Jacques Maritain Center : A History of Western Philosophy Vol. II / by Ralph McInerny

Part I: The Age of Augustine

Chapter IV


A. The Man and His Work

Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius (c.480-524), "the last of the Romans and the first of the Scholastics," in the famous phrase, was born in Rome of a politically prominent family. His father had been a consul, he himself became one in 510, and his two sons achieved the same distinction in 522. Boethius married a woman named Rusticiana, the daughter of Symmachus; as will appear, Boethius held his father-in-law in more than ordinary esteem. Boethius was a consul under Theodoric the Ostrogoth and came to an untimely end when he was accused of conspiring with Justin, Emperor of the East, against Theodoric. There were theological undertones to his fate since Theodoric subscribed to the Arian heresy, while Boethius, like Justin, was a Catholic. Boethius protested his innocence, but he was cast into prison and executed without a trial in 524.

Although he was a statesman, Boethius produced a surprisingly large and influential body of work in philosophy. His major task was to translate Plato and Aristotle into Latin and, their teachings having been made available, to show the fundamental agreement of the two philosophers. While Boethius did not, so far as we know, even approach this awesome goal, what has come down to us indicates that he conceived his role to be considerably more than that of a middle man. His surviving translations are of logical works of Aristotle. We can conveniently divide his total production into philosophical and theological works.

Philosophical Works. Boethius translated the following logical works of Aristotle: Categories and On Interpretation. While translations of the Prior and Posterior Analytics, the Topics, and the Sophistical Refutations are included in editions of Boethius' work, scholars are now inclined to cast doubt on their authenticity. Boethius also translated the Isagoge, an introduction to the Categories of Aristotle, written by the Neoplatonist Porphyry. Besides translating, Boethius wrote a number of excellent commentaries: two on Porphyry's Isagoge, one on Aristotle's Categories (a second was projected), two on On Interpretation. He is also credited with a commentary on the Topics of Cicero. The following independent logical works are included in editions of his work: Introduction to Categorical Syllogisms, On Categorical Syllogisms (2 books), On the Hypothetical Syllogism (2 books), On Division, On Definition, On Topical Differences, On Rhetorical Connexion, The Distinction of Rhetorical Loci. Besides these logical works, a work on arithmetic and another on music are attributed to Boethius. Finally, there is the great Consolation of Philosophy.

Theological Works. The theological writings of Boethius comprise works on the Trinity, on the union of the divine and human nature in Christ, and on the participation of goodness. We shall mention their titles later.

Our discussion of Boethius will center on two points: the relation between faith and reason and the problem of universals. Not only are these central concerns of his own effort, but they contain factors which were highly influential in the Middle Ages.

B. Faith and Reason

The problem of the relationship between faith and reason acquires curiously personal overtones in Boethius. We have mentioned that Boethius set as the great task of his lifetime the translation of the works of Plato and Aristotle. This task is of such magnitude that we may doubt that Boethius could have seen it through to completion even if he had not devoted much of his time to statesmanship and, as a result, come to an untimely end. As Boethius languished in prison, aware of the end that awaited him, he, like Socrates in a similar position, first devoted himself to the writing of verse. After a time, however, he turned to the composition of the work which ever since has constituted his claim to widespread fame, the Consolation of Philosophy. While the Consolation must be classified as a philosophical work, the fact that this can be done is, given the circumstances of its composition, somewhat of a mystery. The difficulty was well stated by Samuel Johnson, quoted of course by Boswell: "Speaking of Boethius, who was the favorite writer of the middle ages, he said it was very surprising, that upon such a subject, and in such a situation, he should be magis philosophus quam Christianus." That Boethius, on his own insistence the victim of gross injustice, should have attempted to reconcile himself to his condemnation and approaching execution by appeal to philosophical truths alone, and indeed to the example of philosophers alone, is quite surprising. We should expect that the innocent victim par excellence would have provided him consolation and example, yet no mention is made of Christ, no explicit quotation from Scripture is to be found in the Consolation.{1}

What is the explanation of this strange situation? Does philosophy in the Consolation stand for a wisdom which would embrace both sacred and profane knowledge? We shall see that this is not the case. Was Boethius perhaps not a Catholic at all, and the theological tractates are incorrectly ascribed to him? We have the statement of Boethius' contemporary Cassiodorus that these tractates are from the hand of Boethius. Any solution to this puzzle can be at best conjectural. H. M. Barrett, in Boethius, Some Aspects of His Times and Work (Cambridge, 1940), gives a good sampling of proposed solutions and offers one of her own. Hers appears to be no more cogent than those she sets aside. She argues that Boethius had devoted his life to translating Plato and Aristotle into Latin and that this, by his own word, constituted his overriding interest. (In the De syllogismo hypothetico, PL, 64, 831A, he refers to his titanic effort as summum vitae solamen, the greatest consolation of his life.) It is not surprising, therefore, the argument continues, that in his extremity it would be to philosophy, to Plato and Aristotle, that Boethius would turn. Without any intention of offering a solution of our own, we might note that we are far from convinced by Barrett's. Whatever the explanation of this enigma, however, its very existence underlines the fact that a distinction between reasoning which depends upon faith and reasoning without such dependence is unquestionably present in the work of Boethius.

The Consolation is so purely philosophical that at one time scholars doubted that it could have been written by a Christian in the circumstances in which the text and tradition say it was written. Some of his other works, however, are clearly attempts by a believer to make intelligible in the light of truths taken from philosophy central objects of Christian faith. Thus, there is prima facie evidence that Boethius recognized a distinction between what is held by reason and what is held by faith. Moreover, the theological tractates provide overt statements about the relationship between these two areas. We intend to examine in turn the tractates and the Consolation in order to express as explicitly as possible the views of Boethius on the relationship between faith and reason.

The Theological Tractates. The theological tractates are five in number and seem generally to meet the description of Cassiodorus: "He wrote a book on the Holy Trinity, certain dogmatic treatises [capita] and a book in refutation of Nestorius." The Quomodo trinitas unus deus et non tres dii (or, more simply, On the Trinity); its apparent sequel, Utrum pater et filius et spiritus sanctus de divinitate substantialter praedicentur (Are Father, Son, and Holy Spirit Predicated Substantiallv or Essentially of the Divine Nature?) and the Contra Eutychen et Nestorium (or, more simply, On the Two Natures) are mentioned by name; there is no doubt that the How Substances Are Good Insofar As They Are (called the De hebdomadibus) is by Boethius. There is still doubt as to the authenticity of On the Catholic Faith. Our brief discussion will rely only on the four tractates of uncontested authenticity.

