutabiliter vera sunt continentem, quam non possis dicere tuam vel meam vel cuiusquam hominis, sed omnibus incommutabilia vera cernentibus tamquam miris modis secretum et publicum lumen praesto esse ac se praebere communiter." 61 St. Augustine, De Trinitate , 12 , 14 , 23 (PL 42 : 1010—1011 ) : “Ad quas mentis acie pervenire paucorum est ; et cum pervenitur, quantum fieri


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

Trinitate the African Doctor refers to Plato's example in the Meno of a young boy questioned about geometry. Though the boy had not been trained in the science, his answers revealed a marvelous grasp of the subject . This does not prove, comments Augustine, a pre-existence of souls, so that to know is to remember, but it does show that the mind directed by the eternal reasons sees in that light the conclusions to be drawn from principles.62 With Roger Marston's position well bolstered by Augustinian texts , Vital du Four turns to consider the philosophical justification Roger offers. In knowledge of immutable propositions or truths there is a quasi-material element and a quasi-formal element . The quasi-material element is the apprehension of terms, for example, the meaning of " whole" and " part. " Such knowledge comes through phantasms or species in the intellectual memory. The formal element is the evidence of infallible truth ; it is known with certitude through the eternal reasons.63 The unchangeable truths as represented by species are clothed with the soul's own mutability, but seen in the eternal reasons, they are revealed in their full immutability .64 Grasped through abstracted species or through the passive impressions of the soul itself, truths are complex and mutable, since forgetfulness can banish them from the mind . But discerned in the active impression of the light itself, they are immutable and incomplex . 65 potest, non in eis manet ipse perventor, sed veluti acie ipsa reverberata repellitur, et fit rei non transitoriae transitoria cogitatio. Quae tamen cogitatio transiens per disciplinas quibus eruditur animus, memoriae commendatur, ut sit quo redire possit, quae cogitur inde transire : quamvis si ad memoriam cogitatio non rediret, atque quod commendaverat ibi inveniret, velut rudis ad hoc sicut ducta fuerat duceretur, idque inveniret ubi primum invenerat, in illa scilicet incorporea veritate, unde rursus quasi descriptum in memoria figeretur. " 62 St. Augustine, De Trinitate, 12, 15, 24 (PL 42 : 1011 ) . See Roger Marston, q. 9, p. 425. 63 Vital du Four, Q. VIII , 319-20 : “Est autem advertendum, ut dicit ista positio, quod in cognitione propositionum sive veritatum immutabilium aliquid est quasi materiale, scilicet apprehensio terminorum, ut quid totum, quid pars, et talis cognitio fit per species quae sunt in phantasia vel in sensu vel in intellectuali memoria ; est ibi aliquid formale, scilicet veritatis infallibilis evidentia, quae ex hoc cognoscitur certitudinaliter quia rationes aeternae aliqualiter in ratione moventis attinguntur. ” 64 Vital du Four, Q. VIII , 320. 65 Ibid. See St. Augustine, Contra Faustum, 26, 5 (PL 42 : 482) : “Quod si quaeras ubi sit haec vera sententia : prius invenitur in animo nostro, cum

The Problem of Illumination


When two people see one visible object, their eyes are informed by different species. In the same manner when two minds know the same unchangeable truth, they are informed by different species . Beyond phantasms or abstracted species there must be, then, something in the mind by which it attains immutable truth . This additional principle can be none other than the eternal light itself. The eternal light illumining the mind makes on it a certain impression which guarantees the unchangeable truths. The impression left by the divine light may be compared to that left in the wax by the seal, so that if the wax were able to know, it would know the seal by the impression.

Is not this what the Psalmist meant when

he spoke of the light which impresses our mind ? " The light of Thy countenance is signed upon us. "68 The light of His countenance is none other than the light of eternal truth as it is offered to the human intellect through a seal-like impression."⁹ In this way, claims Roger Marston , can the common light of Augustine be reconciled with the agent intellect of Aristotle. Augustine's doctrine that all things are known in the eternal light has been proved true, holy, and consonant with " the wisdom of the world" (i . e. , with the philosophical knowledge) . The doctrine of the Philosopher is also true, that species are abstracted from phantasms.70

id verum scimus et dicimus. Sed si et de animo nostro ablata fuerit, cum id quod scimus obliti fuerimus, manebit in ipsa veritate . Semper enim verum erit fuisse illud quod erat, et non est ; et ibi verum erit jam fuisse quod erat, ubi verum erat antequam fieret futurum esse quod non erat. Huic veritati Deus non potest adversari , in quo est ipsa summa et incommutabilis veritas, quo illustratur ut sit, quidquid in quorumque animis et mentibus veri est. " 66 Roger Marston, Q. III , p . 263 : " Unde necesse est aliquid ultra phantasmata vel species abstractas ponere in mente nostra, quo attingamus aliqualiter incommutabiles veritates : quod non credo esse aliquam influentiam lucis aeternae differentem ab ea nec aliquid a parte mentis nostrae distinctum realiter ab eadem ." 67 Vital du Four, Q. VIII , 320. 68 Psalm 4, 7. 69 St. Augustine, De Trinitate, 14, 5 , 21 (PL 42 : 1052) : "Unde omnis lex justa describitur, et in cor hominis qui operatur justitiam, non migrando, sed tanquam imprimendo transfertur ; sicut imago et annulo et in ceram transit et annulum non relinquit." 70 Roger Marston, Q. III , 264 : "Sic igitur vera et sancta est doctrina Augustini docentis omnia intelligi in luce aeterna, cui, ut ostensum est, consonat sapientia mundanorum. Verum est etiam verbum Philosophi ponentis


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

To the extent that Roger Marston attributes the certitude of human knowledge to the divine light, Vital du Four judges that the position is very probable, "¹ but , he adds, many Masters disagree with the explanation . One of the main objections concerns God as the agent intellect illumining the human mind and perfecting its knowledge . If the soul is to be an image of God , it must be so in its active powers . The agent intellect must be consubstantial with the human mind ; otherwise man will be an imperfect image of God . It is of no avail to say that the soul's own agent intellect operates , but in an imperfect manner. Our own light may be imperfect with regard to supernatural truths, but to hold that it can be imperfect for proportional and natural truths is definitely unreasonable. All inferior creatures have the necessary formal principles to act in accordance with their species and thus attain proportionate objects with only the general concurrence of God . So , indeed , should man . Similar objections are based on the natural integrity of the soul in carrying out its activities. In cognition, as well as in any other operation, that which begins with nature should be perfected naturally. Again, as the will is related to the good , so is the intellect related to the true. If the will has a natural affection for loving the good , why should not the intellect have a natural light for knowing the true ? Roger Marston's theory, according to Vital du Four, seems to harbor inner contradictions. He is trying to establish infallible and immutable knowledge . Yet the species , one of the elements contributing to such knowledge , is definitely of a changeable character. Now, if a constitutive part be fallible , so will the whole.72 Roger

species abstrahi a phantasmate . Verbum etiam Avicennae, si bene intelligatur, veritatem habere potest, dicentis quod formae intelligibiles manant super intellectum nostrum per modum impressionis, sicut dictum est, ex quibus et ex speciebus abstractis forsitan fit una species, sicut fit una de speciebus intrantibus per duos oculos, dum supponitur species speciei . ” 71 Vital du Four, Q. VIII , 321 . 72 Vital du Four, Q. VIII , 322 : “ Item, haec positio videtur implicare oppositum : ponit enim quod species sunt necessariae ad cognitionem veritatis, ut patet supra . Tunc sic : Quandocumque aliqua duo concurrunt ad constitutionem alicuius ita quod altero corrupto vel variato corrumpitur totum et variatur, si alterum est fallibile , necessario totum erit fallibile ; ergo cum species in mente nostra sit mutabilis, quamvis ipsa lux sub qua videt sit immutabilis, tota cognitio nostra erit mutabilis . ”

The Problem of Illumination


maintains, secondly, that the eternal light makes an impression on the intellect as the seal does on the wax, so that if the wax could know, it would know the seal through the species impressed . How can the impression which is a created thing, mutable and fallible, be the principle of knowing the immutable ? If the impression leads to a knowledge of the nature from which it originates, as the example alleges, then the soul should be led through that impression to a direct knowledge of the eternal light . But this knowledge is impossible. Lastly, this position seems to contradict experience, for we have the greatest natural certitude about our own acts , such as willing and understanding. With this list of objections Vital du Four terminates his exposition of Roger Marston's position . Though he rather haughtily brushes off the difficulties with a simple non videntur multum valere eorum rationes, ut patebit in alia positione, the cogency of at least one of them did not escape him. He realized that from the mutable it would be impossible to derive the immutable.73 Before determining the extent to which Vital du Four found it necessary to modify Roger Marston's opinion , it will be necessary to consider Henry of Ghent. For it is in a combination of themes borrowed from both philosophers that Vital explains the divine illumination. True Knowledge and Knowledge of the Truth Vital du Four next considers a contemporary philosopher who is in fundamental agreement with Roger Marston on the necessity of a divine light for certitude. Henry of Ghent also tries to reconcile Aristotle with Augustine, but in a less radical way than Marston did . Chapter III of this study noted a crisis in the philosophy of Henry of Ghent as he became increasingly aware that a thoroughgoing Aristotelianism was incompatible with the doctrine of St. AuAvicenna, De Anima , V, 6 (Venice , 1508) f. 26D : “Restat ergo ut ultima pars sit vera, et ut discere non sit nisi acquirere perfectam aptitudinem coniungendi se intelligentiae agenti, quousque fiat ex ea intellectus qui est simplex a quo emanent formae ordinatae mediante anima in cogitatione. " 73 See E. Gilson, La Philosophie au M. A. , p. 457 : “. . . Vital du Four ne se le représente pas comme une impression produite par Dieu dans l'intellect, car une impression ainsi créé participerait à la mutabilité de l'intellect même, et ne saurait donc le fixer dans l'immutabilité du vrai. Il conçoit plutôt l'illumination divine comme une intime pénétration de l'âme par Dieu, dont la présence seule y fait pour ainsi dire fonction d'objet."

