Thursday, 11 February 2010

Peter Auriol and scholarly inertia

The Cambridge History of Later Medieval Philosophy (1982) has only two substantial discussions of Peter Auriol (a page each on future contingents and on intentions), though there is also a footnote on his “esse apparens”.  This fairly reflects the state of modern scholarship on Auriol when the CHLMP's chapters were written in the late 1970s.

But since the late 1980s, thanks to Katherine Tachau, historians of 14th-century philosophy have become increasingly aware that Auriol was just as important as his much more famous confrère William of Ockham, and the literature has proliferated accordingly.  Readers might therefore expect him to feature rather more prominently in the brand-new Cambridge History of Medieval Philosophy (2010).

Alas, no.  Not only is he now mentioned on fewer occasions, but the most substantial discussion of him in any of the chapters reads in its entirety as follows:  “A fellow Franciscan, Peter Auriol, insisted that the infused virtue of charity plays a more important role in salvation.  In his view, infused charity is not simply the consequence of divine acceptance but necessary by its very nature in order to make the soul acceptable to God” (ch. 36, “Virtue theory”, by Bonnie Kent).

In Robert Pasnau's introductory chapter, Martin Stone confidently predicts that “Within twenty years Henry, Giles, Durand, and Auriol will become a part of the canon” (p. 5).  In your own time, folks.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Frustra fit per plura (V)

Here's yet another of Auriol's statements of ontological parsimony:

Constat enim quod omnis natura refugit superfluitatem – quanto magis divina?  Pluralitas quidem ponenda non est absque causa, quia frustra fit per plura quod fieri potest per pauciora.’  (S I.45.iii)