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BOOK REVIEWS 525 Although it has adequate discussions of Boethian logic (predication, categories, etc.) and metaphysics (being, nature of God, divine eternity, providence, evil, etc.), it omits any reference to Boethius' scientific or strictly theological thought. Moreover, important doctrines for subsequent developments such as the doctrines of universals and individuation found in the key texts from the Commentary on Porphyry's Isagoge and De Trinitate are not given serious consideration. In addition, some of the terminology used by Obertello in describing Boethius' metaphysical doctrines ("gnoseological realism," etc.), derived from contemporary philosophical traditions, does not seem entirely appropriate for an historical undertaking of this kind. The section ends with a discussion of Boethius as Christian thinker, summarizing Obertello's aim at presenting him as "the last of the classics and the first of the scholastics." The second volume of the set comprises the most complete bibliography on Boethius to date. It has two parts. The first, concerned with Boethius proper, is divided into six sections covering the following areas: editions of Boethian works, translations (Italian, Anglosaxon and English, French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Greek, Hungarian, Polish, Catalan, Flemish, and Hebrew), biographical data, studies and works, textual tradition and literary value, studies of Boethius' thought and sources, and the fate of his work and thought. All the entries of this first part of the bibliography, excepting the sections dedicated to editions, translations and studies on them are carefully annotated, their contents summarized and evaluated. In some cases the comment becomes in fact a critical review of the source, bringing to bear in its discussion other pertinent scholarly views and contributions . The second part of the bibliography is a general survey of the literature dealing with Boethius' time and predecessors. Its object, consistent with the general aim of the whole work, is to facilitate the understanding of Boethius through an understanding of his times. Like the first part, it is divided into six sections covering the following areas: historical sources of the times (Cassiodorus, Procopius, Ennodius, Anonimus Valesianus, Giordanus , and sources for religious history), historical background (Rome, the Barbarians, the Empire, the Church, Christianity), Greek philosophy (Plato, Aristotle, Aristotelian tradition, and scholasticism), Neo-Platonism (Plotinus, Porphyry, Iambicus, and Proclus), Christian Neo-Platonism in the West (Marius Victorinus, Augustine, and Chalcidius) and Medieval thought. All items in the bibliography are numbered according to section and place within section in order to facilitate their locazion. The volume closes with a complete index of authors. A subject index would have been helpful, but it is not added. Severino Boezio is without a doubt an important work, useful not only to the scholar directly concerned with Boethius, but to the historian of the thought of the period as well. The first volume is a solid contribution which summarizes and often settles many puzzling problems surrounding Boethian scholarship; the second is a necessary tool and point of departure for all future scholars interested in Boethius or his times. Moreover, Obertello's emphasis on understanding Boethius through his times and sources is a new and refreshing approach in Boethian studies, which in the past have tended to view Boethius only in terms of his influence on the Latin Middle Ages. JORGEJ. E. GRACtA SUNY, Buffalo Descartes' Philosophy o/Nature. By James Collins. American Philosophical Quarterly Monograph Series, No. 5. (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1971. Pp. viii 4- 99. Paper, $6.00) James Collins demonstrates that Descartes' philosophy of nature is a central theme in Cartesian metaphysics. He writes first of the formation of the Cartesian theory of nature before it is integrated, and then he discusses its incorporation into the metaphysical system . Descartes' theory of nature is central because in its development Descartes probes the 526 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY limits of man's possible knowledge of reality. Concentrating primarily on questions of material nature, Collins illuminates some of the most difficult problems of Cartesian metaphysics . His study is valuable, particularly for its structural formulation, but the work suffers, I believe, from Collins' seeming reluctance to state the crucial problems explicitly, and from his unclarified adherence to a multiplicity of Cartesian phrases to refer ambiguously to various undetermined aspects of material nature. Collins first considers nature in general: In making a general...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 525-528
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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