What is Boethius attempting to do in these tractates? Their subject matters are, first, the doctrine of the Trinity, second, a discussion of the Incarnate Word, and, finally, a treatment of the proposition that whatever is is good precisely insofar as it is. St. Thomas Aquinas, in the prologue to his exposition of the On the Trinity of Boethius, attributes an order to these tractates not unlike the order of his own Summa theologiae. First of all, Boethius is concerned with the one nature of God and the three Divine Persons: this is accomplished in On the Trinity. In Utrum pater Boethius "treats of the mode of predication we use in the distinction of the Persons and the unity of the essence. Secondly, in the De hebdomadibus St. Thomas sees Boethius treating of "the procession of created goods from the good God." The third division of the tractates has to do with the reparation of creatures through Christ. The faith taught by Christ is presented in On the Catholic Faith, and the way in which the human and the divine nature are united in the person of Christ is discussed in the work directed against Eutychus and Nestorius. Whether Boethius intended this order is irrelevant to our ability to see that the tractates do so arrange themselves. It is important to notice, moreover, that St. Thomas regards these tractates as theological.

How does Boethius go about the discussion of the tenets of the Christian faith? In the dedication of On the Trinity to his father-in-law, Symmachus, Boethius says, "You must however examine whether the seeds sown in my mind by St. Augustine's writings have borne fruit." The reference of course is to Augustine's work on the Trinity, but St. Thomas sees a methodological import in this reference. "There are two ways to discuss the Trinity, as Augustine says in De trinitate, 1,2, namely by appeal to authorities or through argumentations [rationes], both of which Augustine used, as he himself pointed out. Some of the holy Fathers, like Ambrose and Hilary, pursued the one only, namely appeal to authorities; Boethius chooses to proceed according to the other manner, namely argumentations, presupposing what has been set forth by others by means of authority." This is not to say that Boethius does not accept the fact of the Trinity on the authority of faith as something taught by Scripture, interpreted by the Church, and expounded by tradition and the Fathers. In the first chapter the point is clearly made that it is a matter of Christian belief that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, but that there are not thereby three gods, but one only. Boethius does not proceed by showing that this doctrine is contained in Scripture and has been taught by the Church or by collecting what others have said about this belief. Instead, he wants to show the intelligibility of this accepted belief by appeal to argumentation. From what then will he argue? "So I purposely use brevity and wrap up the ideas I draw from the profound inquiries of philosophy in new and unaccustomed words which speak only to you and to myself (Proemium) Boethius appeals to philosophical truth to explain the unity of the divine nature and the Trinity of Persons. He does not intend these arguments to lead to the conclusion that there must be a Trinity of Divine Persons: this is ever assumed as a belief. Nor will his arguments eliminate the necessity of belief in the Trinity. At the end of the tractate he writes: "If with God's help I have furnished some support in argument to an article which stands by itself on the firm foundation of faith, I shall render joyous praise for the finished work to him from whom the invitation comes. But if human nature has failed to reach beyond its limits, whatever is lost through my infirmity must be made good by my intention." Boethius' method amounts to an effort to speak in a manner intelligible to one trained in philosophy of those things which every Christian firmly believes. The article of faith is not held more firmly because of the arguments given, yet Boethius sees the attempt to "conjoin" faith and reason as something incumbent on himself and others. "If I am right and speak in accordance with the faith, I pray you to confirm me," he writes to the deacon John at the end of the second tractate. "But if you are in any point of another opinion, examine carefully what I have said, and if possible, join faith and reason [et fidem si potent rationemque coniunge]."

The rationes of Boethius in these tractates are undertaken with a view toward supporting belief; in this they differ from the efforts of philosophers. The points he considers would not even be discussed apart from divine faith, and the arguments adduced do not so ground the truths in question that faith becomes unnecessary to hold them as certainly true. When Boethius remarks that he is borrowing from the inquiries of philosophers, we must not understand him to mean that his task consists simply of the application of ready-made philosophical views. Many of the philosophical points he makes appear to be original contributions. An indication of the philosophy which enters into the tractates may be had by examining somewhat closely On the Trinity.

In the first chapter of the tractate Boethius states that it is a matter of Christian faith that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God and that nevertheless there are not three gods but one only. This dogma is simply asserted as a proposition of Christian belief; it is no part of Boethius' task to establish that it is contained in Scripture. Given this revealed truth, which is accepted on the authority of God, a man who is trained in philosophy will reflect on it in such a way that he will bring it into juxtaposition with naturally known truths. The term of such reflection will not be a knowledge of the Trinity of Persons which is independent of faith. Faith in the doctrine is the starting point of the tractate, and, at its end, it is by faith alone that one accepts the Trinity as a truth.

Many of the naturally known truths which Boethius brings to bear on the doctrine of the Trinity have an Aristotelian origin. For example, in the first chapter, having noted that Catholics maintain that the unity of three Persons in the Trinity involves an absence of difference, Boethius undertakes an analysis of three kinds of difference whose immediate source is probably Porphyry but which derive ultimately from Aristotle. The denial of difference in the Persons of the Trinity is ambiguous until we have examined the kinds of difference and seen that none of them is applicable to the Divine Persons. Things differ generically, specifically, and numerically; similarly, things are generically, specifically, or numerically the same. Since sameness and difference are correlatives, Boethius can proceed by analyzing these types of sameness. Things are generically the same which share a common form which admits of further formal differentiation. For example, a man and a horse are generically the same with respect to animality. Things are specifically the same which share a common form which is not susceptible of further formal differentiation. For example, Cato and Cicero share the common form humanity. Things are numerically the same which differ only in name. For example, Tully and Cicero are but one person. Individuals of the same species differ because of their accidents.

Before applying these distinctions to the dogma of the Trinity, Boethius begins his second chapter by recalling Aristotle's division of theoretical philosophy into physics, mathematics, and theology. We will return to this subject later. All we need note now is the characterization of divine things, the objects of theology, as things which are free of matter and motion. Therefore, in treating them we must relinquish any appeal to the imagination. Material things are compounds of matter and form which owe their being principally to their form. That which is not pure form is not identical with its essence (a man is not humanity), but that which is form alone is identical with its essence. God, being pure form, is his own essence, and specific and generic differences cannot apply to God. In composed things we must trace their possession of accidents, not to their form, but to their matter or substratum. Thus, while it may be true to say that a man is white, it is not humanity that is white. Therefore, to be white is accidental to man and inheres in him because of the subject of the form and not because of the form itself. God, since he is pure form and without subject or susbtratum, will not be the subject of any accidents. But numerical difference has been said to arise from accidents. Therefore, there can be no numerical difference in God.

