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MATTHEW OF AQUASPARTA'S COGNITION THEORY PART II IDEOGENESIS* Chapter III ROLE OFTHE OBJECT AND THE INTELLECT IN IDEOGENESIS Any study of cognition must concern itself with two problems: the ideogenetic process by which the mind comes into contact with reality and the object of cognition, what the mind can know. This chapter will be devoted to the first of these and will present the ideogenesis of Matthew of Aquasparta, as well as the historical developments of this doctrine in the teachings of Bonaventure, Henry of Ghent and John Duns Scotus. That man knows the extra-mental world via the five senses is a thesis which would be admitted by all but the most extreme idealists. Certainly, it would find acceptance among the Scholastics of the thirteenth century. The exact process by which the object and intellect are united, however, would be described in almost as many ways as there are philosophers. Those philosophers who belong to the Augustinian school, on the one hand, would stress the activity of the intellect, following the principle that "action is more noble than passion." The Aristotelian emphasis, contrariwise, would be on the initial impetus furnished by the object with the intellect regarded as passive. This position is in line with the premise "all that is in motion is moved by another."1 Matthew of Aquasparta Basically Augustinian in orientation, Matthew stresses the activity of the intellect; his presentation, however, also includes certain Aristotelian elements at least in terminology. Here we will present his theory * See Franciscan Studies 20 (i960), pp. 161—204. 1 P. Argos, "La actividad cognoscitiva en los escolásticos del primer período postomista," Pensamiento, IV (1948), p. 303. 1 Franciscan Studie· 1961I 2 H. M. BEHA of sensation, the role of species, the activity/passivity of intellection. Special attention will be given to Matthew's own formulation of a causa partialis theory anticipating the later developments of John Duns Scotus. Theory of Sensation Cognition of corporeal objects originates in the senses in such a way that man knows external things through the "senses, through memory and through experience" and from them "collects" the universal which will be the principle of art and science.2 Here it seems that Matthew is simply giving a condensation of an Aristotelian principle.3 It is a typical example of the surface agreement which covers very fundamental doctrinal divergencies. In line with this initial position, Matthew asserts that "nothing is in the mind which was not first in the senses." He immediately qualifies this, however, pointing out that though it may be an adequate explanation of corporeal knowledge it fails to explain how the mind can know incorporeals, for example how it comes to self-knowledge.4 Just how the mind arrives at knowledge of spiritual substances is given more detailed description in the sections on the object of the intellect and the soul's knowledge of itself. The present discussion will be limited to sense cognition with the reminder that this is only one type of ideogenesis, according to Matthew. Even for the knowledge of corporeal objects sensation is inadequate, since divine illumination, as well as the activity of the intellect, are required for complete and perfect cognition of external objects.5 In fact, the senses are neither the effective, principal nor formal cause of cognition ; rather their causality is simply material and ministerial.6 According to Belmond, the senses are not the complete cause of cognition, since they only furnish the matter of man's concepts.7 2 De cognitione, Q. II, p. 233. De fide, Q. I, p. 44. 8 Posterior Analytics, II, 100 a, 3—9. Aristotle, Opera Omnia (Translated into English under the editorship of W. D. Ross, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1908—1952). 4 De cognitione, Q. IV, p. 290. d De cognitione, Q. I, p. 219. ß De cognitione, Q. II, p. 271. . . . cognitio intellectualis non causatur a sensibilibus effective et principaliter sive formaliter, sed tantum materialiter et ministerialiter, quia materiam cognitionis accipit anima sensibus. 7 S. Belmond, "A l'école de S. Augustin," Études Franciscaines, XXXIII (1921), p. 147. Le sens n'intervient pas dans la connaissance pour la faire, mais uniquement pour l'alimenter. Matthew of Aquasparta...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1945-9718
Print ISSN
0080-5459
Pages
pp. 1-79
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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