12 John E. Lynch


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

gustine. The turning point came around 1279. In the interests of consistency he suppressed the intelligible species in favor of a more active intellect . Augustinianism must find it repugnant for the soul to undergo passively the action of the external world in the acquisition of knowledge . Henry of Ghent seems to have treated the divine illumination ex professo only in the Summae Quaestionum Ordinariarum, written about 1276.74 During this period his thought was rather unsettled and his position on illumination is not as forthright as it is on the intelligible species . The theory he offers is difficult and does not seem to have been integrated into his philosophy, as many hesitations in his writings bear witness.75 Since a later Quodlibet (c. 1286) treats the divine illumination most cursorily, it has been suggested that Henry of Ghent abandoned it towards the end of his career." His philosophic commitment to Platonism may have been more profound than his adherence to the text of St. Augustine. As a philosopher Henry of Ghent realized full well that the intellect must have the natural capacity for knowledge ; indeed , Vital du Four advanced some of Henry of Ghent's arguments as representative of the Aristotelian position . But while rejecting a wholesale illumination, Henry, at least in his Summae, tried to find some place for the divine light in the attainment of truth. The basis of his theory, Vital reports, is a distinction between knowing something that is true and knowing explicitly that it is true : the intellect has a twofold knowledge of things : it knows what is true about a thing and it knows also the truth of the thing, which is considerably different.78 Thus, Henry of Ghent differentiates between true knowledge and knowledge of the truth . Every cognitive power, even a sense faculty

74 Henry of Ghent, Summa theologiae, I, a. I , q . 1 (de possibilitate sciendi) , q. 2 (de modo sciendi) . For the chronology of the writings see J. Gómez Caffarena, "Cronologia de la ' Summa, " Gregorianum 38 (1957) , 133. 75 E. Bettoni, Il processo astrattivo nella concezione di Enrico di Gand, p. 33 . 76 Henry of Ghent, Quodlibet IX, q. 15, f. 382г- 384г : “ Utrum in nobis sit aliquod intelligere abditum quod sit absque phantasmate ?" 77 J. Paulus , Henri de Gand, pp. 4—5. 78 Vital du Four, Q. VIII , 322—23 . Henry of Ghent, Summae, I , a. 1 , q. 2 , f. 4vC : “ . . . aliud tamen est scire de creatura id quod verum est in ea, et aliud est scire eius veritatem ut alia sit cognitio qua cognoscitur res : alia qua cognoscitur veritas eius. ”

The Problem of Illumination


in an animal, which apprehends a thing just as it is in the external world , has accurate knowledge of the thing, but it does not thereby attain truth . The intellect alone can know truth as truth. Sense cannot grasp the truth, though it does apprehend that which is true ; for example, true bread or true man. According to Henry of Ghent , Vital du Four continues, the intellect knows by simple apprehension what a thing is and by judgment the truth of the thing. In its first act the intellect must necessarily follow sense, because nothing is conceived in the intellect which is not first in sense. By its own natural light, without any supernatural illumination , the intellect , just like the sense which it follows , can come to a true knowledge of the object . On the level of simple apprehension the intellect probes the object more deeply than sense, but it does not yet know the truth of the thing ; truth is attained in the act of judgment.79 A thing can be known as an entity even though its truth value is as yet unknown. There is an order among general intentions , such that the notion of being precedes all others. The reason for this is that the notion of entity is something absolute, whereas truth implies a relation to an exemplar. The notion of truth is apprehended only when its conformity with the exemplar is known.80 In its second act, that of judgment , the intellect attains a knowledge of truth. This act perfects and distinguishes human knowledge from mere sense cognition . In its perfect knowledge the intellect knows with certitude that this is truly a stone, or that the angles of a triangle are equivalent to two right angles. This is to know

79 Vital du Four, Q. VIII , 323 : " ... et ideo talis intellectus bene potest esse verus quemadmodum et sensus quem sequitur, licet nondum cognoscat ipsam veritatem cognoscendo de re certo iudicio quid sit, ut apprehendendo quod hoc est hoc vel est lignum , data quod nondum cognoscat secundum veritatem quid sit lignum, et hoc absque aliqua illustratione supernaturali." Henry of Ghent, Summae, I , a. I , q. 2 , f. 4vC : "Et ideo talis intellectus inquantum huiusmodi bene potest esse verus concipiendo sive cognoscendo rem sicuti est, quemadmodum et sensus quem sequitur, licet non concipiat vel intelligat ipsam veritatem rei certo iudicio percipiendo de ipsa quid sit, ut quod sit verus homo vel verus color. "

80 Vital du Four, Q. VIII , 324. Henry of Ghent, Summae, I , a. 1 , q . 2 , f. 5гD .


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

scientifically . The question now arises : Utrum intellectus absque speciali illustratione possit certitudinaliter rem cognoscere ? 81 Before this question can be answered here our author follows Henry of Ghent in the digression — it is necessary to determine what constitutes truth. St. Augustine points out that things are true insofar as they are likenesses of one principle : vera in tantum sunt vera in quantum unius principalis veri sunt similia.82 To the extent that things are what they should be, they are true. As St. Anselm said, truth lies in the conformity of a thing with its exemplar.83 Since truth consists in conformity to the exemplar of a thing, truth depends upon the exemplar as its source. Insofar as a thing can have two exemplars, its truth can be known in a twofold way. One exemplar, the universal species of the thing in the intellect , is caused by the thing and is variable and corruptible. Through the universal species of the thing one acquires knowledge of all its particulars. The other exemplar, the divine art containing the rationes ideales , is uncreated , unchangeable, and incorruptible. 84 Henry

81 Vital du Four, Q. VIII , p. 324. Henry of Ghent, Summae, I , a. 1 , q. 2 , f. 5rD : “ De isto igitur modo sciendi et cognoscendi aliquid per intellectum quo scitur veritas rei, quod est proprie scire : utrum ex puris naturalibus possit homo scire aliquid sine omni speciali illustratione divina adhuc restat dubitatio." 82 St. Augustine, De vera religione, 36, n. 66 (PL 34 : 152) : "Quapropter vera quoniam in tantum vera sunt in quantum sunt ; in tantum autem sunt, in quantum principalis unius similia sunt : ea forma est omnium quae sunt, quae est summa similitudo Principii ; et Veritas est, quia sine ulla dissimilitudine est." 83 St. Anselm, Dialogus de veritate , c. 7 et c . 8 ; ed. Schmitt, I : 185 , 191 . 84 Vital du Four, Q. VIII , 324-25 : " Nunc autem secundum quod duplex est exemplar rei secundum hoc dupliciter veritas eius potest cognosci : quia, cum consistat in conformitate ad exemplar rei, ab ipso exemplari dependet et in exemplari fit. Quoddam autem est exemplar rei factum sive elaboratum, variabile et corruptibile, quoddam increatum non factum nec elaboratum, immobile et incorruptibile : primum est species rei in anima, secundum ars divina continens omnium rerum ideales rationes ." Henry of Ghent, Summae, I , a. 1 , q . 2, f. 5rE : "Secundum quod duplex est exemplar rei : dupliciter ad duplex exemplar veritas rei habet ab homine cognosci . Est enim secundum quod vult Plato in primo Timaei, duplex exemplar: quoddam factum atque elaboratum : quoddam perpetuum atque immutabile. Primum exemplar rei est species eius universalis apud animam existens : per quam acquirit notitiam omnium suppositorum eius : et est causata a re. Secundum exemplar est ars divina continens omnium rerum

The Problem of Illumination


of Ghent found philosophical justification for the double exemplar in the Timaeus , which he proceeds to quote. In that book Plato said that an artificer going about his work may fasten his gaze upon a model that is uniform and eternal or upon one that has come into being and has been produced . According to the eternal exemplar, God arranged the world , just as an architect constructs a house, by modeling it after a plan he has in mind.85 Thus there are two ways in which the truth of a thing can be known. It may be known from the exemplar which is abstracted from the object and which exists in the mind as a universal idea, or from the eternal exemplar , the divine idea, existing in the mind of God. Through the exemplar abstracted from the thing, the intellect can have some knowledge of the thing according as it forms a verbum conformed to that thing . Indeed it is in this manner, explains Aristotle, that our scientific knowledge is generated , by way of sense and experience through species received from things. But the exemplar received from the object cannot lead to completely certain and infallible science, unless our minds are concurrently bathed in the divine and immutable light.86 An acquired exemplar cannot give certain and infallible knowledge for reasons based : ( 1 ) on the object from which the exemplar is abstracted ; (2) on the mind in which it is expressed ; and (3 ) on 87 the nature of the exemplar itself that is received . Since the object from which the exemplar is abstracted is subject to change and variability, the exemplar must partake of its mutable character. Bound up with matter, natural things are subject to change, while mathematical objects enjoy a greater stability. For this reason ideales rationes ad quod Plato dicit deum mundum instituisse : sicut artifex ad exemplar artis in mente sua facit domum : non autem ad primum." 85 Plato, Timaeus, 28 A, B. 86 Vital du Four, Q. VIII , 325-26 : " . . . sic dico quod per tale exemplar potest aliqua cognitio de re haberi , secundum quod intellectus per tale exemplar format verbum sibi de re conforme illi rei in quo relucet illa res in ratione obiecti cogniti, sicut declarabitur in ultimo articulo. Et per istum modum via sensus et experientiae per species a rebus acceptas posuerunt Philosophi scientiam in nobis generari. Per illud tamen exemplar non habetur scientia omnino certa et infallibilis nisi concurrente lumine divino immutabili irradiante mentem nostram ." 87 Vital du Four, Q. VIII , 326 ; Henry of Ghent , Summae, I , a. I , q . 2, f. 5vE. Duns Scotus opens his Question on certain knowledge with a discussion of Henry of Ghent's arguments : Ordinatio, I , d . 3 , p . 1 , q . 4 (Vatican ed. III : 126).


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mathematical knowledge has a greater certitude. The mutability inherent in nature led St. Augustine to remark that certitude was not to be looked for from the bodily senses. He accordingly warns us to turn from this world to God, to the truth grasped in the interior mind, which always remains the same and has no counterfeit image from which it cannot be detected . ** The structure of the mind explains, in the second place, why secure knowledge is not obtained from a created exemplar. Since the mind is mutable and subject to error, it cannot be rectified and made steadfast in truth by something of equal or greater mutability. Who can doubt that every exemplar received from nature is more variable than the soul itself ? This is the argument that St. Augustine uses to prove that immutable truth which the soul possesses in certain knowledge must be superior to the soul : This standard of all arts is absolutely unchangeable ; but the human mind, which is given the power to see the standard, can suffer the mutability of error. Clearly, then, the standard which is called truth is higher than our minds. ** The supreme law of truth alone suffices to stabilize the inconstant, divergent mind with infallible knowledge ; this truth the mind does not judge, but through it the mind judges everything else. The mind ought to judge lower things directly rather than through intermediaries. By means of its submission to the highest truth the mind is enabled to exercise its judgments . Lastly, the exemplar received from the object is of its very nature incapable of communicating certitude . Though the exemplar is an intention or similitude of the thing abstracted from the phantasm , there is no way of distinguishing it from apparent truth , that is, from an illusory situation . From the exemplar there is no way of verifying whether or not it comes from the real thing. The images in sleep and delirium are the same as those in wakefulness and health. Reliance on the images alone leads the intellect to judge that all of them come from real things. To perceive certain truth, which involves a discernment of the true from the false , the mind must turn away from species of this kind to the unchangeable truth existing above the mind. This truth , in the phrase of Augustine , has no counterfeit image from which it has to be distinguished . ** Since ** St. Augustine, De div. 83 quest. , q . 9 (PL 40 : 13f) . ** St. Augustine, De vera religione, 30, n. 56 ; 31 , n. 57 (PL 34 : 147) . ** St. Augustine, De div. 83 quest., q. 9 (PL 40:13).