God is completely one because no difference or plurality of the admitted kinds is applicable to him. Nevertheless, Boethius observes in chapter three, when we say the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, we use the term "God" three times. Since three is a number, this seems to predicate numerical difference of God, whose nature is supposed not to permit numerical diversity. In response to this difficulty Boethius distinguishes two kinds of number. They are exemplified by the abstract and concrete terms "unity" and "one." A thing is one; unity is that whereby the oneness of the thing is signified. So too with "duality" and "two." Now, in speaking of one and the same thing we may say of it that it is one coat, one garment, and one vestment. This verbal repetition does not multiply the thing we are talking about. Neither does the repetition of "God" in the statement that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God mean that we are enumerating three Gods.

The point Boethius has tried to make is that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit must be the same God because none of the modes of difference is applicable to them. Nevertheless, the Father is not the Son, nor the Son the Father, nor is either or both the Holy Spirit. Belief in the unity of the divine nature does not, therefore, exclude the difference of Persons, and where there is difference there is number. But the only source of numerical difference mentioned so far is that which follows on the possession of accidents, and God cannot have any accidents since there is no subject or substratum of the divine form. Boethius will return to this difficulty, but first he wants to discuss the manner in which predicates are applied to God.

In chapter four Boethius has recourse to the Aristotelian doctrine of categories, the ten categories which can be universally predicated of things. As predicated, some of the categories are substantial predicates, namely, substance, quantity, and quality, while the rest are accidental predicates. Boethius states that none of these categories can mean the same thing as predicated of God and creature. Thus, while "God" predicated of God would seem to denote a substance, Boethius suggests that we think of it as a supersubstantial predicate. Likewise, when we say that God is just or great, these predicates must be taken to signify supersubstantial quality and quantity since we do not mean to suggest any composition of the divine substance or any accidental attribute. God is justice; God is greatness. Boethius goes on to discuss the rest of the categories with a view to denying that any of them has application to God. He tentatively concludes that substance is the only category that applies to God, although this must not be taken to mean that he is a subject. That is, again, the term "substance" does not mean the same thing as predicated of God and creature.

In running through the categories in chapter five Boethius omits any discussion of relation; he turns to this category in his sixth chapter, indicating that this has been his goal all along. Relative terms, it may be said, do not alter the substance to which they are applied. For example, a man is called a master because of his relation to a servant. If the servant dies or leaves his employ, the man ceases to be a master, but this does not alter his substance in any way. From this observation Boethius wants to conclude that the category of relation does not increase, decrease, or in any way alter the substance to which it is applied, and on this basis he can say that if Father, Son, and Holy Spirit relate to the divine nature as predicates of relation, they will not introduce any difference into the divine nature itself, although they indicate a difference between the Persons in that nature.

Boethius' general conclusion is that the category of substance preserves the unity of the divine nature and the category of relation differentiates the Persons without introducing difference into the divine nature as such.

This glance at On the Trinity gives an indication of the way in which Boethius employs philosophy in meditating on the truths of faith. We have stressed his use of philosophical doctrines already at hand. Boethius made any number of philosophical contributions himself; however, his definitions may have the greatest influence, especially those he gave of eternity and person. In the third chapter of his work on Nestorius and Eutychus he defines person as naturae rationabilis individua substantia (an individual substance of a rational nature). With that definition in hand he was able to refute the two heresies. The tractates generally, along with Augustine's works, figure in all subsequent theological discussion on the Trinity and Incarnation.

The theological tractates of Boethius reveal a use of reason and a reliance on philosophy in discussions of doctrines of faith which justify calling Boethius the first Scholastic. Let us turn now to the work which, as we have indicated, is almost disturbingly restricted to the philosophical level.

The Consolation of Philosophy. This work is divided into five books, in each of which a prose section alternates with a verse section. This literary form can be traced back through Martianus Capella (who wrote a work on the liberal arts in this form) to Varro and on to a Greek origin in the Menippean Satire. (See Barrett, p. 76.) Quite apart from its content, on which we shall concentrate, the Consolation enjoyed an almost unparalleled fame during the Middle Ages as a work of art. The meters of its verse are varied and the result highly esteemed; the style of its prose passages is a thing of beauty. One is reminded of the Phaedo of Plato, but with this overwhelming difference. Socrates did not compose his immortal epitaph; Plato did -- and in retrospect. The Consolation, on the other hand, must have been composed by the victim in his cell. This increases the enigma of Boethius. That a man, particularly a man of Boethius' talent and background, should have the thoughts expressed in the Consolation is understandable enough; that he might write them down does not unduly strain the imagination; but that he should cast them into the exacting literary form he did is a severe test of our credulity. Nevertheless, there seem to be no grounds for skepticism about the facts.

The central question to which the Consolation addresses itself is this: What rational explanation can be found for the fact that the innocent suffer while the wicked not only go unpunished but prosper? This seemingly irrational state of affairs must be examined to see if it is not, after all, reasonable and tolerable.

In the opening poem of book one Boethius laments his outcast state. In the prose section following he describes the entry into his cell of a woman, tall, majestic, her eyes flashing and her manner authoritative. She is Dame Philosophy and she grandly dismisses the poetical muses who have been attempting to give solace to a man brought up by Eleatic and Academic studies. The muses can only increase his sorrow and self-pity. "'But it is rather time,' saith she, 'to apply remedies than to make complaints.'" (I, pr. 2) She reminds Boethius that he should know this, since he has spent much time under her tutelage. Boethius' spirits begin to rise slightly when he is reminded that Philosophy did not abandon Socrates, Anaxagoras, and Zeno in their hour of need, and no more will she abandon him. Encouraged, Boethius responds with a lengthy account of the evils that have befallen him despite his many contributions to the public weal and asks Dame Philosophy why the sovereign harmony which is apparent in the cosmos is so conspicuously and sadly absent from the affairs of men (pr. 4). Dame Philosophy is distressed to find that Boethius has sunk so low, and she undertakes a gradual process of consolation.

The therapy begins with a number of questions which will enable her to ascertain the present condition of Boethius. Boethius is asked if he would say that the world is merely the arena of chance and caprice or that it is ordered and directed; he replies that it is governed by reason. The world is the handiwork of God who has fashioned it and now directs and governs it. What then is man? Boethius knows that he is a rational animal, but that is the extent of his answer. Philosophy remarks that he is in worse straits than she had thought. Confused about the end of things, Boethius has become so forgetful of himself that he thinks the prosperity of the wicked a good and the misfortune of the virtuous an evil. "But thanks be to the author of thy health, that nature hath not altogether forsaken thee. We have the greatest nourisher of thy health, the true opinion of the government of the world, in that thou believest that it is not subject to the events of chance, but to divine reason. Wherefore, fear nothing; out of this little sparkle will be enkindled thy vital heat." (pr. 6) Nonetheless, given the depths of his depression, the first remedies will not be the strongest.

