ND   JMC : History of Medieval Philosophy / by Maurice De Wulf


402. Their Origin. -- Ockam's system contained the germ of much that is anti-scholastic. He himself never formulated those anti-scholastic implications. But he had scarcely disappeared from the life of the University when the philosophers and theologians, brought up in the new theories, began to stretch the master's statements, and even to distort his conclusions. Thus, terminism and the theory of the sign served as a pretext for the most excessive subjectivism: the view that we know directly only the mental sign, and not the thing signified. The logico-grammatical method of Ockam was abused still more by applying to matters of philosophy and theology the exact and elaborate rules laid down about the proprietates terminorum, the consequentiae, the obligatoriae and the insolubilia.{1} This process led to paradoxical and erroneous conclusions of which some specimens will be given below. It was probably the rash views of certain Ockamists that called forth the prohibitions of 1339 to 1346, and it was indeed during this decade that the University was disturbed by the most daring innovators.

In the doctrines of these, however, we encounter not only Ockamist elements but also foreign and heterogeneous elements such as theistic and theological determinism. Still other theories, of doubtful or unknown origin, seem to have been promulgated apparently with the sole object of giving scandal, or because of their very incoherence. The promoters of such novelties were assuredly wanting in the qualities that make serious philosophers. The most important of the novel theories were the determinism of Thomas Bradwardine and the doctrines of Nicholas of Autrecourt, John of Mirecourt and AEgidius of Medonta.{2}

{1} Cf. PRANTL, op. cit., p. 1 sqq.

{2} Of theological interest only are the "opiniones phantasticae" of RICHARD OF LINCOLN, whom Benedict XIII. forbade to teach, and who did not recover permission to read the Sentences until 1343, from Clement VI.; the theories of JOHN GUYON, condemned in 1348 (Chartul., ii., pp. 542 and 622); of the minorite DENIS FOULLECHAT (1364 and 1369); of a certain SIMON DE BROSSA? (about 1351); of JOHN DR LA CHALEUR; of NICHOLAS OF ESPERANCO; of JOHN OF MONTESONO (Chartul., iii., p. 488).

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