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PETER AUREOLI AND WILLIAM OF OCKHAM ON RELATIONS In the late middle ages, many scholastics debated the ontological status of categorical relations. This controversy took place largely because a number of philosophical and theological issues, such as the Trinity, the Incarnation, and the God-creature relation, to name a few, needed a coherent and illuminating theory ofrelations. As a result ofthis intellectual need, a long-standing and deep problem in the history ofwestern metaphysics finally received a protracted and sustained discussion. A number of alternative theories were adopted by the scholastics. The divergence in views can be formulated in terms of three severally necessary and jointly sufficient conditions for a real relation. The scholastics all agree on the first two conditions, but disagree on the third. Sentences of the form "a is really related by a real relation R to b" are true if and only if (i) a and b are really distinct extra-mental things; (ii) there is a real foundation in a for R; and either (iiia) there exists a relation R, an extra-mental thing with its own accidental reality really distinct from but inhering in a (strong realism; Scotus); (iiib) there exists a real relation R, a real mode ofbeing intentionally distinct from a (modalism; Henry of Ghent); (iiic) there exists a real relation R, a concept in the mind (conceptualism; Peter Aureoli); or (iiid) there exists a real relation R, which is nothing more (nor less) than the extramental fact that a and b exist in a certain way (Henry of Harclay). Speaking according to natural reason, William ofOckham adopted a version ofthe fourth alternative. Arguing against the strong realism of Scotus, he maintained that relational terms do not signify directly any thing (res) distinct from the relata. Rather, relational terms are connotative. The term "similarity," he claims, "signifies two white things immediately, apart from any intermediate relation, or it signifies one 232MARK HENNINGER principally and connotes the other."1 No relational thing or res relativa need be posited. In this paper, I would like to explore the third alternative mentioned above. According to this view, relational terms do directly signify an entity, not an extra-mental res, but a concept. It is not William ofOckham, as sometimes alleged, but his fellow Franciscan Peter Aureoli who teaches that a real relation is a concept.2 1 believe Peter Aureoli (d. 1322), in holding this novel view, exited from the medieval tradition and foreshadowed an empiricist view of relations in the early modern period. In his Sentence commentary,3 Aureoli's arguments against the extramental reality of real relations reveal an understanding of relations quite different from his fellow scholastics. In Aquinas, Duns Scotus, and to a lesser extent Henry of Harclay and Hervaeus Natalis, there I would like to thank Marilyn McCord Adams for her tireless generosity in reading and making helpful comments on this paper. Also I am very grateful to Girard J. Etzkorn of the Franciscan Institute for encouraging me in this and other projects. 1 Ockham, Quaest. in II Sent., q. 1: "... similitudo significat duo alba immediate sine omni relatione media, vel unum principaliter et aliud connotative ." (OTh V, 16). 2 For a good overview of Peter Aureoli, his life, works, and thinking, see Am. Teetaert, "Peter Auriol," Dictionnaire de théologie catholique 12, 1810-1881. For Aureoli's philosophical and theological positions, see cols. 1846-77. Also see, R. Dreiling, "Der Konzeptualismus in der Universalienfrage des Franziskaner Erzbischofs Petrus Aureoli," BGTPMA U, 6. See also Peter Aureoli Scriptum super primum Sententiarum (ed. E. M. Buytaert). Buytaert 's first volume contains the text ofthe prologue and distinction one, along with a table of seventy-five questions, and much information on Aureoli. Volume two contains distinctions two to eight. 3 Petrus Aureoli, Comment, in 1 Sent., d. 30-31 (ed. Roma 1596, ff. 659-718). Although this edition is an ordinatio, the text is in fact full of difficult and perhaps corrupt readings that at times impede discerning aspects of Peter's thought. His teaching on relations, however, is rather clear. It is indicative of the novelty of his position that he poses the question of the reality ofrelations in terms oftheir...


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