In book two Philosophy uses the "sweetness of Rhetoric's persuasions" to prepare Boethius for more solid consolation. First, they must examine the nature of fortune or luck, a natural topic since Boethius considers his present plight to be a misfortune and professes surprise at what has befallen him. Philosophy assures him that fortune has not changed but with consistent inconsistency now takes away without cause what was bestowed without cause. Whether good or bad, fortune is beyond man's control and comes to him from outside. Boethius' difficulty is that he does not see that his prior state, when he was the recipient of the goods of fortune, was just as irrational as his present unfortunate condition. In these restless times Boethius should have been impressed by the inconstancy of luck and learned thereby to seek happiness within, in an arena where his own efforts can play an essential role. "If blessedness be the chiefest good of nature endowed with reason, and that is not the chiefest good which may by any means be taken away, because that which cannot be taken away is better, it is manifest that the instability of fortune cannot aspire to the obtaining of blessedness." (pr. 4) Fortune is more profitable to man when she takes away what has been given because then a man must ask what true happiness is.

Again and again in the sequel he returns to the idea that happiness does not simply happen to a man. The third book makes the point in great detail. Happiness cannot be a matter of riches or honor or worldly power. Nor can carnal pleasure of whatever sort make a man happy. The true good, that in which human happiness lies, cannot be found in terrestrial things. Indeed, when we seek the marks of the good we find that they must all be found in one substance and that this substance must exist outside the material world. God is the sovereign good, and he is also true human happiness. All beings aspire to rejoin their source; since all things have the same source, God is the universal or common end of everything in the universe. Boethius is urged to turn his eyes from earth to heaven if he would find consolation in his darkest hour.

This sunny view becomes clouded as book four begins. The idea of a benevolent God who is the source of the universe and who continues to direct each thing in it seems to be contradicted by the existence of evil. Dame Philosophy must be able to solve the problem of evil, or what has been said up to now is as nothing. She bends her best efforts to the task. If God is the benign governor of the universe, it would seem to follow that the good are never without reward and that the evil never go unpunished. To see that this is actually the case, we must acquire a perspective which will reveal the prosperity of the wicked as only apparent and the suffering of the virtuous as something less than unhappiness. Dame Philosophy urges Boethius to the heights where he may gain the proper perspective. Boethius is dubious but willing. Philosophy argues that it can be shown that if the virtuous are strong, the bad must be weak. He is strong who is able to attain the end he seeks, and the end sought by all men is nothing else than true happiness. But who can attain this good if not the virtuous, and who fail to attain it if not the vicious? Therefore, good men attain the object of their desires and evil men do not. The change of perspective Philosophy is trying to induce follows on the judgments made in the second and third books. The judgment that happiness cannot be constituted by honor, fame, riches, bodily pleasures, and so forth must be stringently applied; one must see that though wicked men enjoy any or all of these things, they are not thereby happy. The wicked want happiness yet are powerless to attain it since they are committed to pseudo-goods. There is an echo of Plato and Aristotle in this section. Boethius realizes that the wicked are not and cannot be happy. How silly then to envy them. What they require is our pity.

That Boethius is able to acquiesce to all these conclusions is a sign to Dame Philosophy that his sanity is returning. She urges him to recognize that whatever happens happens because God wills it, and, consequently, everything is ultimately ordered to the good. Both good fortune and bad fortune play an edifying role if we have the eye to see it. In a profound sense there is no misfortune for the virtuous who, similarly, do not view good fortune as a true good.

The final book of the Consolation takes up the question of the compatibility of providence and human freedom. If God directs all things, if his providence encompasses everything in the universe, it must direct the acts of men as well. But are not human acts precisely those which cannot be directed from without but have their source within man? We seem forced to say that free human acts either escape the providence of God or, being included in it, are not what they appear, namely, free. Dame Philosophy will try to show the compatibility of providence and free will by beginning with a discussion of chance events. Aristotle's definition of the chance event is accepted. Aristotle had taught that when a determined cause, called such because it is ordered to producing a determinate effect, brings about as well or instead an unintended result, that result is said merely to happen, to be a chance effect. If it is referred back to the cause, the cause is not a determinate explanation of it. If I dig for water and strike oil, the discovery of oil is the result of my digging for water, but it is unintended and accidental to my intention. Such accidental events may be unintended and unforeseen by me, but this does not prevent their being foreseen and intended by God. In somewhat the same way, Dame Philosophy suggests, we can find a compatibility between our undeniable certitude that we are free agents and the fact that our free acts come within the scope of divine providence.

As the Consolation reaches its term, Boethius is a changed man. At the outset he was a sobbing, self-pitying, broken man who was convinced that everything had turned against him, that the world, which had hitherto been a fairly reasonable place, had become suddenly and inexplicably absurd. Dame Philosophy has led him gradually from the view that external events and what other men can confer constitute happiness. Good luck is as absurd, finally, as bad luck. Happiness is not thrust upon us; it is something we must earn. We learn from considering this world that our happiness consists in something beyond this world. A reversal of fortune can be a stroke of good luck if we take its occasion to reassess the nature of luck and reflect that the world is a whole whose order demands a governor. Our sense of values must alter when we contemplate God's governance of the world. The wicked are not happy; the unlucky virtuous man is not less virtuous, less truly happy. We can come to see that in this world all things work together for good, though it is not our part to grasp this truth in detail. Thus, Boethius, unjustly accused and condemned to death, draws consolation from these philosophical considerations and is able to face death with equanimity.

As befits philosophy, there is no discussion in the Consolation of the punishment of the souls of the wicked after death (IV, pr. 4). The immortality of the soul is said to be demonstrable (II, pr. 4). Let us conclude by examining the way in which the Consolation treats God, its theology, to determine if it is an example of a theology different from that exhibited in the tractates.

The most striking thing about the Consolation, when compared with the tractates, is the absence of any concern with the Trinity. God is often referred to as Father in the Consolation, but the word seems to function as the name of a nature, not of a person; moreover, it is Plato who suggests the appellation. What attitude is expressed in the Consolation with respect to the attainment of philosophical knowledge of God's existence? Some have suggested that Boethius has no intention of offering a proof for the existence of God since his existence is assumed from the very beginning of the work. It is true that God's existence is taken for granted from the very outset, but Boethius also argues to that fact on several occasions in the Consolation. In prose ten, book three, a proof is found which has been likened to the later proof of St. Anselm.

