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GODFREY OF FONTAINES ON INTENSION AND REMISSION OF ACCIDENTAL FORMS Godfrey of Fontaines functioned as a Master in the Theology Faculty at Paris from 1285 until ca. 1303 or 1304.* For him as for many of his contemporaries, the apparent change in intensity of certain accidental forms—qualities such as whiteness or heat or even charity in the soul—posed interesting philosophical questions.2 The issue was frequently raised as to how such qualities could undergo some variation in degree whether by increasing (intension or intensification ) or by decreasing (remission) and still retain their identity. Godfrey and his associates would not allow for intension and remission of substantial forms since this would, in their opinion, entail loss of essential identity on the part of the changing substance. Aristotle's remark that forms may be likened to numbers served as a controlling principle here.3 But thirteenth-century Masters devoted considerable attention to this problem with respect to various kinds of qualities. Often such reflections would occur within a theological discussion concerning the possibility of intension or remission of charity within the human soul. Attempted resolution of this admittedly theological problem would frequently lead to examination of the broader philosophical issues involved in intension and remission of qualities as such. Godfrey himself devoted two extended treatments to this topic, one in his Quodlibet 2, q. 10 of 1286, and another in his Disputed Question 18 which, though more difficult to date precisely, seems to 1 On Godfrey's life and works see Wippel, 7"Ae Metaphysical Thought of Godfrey of Fontaines: A Study in Late Thirteenth-Century Philosophy (Washington, D.C. 1981), "Introduction," pp. xv-xxiv. For more general studies of Scholastic theories on intension and remission of forms see P. Duhem, Etudes sur Léonard de Vinci, Ser. 3 (Paris, 1955), pp. 314-46; and especially, A. Maier, Zwei Grundprobleme der scholastischen Naturphilosophie: Das Problem der intensiven Grösse, Die Impetustheorie, 2nd ed. (Rome, 1951), pp. 16-109. * See Maier's introductory remarks, op. cit., pp. 3-5. * See Metaphysics VIII, c. 3 (1043b 36-10443 11). Godfrey of Fontaines on Intension and Remission of Accidental Forms 317 be somewhat later.4 Today, however, one encounters certain difficulties when one attempts to determine Godfrey's personal position with respect to this problem. His two accounts differ in certain details, and one wonders if and to what extent they are consistent with one another. Moreover, the text of Disputed Question 18 as it survives in manuscript appears to be incomplete. This is unfortunate since the full text would surely give a clearer impression as to his thinking on this matter. Finally, a strange theory of intension and remission of forms has been ascribed to him by Walter Burley, Duns Scotus, and other later medieval thinkers. But no one has yet, to my knowledge, found this view explicitly defended in Godfrey's surviving texts. Given these problems, it will be my purpose in the present study to set forth in some detail Godfrey's position as it appears in the two sources mentioned above, to compare these two presentations with one another, and then to attempt to determine whether there is any foundation in his writings for the view attributed to him by Burley and others. In order to establish the proximate context for Godfrey's discussion of this, some background will first be provided. I A. Maier has provided a helpful survey of earlier and of medieval discussions of this issue which need not be reduplicated here. But for our immediate purposes, a few points already made by Maier should be recalled. First of all, as she explains, chapter 8 of Aristotle's Categories was a key text for subsequent consideration of this issue. While the Stagirite does not there offer a metaphysical account of intension and remission of forms, he does raise what was later to become a central issue for medieval thinkers: What is the true subject of such intension or remission? Does it take place in the form or quality itself, 4 On the date of Quodlibet 2 see P. Glorieux, La Littérature quodlibétique de 1260 à 1320, Vol. 1 (Le Saulchoir, Kain, 1925), pp. 150, 152...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1945-9718
Print ISSN
0080-5459
Pages
pp. 316-355
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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