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BOOK REVIEWS 313 center of book II consists of a series of dialectical encounters with rival conceptions of creation and creatures. Given what he has already asserted about the intimate link between books I and II, it seems natural to suppose that rival conceptions of creation and creatures reflect differing conceptions of the divinity. If that is so, then we shall have to reject his central thesis about the inquiry of ScG I-II: namely, that it teaches generic theism. THOMAS S. HIBBS Boston College Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts Les principes des choses en ontologie medievale (Thomas d'Aquin, Scot, Occam). By MICHEL BASTIT. Bordeaux: Editions Biere, 1997. Pp. 361 + vii. In this study, Michel Bastit, a professor of philosophy at the University of Bourgogne, attempts to arrive at a comparative perspective on medieval metaphysics whereby he may render a philosophical judgment upon the thought of the three outstanding Scholatic authors mentioned in the book's subtitle: Thomas Aquinas, John Duns Scotus, and William of Ockham. Professor Bastit is clear that, although he uses historical data and texts to arrive at descriptions of his subjects, he does not intend to trace historical linkages between the authors or to place them in historical context in any detailed manner. To do so, he feels, would be to become a prisoner of historical study and to forego the more challenging and valuable task of making a philosophical judgment about the thought of the authors studied (15). In order to achieve the comparative perspective required for making his philosophical evaluation, Bastit examines themes treated by each of the authors, themes arising from the authors' common acceptance of Aristotelian doctrines in the areas of metaphysics and natural philosophy. In the first part of the work, subdivided into two chapters, he examines wisdom and the orders of being and discourse; in the second part of the work, subdivided into four chapters, he treats ofdetermination, fulfillment, hylomorphic composition, and ontological composition; and in the final part, subdivided into three chapters, he studies wisdom and prudence, order and will, and the conflict of freedoms. Although the first two parts are genuinely comparative in the sense that each of the authors is discussed immediately in reference to the common theme being treated, the final part breaks with this pattern by devoting its first chapter to Aquinas, its second to Scotus, and its last to Ockham. In approaching Aquinas on the subject of wisdom or first philosophy, Bastit characterizes the fundamental issues as being: (1) whether, in light of the 314 BOOK REVIEWS conflict between Aristotle and traditional Augustinian teaching, to reduce Aristotelianism to a general ontology above which to place a revealed theology or to think through a natural onto-theology that would subsequently be surpassed by theology but would yield analogical concepts useful to it; and (2) whether or not Aristotelian onto-theology is a competitor to or an ally to faith and sacra doctrina (19-20). To Bastit, Aquinas seems to give both philosophy and sacra doctrina their due: philosophy follows the order of things and reaches thereby some conclusions about God; it does not need to turn to theology to find solutions to its own problems. Likewise, theology reveals not only truths surpassing altogether what human reason might know, but also truths knowable, in principle, by human reason. (21) As to the subject-matter of metaphysics proper, Bastit, while recognizing that St. Thomas identifies that subject as ens in communi, sees the assurance for the unity of metaphysical knowledge in the causes and principles of ens in communi, namely the immaterial substance that is God. Thomas's position on the manner in which God enters into metaphysics as a subject of discourse means for Basitit that Aquinas is actually moving away from the Avicennian position to one similar to that of Averroes. It is the use of causality by Aquinas in showing the existence of God, however, that gives metaphysics its truly transcendental character, and the foundation for discourse about God is the discovery of the Unmoved Mover in the study of physics (25-26). Turning to Scotus, Bastit focuses his attention initially upon the prologues of the Lectura and the Ordinatio. In these texts, which are...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2473-3725
Print ISSN
0040-6325
Pages
pp. 313-320
Launched on MUSE
2017-04-05
Open Access
No
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