The Problem of Illumination


truth is the conformity with an exemplar, certain truth must be known through an uncreated exemplar and not through one that has been fashioned or copied. There are two ways of viewing the divine exemplar and , consequently , two ways of attaining certain truth . The exemplar may be contemplated as an object known in itself, so that the object known is seen in it . The exemplar may also be considered as a principle of knowledge, the reason why we know, but not as an object known.91 In the case of an exemplar known as an object , one establishes the truth of the copy by inspecting the exemplar : Probat enim bene imaginem quisquis eius intuetur exemplum.92 One knows, for example, that the picture of Peter is a true copy by seeing Peter. A comparison of the image with the exemplar proves the truth ofthe image. Thus the truth of any made object is known most certainly in its exemplar. Since every creature is an image or expression of the divine exemplar, its truth will be discerned perfectly in the pure essence of God . Angels , therefore, according to the De Civitate Dei, know God by the presence of immutable truth to their souls : they know the creature also, not in itself, but by this better way, in the wisdom of God, as if in the art by which it was created ; consequently, they know themselves better in God than in themselves, though they have this latter knowledge as well.93 It is just the opposite with an exemplar abstracted from a thing. The thing is not produced from the exemplar, but the exemplar from the thing. The truth of the exemplar consists in perfect conformity with the thing. Since the exemplar is dependent upon the thing, it cannot lead to perfect knowledge of the thing. Man cannot attain certain and infallible knowledge by inspecting

the exemplar received from the senses, no matter how purified or universalized it may be. He must look to the uncreated exemplar, not as to an object known in itself, but as to a principle of knowl-

91 Vital du Four, Q. VIII , 327 : “Est autem advertendum quod sincera veritas sciri potest aspiciendo ad huiusmodi exemplar, uno modo aspiciendo ipsum tamquam obiectum cognitum ac per hoc in ipso videndo exemplatum, alio modo aspiciendo ad ipsum tamquam ad rationem cognoscendi, non tamquam ad obiectum cognitum." See Henry of Ghent, Summae, I , a . 1 , q . 2, f. 6rI . 92 St. Augustine, III Contra Academicos, 18, 40 (CSEL 63:78) . » St. Augustine, De civ. Dei, 11 , 29 (PL 41 : 343) .


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edge. In this life the divine exemplar is not itself known but it is the reason why we know with certitude.94 How can God be the reason why we know and yet not be known in Himself ? Henry of Ghent answers by distinguishing three ways in which the divine light communicates itself in certain knowledge . First , it illumines the angels and the blessed in heaven as an objective exemplar in which the truths of all other things clearly shine forth. Second, it communicates itself as a special means of knowing to the minds of Prophets so that they may know things beyond the ordinary dispensation, such as future contingent events and the secrets of hearts. Third, it communicates itself again as a means in the normal processes of knowing so that we will grasp not simply what is true - for this the natural light of sense and intellect suffices - but the certain truth known as such.95 Henry of Ghent finds his position in perfect accord with the doctrine of St. Augustine. The De Trinitate, for instance, characterizes 94 Vital du Four, Q. VIII , 327—28 : “... non potest cognosci sincera veritas nisi aspiciendo ad illam lucem et incommutabilem veritatem, non ut ad obiectum, sed ut ad rationem cognoscendi ; et hoc est verum tam de veritate corporalium quam spiritualium. . . .' Henry of Ghent, Summa I, a. 1 , q. 2, f. 6vK. 95 Vital du Four, Q. VIII , 328 : " Secundum igitur istam positionem lux increata ad cognoscendum sinceram veritatem tripliciter se communicat : primo in ratione exemplaris obiectivi in quo relucent et perfecte videntur rerum veritates, et isto modo communicat se angelis et omnibus beatis. Secundo modo communicat se in ratione medii videndi solum, et hoc dupliciter : uno modo in speciali quemadmodum se communicat mentibus prophetarum secundum modum expositum in ultimo articulo praecedentis quaestionis, ad cognoscendum illa quae de lege communi non cognoscuntur nec cognoscibilia sunt a nobis, ut sunt futura contingentia et occulta cordium et similia ; alio modo generaliter ad cognoscendum verum, non dico ad cognoscendum id quod verum, quia tam sensus quam intellectus lumine naturali ad hoc attingunt, sed ad cognoscendum veritatem in ratione sincerae veritatis, et hoc vel ad cognoscendum sinceram veritatem, quia secundum aliquos hoc potest intellectus lumine proprio et generali influentia quodam modo tenebroso et non omnino clare." How God can be known as a principle of knowledge without being known in Himself, Henry explains through an example (Summae, I, a. I , q. 3 , f. 9vF) . Some sunlight is reflected while other rays proceed directly from their source. When we see something by reflected sunlight, the sun is the reason why we see, yet is itself not seen. But when an object is illumined by direct light, the sun is a reason for knowing that is also known. In this life the uncreated light illumines in a reflected manner, so that it is an intelligible principle which is itself not known.

The Problem of Illumination


knowledge based upon species received from things as vague and shadowy and, therefore, uncertain. We accept or reject the images of corporeal things according to rules above our minds which remain altogether unchangeable. Through an intellectual light which is part of the soul, the mind conceives the intelligible in the phantasm and thus obtains an obscure and uncertain knowledge. The form of unshaken and stable truth , the Art of Divine Wisdom, then pours forth an incorruptible light upon the mind and upon that vague perception, which Augustine calls " the cloud of images. " In this light and in the eternal truth , according to which all things were made, we behold the eternal exemplars and the forms whose images we have gathered . Thus do we obtain true and certain knowledge of them. The text seems to indicate that God , the uncreated light , is the agent intellect : We behold by the sight of the mind, in that eternal truth from which all things temporal are made , the form according to which we are and according to which we do anything by true and right reason, either in ourselves, or in things corporeal ; and we have the true knowledge of things thence con96 ceived, as it were, as a word within us. Vital du Four calls attention to the fact that St. Augustine definitely concedes that there is true knowledge that is purely natural. The species and the natural light of the intellect, always supposing God's general concursus, suffice for a knowledge that is "obscure and imperfect" (nebulosa et imperfecta) .97 To know with certitude , however - here Vital gets to the heart of Henry of Ghent's theory requires the uncreated light as an illumination for seeing and as an exemplary form stamping (caracterizans) and impressing the mind by assimilating it to the divine ideas. In this way does the uncreated truth imprint itself on a concept and transform the mind to its own character. Thus all certain truth is understood through a comparison with its perfect exemplar. Our mind is conformed by the divine exemplar according to which the thing was made and through whose imitation the mind is said

" St. Augustine, De Trinitate, 9, 7, 12 ; 9, 6, 10 ( PL 42 : 967 , 966) . 97 Vital du Four, Q. VIII , 329 : "Est autem advertendum quod ad cognoscendum de re id quod verum sufficit species rei quam habemus in intellectu cum lumine naturali intellectus, supposita influentia generali ; ad cognoscendum autem veritatem nebulose et imperfecte, secundum Augustinum videntur etiam praedicta sufficere ."


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

to have certain truth of the thing.98 The rules by which men judge rightly, observes St. Augustine, " are transferred to the heart of the just man, not by a withdrawal but by an impression , just as a seal passes from the ring to the wax without leaving the ring."99 Although by purely natural means man can know that which is true, he cannot actively contact the rules of eternal light to see the infallible truth in them. Rather he attains these rules passively ; the rational soul is open to be informed immediately by the First Truth. Man does not take the initiative, but it is God Who offers and withholds the rules at His good pleasure . In His inscrutable wisdom He sometimes takes them away from the good and gives them to the wicked ; but He offers certain truth to all who will hear, whether good or bad ; not that He is necessitated by His nature , as is the sun, but He acts out of His liberality. Henry of Ghent , reports Vital du Four , sums up his position in this concise statement : It must definitely be maintained that from the knowledge acquired through his natural powers, man cannot have infallible truth of anything. Such truth comes only through the illumination of the divine light. Although man does attain this truth in his natural powers , he does not do so by means of those powers, but God offers infallible truth to whomever He wills . 100 In support of this position Vital du Four offers arguments drawn from several sources. The first, proposed by Henry of Ghent himself, contends that for our apprehension of the external object to be true, the soul as informed must in some way be like the truth of the object , because truth is the adequation of the thing and the intellect. Now the soul in Augustinian psychology is undeniably 98 Vital du Four, Q. VIII , 329 : “Sed ad cognoscendum sincere videtur secundum Augustinum, quod ipsa lux increata requiritur modo dicto sicut lux irradians ad videndum et forma exemplaris caracterizans et imprimens mentem nostram assimilando, ut sic ipsa increata veritas in conceptu nostro se imprimat et ad caracterem suum mentem transformet, ut sic omnis sincera veritas intelligatur per comparationem ad suum perfectum exemplar, dum mens nostra characterizata est illo divino exemplari secundum quod res facta est, et per eius imitationem dicitur vera sinceramque de re habet veritatem ." 99 St. Augustine, De Trinitate, 14, 15 , 21 (PL 42 : 1052 ) : “ Ubi ergo scriptae sunt, nisi in libro lucis illius quae veritas dicitur ? Unde omnis lex justa describitur, et in cor hominis qui operatur justitiam, non migrando, sed tanquam imprimendo transfertur ; sicut imago ex annulo, et in ceram transit et annulum non relinquit. . . .” 100 Henry of Ghent, Summae, I, a. 1 , q . 2, f.8rM. Vital du Four, Q. VIII, 329—30.

The Problem of Illumination


mutable, fluctuating from truth to falsehood . Obviously, it is not naturally informed by truth, otherwise there would be no wavering to falsehood. The soul is not informed by truth in the mere conception of an object ; it is only rendered capable of knowing truth. This formation must come from the exemplar of the thing, for it is only through its conformity to the exemplar that the truth of a thing can be known. The exemplar required for truth cannot be the one abstracted from the thing, as has been shown, for reasons based on the object , the mind , and the nature of that exemplar. To know infallible truth, the soul must be formed according to an immutable exemplar. The uncreated truth has to impress itself upon our concept, transforming it to the condition of the exemplar. "Thus our mind is informed with the expressed truth of the thing according to the likeness which the thing itself has with the First Truth."101 The second argument is based upon an analogy with the hierarchy of powers. In the natural order of things an inferior action is perfected by a superior one, with the result that every action is dependent upon what is highest in the genus. The sense of sight and the imagination , for example , judge that the sun is two feet in diameter, but in this matter they are corrected by the intellect , which determines that the sun is eight times the size of the whole earth. Now according to St. Augustine our mind has an inferior part to deal with temporal things and a superior part to contemplate the eternal . 102 Just as the lower reason cannot form a complete judgment about temporal affairs without the light of the higher reason, so the superior part of the soul cannot see truths without the light of its superior, which is God. The third argument is borrowed from Matthew of Aquasparta and is based on the act of judgment . 103 It is impossible for our intellect to have reliable knowledge of things without making a certain judgment about them because genuine truth consists in such a judgment. From experience we know that the mind is constantly passing judgments in the affairs of daily life : for example, this is good , something else is better, this is white, this is a stone, etc. Every 101 Henry of Ghent, Summae, I , a . 1 , q . 2 , f. 7rL. “ Necesse est igitur quod illa veritas increata in conceptu nostro se imprimat et ad characterem suum conceptum nostrum transformet et sic mentem nostram expressa veritate de re informet similitudine illa quam res ipsa habet apud primam veritatem. " 102 St. Augustine , De Trinitate, 12, 3 , 3 (PL 42 : 999). 103 Matthew of Aquasparta, Quaestiones de cognitione, Q. II, p. 239.