In prose twelve of the same book another argument is presented. Boethius had said in Quomodo substantiae, with respect to the First Good, that his "being is admitted by the universal consensus of learned and unlearned opinion and can be deduced [cognosci potest] from the religious beliefs of savage races." In the Consolation he gives a learned basis for the assertion that God exists: "This world could never have been compacted of so many divers and contrary parts unless there were one that doth unite these so different things; and this disagreeing diversity of natures being united would separate and divide this concord unless there were one that holdeth together what he united. Neither would the course of nature continue so certain, nor would the different parts hold so well-ordered motions in due places, times, causality, spaces, and qualities unless there were one who, himself remaining quiet, disposeth and ordereth this variety of motions. This, whatsoever it be, by which things created continue and are moved, I call God, a name which all men use." (III, pr. 12)

It seems legitimate to conclude that Boethius recognizes in the Consolation that God's existence can be known from reason alone. Although he was a Christian, the Consolation seems a conscious attempt to remain on the level of natural reason, unaided by faith, in order to show that a rational preparation for faith is possible. There is a God who governs all things, and it is in him that perfect happiness is to be found. Christian faith teaches us far more of God than philosophy can and elevates us to the level of friendship with God. Nevertheless, one can find the beginnings of consolation in philosophy.

C. Division of Philosophy

Having seen Boethius' de facto recognition of the autonomy of philosophical reasoning, let us turn now to his remarks on the nature and division of philosophy. While these remarks are fairly schematic and derivative, they are important because they were the vehicles whereby the Aristotelian division of philosophy was made known to later thinkers to whom the treatises of Aristotle containing the doctrine which makes the division meaningful were unknown. This fact led to some rather curious commentaries on the texts of Boethius which we want now to examine. However, because of the influence of Boethius the way had been more or less paved for the Aristotelian corpus as it became known at the end of the twelfth century.

In his first commentary on Porphyry, Boethius must ask what philosophy is and what its main divisions are to explain the role the Isagoge was intended to perform: "First of all we must ask what philosophy itself is. For philosophy is the love, pursuit of, and, in a certain way, friendship with wisdom." (PL, 64,1OD) This love of wisdom is described as an illumination of the intelligence by pure wisdom itself and is, therefore, the study of divinity. Truth in speculation is caused by this illumination as well as by rectitude of action: "For philosophy is a genus having two species, one which is called theoretical, the other practical, that is, speculative and active." (11A) Each of the species of philosophy is further subdivided into three parts. In the second chapter of his De trinitate Boethius had written:

There are three parts of speculative philosophy. Natural philosophy considers things in motion which are not abstract; it considers the forms of bodies together with their matter since such forms cannot be actually separated. These bodies are in motion (for example, earth is borne downward, fire upward) and a form conjoined to matter is in motion. Mathematics considers inabstract things without motion, for it speculates on the forms of bodies without the matter and therefore without motion. These forms, since they are in matter, cannot be separated from it. Theology is concerned with abstract things separable from motion since the substance of God lacks both matter and motion.

Thus, in this text Boethius seems to be giving a fairly straightforward statement of the Aristotelian position according to which the division of the speculative sciences does not argue for three distinct realms of entities. However, the approach of the commentary on Porphyry links the three theoretical sciences to three types of things: "There will be just as many species of speculative science as there are things worthy of speculation." (PL, 64, 11B) He names these types of things intellectibles, intelligibles, and naturals. Intellectibles are defined as things which always subsist one and the same in their proper divinity and are grasped, not by the senses, but by intellect alone. Examples are God and the soul. Intelligibles are causes of sublunary things, and soul is mentioned here too because, due to its contact with body, it degenerates from the state of being an intellectible and becomes an intelligible. Beatitude will consist in turning toward intellectibles. A third branch of theoretical science is concerned with bodies and their properties and can be called physiology. It is noteworthy that Boethius, while he associates intellectibles with theology and bodies with physics, does not align intelligibles with mathematics.

The passage in the commentary on Porphyry suggests a Neoplatonic declension toward matter, and we seem faced with a real hierarchy. This impression is strengthened by a passage in On Arithmetic, one quoted, incidentally, by Scotus Erigena (PL, 122,498C). Here we read that qualities, quantities, forms, magnitudes, places, times, and such are, in their proper nature, incorporeal, immutable substances; they are changed, however, by their participation in body. (PL, 63,1079D - 1081A)

Boethius has presented the Aristotelian division of theoretical philosophy in the De trinitate in terms of abstraction or nonabstraction from matter in being and in thought. Elsewhere, however, he speaks of a hierarchy of entities in terms of degeneration from true being, a falling off into matter, which is redolent of Neoplatonism. Which of these positions Boethius himself held has been the object of lengthy discussion. We will be able to propose an answer against the background of Boethius' treatment of the problem of universals.

D. The Status of Universals

Pascal once mused that the whole history of the world would have been different if Cleopatra's nose had been a bit longer. It is far less remote to say that much of the philosophy of the Early Middle Ages would have been utterly different if it had not been for a brief remark of Porphyry in his Isagoge, that is, introduction, to the Categories of Aristotle. In this work Porphyry proposes to discuss the notions prerequisite to an understanding of Aristotle's work on the ten genera of being. Porphyry mentions the five predicables: genus, species, difference, property, and accident. Before getting down to them, however, he sets aside the problem posed by two widely different opinions regarding the status of the predicables, the opinions of Plato and Aristotle: "For the present I shall not discuss the question whether genera and species really exist or are bare notions only; and if they exist, whether they are corporeal or incorporeal beings; whether they are separate from sensible things or exist in them and in relation to them. Such matters are of the highest difficulty and demand a higher kind of inquiry." What could be more challenging to a reader than to be told that there is a profound and difficult problem, namely, such and such, which will not be treated in the present work? Boethius rose to the bait twice in his commentaries on Porphyry, and, because of the influence of Boethius, the problem was transmitted to the Christian schools, where many were to follow his example and propose solutions to the problem Porphyry considered too difficult to discuss in an introductory work.

