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OCKBAM AMD AE1GIDIUS OF ROME I 3t takes little more than a glance -at the writings of William of Ockham to reach the conclusion, much stressed by the histories of scholastic philosophy, that Ockham was intensely hostile to certain of his contemporaries or predecessors ., and to certain doctrines which they upheld. But it is less easy to specify these immediate adversaries., since Ockham scarcely ever cites an author by name except where he considers him to be someone of established authority, or of real weight and worth. Thus, although Ockham often cites Duns Scotus by name., and gives painstaking restatements and criticisms of his arguments, it is obvious that he does not number Scotus among the moderni doctores whose views he attacks with hostility and scorn. The same may be said with respect to St. Thomas Aquinas., whom Ockham mentions only rarely, but who seems to be included by him among the doctores catholici whose teachings, though not infallible or immune to criticism., are based on reason and command respect.1 The bitter recriminations found in the De sacramento altaris very likely reflect the accusations against Ockham's orthodoxy made by John Lutterel in 1322 and subsequently. Yet Lutterel can scarcely be credited with sufficient originality or importance as a teacher., to be counted as author of the doctrines which Ockham attacks so repeatedly and passionately throughout his philosophical and theological writings. Walter Burley, who may have been at Oxford when Ockham was there, and who criticizes some of Ockham's teachings in his own writings., has been suggested as the principal adversary against whom Ockham directed his polemics.3 But while it is fairly evident L Cf. De sacramento altaris, ed. by T.B. Birch, Burlington, Iowa, 1930, pp. 184-6, for reference to St. Thomas, and passim (e.g., p. 436) for references to Scotus. These citations are in marked contrast to Ockham's scornful references to the moderni, as on p. 116: "Et ideo licet aliqui moderni forte stimulante invidia illam opinionem tamquam erroneam non argumentis sed detracüonibus lacerarent; añtiqui tamen doctores, quamvis earn non intelligerent, non tamen haereticam circa fidem vel mores reputaverunt." Also ?» 126: "Si autem per doctores intelligent doctores modernos mutuo se reprobantes publice et occulte et etiam in scriptis , concedo; sed negare eos non est inconveniens..." 2. P. Doncoeur, *La théorie de la matière et de la forme che7 Guillaume Occam,* in Revue des sciences philosophiques et theologiques, (Jan. 192.1), 21-52 (esp. pp. 32-3). Also C. Michalski, "La physique nouvelle et les différents courants 417 418OCKHAM AND AEGIDIUS OF ROME that Burley attacked Ockham, there is little to show that Ockham attacked Burley, as Baudry shows rather convincingly in his examination of the arguments of Doncoeur and Michalski.3 In default of more accurate knowledge of Ockham's adversaries , the histories of philosophy have contented themselves with saying that Ockham attacked and criticized the Scotists and Thomists. While this is no doubt true, at least if we construe these labels broadly enough, we may nevertheless find some significance in the fact that Ockham's attitude toward these moderni was decidedly different from his attitude toward St. Thomas and Duns Scotus. And furthermore, it is perhaps significant that Ockham, in attacking doctrines reputedly Thomist, did not go to the works of St. Thomas for the formulations of these doctrines, but expressed them in a terminology sufficiently different from that of the Angelic Doctor to make them seem like crude caricatures of the delicately nuanced discussions of St. Thomas.4 Nor can we safely assume that Ockham was expressing these doctrines in crude or distorted form, in order to refute them more easily. For when Ockham criticizes doctrines of Duns Scotus, he is careful to give very philosophiques au XIVe siècle," in Bulletin international de l'Académie polonaise des sciences et des lettres, Classe d'histoire et de philosophie, Avril-Juin, 1927 (Crecovie 1928), 122. 3.L. Baudry, "Les rapports de Guillaume d'Occara et de Walter Burleigh," in Archives d'histoire doctrinale et littéraire du moyen age, IX, (1934), 155-73. As Baudry points out, the conjecture that Burley is object of Ockham...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1945-9718
Print ISSN
0080-5459
Pages
pp. 417-442
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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