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

judgment is in accord with some standard which is itself wholly beyond judgment ; otherwise it too would have to be judged by another standard, and this would lead to an infinite series. This standard or law according to which judgments are made cannot be below or subject to the soul, because it is through the standard that the soul judges both itself and other things. The measure must always be superior to the measured. The standard cannot be the soul or something in the soul , because the soul is mutable and subject to judgment. The standard can only be above the soul ; but above the soul there is only the eternal and divine law or God Himself. Through the law of God , then, we judge rightly of all things. As Augustine says, "Where are the rules written according to which men judge justly except in the book of that light called truth ? ”’ 104

The Relation of the Divine Light to the Intellect As for St. Augustine himself, so for all his followers, the crux of the problem is to specify the exact contribution of divine light in certain knowledge and to explain how that light can be a reason for knowing without itself being known. This is the difficulty Vital du Four faces in the concluding part of his Question. To safeguard the supernatural character of the beatific vision, Vital must insist that the divine light is not seen directly in this life ; in our present way of knowing, this light is only a principle of knowledge. Just as sensible or intelligible species are means of knowing rather than objects known, so the divine light enables us to know without revealing itself . 105 In the Augustinian tradition , Vital likens inteltectual vision to corporeal sight, which needs a physical light in order to function . To appreciate the full significance of the analogy, one must be acquainted with the Aristotelian theory of light , which was widely held at the close of the thirteenth century.106

104 St. Augustine, De Trinitate, 14, 15 , 21 ( PL 42 : 1052) . "" 105 Vital du Four, Q. VIII, 331 : ... quomodo intellectus coniunctus se habeat ad illam lucem per quam omnia videt, sciendum quod nec in sensibus nec in intellectu aliquid potest esse obiectum quod solum est ratio cognoscendi , ut species sensibilis informans sensum vel intelligibilis et informans " intellectum non habent rationem obiecti respectu sensus et intellectus. ' 106 For the medieval science of light see J. de Tonquedec, Questions de Cosmologie de Physique chez Aristote et Saint Thomas, Paris, 1950. Additional information may be found in A. C. Crombie, Robert Grosseteste and the Origins of Experimental Science 1100-1700, Oxford , 1953 .

The Problem of Illumination


Light cannot be, as Empedocles or Democritus taught, a body or a corporeal emanation which causes illumination through its presence, " for there cannot be two bodies in the same place at the same time." 107 In its diffusion the same numerical light does not pass from one object to another, 108 for another light is produced in the second object . Light cannot be mere movement ; it evinces the presence of something. 109 It is an accident in the category of quality, belonging primarily to fire and to the heavenly bodies as a natural property.110 Thus bodies which include fire in their essence are themselves luminous. Other bodies, such as phosphorescent substances, receive light from an external cause and retain the light permanently, even after the cause has ceased to act.111 A third class of bodies receives light only in a transitory manner. The latter class includes such transparent bodies as air and glass, penetrated entirely by the light , and also opaque bodies, which are illumined only on their surface. Bodies are rendered capable of receiving light through possession of a common characteristic called diaphaneity. The English " transparent" conveys only part of the meaning ; diaphaneity implies more than the transmission of light ; it includes becoming luminous.112 Objects can be seen only across a diaphanum that is itself full of light. Diaphaneity, then, is a potency of which light is the act . Like light , it is not a substance but an accident : "... it is not qua water or air that water or air is transparent, but because the same nature belongs to them as to the everlasting upper firmament ; 107 Aristotle, De Anima II , 7, 418b18 (Loeb ed. p. 103—109) . The entire chapter is devoted to a discussion of vision . Aristotle refers to the theories of Empedocles and Democritus at 418b21 and 419a16 . 108 De Anima II , 7, 419a10 (Loeb ed. p . 107) . See St. Thomas, De Veritate, 9, I ad 7 . 109 Aristotle, De Sensu VI , 446b27 (Loeb ed. p. 269) . 110 De Anima II , 7, 418b13 (Loeb ed . p. 105) . 111 De Anima II , 7, 419a5 (Loeb ed . p . 107) . 112 De Anima II , 7, 418b3 (Loeb ed . p. 105) : “ ... by transparent I mean that which is visible, only not absolutely and in itself, but owing to the color of something else. This character is shared by air, water, and many solid objects. . . . Now light is the activity of this transparent substance qua transparent. ” De Sensu II , 439a22 (Loeb ed. p. 229) : “What we call ' transparent' is not peculiar to air or water or any other body so described, but a common nature or potency which is not separable but resides in these bodies and in all others .


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

now light is the activity of this transparent substance qua transparent . " ¹¹³ Diaphaneity extends to all bodies in the degree to which they are capable of having light. Inasmuch as light is neither a body nor transmitted by a body, it must not be considered juxtaposed , inserted , or mixed in an illumined body.114 The presence of light is not a material or local presence but a disposition or habitus.115 A luminous source, such as the sun or fire, exercises an active influence upon a diaphanous body so that it acquires a new state or disposition which is properly luminous. Diaphaneity as such is not enclosed in any body. Wherever it is found, in one or in many subjects, it does not oppose limits to the diffusion of light , since by essence or definition it is that which receives light and permits it to penetrate.116 Color arises from a meeting or compromise of light with darkness.117 Where the action of light finds no obstacle or opaque body to resist it , there is no color but simply luminosity. In this case light diffuses itself freely throughout the entire substance. The diaphanum strictly has no color ; light as a form received in a potency acts like color in an opaque body.118 This complete neutrality makes the diaphanum, when found in a pure state, the perfect medium for transmitting luminous influences and colors to the senses. The fact that an object placed on the eye is not seen shows that a medium is necessary, 119 113 De Anima II , 7 , 418b9 (Loeb p. 105) ; this is the section that has been omitted in the text above. 114 De Anima II , 7, 418b15 (Loeb ed . p. 105) . 115 J. de Tonquedec, Questions de Cosmologie, p. 81 and n. 5. 116 Aristotle, De Sensu II , 438a14 (Loeb ed . 225) : “ It is true that the eye consists of water, but it has the power of vision not because it is water, but because it is transparent ; an attribute which it shares with air. ” 117 St. Thomas, In de Anima II , 1. 14 (ed . Pirotta, n. 425) : “Nam color nihil aliud est quam lux quaedam quodammodo obscurata ex admixtione corporis opaci ." 118 De Anima II , 7, 419a10 (Loeb ed . p . 107 ) : " It is the essence of color to produce movement in the actually transparent ; and the actuality of the transparent is light." 119 W. D. Ross, Aristotle, New York, 5th ed . rev. , p . 137 : “Alexander of Aphrodisias, recognizing the two stages involved in Aristotle's theory — the production of light and the production of colour goes as far as to call colour ' a sort of second light. ' Fire and the heavenly bodies are the only things which can produce the first change in the medium as well as the second ; they can be seen ‘ in the dark ' just because they first make the dark light."

The Problem of Illumination


All bodies are composed in varying proportions of the four elements . Where water and air prevail, diaphanous par excellence, the light will predominate, and the color will be more brilliant . Whether light comes from without or from within as a result of fire in the material composition , 120 its mixture with the earthly element will be the proper cause of color. The varying proportions of the mixture will produce the different colors. Only at the surface of opaque bodies does the mixture of light appear visible and colored . Hence Aristotle says that color is the limit of the transparent in a defined body, 121 not a quantitative limit but a qualitative one spread throughout the whole body. The same nature which exhibits color outside , also exists within. Light plays a double role in reference to color : it enters into its composition as one of the ingredients along with the obscure constituent ; it also renders color visible in illuminating the exterior medium which is the vehicle of the influence of color upon the senses . 122 Thus both in the interior and on the surface during periods of darkness , color exists with all its intrinsic determinations realized . The luminous element comes either from the fiery composition or from an exterior light with which the body was previously impregnated . In this general context of mediaeval science Henry of Ghent , followed almost verbatim by Vital du Four, points out that there are three requirements for corporeal vision : ( 1) a light to illumine the eye ; (2) a species of color to stimulate the organ ; and (3) a configuration enabling the eye to discern . Light must excite the eye, because in a darkened organ the seeing power lies dormant, dulled as it were.123 Without light, even if a sensible species of color were

120 Aristotle, De Sensu II , 439a20 (Loeb ed . p 228) . 121 Aristotle, De Sensu II , 439a27—35 (Loeb ed . pp. 228—30). 122 De Anima II , 7 , 419a14 ; (Loeb ed . p . 107) : " For if one puts that which has color right up to the eye, it will not be visible. Color moves the transparent medium, e . g. , the air, and this, being continuous, acts upon the sense organ. " 123 Vital du Four, Q. VIII , p. 331 : "Potest autem hoc declari similitudine et ratione accipiendo similitudinem in visione corporali , in qua lux corporalis illustrat ad videndum alia a se. ... In visione enim corporali tria requiruntur: primum est lux illuminans potentiam et organum ad acuendum, secundum est species coloris immutans organum ad intuendum, tertius est configuratio determinans organum ad discernendum. Acuitionem oculi facit lux, quia in organo tenebroso iacet virtus visiva, quia obtusa. " Henry of Ghent, Summae, I , a. 1 , q. 3 , f. 9rB.


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

impressed, the eye would not be stimulated to see . Hence Aristotle said, “ Every color can produce movement in that which is actually transparent" ; 124 and it is through light that actual transparency arises. Coming directly from the colored body to the eye, the species causes sight. But light and color, by the mere fact that they are visible by themselves . cannot determine the figure of a visible object, so that one colored thing can be known distinctly and distinguished from another. Color produces distinctness of vision only insofar as it receives the figure (caracterem) or disposition of the body in which it inheres. This figure is transmitted by color when the species impresses the eye with the likeness of the object seen. The sensible species of color is a similitude by reason of the color and an image by reason of the figure. For a perfect act of understanding three analogous requirements must be met. God Himself is the spiritual light illumining the mind, exciting it to know. He is, secondly, a form or species which moves the intellect without inhering in it , for the soul is formed by truth itself without the interposition of any nature . Lastly, God is the character configuring the intellect so as to perfect it in its discernment . Full of all living and unchangeable principles, the divine art impresses and configures our mind as a seal does the wax. It contains the patterns (caracteres) and exemplars of all things that are made or can be made, so that through its configuration the mind can know the certain truth of anything at all.¹25 In its configuration of the mind the divine light does not inhere as a disposition of the mind , like a species of light or color inheres in the eye, or an intelligible species inheres in the intellect . Such an impression would be created and mutable and therefore unable to assure knowledge of the immutable truth. The light instead profoundly penetrates the mind , more intimately than any species or habitus. Through its penetration the divine light, as it wills and just

124 De Anima II , 7 , 418b1 (Loeb ed. p . 102) . 125 Vital du Four, Q. VIII , 332 : " Sic ex parte Dei ad perfectum actum intelligendi inveniuntur tria his tribus correspondentia . Ipse enim est lux spiritualis oculum mentis illustrans ad acuendum ; secundo est forma sive species immutans ad intuendum, non inhaerens, sed movens, quia, ut dicitur De spiritu et anima ' nulla interposita natura ab ipsa veritate formatur' ; tertio est figura sive caracter configurans intellectum ad discernendum ; est enim ‘ ars plena omnium rationum viventium, ' ut dicitur VI De Trinitate, quae ars imprimit et configurat mentem nostram ut anulus ceram.” Henry of Ghent, Summae, I , a. 1 , 3 , f.9rD.