The problem of universals, as it is stated by Porphyry, comprises three questions: Are genera and species subsistent entities, and, if so, are they separate from the things of sense experience or is the universal somehow present in sensible singulars? What explains Porphyry's reluctance (and distinguishes Boethius' treatment from most others until the end of the twelfth century) is the recognition that the quarrel to which he alludes is as much or more a metaphysical than a logical one. Boethius was acquainted with the works of Plato and Aristotle, but for centuries during which the problem of universals was discussed all the Aristotle known to the disputants was a few logical works translated by Boethius. Of Plato, all that was directly known was the Timaeus in the translation of Chalcidius. (Of course, much "Platonism" was known.) While the various theories on the status of universals, which grew ever more complex, were presented in a time when the historical background in Greek thought was but dimly perceived, they cannot be viewed as a mere waste of time. The problem involved logic, psychology, and metaphysics; moreover, its association with the divine Ideas and creation makes proposed solutions important.

Boethius' first commentary on the Isagoge opens as a dialogue, but there is less and less concession to that literary form as the commentary proceeds; the second commentary is a straightforward one by previous design. We shall concern ourselves with the second commentary. (PL, 64,82A - 86A) The discussion is organized as follows: having noted Porphyry's reluctance to treat the problem of universals, Boethius first indicates the triple question involved. Next, he undertakes the solution of the three difficulties, first by noting the ambiguity of the question and then by presenting his solution. In following his division we shall make some mention of Boethius' first commentary and rely as well on other writings of his. Finally, because of his closing statement, we will seek elsewhere indications of disagreement with the Aristotelian solution Boethius here sets forth.

The Questions. In dismissing the problem of universals Porphyry has indicated that it involves three questions. In his first commentary Boethius is content with a clarification of these three questions; in the second, this clarification is prefatory to a solution. Three activities of the mind (animus) are mentioned. Mind conceives with the understanding or intellect (intellectus), describes to itself what has been so conceived with the reason (ratio), or depicts for itself by empty imagination (imaginatio) what is not. To which of these activities of mind should genera and species be ascribed? Are they due to true understanding or to the empty play of imagination? In this fashion Boethius sets up the first Porphyrian problem: Do genera and species exist or are they bare notions only, that is, are they had by true understanding or made by mendacious imagination? If we decide that they are objects of true understanding, it remains to determine the nature of genus. Whatever is is either corporeal or incorporeal: if genera exist, they must fall under one of these headings. And this is the second question.

The third question, arising on the assumption that genera exist and are incorporeal, is this: Do genera subsist only in bodies or in themselves? There are, Boethius points out, two kinds of incorporeal things, namely, those which subsist separately from bodies -- for example, God, mind (mens), and soul (anima) -- and those which cannot exist separately -- for example, line, surface, particular qualities. The latter are incorporeal in the sense that they are not tridimensionally extended in space.

The Solution. If these are the three questions to be answered, there remain certain ambiguities which must be dispelled before a solution can be proposed. By ambiguity Boethius here means dichotomy or antinomy, for he examines the apparent impossibility of either the existence or truth of genera and species. Genera and species either subsist and exist, or they are products of understanding (intellectus) and thought (cogitatio) alone. Arguments are adduced to show that genera and species cannot exist and that they cannot be true notions.

To show that it is impossible for genera and species to exist, Boethius argues that if genus, for example, is common, it cannot be one, and if it is one, it cannot be common. Whatever is common cannot be one. But the genus is in many species, and wholly not partially in each of them. Therefore, the genus cannot be one. But if it is not one, it simply cannot exist, for whatever is, is one. Moreover, if the genus is not numerically one, but multiple, we shall always have to seek its genus, and we would thereby be involved in an infinite regress.

If, to avoid this, we say that the genus is numerically one, we compound the difficulty, for how then could it be common? Boethius enumerates three modes of community: (1) If a single thing is common, it is common by parts and not as a whole. Thus, a common dish at the table is common to all the diners in that each will receive part and not in that each will receive the whole dish. (2) Or it is common suecessively; for example, several men may share the same automobile, each having the use of the whole car, but at different times. (3) Or a thing can be simultaneously and totally common, as a film is common to everyone seated in the theatre -- but of course it is not substantially common to them. None of these ways in which something numerically one is common to many can explain the community of genus, for the latter must be wholly, simultaneously, and substantially common to individuals. Such a mode of community seems impossible. The genus cannot be one because it is common, and its community prevents our ever arriving at a supreme genus; if taken to be one, the genus cannot be common. Either way, then, it seems that the genus cannot be said to exist.

Turning now to the other side of the original dichotomy, Boethius examines the possibility that genera and species do not exist but are merely products of thought. This too involves an ambiguity or dichotomy. Whatever is in a concept (intellectus) refers to a subject thing and either reflects the way the subject itself is constituted or the way in which it is not constituted. If genera and species are intellectus of the subject as it exists, they cannot be simply in the mind but are truly in things as well. In other words, they would exist, and we are thus led back to the previous consideration. The alternative, then, is to say that the intellectus of the genus is not taken from the thing as it exists, that it is a vain idea. This cannot be the solution, for it consists in understanding the thing otherwise than as it exists.

The upshot of these analyses is that genus and species neither exist nor, when thought, are true ideas, conclusions which, as Boethius points out, are calculated to disturb one about to investigate the predicables. If he cannot solve these problems, whose difficulty Boethius has just heightened remarkably, he will be in the position of examining what may neither exist nor be true. The following schema summarizes Boethius' presentation of the "ambiguities" which attend the Porphyrian problem:

Boethius leads us out of the dilemma by denying the exhaustiveness of the division. Relying on Alexander but using primary Aristotelian doctrine, Boethius argues that not every idea which is not of a subject as it exists is false. The truth of this is established by noting the difference between the mind's act of understanding and its act of composition. Only the latter can properly be said to involve true or false opinion. Boethius' example is the composition of man and horse in the notion of centaur. (Of course, false opinion is had only in the assertion that centaurs really exist.) Mental acts of division and abstraction are productive of ideas not constituted as the thing is, but such ideas are not thereby false. Thus, the mind can consider line apart from sensible bodies, although the line could not actually subsist in this way. This example is a familiar one in Aristotle. (See Physics, II, 2.) The line, then, is an incorporeal thing which the mind can separate and distinguish from the confused thing given to the senses. Thus genera and species are found either in incorporeal or in corporeal things; in the latter case the mind abstracts "the nature of incorporeals from bodies, and beholds it alone and pure as the form itself is in itself." (85A)

Genera and species are gathered from the individuals in which they are, not by a mental composition, but by abstractions and divisions. Genera and species are in the individuals, that is, and become universal insofar as they are thought: "Species must be seen to be nothing other than the thought collected from the substantial likeness of individuals unlike in number, and genus the thought collected from the similarity of species." (85C) In things this similarity is sensible; in universals it is intelligible. Thus, genera and species subsist in individuals: what becomes universal when it is thought subsists only in sensibles. We have here the solution of Porphyry's problem. Boethius has indicated in which sense genus and species subsist (in sensibles, not as universals), that although incorporeal in themselves, they are found in sensible bodies, and that they are not false, though they do not reflect things as they exist.

