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WALTER CHATTON VS. AUREOLI AND OCKHAM REGARDING THE UNIVERSAL CONCEPT For some time scholars have been aware of the role Walter Chatton played in causing William of Ockham to revise his opinion concerning the nature of the universal concept.1 In his early treatment, the so-called 'redactio incompleta' of his commentary on / Sentences, Ockham held the view that the universal concept was in no sense something real, neither in the external world nor in the mind.2 He described the universal concept as an ens fictum produced by the mind in much the same way as a geometer might be said to imagine for his own purposes lines and circles which are not to be thought of as parts of the real world. This so-called ens fictum, he claimed, could be said to exist obiective tantum. For Ockham, to-exist-as-object [esse objective] meant exactly the reverse of to-exist-as-subject [esse subjective]. The latter expression describes the ontological status of anything real like an apple, its red color and the activities of understanding and willing. Esse objective, on the other hand, refers to something we may think about but which remains nonetheless utterly outside the status of the real. The reason behind Ockham's early view here described was, that he, like some others, remained convinced that since whatever exists is singular it is inappropriate for us to accord any real status to concepts qua universal. AU philosophers do speak about universal 1 See, e.g., Ph. Boehner, "The Realistic Conceptualism of William Ockham," Traditio, IV (1946), 307-35 - later reprinted in Collected Articles on Ockham (ed. E. Buytaert, St. Bonaventure, N.Y., 1958), 156-74; G Gal, "Gualteri de Chatton et Guillelmi de Ockham Controversia de Natura Conceptus Universalis," Franciscan Studies, XXVII (1967), 191-212; F. Kelley, "Some Observations on the 'Fictum' Theory in Ockham and its Relation to Hervaeus Natalis," Franciscan Studies, XXXVIII (1978), 260-282. 8 Guillelmi de Ockham, Opera Theologica II, d. 2, q. 8 (ed. S. Brown and G. G. Gal, St. Bonaventure, N.Y., 1970), 271-289. Walter Chatton Vs. Aureoli and Ockham223 concepts, but this fact should not delude them into the false notion that here at least is found an exception to the rule that whatever exists is singular. Walter Chatton, Ockham's confrère and colleague, in his Reportatio I, d. 3, q. 2 argued against what the Venerable Inceptor presented as the proper way to view the universal concept, viz., the fictum theory.3 Very likely influenced by Chatton's critique, Ockham in his later redactio completa of his commentary on / Sentences inserted statements revealing his doubts about the philosophic merit of the fictum theory.4 Still later,5 Chatton again wrote against Ockham's position, but in this second critique he knew about the Inceptor's vacillating comments in the redactio completa, even if he seemed puzzeled as to how these additional comments ought to be understood. As we know, there is good reason to think that Ockham's final stand on the question amounted to a complete agreement with Chatton, for in his Quodlibet IV the Inceptor entirely rejected the fictum theory.8 In 1967, Gedeon Gal published an edition of Chatton's first critique of Ockham's fictum theory, i.e., the one found in Reportatio I, d. 3, q. 2.7 The reader is urged to consult Gál's introductory pages to this edition which serves to supplement the preceding summary comment on the relationship between the development of Ockham's thought concerning the universal concept and Chatton's critical observations. Here we present the edition of Chatton's second critique, viz., the one appearing in Lectura I, à. 3, q. 2 which is extant in cod. Paris. Nat. lat. 15886, f. I34ra-i37va and in cod. Florence Bibl. Naz. Conv. Sopp. C. 5, 357, f. 84vb-86vb.7a While the two critiques are, as one 8 Chatton's first critique against the fictum theory is extant in cod. Paris., Nat. lat. 15887, ff. i8rb-i9vb and was published by G. Gal, "Gualteri de Chatton," Franciscan Studies, XXVII (1967), 199-212. 4 See especially, Guillelmi de Ockham, Opera Theologica II, d...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1945-9718
Print ISSN
0080-5459
Pages
pp. 222-249
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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