The Problem of Illumination


as it wills, forms the mind to certain knowledge . Its intimate presence to the soul accomplishes whatever a species or a corporeal light could do.126 In thus explaining the effect of the divine light on the soul, Vital du Four and Henry of Ghent are in agreement with Roger Marston, and opposed to the position of Matthew of Aquasparta . The latter argued that the soul can have certain knowledge only if there is an inherence of the divine light . There must be, he maintained, some influence (influentia) or species through which the divine light moves the intellect ; otherwise the intellectual potency would not be actualized . The principle of certitude must needs be a form inhering in the intellect , but that form, of course, cannot be God. Matthew concludes that the essence of God is the effective principle of perfected knowledge, but the influence or species produced by the divine light is the formal principle of that knowledge. 127 Roger Marston charges that this position ill accords with Augustine's doctrine that all things are seen in the eternal light . He argues that what is effected in the soul does not differ essentially from the divine light or from the soul. Rather, it is by a passive impression that the mind formally understands unchangeable things after abstracting their species . Through this passive impression the mind is configured and conformed to the active impression of the uncreated light, 128

126 Vital du Four, Q. VIII, 332 : "Hanc autem impressionem seu caracterizationem non facit lux divina menti nostrae inhaerendo tamquam quaedam dispositio, ut species lucis vel coloris in oculo vel species in intellectu , sicut dixit praecedens positio, quia, ut arguebatur, tunc illa impressio, cum sit creatura, esset mutabilis et per consequens non posset esse medium ad cognoscendum immobilem veritatem ; sed hoc facit menti nostrae intimissime illabendo, intimius quam aliqua species vel habitus, et sic per illapsum mentem caracterizat ut vult et sicut vult ad notitiam sinceram, et sic facit intima eius praesentia intellectui quidquid faceret species vel lumen sensitivum." Henry of Ghent, Summae, I, a. 1 , q. 3, f. 9rD. 127 Matthew of Aquasparta, Quaest. Dispt. De Cog. , q. II , ad 16, p. 244 : “... dicendum quod immo, ubi est res ipsa, necessaria est sua species : quia etsi sit Deus intimus menti, tamen in ratione moventis necessaria est influentia vel species sua, qua mediante movet, quia (mens) non posset moveri nisi aliquid in ea fieret. Est etiam necessaria in ratione informantis : Deus enim non potest esse forma intellectus ; ratio autem cognoscendi forma est intellectui inhaerens." 128 Roger Marston, De Anima, q. 3, ad 15, p . 268 : " ... dicunt quidam quod necesse est ponere aliquod lumen influxum, in quo formaliter anima

13 John E. Lynch


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

After maintaining that the divine light conforms the mind to the eternal truth by an intimate penetration of the soul, Vital du Four hastens to show how in this life the light of the eternal truths differs from the beatific vision . Henry of Ghent used the illustration of sunlight, which can illumine an object either directly or by reflection.129 In the direct light the sun is both an object and a principle of vision . When the sun illumines by reflection, it is only a principle of vision.130 Similarly, the divine light illumines the mind to see truth in a twofold manner. It can enlighten the intellect directly, so that the object seen is the divine essence, the very light itself. Direct vision of the divine essence, however, does not take place in this life, because the intellect is too weak and myopic to bear the direct sight of such brilliance . The mind cannot look upon the divine light until it is loosed from the bonds of death and the weight of the body ; it must in this life see the light indirectly, as a reason for knowing . As a principle of knowledge the divine light is ordinarily disclosed indirectly. Just as the sun is indirectly manifested as it illumines

videat, quia, ut dicunt, oportet animam operationem suam exercere per aliquid sibi inhaerens . Unde concedunt quod effective cognoscit in Deo, sed formaliter in illo lumine . Isti, quantum capit parvitas sensus mei , non plus sustinent Augustinum dicentem et probantem quod omnia videntur in luce aeterna, quam illi quorum opinio est superius reprobata [e.g. , S. Thomae] . Illi etiam, qui talem influxum luminis ponunt , opinionem praedictam repudiant et refellunt tamquam veritati et doctrinae Sancti contrariam. Suppositis igitur prioribus fundamentis , facile est huic argumento respondere. Illud nempe inhaerens animae non est aliquid influxum differens ab ipso lumine vel ab anima essentialiter, sed impressio passiva est illud quo formaliter intelligit incommutabilia, adminiculantibus speciebus a phantasmatibus abstractis : per ipsam namque passivam impressionem activae impressioni lucis increatae configuratur et conformatur.” 129 Vital du Four, Q. VIII , 332-33 : “... lux corporalis dupliciter se diffundit a corpore luminoso ad oculum, scilicet uno modo directe, ut dum directe aspicio solem, et sic non solum illuminat ad videndum alia a se, sed etiam ad videndum se ipsam ; alio modo aspectu indirecto, ut dum primo se diffundi directo aspectu super visibilem colorem et secundo cum colore usque ad oculum, et sic illuminat ad videndum. " See Henry of Ghent, Summae, I, a. I, q. 3 , f. 9vE. 130 The light which illumines and is itself seen is strongly reminiscent of Plato's passage on the good in the Republic (IV, 19, 508 B) : "And again, the Sun is not vision, but it is the cause of vision and also is seen by the vision it causes. "

The Problem of Illumination


various objects, so the divine light is obscurely revealed as it illumines created truths. The divine light is diffused primarily upon the intelligible species and then upon the intellect to form there a perfect concept of the thing. This illumination may again be likened to corporeal light which is diffused primarily upon color in perfecting the act of sight ; for "color is perfective of sight in an illumined medium. "131 In like manner any intelligible being through its species can perfect the sight of the mind, so that the intellect will know infallible truths in the medium of the divine light . As color is not visible without the illumination of the diaphanum , so the truth of intelligible things cannot be seen without the radiation of the divine light, which signs (caracterizat) the intellect with a similitude and exemplar of the truth . In the divine illumination God Himself is not seen , but He is the reason for our seeing the truth . As Vital du Four says : .. the perfect principle for knowing truth that is certain, clear, and undiluted is the divine light insofar as it is the exemplar and rule of things, imprinting on the mind a word most similar to the truth of the thing outside. 182 The divine light so conforms the human mind that the idea abstracted from the thing most closely resembles God's exemplary idea of it. The conformity of the mind to things does not render superfluous the species that are abstracted from them. Without such a species the intellect would understand nothing . Whether the knowledge be general, special , or particular, it requires a form and a species. This species the divine light and exemplar illumines and impresses to manifest certain truth . 133 For a concept as it is formed

131 De Anima II , 7, 419a14. "" 132 Vital du Four, Q. VIII , 334 : ideo perfecta ratio cognoscendi veritatem certam distinctam et sinceram , est divina lux inquantum est exemplar et ars rerum imprimens ipsi menti verbum simillimum veritati rei extra." 133 Vital du Four, Q. VIII , 334-35 : " ... quam quidem formam et speciem , ut supra ostensum est per Augustinum, lux illa divina et exemplaris debet illustrare et cum ea in conceptu mentis ab participandum sinceram veritatem impressionem de se facere sicut lux corporalis illustrando colores cum eis facit impressionem ad informandum visum, ut sic verbum quod non est rei extrinsecae simillimum nec veritatis sincerae expressivum, dum formatur a re sive ab exemplari sive a specie formata a re, per adiutorium et formationem sive impressionem illius perfecti exemplaris divini sit verbum verum sincerae veritatis expressivum . "


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

from the object does not yet explicitly participate in truth, but through the impression of the perfect divine exemplar it comes to express certain truth. Thus the species and the divine light concur to produce perfect knowledge . The species abstracted from the thing disposes the mind to know by inhering in the mind . The divine exemplar, which is indeed the cause of the thing, neither disposes nor inheres, but penetrates the mind with an even fuller presence . Both species, the imperfect and the perfect , concur to become one principle of knowledge by which the mind is perfectly assimilated to the external thing. Just as in creation the First Truth seals the thing in its entitative truth so that it can exist, it also seals the mind in conceptual truth so that the thing can be truly known. It is through the same divine idea that the thing has truth in being and that the mind has truth in knowing the thing. A true concept is the expressed similitude of the external thing ; and both the concept and the thing are assimilated to the divine exemplar as two images stamped in different pieces of wax by the same seal . In a concept begetting perfect discernment of truth, the abstracted

exemplar may be considered as the material and incomplete part, the eternal exemplar as the formal and perfective element . Though furnishing the material element, the abstracted exemplar is an incomplete similitude and can lead only to incomplete knowledge. It is through the eternal exemplar that knowledge receives a perfect formation so that it will express the thing fully as does the divine exemplar itself.134 It is possible to speak of three kinds of truth : the truth of the divine exemplar, the truth of the thing produced from it , and the truth produced by both in the mental concept. The mind is formally called true insofar as its concept is conformed to each exemplar, just as the thing is called true to the extent that its entity is assimi-

134 Vital du Four, Q. VIII , 335 : " In conceptu autem huius verbi per quod a mente sincera veritas discernitur duo sunt consideranda, ut videatur quid in nostra consideratione agat exemplar aeternum et exemplar a re abstractum, scilicet aliquid materiale et incompletum et aliquid formale et completum. Exemplar enim abstractum in formatione verbi completi, sicut est incompleta eius similitudo , sic est materiale et incompletum ad cognoscendum complete rem ex puris naturalibus vel forte ad cognoscendum id verum quod solum ab exemplari aeterno recipit complementum et perfectam formationem, ut sit perfecta et expressa similitudo rei extra sicut ipsum exemplar divinum est perfecte repraesentans ipsam rem."

