From a historico-philosophical point of view, it is worth noting that it was William de la Mare’s Correctorium Fratris Thomae that first brought the problem of the relationship between local distance and angelic knowledge to the prominence that provoked the subsequent controversy analyzed in this paper. In Aquinas’ Summa theologiae – William’s source – the issue had only been touched upon, but by including the short argument contained in the Summa in his list of doctrinal errors, William made it the subject of specific discussion. The replies in subsequent Correctoria gave rise to an authentic debate and their authors – who developed new and sophisticated arguments and increasingly drew upon philosophical sources – tuned the relationship between local distance and angelic knowledge into a topic of philosophical significance. Each of the Correctoria made an original contribution to the debate: Quare insisted on the distinction between sense perception and intellectual cognition; Sciendum emphasized the distinction between the acquisition and the use of science; Circa illustrated the two modes of knowledge (according to quia and quid est) and their metaphysical foundation (the essence-existence distinction); Quaestione focussed on non-existents and future contingents. As a result, what had been a peripheral argument merely alluded to by Thomas became the centre of a constellation of important epistemological and metaphysical concepts and topics: non-existents, future contingents and divine foreknowledge, angelic knowledge of individuals, intelligible species, indifference of essence, morning and evening knowledge, etc. It is hardly surprising that when dealing with local distance and an- gelic cognition, William of Peter Godin turned to the Correctoria controversy. William de la Mare’s critical account provided him with the topic and his objections to Aquinas’ view that angelic understanding is indifferent to the position of its objects. Godin’s own position, however, was strongly influenced by Quidort’s analysis, with which Godin concurs in making a radical distinction between distant things and non-existents on the basis of Metaphysics Book 2 (1, 993b30-31). Since all things are related equally to being and to truth, a non-existent cannot be known at all. Godin also asserts that angels, through their innate species, can have cognition of an object’s quiddity, whether the object actually exists or not. Angelic cognition of the existence (quia est) of a thing, however, only occurs when the thing to be known assimilates itself to the species in the angelic intellect according not only to its essence, but also to its actual existence. Godin, of course, did not merely copy and paste other people’s texts. As said above, the passages quoted are rearranged and subject to his own, original, interpretation: small textual changes reveal clever conceptual moves. This analysis of the is- sue of local distance and angelic cognition confirms the tendency of recent scholarship to abandon the old cliché of the Lectura Thomasina as an unoriginal compilation of borrowings from Aquinas. This case, however, allows us to make a step forward. Godin’s originality has only ever been measured with regard to his relationship with the work of Thomas. From this perspective, scholars have recently drawn attention to Godin’s development of a well-structured strategy of defence of Thomas’ views in response to the latter’s later opponents (Henry of Ghent and Giles of Rome). Godin’s contribution to the formation of a coherent and harmonious set of consistent Thomistic teachings has also been emphasized.

Angelic Knowledge of Distant Things: From Thomas Aquinas to the Lectura Thomasina / Palazzo, Alessandro. - STAMPA. - 18:(2020), pp. 121-160.

Angelic Knowledge of Distant Things: From Thomas Aquinas to the Lectura Thomasina

Palazzo, Alessandro
2020-01-01

Abstract

From a historico-philosophical point of view, it is worth noting that it was William de la Mare’s Correctorium Fratris Thomae that first brought the problem of the relationship between local distance and angelic knowledge to the prominence that provoked the subsequent controversy analyzed in this paper. In Aquinas’ Summa theologiae – William’s source – the issue had only been touched upon, but by including the short argument contained in the Summa in his list of doctrinal errors, William made it the subject of specific discussion. The replies in subsequent Correctoria gave rise to an authentic debate and their authors – who developed new and sophisticated arguments and increasingly drew upon philosophical sources – tuned the relationship between local distance and angelic knowledge into a topic of philosophical significance. Each of the Correctoria made an original contribution to the debate: Quare insisted on the distinction between sense perception and intellectual cognition; Sciendum emphasized the distinction between the acquisition and the use of science; Circa illustrated the two modes of knowledge (according to quia and quid est) and their metaphysical foundation (the essence-existence distinction); Quaestione focussed on non-existents and future contingents. As a result, what had been a peripheral argument merely alluded to by Thomas became the centre of a constellation of important epistemological and metaphysical concepts and topics: non-existents, future contingents and divine foreknowledge, angelic knowledge of individuals, intelligible species, indifference of essence, morning and evening knowledge, etc. It is hardly surprising that when dealing with local distance and an- gelic cognition, William of Peter Godin turned to the Correctoria controversy. William de la Mare’s critical account provided him with the topic and his objections to Aquinas’ view that angelic understanding is indifferent to the position of its objects. Godin’s own position, however, was strongly influenced by Quidort’s analysis, with which Godin concurs in making a radical distinction between distant things and non-existents on the basis of Metaphysics Book 2 (1, 993b30-31). Since all things are related equally to being and to truth, a non-existent cannot be known at all. Godin also asserts that angels, through their innate species, can have cognition of an object’s quiddity, whether the object actually exists or not. Angelic cognition of the existence (quia est) of a thing, however, only occurs when the thing to be known assimilates itself to the species in the angelic intellect according not only to its essence, but also to its actual existence. Godin, of course, did not merely copy and paste other people’s texts. As said above, the passages quoted are rearranged and subject to his own, original, interpretation: small textual changes reveal clever conceptual moves. This analysis of the is- sue of local distance and angelic cognition confirms the tendency of recent scholarship to abandon the old cliché of the Lectura Thomasina as an unoriginal compilation of borrowings from Aquinas. This case, however, allows us to make a step forward. Godin’s originality has only ever been measured with regard to his relationship with the work of Thomas. From this perspective, scholars have recently drawn attention to Godin’s development of a well-structured strategy of defence of Thomas’ views in response to the latter’s later opponents (Henry of Ghent and Giles of Rome). Godin’s contribution to the formation of a coherent and harmonious set of consistent Thomistic teachings has also been emphasized.
The Lectura Thomasina in its Context Philosophical and Theological Issues
Leuven - Paris - Bristol, CT
Peeters
978-90-429-4291-2
Palazzo, Alessandro
Angelic Knowledge of Distant Things: From Thomas Aquinas to the Lectura Thomasina / Palazzo, Alessandro. - STAMPA. - 18:(2020), pp. 121-160.
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