The solution proposed by Boethius is intended to be an Aristotelian one. From this point of view the likening of line and man on the basis of incorporeality seems to pose a great difficulty. In his first commentary, while discussing the first question, Boethius observed that man's mind understands things present to sense through sensible qualities and that concepts formed from these prepare a way toward understanding incorporeal things; thus, when I see singular men, I also know that I see them and that they are men. The species man, we are told, should not be called corporeal because it is grasped by the mind and not by the senses. "Incorporeal things are those which can be grasped by none of the senses, but what they are is made known solely by the consideration of the mind." Nevertheless, in pursuing the question whether the genus is corporeal or incorporeal, Boethius begins to speak of the corporeal genus. Substance, he notes, is a genus, and its species are corporeal and incorporeal. Since the genus is not identical with that which divides it into species, that is, the differences substance is neither corporeal nor incorporeal qua substance. "But some species are corporeal, others incorporeal. For if you place man under substance, you would introduce a corporeal species; if God, an incorporeal one."

The apparent contradiction involved in saying that genera and species are incorporeal and that some species are corporeal, when resolved, will resolve as well the difficulty inherent in likening line and man on the basis of incorporeality. Boethius himself asks how the incorporeal can be called corporeal. When one says the genus is incorporeal, he explains, the genus is not being considered insofar as it represents some nature, but insofar as it is a genus. Therefore, when substance is the genus, we do not consider it insofar as it is substance, but insofar as it has species under it. This surely distinguishes being predicable of many from the corporeal nature to which this relation attaches; the relation of predicability is not itself corporeal nor is the nature as it actually takes on this relation, that is, in the mind. This distinction should allay the reader's fear that Boethius, by likening line and man on the basis of incorporeality, means to suggest that Aristotle taught their definition would exhibit an equal freedom from sensible matter. What line and man have in common is that each involves considering apart from sensible things what cannot exist apart. As species, that is, given their condition in the mind and the relation of predicability attributed to them in that state, they can both be called incorporeal. Nevertheless, the nature reflected by the intellectus will in one case he incorporeal (insensible) and in the other corporeal.

F. Plato or Aristotle?

By saying that he has presented an Aristotelian solution to the problem of universals, not because he agrees with it, but because the Isagoge is an introduction to an Aristotelian work (86A), Boethius leaves the impression that he himself may prefer Plato's position on the matter. And Plato's position, according to Boethius, is that "genera and species and the rest not only are understood as universals but also are and subsist without bodies." (86A) To settle this question, we are referred to texts in the Consolation and in De trinitate.

In the fifth book of the Consolation Boethius is concerned in a particular way with the relationship between God's providence and man's free will. Already in the third poem of this book a Platonic note has been struck, for it invokes the preexistence of the soul and knowledge as remembering.{2} Indeed, earlier, having written in a poem (III, xi), "If the muse of Plato does not mislead, whatever we learn is a science forgotten that we but recall to memory," he goes on to say in prose twelve: "'But I passionately ascribe to the view of Plato,' I cried, 'for this is the second time you have recalled what my spirit had forgotten, first due to its contact with the body, then when I was crushed under the weight of woe.'"

Such remarks form the basis for judgments that Boethius is at heart a Platonist. Prose four of book five of the Consolation is most frequently cited as indicating that Boethius personally favored the Platonic solution to the problem of universals. Boethius is speaking of divine foreknowledge and our free acts. He points out that we ourselves foresee things which do not come about by necessity. For example, we watch an artisan at work and know that soon he will do such and such, although he is not compelled to do so. "There you have facts known in advance the realization of which is free. For, if present knowledge does not impose any character of necessity on events, foreknowledge of the future does not render future facts necessary." But is it not wrong to think one has certain knowledge of what will not come about necessarily? "If facts whose realization is uncertain are foreseen as certain, we are faced with the obscurity of conjecture and not the truth of science; for you believe that to think something to be other than it is is to fall short of the integrity of science. The cause of this error is that all one knows is thought to be known from the very nature and essence of the object, which is false. In fact every known object is grasped not in terms of its own essence but in terms of the capacity of the knower."

He goes on to illustrate the different ways in which sense, imagination, reason, and intelligence know man: "The senses pronounce on the form constituted in a particular subject matter, whereas imagination judges the form without the matter. Reason goes beyond this and, by a universal examination, determines the species which is in the singulars. The eye of intelligence is at a yet higher level; it perceives, by the unique penetration of its proper activity, the simple form itself." Now in this cognitive hierarchy the upper stages comprise and go beyond the lower: "Reason, once it distinguishes the universal, no longer has need of sense or imagination to understand the objects of sense and imagination. Reason it is that gives the definition as its proper work: man is a two-footed animal endowed with reason. Once the general notion is had, no one is unaware that it is an object pertaining to sense and imagination, but reason examines it without the aid of sense and imagination." The point of this passage is that the existing man does not, as such, explain the different ways he is known by sense, imagination, and reason.

The passage just quoted, moreover, throws light on a point we discussed earlier and seems to argue for an abstractive view of knowledge while at the same time cautioning against taking knowledge as a mere passive reflection of reality. The next poem (v. 4) stresses this point, taking issue with the Stoics. Knowledge requires that the knower be agent as well as patient. "Here is a power far more efficacious than that which receives the imprint of matter." There must be a prior passion of our living body if knowledge is to take place, a passion which incites the first motions of the mind.{3} Aroused by impinging colors or noises, the mind forms species intrinsic to itself which can then be applied to exterior things. The use of the participle excitans could seem to suggest something innate and dormant in the mind. This impression is strengthened by the next prose section (v. 5). Boethius (more accurately, Dame Philosophy) argues that if our mind has its own inner forms, although it requires the prior passion of the body, so much the more independent of body will be those minds which are not in bodies. The description of the coming into being of inner forms from a quiescent state suggests a Platonic view of human intellection.{4} This and not the previous prose section could be cited as exhibiting a Platonic rather than an Aristotelian bent in Boethius.

