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Ens rationis from Suarez to Caramuel

A Study in Scholasticism of the Baroque Era

Daniel D. Novotny

Publication Year: 2013

The influence of the Spanish Jesuit Francisco Suarez (1548-1617) on 17th-century philosophy, theology, and law can hardly be underestimated. In this groundbreaking book, Daniel D. Novotny explores one of the most controversial topics of Suarez's philosophy: "beings of reason." Beings of reason are impossible intentional objects, such as blindness and square-circle. The first part of this book is structured around a close reading of Suarez's main text on the subject, namely Disputation 54. The second part centers on texts on this topic by other outstanding philosophers of the time, such as the Spanish Jesuit Pedro Hurtado de Mendoza (1578-1641), the Italian Franciscan Bartolomeo Mastri (1602-73), and the Spanish-Bohemian-Luxembourgian polymath Juan Caramuel de Lobkowitz (1606-82). The book should be of interest not just to those concerned with beings of reason but also for all those with a broader interest in the history of the period. It is written in a clear style that will make it appealing both to historians of philosophy and to anyone interested in applying analytical tools to the history of philosophy.

Published by: Fordham University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xx

Famously, within the tradition of twentieth- century analytic philosophy, Bertrand Russell’s elimination of apparent ontological commitments to nonexisting objects was for de cades thought to be the defi nitive answer to the question of nonbeing/intentional- being. Perhaps equally famously, however, a number of contemporary logicians and ontologists, drawing especially on the work of ...

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1 Scholasticism of the Baroque Era

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pp. 1-22

In this chapter I briefly discuss the broader historical context of the texts analyzed in this book. Although the chapter provides some information on Baroque scholastic culture, which these texts belong to, it is by no means intended to be a short history of Baroque scholasticism. The chapter offers only preliminary and general considerations with elementary bio-bibliographical ...

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2 Problems Posed by Beings of Reason

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pp. 23-35

Having discussed the historical context of the scholasticism of the Baroque era and the motivation for investigating it, I introduce in this chapter the main philosophical target of my study, namely ens rationis (being of reason). I will do so from a systematic point of view, attempting to make this chapter accessible even to those who are not interested too much in philosophical...

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3 Suárez’s Objectualism: The Nature of Beings of Reason

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pp. 36-57

The aim of the following three chapters (3– 5) is to provide the reader with a thorough understanding of Suárez’s theory of beings of reason, a peculiar version of Objectualism. The present chapter deals with a somewhat broad range of issues centered on the question of what beings of reason are. I have subsumed these issues under the heading “nature.” The chapter is divided ...

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4 Suárez’s Objectualism: The Causes of Beings of Reason

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pp. 58-79

In this chapter I deal with Suarez’s views on the causes of beings of reason. Suárez takes up the question of causes in section 2 of Disputation 54. His discussion is divided into three parts; the sections of this chapter are divided accordingly. First, Suárez argues that beings of reason can have only an effi cient cause, though he then seems to qualify this claim rather substantially ...

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5 Suárez’s Objectualism: The Division of Beings of Reason

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pp. 80-110

In this chapter I deal with Suárez’s views on the division of beings of reason and also provide an overview and evaluation of Suárez’s entire theory. The chapter is divided into five parts. First, I discuss Suárez’s views on whether the traditional division of beings of reason into negation, privation, and relation...

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6 Hurtado’s Fallibilism

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pp. 111-137

The aim of the following three chapters (6– 8) is to provide detailed accounts of some of the theories of beings of reason that emerged in Baroque scholasticism after Suárez. In the present chapter I focus on the theory of beings of reason of Pedro Hurtado de Mendoza (1578– 1641) who was a younger Jesuit colleague of Suárez at the Salamanca College. Hurtado takes up beings ...

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7 Mastri/Belluto’s Modified Objectualism

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pp. 138-163

In this chapter, I deal with the theory of beings of reason of Bartolomeo Mastri (1602–73) and Bonaventura Belluto (1600–76). Mastri and Belluto (henceforth Mastri/Belluto) were two Italian Franciscan Conventuals and selfprofessed Scotists. Mastri/Belluto take up beings of reason at two occasions, first in their...

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8 Caramuel’s Linguistic Eliminativism

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pp. 164-179

In this chapter I deal with the theory of beings of reason of Juan Caramuel y Lobkowitz (1606– 82). Caramuel was a Luxemburgian- Czech Cistercian, born in Spain, who distanced himself from all established philosophical schools of the Baroque era (he often praised Thomas Aquinas but explicitly denied being a Thomist). Caramuel takes up beings of reason on several occasions, lastly in ...

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Conclusion: Lessons from the History of Philosophy

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pp. 180-184

During the Middle Ages, beings of reason were discussed in various contexts: logical (second intentions), epistemological and metaphysical (universals), natural (privation as a principle of change), ethical (evil), and theological (God’s relation to creatures). These discussions were normally affected by their contexts and prompted by concerns with other philosophical problems. Until the publication Suárez’s Disputation 54 (1597), there seems to have...

Appendix: Outlines of the Treatises

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pp. 185-192


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pp. 193-270


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pp. 271-290


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pp. 291-300

E-ISBN-13: 9780823250370
Print-ISBN-13: 9780823244768
Print-ISBN-10: 0823244768

Page Count: 302
Publication Year: 2013

Edition: Text
Series Title: Medieval Philosophy: Texts and Studies (FUP)