The Problem of Illumination


lated to the divine exemplar. The species or exemplar received from the thing is an imperfect principle of the true concept , whereas the divine exemplar is its perfect principle.135 As to the extent of the divine illumination, Vital du Four definitely sides with Henry of Ghent against those who would limit the impression of the eternal rules to first principles and speculative rules . 136 The latter recognize no impression or conformation of our concepts beyond what is abstracted from things through the corporeal light . Both Henry of Ghent and Vital du Four seem to be criticizing the opinion of St. Thomas. In the De Veritate the Angelic Doctor defends the position that the intellect receives knowledge from the senses . It is objected that , according to St. Augustine, our mind judges corporeal things according to the eternal reasons. St. Thomas replies that the first principles are indeed similitudes of the Uncreated Truth. Inasmuch as we judge in accordance with these principles , we can be said to judge through the unchangeable rules . 137 St. Thomas says elsewhere that the rules of right conduct which the impious see are the first principles of action ; they are

135 Vital du Four, Q. VIII , p. 335 : " Cum autem tale verbum sincerae veritatis formatum est ex duplici exemplari in anima, est ibi considerare tres veritates sibi correspondentes : primo veritatem exemplaris Dei, secundo veritatem rei productae ab illo, tertio veritatem in conceptu mentis ab utroque expressam, quae est tamquam conformitas utriusque ex ratione utriusque concepta et menti impressa, qua res formaliter vera nominatur, sicut res extra vera dicitur in quantum sua entitas divino exemplari assimilatur." 136 Vital du Four, Q. VIII , p . 336 : " Ex praedictis patet quod deficit illorum opinio qui dicunt quod ' prima principia et regulae speculativae sunt impressiones quaedam a regulis veritatis aeternae' et cum hoc non ponunt aliquam aliam impressionem sive informationem fieri in nostris conceptibus a luce aeterna nisi illam solam quae abstrahitur a re extra per lucem corporalem ." Henry of Ghent, Summae, I , a. 1 , q. 3 , f. 10VG. "" 137 St. Thomas, De veritate, 10, 6 ad 6 : ... prima principia quorum cognitio est nobis innata, sunt quaedam similitudines increatae veritatis ; unde secundum quod per eas de aliis iudicamus, dicimur iudicare de rebus per rationes immutabiles , vel veritatem increatam. Hoc tamen quod Augustinus ibi dicit, referendum est ad rationem superiorem, quae aeternis contemplandis inhaeret ; quae quidem, quamvis sit dignitate prior, est tamen operatio eius posterior, quia invisibilia (Dei) per ea quae facta sunt, intellecta, conspiciuntur. "


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

seen through the light of the agent intellect that is participated from God , just as are the first principles of the speculative sciences. 138 Vital du Four argues that such a narrow application of the divine light is insufficient . For unless our concepts are formed with the assistance of the eternal light, they will be incomplete and will not contain certain truth. Does not St. Augustine say: our mind is imprinted with that light as wax by a seal ? 139 The natural light of reason is inadequate without the radiation of the divine light . Just as an abstracted species cannot be a perfect exemplar, so the natural light cannot be a perfect source of illumination. Both need the perfective influence of the divine light . To find certain truth, Augustine counsels, do not go outside yourself, but turn within, transcend the discursiveness of the soul, tend in that direction from which the light of reason is enkindled . 140 Vital du Four's thought may be summarized as follows. A divine light must be posited to account for the apprehension of necessary and immutable elements in knowledge. Though abstraction cannot explain unquestionable certitude, it does furnish true knowledge ; otherwise man would be inferior to other creatures who are fully equipped by nature to carry out their proper operations. An abstracted species is far from superfluous, for without it the mind would know nothing. The senses , too , because they act in accord with natural laws apprehend what is true, even if they do not know why it is true. The judgment of truth must be based on a comparison, on a relation with an exemplar. Of the two exemplars , the one in the mind abstracted from things supplies true knowledge, while the eternal exemplar founded on the divine idea affords the reason for the truth of the thing. The truth of a judgment rests ultimately on its conformity with the eternal reasons. The divine light containing the eternal reasons completes the illumination of the possible intellect . It is a source of knowing

138 St. Thomas, De spiritualibus creaturis, 10, ad 9 : “ ... dicendum quod regulae illae quas impii conspiciunt, sunt prima principia in agendis, quae conspiciuntur per lumen intellectus agentis a Deo participati, sicut etiam prima principia scientiarum speculativarum." 139 St. Augustine, De Trinitate, 14, 15, 21 (PL 42 : 1052) . 140 St. Augustine, De vera religione, 39 , 72 ( PL 34 : 154) : "Noli foras ire, in teipsum redi ; in interiore homine habitat veritas ; et si tuam naturam mutabilem inveneris, transcende et teipsum. ”

The Problem of Illumination


insofar as it reveals other objects without being known itself. In the concept through which the mind attains certitude, the exemplar obtained from the thing is, as it were, the material element and the divine light the formal and complete principle. Unlike Roger Marston, Vital du Four does not say that God is the transcendent agent intellect illumining the mind, though he does draw an analogy between the individual agent intellect enabling the mind to know the object and the divine light enabling the intellect to comprehend truth . Unlike Roger, too , Vital insists that this light does not inhere in the soul, because it would then share the mutability of natural things. Rather the light penetrates the mind more thoroughly than any intelligible species . The light is intimately present to the soul and through this union the soul knows truth in its purity. The divine light bathes the intelligible species to form a perfect concept of the thing. It is not so much a moving force as a regulating norm impressing or conforming the mind . As an exemplar the divine light or the eternal reasons imprint the mind with a concept most similar to the object, as a seal imprints the wax. From the two exemplars, then, the abstracted and the divine, there issues one perfect knowledge . While the influence of the divine illumination is beyond the general concursus of God, it is vouchsafed in the common order to both the virtuous and the wicked in accordance with God's good pleasure. Apart from the divine illumination there is no way of reaching certitude.


This doctrinal and historical study has dealt with a less-known author in the thirteenth-century Franciscan School , Vital du Four. Following the famous condemnation of 1277 the Franciscans , under the banner of St. Augustine , sought to contain the naturalistic encroachments of the Aristotelians while taking account of the problems raised by the Stagirite.¹ During these troubled times, first at the University of Montpellier and then at the University of Toulouse, Vital du Four ably championed the cause of his Order. Our study has intended to investigate his doctrine of knowledge and thus assess the contribution of our author in the period between St. Bonaventure and Duns Scotus. Particular attention has been given to the philosophers who strongly influenced Vital du Four both positively and negatively. An investigation of this kind is called for since for centuries a number of Vital du Four's works were mistakenly attributed to Duns Scotus.

Many of the Scotistic commentators were misled

because of the importance attached to these unauthentic texts. The isolation and study of Vital du Four's thought will help to bring Scotus' own philosophy into clearer focus. It is interesting to note certain characteristic doctrines of the Subtle Doctor which our author expresses in rudimentary form five or ten years earlier. Such doctrines include : intuitive knowledge, the forma corporeitatis, the form of individual difference , and the formal distinction . In Vital du Four, furthermore, one finds a Franciscan who even before Scotus was powerfully affected by the philosophy of Henry of Ghent.3 An especially noteworthy feature of Vital du Four's philosophy is the epistemological significance attached to experience. All knowledge is grounded upon the soul's interior experience of itself. Around this experience all other knowledge revolves ; it is the start-

1 Chapter II , p. 28. 2 Introduction , p. 8 . 3 Chapter III , p. 61 .

The Significance of Vital du Four


ing point of the whole theory of knowledge. Our author's ultimate appeal on the rational level is to the experience and certitude that the soul has of its own acts. It is on the basis of introspection, for example, that Vital establishes the thesis that the soul is really identical with its faculties . Vital du Four is a difficult author to follow because of a dense style and a failure to indicate clearly when he is expounding the opinion of another and when he is speaking for himself. Like many scholastics of the period he often uses Aristotelian terminology with an alien meaning. The " agent intellect" which by "abstraction" produces a singular as well as a universal intelligible species is certainly not the agent intellect of Aristotle's De Anima .


there is the problem of having such a small corpus of writings to work with that adequate means of control are lacking. In the absence of any systematic work, one is restricted to disputed questions which cannot always give a complete or balanced expression of a man's thought. Within these limitations, however, one may find a respectable epistemology. Though it is permissible to speak of various faculties of the soul, Vital insists that it is the whole man who acts . It is not the intellect that thinks or the sense that feels, but man who exercises his activities by means of these powers . Vital du Four's epistemology is grounded on the unity of operation in which sense and intellect cooperate to know external reality. The intellect , in its role as the highest cognitive power, permeates the sense powers and perfects them in their operation. For example, it corrects their judgments in the case of optical illusions . Apart from the intellect , sensations are often deranged as in the case of a madman . Similarly, phantasms in sleep seem real until the intellect passes judgment . Under normal conditions the acts of the sense powers are impregnated with intelligibility. In perfecting the lower powers, the intellective potency is contracted by the particular sense. It sees a white object in the eye, it hears a sound in the ear. Two of Vital du Four's most characteristic themes, the unity of operation in man and the fundamental recourse to experience, are

4 ' • 7

Chapter V, p. 126. Chapter III, pp. 89–93. Chapter I, p. 20. Chapter II, p. 41 .


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

well developed in his position on the knowledge of singular things.Ⓡ It is a matter of basic experience that man acts as a unit in the apprehension of material things. The actual existence of an individual object is experienced by sense and is known in some way by the intellect. The singularity of the object , however, cannot be apprehended by sense, for sense distinguishes only notable differences. Rather the intellect concludes by a quasi-reasoning process that two individuals cannot be identical. Duns Scotus, intrigued by singularity, will develop his doctrine of haecceity to account for individual differences. Vital is more interested in the psychological fact of intellection, that is, in the link between intellect and singular object . The knowledge of singular things , as indeed all knowledge of external reality, must begin with a particular sensation . In concurrence with an actual sensation the intellect knows existence . Only so long as one is actually looking at a white object, for example, can the intellect be sure that the object exists. The apprehension of existence is a joint work of intellect and sense . The sense power grasps material reality by a sort of spiritual contact called " experience. " The intellect does not experience the thing, but it does know the same actuality present in sense because the intellect directly apprehends the sensation or motion which the sensible object makes. In and through that sensation the intellect knows the existing object . The intellect

does not extend its view

in a quasi-tactive way to the thing as it is external ; it knows the existent only as it is in sense . Sense both knows and experiences actual existence , while the intellect merely knows it . Only the inferior cognitive powers, the particular senses, experience external existence, and even among those senses there is a gradation of perfection. The tactile sense is the lowest because it requires a more immediate contact with its object . The very intimacy of the union in the sense of touch, however, assures that its apprehension is more certain than that of the other senses. Because of its experience of the object, the particular sense has a greater certitude of existence than the intellect , though the intellect does know such existence with certainty.⁹ In treating of the knowledge of singulars, Vital du Four offers one of the earliest and finest analyses of intuitive knowledge in the

8 Chapter II , pp. 33 ff. • Chapter II, p . 56 .

The Significance of Vital du Four


middle ages. The act of the intellect knowing actual existence is called intuition . The intellect knows intuitively by knowing a sensation in the bodily organ. This operation may be called organic per accidens. The intuition of a thing's existence precedes all other knowledge of it . The thing is known as a particular in and through the imagination. Sometimes the intellect knows the universal prior to the particular by abstracting directly from the sensible species before the imagination acts. 10 At other times it knows the particular first in the phantasm before it abstracts the universal. In any event, both intellect and sense have some knowledge of the singular before the universal is known. Both grasp the singular as an actually existing thing and through this knowledge the intellect comes to know the universal.

