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By Frederick C Copleston

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We have seen that for Ockham intuitive knowledge of a thing is caused by that thing and not by any other thing. In other words, intuition, as immediate apprehension of the individual existent, carries its own guarantee. But, as is well known, he maintained that God could cause in us the intuition of a thing which was not really there. '4 Hence among the censured propositions of Ockham's we find one to the effect that 'intuitive knowledge in itself and necessarily is not more concerned with an existent than with a non-existent thing, nor does it regard existence more than non-existence'.

It is not, however, a fiction in the sense that it does not stand for anything real: it stands for individual real things, though it does not stand for any universal thing. It is, in short, a way of conceiving or knowing individual things. (vi) Ockham may sometimes imply that the universal is a confused or indistinct image of distinct individual things; but he was not concerned to identify the universal concept with the image or phantasm. His main point was always that there is no need to postulate any factors other than the mind and individual things in order to explain the universal.

2. The commentary on the first book of the Sentences was written by Ockham himself, and the first edition of this Ordinatio 1 seems to have been composed between 1318 and 1323. The commentaries on the other three books of the Sentences are reportationes, though they also belong to an early period. Boehner 1 The word ordinatio was used to denote the text or the part of a text which a mediaeval lecturer actually wrote or dictated with a view to publication. OCKHAM (1) 45 thinks that they were composed before the Ordinatio.

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A history of philosophy by Frederick C Copleston


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