2. The Nature of Metaphysics
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CHAPTERI T W O The Nature of Metaphysics I Text [Scientia Metaphysicae] Sic, si omnes homines natura scire desiderant, ergo maxime scientiam maxime desiderabunt. Ita arguit Philosophus I huius cap. 2.1 Et ibidem subdit: "quae sit maxime scientia, ina scilicet quae est circa maxime scibilia." Maxime autem dicuntur scibilia dupliciter: vel quia primo omnium sciuntur sine quibus non possunt alia sciri; vel quia sunt certissima cognoscibilia. Utroque autem modo considerat ista scientia maxime scibilia. Haec igitur est maxime scientia, et per consequens maxime desiderabilis.... [M]axime scibilia primo modo sunt communissima, ut ens in quantum ens, et quaecumque consequuntur ens in quantum ens. Dicit enim Avicenna I Metaphysicae cap. 5 a2 quod "ens et res imprimuntur in anima prima impressione, quae non acquiritur ex aliis notioribus se." Et infra b: "quae priora sunt ad imaginandum per se ipsa sunt ea quae communia sunt omnibus , sicut res et ens et unum. Et ideo non potest manifestari aliquod horum per probationem, quae non sit circularis." Haec autem communissima pertinent ad considerationem metaphysicae secundum Philosophum in IV huius in principio:3 "Est scientia quaedam quae speculatur ens in quantum ens, et quae huic insunt secundum se," etc. Text from the prologue, Questions on the Metaphysics nos. 16-18, 32-33. Currently this text is accessible in Vives, vol. 7; a critical edition, upon which our text is based, is forthcoming from the Franciscan Institute . 1. Aristotle, Metaphysics 1.2.982a30-b3. 2. Avicenna, Liber de Philosophia prima sive Scientia divina 1.5, in Avicenna Latinus, ed. S. Van Riet, 31-33. 3. Aristotle, Metaphysics 4.1.1003a21-22. I 18 19 I The Nature of Metaphysics [The Science of Metaphysics] If all men by nature desire to know, then they desire most of all the greatest knowledge or science. So the Philosopher argues in chap. 2 ofthe first book ofthis work [Metaphysics]. And he immediately indicates what the greatest science is, namely, that science which is about those things that are most knowable. But there are two senses in which things are said to be maximally knowable: either because they are the first of all things known, and without knowing them nothing else can be known; or because they are what are known most certainly. In either way, however, this science is about the most knowable. Therefore, this is most of all a science and, consequently, most desirable.... What is most knowable in the first way is what is most common , such as being as being and its properties. For Avicenna says in book 1, Metaphysics, chap. 5: that (a) "being and thing are impressed in the soul with the first impression, and they are not acquired from anything more knowable than themselves"; and below (b) "those prior things that are imagined through themselves are the things that are most common of all, such as thing and being and one. And hence they cannot be made evident through any proof that is not circular." These most common things are considered by metaphysics, according to the Philosopher in the beginning ofbook 4 ofthis work [Metaphysics]: "There is a science that deals theoretically with being as being and with what characterizes it as such," etc. 20 I C HAP T E R TWO Cuius necessitas ostendi potest sic: ex quo communissima primo intelliguntur-ut probatum est per Avicennam4-sequitur quod alia specialiora non possunt cognosci nisi illa communia prius cognoscantur. Et non potest istorum communium cognitio tradi in aliqua scientia particulari-quia qua ratione in una, eadem ratione in alia (cum ens et unum dicantur aequaliter de omnibus, X huius),5 et ita idem multotiens inutiliter repeteretur-igitur necesse est esse aliquam scientiam universalem , quae per se consideret illa transcendentia. Et hanc scientiam vocamus metaphysicam, quae dicitur a "meta," quod est "trans," et "ycos"6 "scientia," quasi transcendens scientia, quia est de transcendentibus. [Lloquimur de materia "circa quam" est scientia, quae dicitur a quibusdam7 subiectum scientiae, vel magis proprie obiectum, sicut et illud circa quod est virtus dicitur obiectum virtutis proprie, non subiectum. De isto autem [subiecto veIl obiecto huius scientiae ostensum est prius quod haec scientia est circa transcendentia; ostensum est autem quod est circa altissimas causas. Quod autem istorum debeat poni proprium eius obiectum, variae sunt opiniones, ideo de hoc quaeritur primo: Utrum proprium subiectum metaphysicae sit ens in quantum ens (sicut posuit Avicenna)8 vel Deus et Intelligentiae (sicut posuit Commentator Averroes).9 4. Avicenna, Liber de Philosophia prima sive Scientia divina 1.5. 5. Aristotle, Metaphysics 10.2.1053b25-26...


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Subject Headings

  • Knowledge, Theory of.
  • Duns Scotus, John, ca. 1266-1308.
  • Metaphysics.
  • God (Christianity) -- History of doctrines -- Middle Ages, 600-1500.
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