In vigorous opposition to Henry of Ghent, Vital du Four maintains that intelligible species are necessary for intellection on two counts : the materiality of the object and the absence of the object.11 First, because the species of sense and imagination are corporeal, they cannot move the intellect ; proportion is lacking between subject and object . In order for the object to be understood , it must be dematerialized . This spiritualization is effected by the agent intellect which abstracts or, better, multiplies the intelligible species. Such species are needed , secondly, to render the object present to the mind. In this life the intellect needs intelligible species for the knowledge of both material and immaterial things. In a separated state the intellect will need intelligible species for knowing things other than itself. The intellect understands both universals and particulars through an informing species, the former through universal species, the latter through particular ones. The species of singular things are "gathered " from sensation, from the species in sense , or from the imagination . From the singular species, in turn, the intellect may " gather" the species of the universal. St. Thomas denied a direct intellectual knowledge of singulars because the intellect must abstract from matter and material conditions, the principle of individuation . In flat opposition Vital du Four insists that the intellect does understand through species representing individuating notes. Singularity adds something over

10 Chapter II, p. 59. 11 Chapter III , pp. 80 ff.


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

and above the universal intention, and this the intellect apprehends. The intellect knows the singular in its particularity directly in and through the act of the imagination or through the knowledge left in the intellect when joined with sense.12 Duns Scotus will continue to opt for a prior knowledge of the singular. According to him, the intellect comes to an abstractive knowledge of the universal from the intuitive knowledge of the singular. Though all commentators do not agree, it seems that Scotus also requires a species for the intuitive knowledge of the singular. 13 Scotus' position on the phantasm is very much like that of Vital. In this life the intellect must depend upon the phantasm for knowledge of material things. The dependence is not absolute , for the intellect in its separated state will not need phantasms . The Franciscans found themselves at odds with the Aristotelians over the precise role of the object in the intellective act. The difficulty was to safeguard the reality of cognition without imperiling the transcendence of the soul. Whereas Thomas of York and John Peckham denied any causality to the object , Matthew of Aquasparta taught that the intelligible species comes from both the object and the intellect : the species is a likeness due to the object ; it is 14 sensible or intelligible according to the power that gives it being.¹ Though Vital du Four acknowledges that corporeal things in some way act on the soul so that the soul receives intelligible species from them, he is also anxious to maintain the active nature of cognition , prefering to say that the intellect forms itself rather than that it is formed by the species. 15 Objects act in an intentional or spiritual way by expressing their resemblances through species. The corporeal substance does not become spiritual, but through multiplication the representation of a material object can be given immaterial or intentional being in the soul. The object is not properly active, except in the sense that the species originates from it . The species does not act in virtue of itself, but in virtue of the soul and as its instrument. From the object the species has merely the capacity to represent . It has sensible or intelligible being from the particular cognitive power, which forms it as an efficient cause and which receives it as a subject. The cognitive powers, in con-

12 13 14 15

Chapter III , pp. 90 ff. Chapter V, p. 146. Chapter IV, pp . 96 ff. Chapter IV, p. 110.

The Significance of Vital du Four


figuring themselves to reality, necessarily receive something from it, but, what is more important, the soul makes the species in itself. The species receive subsistence from the soul and the soul receives from the species a certain qualified being. Vital du Four believes that his explanation enhances the unity of man and the order of the universe. The development of the soul through the assimilation of external reality is thus analogous to the growth of the body. The higher powers perfect the lower and through the power of the higher the lower contribute in turn to man's rational perfection . Since in his theory, too , understanding is more active than passive , Vital preserves intact the principle that it is more noble to act than to receive . Duns Scotus, with his wonted precision, will clarify the attempt of Vital to attribute more causality to the object without sacrificing the active nature of intellection . The Franciscan School does not accept without reservation the principle of Aristotle that all knowledge must come by way of the senses. Sensation is needed for the knowledge of corporeal things, but incorporeal things, such as the soul and God , are known through the soul. As did Matthew of Aquasparta , Vital du Four distinguishes three types of knowledge : reasoned or inferential knowledge, intuitive knowledge , and speculative knowledge.16 In reasoned knowledge the mind knows the existence of something from its effects. without knowing it directly . Intuitive knowledge derives from the actual presence of the object known , so that the mind contemplates the thing directly. Speculative knowledge considers the quiddity of the object apart from its particular conditions and presence. By reasoned or inferential knowledge the soul can know its own existence as well as the existence of other souls.17 After the soul first experiences or intuits its interior acts of willing and thinking, it can reason to its own existence with certainty. These acts are the basis for the soul's consciousness of its existence in a body. No species received through sensation is necessary for such knowledge. The nature of the act serves as a principle for knowing the nature of the soul . If the soul were in a body which it could not use in any way, it would not apprehend sensible species, but it could still know itself. Like prime matter the soul is pure potency insofar as it can

16 Chapter V, p. 124. 17 Chapter V, PP. 128 ff.


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

receive the forms of all intelligible things. It is unlike prime matter, however, in already having a form whereby it can be known. Since the soul has more being, more truth, more immateriality than any natural substance, it is more intelligible in its own right. Once the soul knows its own nature by reasoned knowledge, there is a second moment which terminates in an intuition. 18 Withdrawn from exterior things and reflecting on itself and its habits, the mind intuits itself in an intellectual vision. The fact that philosophers have erred about the nature of the soul does not mean that such an intuition is impossible, but that the intellect is too often absorbed with material things. To behold itself intuitively, the soul has to withdraw from all corporeal forms and images. However, before any intuition is possible, the soul must be aware of its acts through a lower interior power analogous to the particular sense which experiences those acts . In the first moment the soul knows its existence and nature without a species ; the soul's acts are a sufficient principle for such knowledge. But a species is necessary for intuitive knowledge because even though the soul and its habits are present to the soul, they are not present as knowable. When the intellect understands , it is related to its object in a new way. In the act of understanding itself the soul sets up a new relation to itself. Whereas it had previously been present to itself through its essence, it is now present as an object known through an expressed species. The expressed species is a substitute for the species abstracted from material things ; it is a principle for understanding spiritual reality. By reflecting on itself, the soul knows intuitively its own existence , nature, and habits. Intuitive knowledge has important epistemological significance. The soul's knowledge of itself is the principle of all certitude, “ the immobile center of truth which supports and around which swirls the stream of everything else that is known or conjectured . " 19 Since the soul cannot intuit itself without a prior knowledge of its acts, it is even more certain of its willing and thinking than it is of its powers ofintellect and will. The soul cannot be as certain of anything else as it is of its interior acts ; knowledge of these acts precedes all other knowledge . The soul does not know the nature of its acts

18 Chapter V, pp. 140 ff. 19 Chapter V, p. 126.

The Significance of Vital du Four


with the same certitude with which it experiences them. From the nature of the acts the intellect comes to know the nature of the soul . Again it does not know what the soul is with the same assurance with which it knows the existence of the soul. Like Matthew of Aquasparta, Vital maintains that the soul has intuitive knowledge of its essence with an intelligible species as the formal principle of that knowledge.20 Vital, however, does not require any sensation before the intellect begins to know itself ; the soul needs only its interior acts , which are directly experienced . Scotus will assert that the soul has a direct intuitive knowledge of the existence of its own acts, but not of its own essence. Scotus seems to have maintained that an intuition cannot take place without a species. The species renders the object present as knowable, but only the actual presence of the object accounts for the intuitive knowledge of its existence . Both Vital Du Four and Scotus recognize that the soul knows its own acts intuitively by means of a certain interior sense . For example, as soon as there is an act of the will , the soul experiences that act and is aware that it wills. Accordingly, only through its acts can the soul know itself. But unlike Scotus, Vital du Four sees no need for the soul to first abstract a species from the phantasm. In the Augustinian tradition Vital du Four accounts for necessity and infallible certitude in knowledge by a divine illumination.21 He agrees with Henry of Ghent that man by his natural powers can attain true knowledge ; otherwise nature would be deficient . The knowledge thus obtained may be imperfect , incomplete, and obscure, but it is nonetheless valid . Though abstraction may not be able to offer absolute certitude , it does furnish some degree of truth . The senses, too, because they act in accord with natural laws can apprehend what is true, even though they are subject to error. Truth consists in the conformity of a thing with its exemplar. Again following Henry of Ghent , Vital acknowledges two exemplars and, therefore, two ways of ascertaining the truth of a thing. One exemplar, the universal species in the intellect , is as variable and changeable as the thing from which it is abstracted . The divine. exemplar, on the other hand, is uncreated and unchangeable. Through the exemplar abstracted from the thing, the intellect can .

20 Chapter V, p. 145. 21 Chapter VI , pp . 158 ff.


The Theory of Knowledge of Vital du Four

have some true knowledge of the thing according as the intellect forms a verbum conformed to the thing. Such knowledge is not infallible because it originates from an object that is contingent . The abstracted exemplar is insufficient for the intellect to distinguish reality from apparent truth or from an illusory situation . For absolute certitude the mind must be able to discern the true from the false . It is only through the divine exemplar that infallible knowledge may be obtained . The divine exemplar alone offers the immutability and perfect discernment necessary for certitude . The divine exemplar according to which the thing was made is the reason for the truth of the thing. By comparing the thing with the divine exemplar the intellect has certain knowledge of the thing . In the knowledge of immutable truths there is a quasi-material element coming from experience which is mutable, such as the meaning of "whole" or of "part." Such knowledge comes through phantasms or species in the intellectual memory. The formal element comes from a divine illumination which provides the evidence of infallible truth through the eternal reasons or the divine ideas . As represented by intelligible species, the unchangeable truths are obscured by the soul's own mutability ; but seen in the eternal reasons, the unchangeable truths are revealed in their full immutability. The divine exemplar is a principle of knowledge rather than an object of knowledge. It is not seen directly because the intellect is too weak to bear the sight of such brilliance . Just as the sun is indirectly manifested as it illumines various objects , so the divine light is indirectly known as it illumines created truths. The divine light intimately penetrating the intellect functions as a regularizing norm more than as a moving force. Through this penetration God , as He wills and just as He wills, forms the mind to certain knowledge . This divine illumination is not natural, but is the result of divine benevolence . In creation the First Truth patterns the thing in entitative truth so that the thing can exist as a reflection of the divine exemplar. In certain knowledge the First Truth patterns the mind in conceptual truth . Certitude is guaranteed since it is through the same idea that the thing has truth in being and that the mind has truth in knowing. Though Vital du Four does rely extensively on the works of his predecessors , he offers analyses of some originality on : intuitive knowledge, the knowledge of singulars, the soul's knowledge of

The Significance of Vital du Four


itself, and the epistemological importance of experience . Since he taught at the University of Paris just a few years before his fellow Franciscan Duns Scotus, it is not surprising that his writings adumbrate some of Scotus' own philosophical positions. During his teaching career Vital struggled valiantly to maintain the traditional commitment of his Order to St. Augustine. But he did recognize the problems raised by Aristotelianism . Thus he took issue with Henry of Ghent who in the name of St. Augustine was rejecting much of Aristotle in order to achieve a purer Platonism. Though he upheld his Order's position on the plurality of forms, he did not hesitate to attack his confrère and fellow countryman, Peter Olivi , for holding that the rational soul was not the immediate form of the body. That Vital did successfully express the spirit of the Franciscan School is evidenced by the fact that for centuries his works were attributed to Duns Scotus, its greatest representative after St. Bonaventure. Attuned to that spirit , Vital du Four accentuated the primacy of intuition and the importance of the individual, themes which were to profoundly affect the history of philosophy and theology when they were articulated in the writings of a next-generation Franciscan, William of Ockham.

