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BOOK REVIEWS 339 man is an ass' as an instance of the rule 'An exclusive proposition is convertible with a universal affirmative proposition when the terms are transposed' (chap. 4, sec. 2, p. 272). Ockham's commentaries on Aristotle's Physics are important sources for his natural philosophy , and Left relies almost exclusively on the Summulae Physicorum and secondary sources for the material in chapter 9. In consulting these works, however, it is important to heed Ockham's opening caveats that he is concerned there to expound the opinions of Aristotle as he understands them, whether or not they agree with the Faith. Left misreads Ockham's purpose as that of "expounding nature according to Aristotle's principles and in conformity with Catholic truth" (chap. 9, p. 565; italics mine) and later marvels that "when... he says that matter as it exists is ingenerable and incorruptible, he appears to be sailing close to the theological wind..." (chap. 9, sec. 2, p. 574). Relying on a secondary source, Left says that Ockham thought it possible that matter should exist independently of any and every form (ibid.). But when Ockham is stating Aristotle's opinion, he denies it (both in Summulae I, chap. 19, and the Expositio I, T. 82 and II, T. 11). So far as Ockham's own opinion is concerned , I suspect that he would follow Scotus in affirming it, but I have found no passage in his other works where he explicitly does so. Left does not attempt, and the reader will not find, any striking new interpretive theses in this book. Rather, he confines himself for the most part to rejecting the more outrageous charges customarily brought against Ockham. Many of his remarks are right-headed and should serve as an effective antidote to earlier misrepresentations. But some are less clear than they might be and others are simply mistaken. For example, although much that Leff has to say in chapter 5 helps to place Ockham's negative estimate of what can be proved in theology in its proper context, he closes with a hopelessly obscure argument for the false conclusion that Ockham is inconsistent when he allows the possibility of an infinite chain of producing, but not of conserving, causes (sec. 6, pp. 397-398). Again, Left tells us that in Ockham's estimate, his predecessors saw a problem about God's foreknowledge because they confused God's infallibilitywith certainty (chap. 6, sec. 4, p. 449). Yet, as he acknowledges a few pages later (p. 452), Ockham asserts the infallibilityas well as the certainty of God's knowledge of future contingents; what he denies is its necessity. Again, although Left abandons the old caricatures of "Ockham's omnipotent God," his opening remarks in chapter 7 still maintain that God's omniscience is necessary in a way that His omnipotence is not (sec. 1, p. 455). Yet 'God is omniscient' and 'God is omnipotent' are both necessary truths, because omniscience and omnipotence are alike essential properties of the necessarily existent God. Similarly, 'God has the power to create a stone' and 'God conceives of a stone' are necessary. But 'God knows that a stone exists' and 'God wills that a stone exists' are both contingent. Nor does the latter have more "existential import" than the former (as Left suggests it does); for both entail 'A stone exists'. On the whole, then, the present volume is not distorted by any interpretive ax-grinding, but it is flawed by lack of clarity and precision in expounding Ockham's thought. Someone who wishes to undertake his own study of Ockham will find Left's book a useful topical index to Ockham's works. As a summary, it should be consulted with caution and should not be relied on where topics in theory of knowledge and logic and their applications are concerned. MARILYNMcCORD ADAMS University of California, Los Angeles Francesco Patrizi da Cherso: Lettere ed opuscoli inediti. Ed. Danilo Aguzzi Barbagli. (Florence: Istituto Nazionale di Studi sul Rinascimento, 1975. Pp. xxxiii + 569. Life 10,000) Francesco Patrizi of Cherso, the famous sixteenth-century philosopher renowned for his 340 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY vigorous opposition to Aristotelianismand for the ecclesiastical censure of his...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 339-341
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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