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THREE SENSES OF INTUITIVE COGNITION: A QUODLIBETAL QUESTION OF HARVEY OF NEDELLEC In an earlier paper I argued that "notitia intuitiva" occurs in three distinct senses in the writings of William of Ockham.1 I claimed that by "notitia intuitiva" Ockham sometimes means a non-discursive cognition, i.e., one that does not depend on any prior cognition; he sometimes means a veridical cognition, i.e., one which is of the thing as it actually is in real existence; and he sometimes means a vivid cognition, i.e., a subjectively identifiable experience of a particular sort. The present paper provides indirect support for that interpretation. In the earlier paper I argued that Ockham must have the three senses, for there is no place where Ockham himself explicitly distinguishes them. I provided a number of texts where I claimed he implicitly uses the diverse senses, but it would be reasonable to object that something more is required. It could be objected that given one was already familiar with the three senses, then one might see the different texts as picking out different senses of "notitia intuitiva." But, one could continue, my paper reads those senses in where they do not belong, it anachronistically assumes that those three senses were available in Ockham's day. The present paper should forestall any such objections for it shows that precisely those three senses were available—explicitly available—in Ockham's day. The three senses were distinguished with absolute clarity by Harvey of Nedellec, an older contemporary of William of Ockham. Harvey of Nedellec (Nervé Nédélec, Hervé Noël, Hervaeus Natalis ) was born around the middle of the thirteenth century.2 He was 1 "The Sources of Intuitive Cognition in William of Ockham," Franciscan Studies, 41 (1981), 415-47. I would like to thank the reader of an earlier version of the present paper for his or her astute comments. 2 B. Haureau, "Hervé Nédélec," Histoire littéraire de la France 34, 308- Harvey of Nedellec on Intuitive Cognition409 a Breton who entered the Dominican Order in 1276, when, we are told, he was no longer a youth. He had written a Commentary on the Sentences and was teaching at Paris by 1303; he was a master in theology in 1307. Harvey was active intellectually and politically, but is perhaps best known to history as a vigorous defender of the doctrines of Thomas Aquinas. He died in 1323, shortly after the canonization of Saint Thomas. If we suppose Ockham was born about 1280, then Harvey was probably about thirty years his senior. Of more direct concern to us is the fact that he held a series of Quodlibetal Questions which are dated from 1307 to 1318.3 Among these was a question dealing with intuitive cognition. The question on intuitive cognition occurs within Quodlibet IV, which some scholars date at about 1310.4 This would date it about eight years before Ockham's Ordinatio and Quodlibeta Septem which are the main sources for Ockham's doctrine of intuitive cognition.5 I have no evidence that there was any direct influence of Harvey on William of Ockham, but that is not the point. The point is that we have here a discussion of intuitive cognition which provides evidence regarding the various senses of "notitia intuitiva" which were prevalent in Ockham's time. Harvey begins the discussion by identifying those properties which are peculiar to the sense of sight, and then attributing them to intuitive cognition. He does this on the grounds that to intuit is the same as to see; he does not argue for this identity, but takes it as simply given that the notion of vision governs the idea of intuitive cognition. The properties peculiar to sight lead, according to Harvey, to 351; Ag. De Guimarâes, "Hervé Noël (1923): Étude biographique," Archivum Fratrum Praedicatorum, 8 (1939), 5-81; E. Gilson, History of Christian Philosophy in the Middle Ages (New York, 1955), 747_748.' Frederick J. Roensch, Early Thomistic School (Dubuque, Iowa, 1964) 106-117. 8 P. Glorieux, "La littérature quodlibétique de 1260 a 1320," Bibliothèque Thomiste (Le Saulchoir) V (1925) no. 64. Glorieux denies that Quodlibet...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1945-9718
Print ISSN
0080-5459
Pages
pp. 408-431
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
Archive Status
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