14 John E. Lynch


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Abstraction : 33 , 50-51 , 57-60, 78-84, 94-113 , 197-198. Agent intellect : 66-74, 104–113 , 165-171 . Algazel : 95, 204. Alexander of Alexandria : 4. Alexander of Hales : 54, 204. Angels : 38, 97, 120, 121 , 126, 179 . De Anima : 41 , 48 , 49 , 64, 80, 108, 109, 130, 159, 183 , 184, 185, 186, 189, 195 . Anselm , St.: 109, 120, 142, 174. Averroes : 66, 88 , 100, 104. Avicenna : 18 , 63 , 73 , 80, 95 , 118, 135, 153 , 165, 204 . Arguitive : 74, 119, 121 , 124-129, 131, 141 , 145. Aristotle : 29, 36, 38, 48, 52, 56, 62-66, 79, 80, 81 , 94-97, 109— 112, 194, 195, 200, 203 , 204. Augustine, St .: 8, 10, 28, 52, 62 , 63 , 77, 79, 84, 94-100, 105—113 , 120, 123 , 126—128 , 134 , 136–137, 140, 143-144, 149-152, 157 , 159-192 , 194, 201 , 203 . Balić, C.: 8. Bede, Venerable : 8. Being : 22, 37 , 43 , 46 , 53 , 58–60, III - 112 , 117–118 , 136 , 160, 173 . Bérubé, C .: 33-34 , 48 . Bettoni, E.: 67, 172. Boehner, P.: 75. Boethius : 97, 104. Bonansea, B. M.: 8. Bonaventure, St.: 31, 79, ΙΟΙ , 123-124 , 143 , 152-158, 163 , 194, 203, 204. Boniface VIII : 4. Bourgeois , R.: 61 , 67. Brampton, C. K.: 2 . Burbach, M.: 29.

Callebaut, A.: 2. Certitude : 55—56, 115—116, 119, 121-122, 126, 127–128, 138, 140-141 , 149-193 , 196, 200— 203. Clement V : 4—5. Collativa : 59—91 . Colligere : 90, 91 , 115. Connell, R.: 49. Continuatio : 29. Contuitio : 154. Contraction : 43, 45-46 . Crombie, A. C.: 44, 182 . Crowley, T.: 27. Day, S.: 146. Delicieux, B.: 7 . Delorme, F .: 7, 9, 79 . Democritus : 183 . Denifle : 4, 5, 28, 41 . Diaphanum : 73–74, 88 , 183–185, 189. Dominicans : 29, 149 . Doucet, V.: 8. Durandus : 67 . Duns Scotus : 8-9, 21 , 34, 38, 39, 48, 61 , 70—74, 80, 81 , 88, 94, III, 146-148, 158 , 160, 194 , 196, 198, 199, 201 , 203 , 204.

Ehrle, F.: 4, 15. Empedocles : 183 . Epistemology : 194-196, 200, 203 . Error : 42 , 50-51 , 69, 105 , 115—116, 118-119, 140, 149, 176, 181 , 195, 202 . Essence : 30, 39, 47 , 56, 63 , 66, 67, 76, 80, 116-117, 124—125 , 126— 127, 130, 132–133 , 141—146, 160, 200-20I . Eubel , C .: 4, 6, 7. Eustachius of Arras : 144, 204.


Exemplar : 175-176, 179–180, 186, 189-190, 192 , 201—202. Existence : 36, 38-39, 42—44, 51— 59, 63, 83-84, 90—93 , 128—129, 131, 133-135, 139, 146, 196—197, 199-201 . Experience : 39, 52-55, 58, 66, 92, 97, 105, 115, 129-130, 132-133, 136-137, 139, 141 , 147—148, 194-196, 203. Finke, H.: I. Forma corporeitatis : 194. Forma mixti : 18. Franciscans : 27, 33 , 46, 94, 123 , 146, 149, 157-158, 162 , 198, 199, 203. Friedemann, R.: 136.

Gardeil, A.: 131 , 152. Gendreau, B .: 152. Genus : 12, 17, 39, 44, 49, 54, 116, 160. Giles of Rome : 47, 74, 82, 86, 87, 113, 204. Gilson, E.: 21 , 27, 38, 66, 79, 123 , 131 , 143 , 146, 156, 157, 171 . Glorieux, P.: 8, 9. Godefroy, P.: 1, 3. Godfrey of Fontaines : 8, 204. Gomez Caffarena, J .: 65, 172. Gregory the Great, St.: 56. Habits : 86, III , 120, 126, 129–136, 138-139, 142–143 . Haecceitas : 39, 196. Harris, C. R. S .: 9 . Henry of Ghent : 48–50, 61-86, 89, 98, 160, 171-181 , 185 , 187 , 194, 197, 201, 203 , 204. Heynck, V.: 28 . Hilary, St.: 156. Hödl , L.: 16. Houde , R.: 50 . Illumination : 66, 126-127, 149193, 201 , 202. Imagination : 29-30, 50, 57, 59, 68, 70-73, 84, 91 , 92 , 99, 102, 103, 108, 136, 138 , 197–198 .


Immaterial : 40, 63, 77, 80, 89, 94-95, 120, 123-148, 199–200. Individuation : 11-12, 30-31 , 39— 40, 64, 70-71 , 91-92 , 196, 198, 202. Inferential knowledge : 124—125, 199-200. Influence : 45 , 154 , 161 , 187. Innatism : 66, 120, 127. Intentional : 50-51 , 62, 64-65, 70-72 , 76-77, 83 , 92 , 106, 108, 110, 117, 118, 198. Intuition : 59, 115 , 121-122 , 124 148, 196—197, 199, 200—201 , 203 . Jacobus de Carceto : 2 . Jerome, St.: 8. John XXII, Pope: 5-6 John Damascene, St.: 120. John of la Rochelle : 165, 204. John de Murro : 5 . John of Reading : 16. John Peckham : 98-101 , 119, 157, 198 , 205. John de Persora : 8, 10. Knowledge, a priori, a posteriori : 116, 126, 130 . Klubertanz, G. P.: 29. Kock, J.: 67. Lambert, M. D .: 7. Langlois, C. V.: 1 , 8. Liber de Causis : 97 . Litt, T.: 42. Longpré, E.: 9. Louis de Toulouse, St .: 5 . Lukasiewicz, J .: 46. Maier, A.: 102 . Mansion, S.: 28. Marcotte, J .: 31 . Maritain, J.: 114. Martin Alnwick : 4: Matter : 21-22 , 30-31 , 64, 72, 80-83, 89, 92 , 100, 103-105, 110, 115-116, 120-121 , 134, 136 , 140 .



Matthew of Aquasparta : 5, 31—32, 96, 101 , 125, 127, 156, 181 , 187, 198—199, 201 , 205. Meno : 168. Metempsychosis : 13. Michael of Cesena : 6-7. Microcosm : 42. Mollat, G.: 1 , 6. Montpellier : 2—3 , 194. Mullally, J.: 50. Multiplication : 89, 90, 101-103, 109, 111 , 116, 119, 198.

Nash, P.: 82, 113. Nature : 36, 201 . Object : 37, 39, 42-43, 51 , 52, 55, 56, 63, 64, 68, 69, 70—76, 79, 80, 85-87, 89, 92, 94—122, 134, 139, 144. Organic, non-organic : 44-45, 59, 69, 80, 99, 101 . Origen : 163. Owens, J .: 115. Partee, C.: 3 , 16, 21 . Particular : 31 , 37, 57 , 59–60, 72-73, 88, 89-91 , 97, 119, 197-198, 200. Paulus, J .: 49, 61 , 62, 172. Peghaire, J. 163 . Pegis, A.: 76, 160. Pelster, F.: 9 . Pelzer, A.: 2, 28. Percin, J.: 3. Peter Olivi : 3, 4, 10, 16, 103, 157158, 203 , 205. Phaedo : 63. Phantasm : 29, 50-51 , 59—60, 67, 69-73, 78, 81 , 88–89 , 92 , 96—97, 108, 142 166 197, 202. Philip the Fair: 4. Pisvin, A.: 34. Plato: 63-66, 94, 149, 151 , 172, 203. Plotinus : 149, 151. Plurality of forms : 35, 41 . Possible intellect : 68-74, 77-78, 81 , 91 , 96-97, 103-104 , 108— 110, 117, 120.

Potency : 68, 72 , 84, 97 , 112—113, 129, 135, 141 , 143, 145. Preiswerk, A : 28. Presence : 40-41 , 55, 63, 71, 72—74 , 77, 83-84, 86, 92 , 108, 112—113, 142-146, 199, 201. Prezioso, A.: 96, 98. Prime matter : 131 , 199 .

Ratiocinativa : 54. Raymond Rigault : 2. Reflexio : 29, 50. Reflexive : 45, 50, 58, 91 , 122, 137. Richard of Conington : 4. Richard of Middleton : 16, 205, 211. Robert Kilwardby : 15, 205. Robert of Leicester : 6. Roger Bacon : 27 , 28, 116, 205. Roger Marston : 32-33, 61 , 97—98, 157, 165—171 , 187–188, 193 , 205. Rohmer, J.: 54, 124, 165. Ross, W. D.: 184. Ryan, J. K.: 8. Scientific knowledge : 37-38, 44, 46, 53-54, 88, 112, 128. Sensation : 12, 18—23, 36—37, 40, 51 , 54-56, 60, 68—72, 90, 92, 101 , 194-197, 199–202 . Sight (sense of) : 37–38, 39, 42, 44, 46, 55-56, 68, 69–71 , 73 , 75, 99, 142, 150—151 , 182—186. Simon, Y. R.: 50. Simonin, H. D.: 33—34. Singular: 27-61 , 67, 75, 91-92, 103-104, 195–202 . Soul (intellective or rational) : 11– 26, 108, 112—113 , 125, 160. Soul's knowledge of itself : 63, 120, 121—122, 123-148, 149 , 195, 199-201 , 202–203 . Species (class) 12, 39, 47, 57, 166. Species : 64, 82-83 , 85, 95, 107— 113 , 133, 136, 141—146. collecta : 121 . connate : 120. expressed : 49, 50, 71 , 77, 80, 120— 121 , 141-142, 144-145, 200.

Index impressed: 49, 50, 61-63, 68, 70-78, 83-85, 88, 135, 145. infused : 120. intelligible : 47—49, 52, 61—122, 142, 146, 166, 172 , 193 , 197— 199, 201. imaginative : 119 recollecta : 120. sensible : 55, 56, 60, 92, 94, 100, 105, 106, III , 112, 118, 119, 135, 197. singular: 32, 50. Speculare : 43, 45—46. Spettmann, G.: 157. Stegmüller, F.: 1 . Stella, P.: 61 . Stromberg, J. S.: 31 . Subsistence : III . Substance : 33, 40, 45, 65, 70, 72, 87, 99, 100, III , 113—122, 127— 129, 136, 138.

Thomas Aquinas, St.: 28, 29, 30, 47, 86, 92, 101 , III , 113, 123, 129136, 139, 144, 147, 191 , 197, 205. Tillier, J. C.: I. Timaeus : 115. Tonquedec, J. de : 182, 184.


Touch (contact) : 37, 41 , 46, 52, 55-56, 89. Toulouse : 3, 10, 194. Vielle, C.: 3. Vienne, Council of : 4 . Vis aestimativa : 118. Vital du Four, works of : 2—3 , 7—10, 195, 205-206 . Vos, A. M. de : 28. Unity of operation in man : 20—22, 34, 39, 44, 46, 53, 59, 91 , 102, 108, 195-197, 199. Universal : 27, 31 , 37, 45, 48–51 , 53, 57-60, 64, 70-78, 83, 88, 91-93, 97, 103 , 131 , 197. Universal cause : 41-42, 45, 53, 54. Universal species : 48, 91-174.

Walmsley, C.: 6. William of la Mare : 28, 46, 205. William of Ockham : 6, 7, 27, 67, 75, 146, 158 , 203. Will : 88, 112, 134-147 , 200-201 . Zavalloni, R.: 16.