This same prose section indicates that intelligence is not a human faculty. Reason is proper to man, and reason is concerned with the universal. Once more we are reminded that reason comprises in itself the objects of sense and imagination. Then follows this passage, important for the problem of universals:

What would happen if sense and imagination would resist reason and deny the universal reason sees? What pertains to sense and imagination cannot have the status of universality; therefore, either the judgment of reason is true and nothing sensible exists, or since it knows that the majority of its notions depend on sense and imagination, it is the work of reason which is vain when it considers what is sensible and imaginable as universal. If reason reply that it considers the data of sense and imagination from a universal point of view but that these faculties cannot pretend to a universal knowledge since they cannot transcend corporeal forms, if it says that in knowledge it is necessary to prefer the most sure and advanced judgment -- given such a debate, would not we who enjoy both reason and sensing incline to the cause of reason?

It will be noticed that Boethius, while insisting on the sui generis activity of reason, always allows for the necessary precedence of sensation and imagination. Taken as such, this permits either the Platonic or Aristotelian theories, but in the Consolation abstraction does not loom as large as the view that forms, quiescent in mind, are awakened when the mind considers the data of sensation.

Turning now to the De trinitate, let us recall first that, in his proemium to the tractate, Boethius asks Symmachus to seek in the work the fruit of the seed sown in his mind by the doctrine of Augustine. In the second chapter, having distinguished the three kinds of theoretical sciences, Boethius goes on to distinguish God, who is pure form, from all other beings which are not pure forms but images. Nevertheless, everything is because of its form. "Omne namque esse ex forma est." A statue is a statue because of its shape or form, not because it is bronze; bronze is bronze, not because of the earth which is its matter, but because of its form. Earth is not earth because of prime matter but due to the forms of weight and dryness. "Nothing is said to be because of its matter but because of its proper form." The divine substance is form without matter, one, its own essence:

Other things are not what they are, for each of them has its being from those things of which it is made, that is, from its parts; it is this and that, a compound of parts, but neither this nor that alone, as earthly man is made up of soul and body, he is soul and body, and neither soul nor body alone; therefore, he is not identical to what he is. What is not this and that, but only this, truly is what it is and is best and most because dependent on nothing.

F. K. Rand, in his edition of Boethius, tells us that this passage shows that Boethius is definitely committed to Plato's position regarding universals. It is difficult to accept this without qualification. Does Boethius, by speaking of "earthly man," mean to imply that there is another man not composed of body and soul? A man subsisting separately from the singular men of our experience? Boethius does point out that humanity can appear to have properties which are really accidents of the man whose form humanity is and not those of humanity as such. Other forms, those which are without matter, "cannot be subjected to or be in matter, for they would then be images not forms. From these forms outside of matter those forms come which are in matter and body." Does this mean that the form, humanity, subsists separately from singular men? In a sense, yes; indeed, forms in matter are properly speaking not forms but images. "For the others which are in bodies we abusively call forms; in fact they are images. They are assimilated to those forms which are not constituted in matter." What the things of this world image, surely, are the divine Ideas. We have here, it would seem, the fruit of Augustine's seeds of doctrine a Platonism, perhaps, but again a highly modified one.

F. Conclusion

Boethius, even more than Augustine, is a bridge between the world of classical philosophy and the medieval world to come. Many centuries will intervene before we will encounter another figure in whose mind a thorough knowledge of Greek philosophy combines with theological interests and talents. It is a cause for lamentation that Boethius had hardly the time to begin the massive task of translation he had set himself, although we can only speculate on what the results of a complete knowledge of Aristotle and Plato would have meant in the immediately following centuries. Perhaps it is better to be grateful that Boethius did manage to translate some works of Aristotle, for, in periods when men had at least a fleeting leisure for such pursuits, these works provided a basis for speculation and generally interesting discussion. Moreover, something of Greek philosophy is passed on in the independent works of Boethius, and even when the context of those fragmentary retentions is unknown, some intellectual benefit was derived from attempting to grasp their meaning. In sum, the writings of Boethius may be said to be a reminder of a soon-to-be-lost philosophical greatness and the promise of a theological flowering to come many centuries later. Before that later renaissance could come, there were many centuries during which the best that men of the West could do was to strive to preserve what had been handed down to them. Infrequently, but sometimes, a man arises who surmounts the restrictions of his time, but it will not be until the twelfth century that we encounter thinkers who approximate the stature of Boethius.

Bibliographical Note

The works of Boethius can be found in Migne PL, 63-64. See too Boethius: The Theological Tractates . . . The Consolation of Philosophy, trans. H. F. Stewart and E. K. Rand (Loeb Classical Library) (New York, 1918). H. M. Barrett, Boethius, Some Aspects of His Time and Work (Cambridge, 1940); H. R. Patch, The Tradition of Boethius: A Study of His Importance in Medieval Culture (New York, 1935). P. Courcelle, Les lettres grecques en occident (Paris, 1948), pp. 257-312; E. K. Rand, Founders of the Middle Ages (Cambridge, Mass., 1928); J. Collins, "Problems and Progress in the Reassessment of Boethius," The Modern Schoolman (1945), pp. 1-23. From among recent and important work on Boethius we can mention the following. P. Courcelle, "Étude critique sur les commentaires de Consolation de Boece, IX - XV siecles," Archives d'Histoire Doctrinale et Litteraire de Moyen Age, XII (1939); Gangolf Schrimpf, Die Axiomenschrift des Boethius (De hebdomadibus) als Philosophisches Lehrbuch des Mittelalters (Leiden, 1966); Siegfried Neumann, Gegenstand und Methode (Münster, 1965); Karl Durr, The Propositional Logic of Boethius (Amsterdam, 1951).

{1} Gilson, in History of Christian Philosophy in the Middle Ages, p. 102, finds quotation from Scripture (Wisdom 8:1), in book three, prose twelve.

{2} "Now beclouded by body, it (the soul) has not wholly forgotten its pristine state but keeps the memory of the whole, though it has lost the detail. He who seeks troth finds himself therefore in an intermediary state: he knows not and yet he is not wholly ignorant; he consults the whole of which he has retained the memory, by recalling what he saw above, so that it might be able to add what has been forgotten to what has been retained."

{3} "Praecedit tamen excitans/ Ac vires animi movens/ Vivo in corpore passio." (11,30-33)

{4} "If in the perception of objects the organs of sense are struck by exterior impressions and the activity of spiritual energy is preceded by a physical sensation which provokes the action of intelligence and awakes in it the inner forms sleeping there, if, I say, in the perception of objects the mind is not informed by sensation but judged by its proper power, the data of sense, so much the more will beings free from all physical influence be independent of the external world in their judgments. . . ." (v. pr. 5)

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