Download e-book for iPad: Conscience in Medieval Philosophy by Timothy C. Potts

By Timothy C. Potts

This ebook offers in translation writings by means of six medieval philosophers which undergo with regards to judgment of right and wrong. moral sense, which might be thought of either as a subject within the philosophy of brain and a subject matter in ethics, has been unduly ignored in glossy philosophy, the place a winning trust within the autonomy of ethics leaves it no typical position. It was once, notwithstanding, a customary topic for a treatise in medieval philosophy. 3 introductory translations the following, from Jerome, Augustine and Peter Lombard, current the loci classici on which next discussions drew; there follows the 1st whole treatise on judgment of right and wrong, by way of Philip the Chancellor, whereas the 2 last translations, from Bonaventure and Aquinas, were selected as extraordinary examples of the 2 major ways which crystallised throughout the 13th century.

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Bonaventure's analogy with light and vision is not forced; it permeates a great deal of our vocabulary concerned with learning, knowledge and understanding. The learner suddenly sees the point of something: it dawns on him (perhaps in a flash) and becomes clear at last; these are just a few examples, which could easily be multiplied. Bonaventure does not, however, hold that all deontic propositions are known innately : the following point is especially to be noted. g. g. g. 'Do not do to others what you do not want to be done to you', that one ought to submit to God, and so on.

Philip's account of the relationship ofsynderesis to reason still does not settle, though, the issue whether it is a potentiality or a disposition. In spite of the confusing passage noted above, however, a measure of clarification has emerged. First, he holds that it is innate and not acquired. Second, that it is not a grace to compensate for the impulse to sin, but what remains of the full control of bodily appetites which man possessed in the state of innocence. Third, that it is not a potentiality distinct from reason in the Platonic sense.

I have used the phrase 'impulse to sin' to translate 'fomes peccati9, but this is a very peculiar piece of Latin, for the normal meaning of 'forties9 is 'tinder' or 'fuel', which makes no sense in this context; in late classical Latin it can sometimes mean 'incitement', which is at least a psychological notion, but still does not fit the context at all easily, for incitement requires someone or something to do the inciting. So what is this fomes peccatP. ', and that he relates it to the chronic conflict of desires described by St Paul in Romans 7:13-25, it is extremely probable that the argument cited by Philip reflects the rabbinic doctrine of the two impulses in man, the evil impulse, yitzer hd-rd', and the good impulse, yetzer ha-tob.

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