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666 BOOK REVIEWS prayer for things to have already happened) is in no way to diminish the praise that is due for a fine book, well-researched historically and cogently argued philosophically. Fordham University Bronx, New York JOSEPH W. KOTERSKI, S.J. The Life and Thought of Siger of Brabant, Thirteenth-Century Parisian Philosopher: An Examination of His Views on the Relationship of Philosophy and Theology. By TONY DODD. Lewiston, N.Y.: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1998. Pp. 531. $119.95 (doth). ISBN 0-7734-8477-9. The standard full-length studiesofthe foremost thirteenth-centuryAverroist philosopher, Siger of Brabant, have been, faute de mieux, those of Pierre Mandonnet, O.P. (1898; 1908, 1911) and of le feu Chanoine Fernand van Steenberghen (1939, 1942). Now we have a new full-length study, by Professor Tony Dodd of the University of Exeter. It is practically no less flawed, unfortunately, than its predecessors. Nevertheless, it contains extensive, nearly complete bibliographies and other useful information about Siger. Dodd covers four well-chosen, specific subjects in Siger: the intellect, determinism and free will, divine providence, and the {past) eternity of the world. Before attacking those four, however, Dodd makes a number of general observations about Siger and his times. Some of these contain factual errors. For example, he mentions the "flatness of the world" as part of the medieval world view. In fact, medieval scientists knew very well, primarily from observation of lunar eclipses, that our earth is "round." He speaks of "Alexander of Hales' own Summa theologiae" as if it had been written by Alexander (it was not). In a most serious error, he confuses the Golden Age of Scholasticism (the time of Siger and Thomas Aquinas) with the baroque Scholasticism of recent centuries: he says, "All formal argument and discussion were officially undertaken in syllogistic form." The typical form of thirteenthcentury philosophico-theological writing or discourse was not the syllogism but the question (quaestio). Amore solid knowledge of the background of medieval thought might have helped Dodd in an important respect: namely, to show how and why Siger is a thoroughly medieval man. His book fails to do that, and thereby fails to give a complete portrait of Siger as philosopher. In general, Dodd's treatment of the intellect in Siger is accurate and helpful, drawing on many pertinent texts and providing good translations (with very infrequent errors; e.g., rendering a "cum clause" as causal where it must be BOOK REVIEWS 667 concessive). He provides useful information about Siger's being influenced by St. Thomas, and emphasizes, quite rightly, that Siger disagreed with Averroes on the intellect by the time he wrote what is probably his last surviving work, the Commentary on the Liberde causis. Nevertheless, on certain points Dodd's presentation distorts Siger's relation both to Aristotle and to Thomas. Not far into his treatment of Siger and the human intellect Dodd writes, "Aristotle's metaphysics ... demands that, since matter is the principle of individuation, there can ... be [only] one unique intellect if it is truly spiritual." Agrave problem: how has he failed to consider Aristotle's "separate movers"? According to Aristotle there are either more than forty or more than fifty of them (depending on how many celestial motions the astronomers will decide that there are). Of course they are distinct from each other, individuated. Yet they have no matter at all; they are pure intellect, or we may say, purely spiritual. Missing that last point leads implicitly to the conclusion that Aristotle must not have believed that individual humans have their own intellect. Averroes did believe that Aristotle actually taught that there is only one intellect, a separate being after the manner of the separate movers, for all mankind; however, this is not because of an idea that matter is indispensable for individuation, but because of his interpretation of a famous, difficult passage at the beginning of book 3, chapter 4 of Aristotle's De anima (a mysterious question on the kind of separateness of the human intellect). Dodd speculates that Siger's change of his view on the oneness of the intellect was influenced by fear of the censors. The simpler explanation is that Siger has been...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2473-3725
Print ISSN
0040-6325
Pages
pp. 666-669
Launched on MUSE
2017-04-05
Open Access
No
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