Wednesday 6 June 2007

A Suggestive Passage in Auriol

In Scriptum I.2.9, Auriol denies that the concept of being is univocal, saying instead that it is wholly ‘confused’ (lacking distinction). He reports the opinion of some others (including, apparently, Scotus):

‘quod conceptus entis includit conceptum substantiae et accidentium disiunctive, et sumus certi de aliquo quod est ens, quia vel substantia vel accidens disiunctive; ignoramus tamen quid sit determinate, sicut audito quod canis est in macello, statim sum certus quod est ibi piscis vel latrabilis canis, non sum autem certus determinate de uno vel de alio. Secundum hoc ergo conceditur quod est alius conceptus entis a conceptibus propriis, sicut disiunctum est aliud a determinato.’ (D.1, §116)

‘that the concept of being includes the concept of substance and of accidents disjunctively, and we are sure of something that it is a being, because <we are sure that it is> either a substance or an accident disjunctively; but we do not know which it is determinately – just as, on hearing that there is a dog in the butcher's, I am immediately sure that there is a dogfish or a barking dog there, but I am not sure determinately about one or about the other. Accordingly, therefore, it is conceded that the concept of being is different from proper concepts in the same way that disjunct is different from determinate.’

Now, this is not Auriol's own opinion. He denies the analogy with the lexical ambiguity in ‘canis’, and he argues that such a disjunct concept could not account for ‹God is a being›. But he does not bat an eyelid at the claim (however taken) that disiunctum is different from determinatum.


Edward Ockham said...

As you will know if you have been following developments in the Logic Museum, I have been hard at work translating a bunch of source texts around this subject (i.e. the univocity of being). I am taking it in date order so have yet to reach Auriol, or even Ockham or Scotus.

I don't find it easy to grasp. Is there any colour you could put on this view, or any further material you could post? What is the source of the view of Scotus that he cites?

Edward Ockham said...

I did find the passage below in the SEP, but it is no easier than the one you quote.

"Auriol maintains that the concept of being is an indeterminate concept that grasps all beings at once and equally. This concept of being itself has no determinate content; instead it contains within itself implicitly all other concepts that the intellect could possibly form. Being, then, for Auriol is not contracted to its inferiors through any added difference, but merely through explicating what is already contained implicitly and indeterminately in the concept of being ..."

Brunellus said...

I'm afraid I've only come across the material on being (55 pages in Buytaert's edition) tangentially, in trying to fathom Auriol's use of disjunction. Buytaert points to Scotus, In IV Metaph. summa I cap. I (ed. Vives V 649-50), and Sent. I.3.3.ii (ed. Garcia I 335-36).

I have come across a similar passage in the Reportatio of Ockham's Oxford lectures (c.1317-19), which suggests that aliqui may have been multi:

ista responsio communis quae datur sufficit, scilicet quod intellectus non est dubius utrum sit substantia vel accidens, sed scit hoc disiunctum quod est substantia vel accidens, licet dubitet utrum determinate sit substantia vel determinate accidens. Unde potest dici quod est certus quod est ens in voce, ita quod certitudo entis est in voce, et dubitat in voce utrum determinate sit substantia vel accidens.’ (III.10, pp. 342-43.)

Hope that's of some use.

Edward Ockham said...

It's slightly useful - the material you emailed was more so (and thanks for that).