Ideas from 'Seven Quodlibets' by William of Ockham [1332], by Theme Structure

[found in 'Philosophy in the Middle Ages' by Hyman,A./Walsh,J. [Hackett 1973,0-915145-80-4]].

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8. Modes of Existence / A. Relations / 1. Nature of Relations
Relations are expressed either as absolute facts, or by a relational concept
                        Full Idea: Socrates and Plato are similar if they are both white. Yet the mind can express this either by an 'absolute concept' (as 'Socrates is white' and 'Plato is white'), or by a 'relative concept', as 'Socrates is similar to Plato with respect to whiteness.
                        From: William of Ockham (Seven Quodlibets [1332], VI q.25), quoted by John Heil - The Universe as We Find It 7
                        A reaction: Presumably he takes the facts of the matter to be the absolute concept, and the relative concept to be a contribution of the intellect.
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 2. Substance / c. Types of substance
Cut wood doesn't make a new substance, but seems to make separate subjects
                        Full Idea: When a piece of wood is divided in two halves, no new substance is generated. But there are now two substances, or the accidents of the two halves would be without a subject. They existed before hand, and were one piece of wood, but not in the same place.
                        From: William of Ockham (Seven Quodlibets [1332], IV.19), quoted by Richard S. Westfall - Never at Rest: a biography of Isaac Newton 26.2
                        A reaction: A nice example, demonstrating that there are substances within substances, contrary to the view of Duns Scotus. If a substance is just a subject for properties, it is hard to know what to make of this case.
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 2. Hylomorphism / a. Hylomorphism
Hot water naturally cools down, which is due to the substantial form of the water
                        Full Idea: It is clear to the senses that hot water, if left to its own nature, reverts to coldness; this coldness cannot be caused by anything other than the substantial form of the water.
                        From: William of Ockham (Seven Quodlibets [1332], III.6), quoted by Robert Pasnau - Metaphysical Themes 1274-1671 24.4
                        A reaction: Unfortunately this is very bad science (even for its time), but it shows how many scholastics treated hylomorphism as a very physical and causal theory.
15. Nature of Minds / C. Capacities of Minds / 3. Abstraction by mind
If an animal approached from a distance, we might abstract 'animal' from one instance
                        Full Idea: It seems possible that the concept of a genus could be abstracted from one individual, let us say, the concept 'animal', as in the case of one approaching from a distance, when I see enough to judge that I am seeing an animal.
                        From: William of Ockham (Seven Quodlibets [1332], I Q xiii)
                        A reaction: This is a rather individualistic view of abstraction, ignoring the shared language and culture. It is hard to imagine a truly virgin mind coming up with the concept after one encounter. The concept 'mind-boggling' seems more likely.
17. Mind and Body / D. Property Dualism / 6. Mysterianism
There are no secure foundations to prove the separate existence of mind, in reason or experience
                        Full Idea: The existence of an immaterial 'intellective soul' ..cannot be demonstrated; for every reason by which we try to prove it assumes something that is doubtful for a man who follows only his natural reason. Neither can it be proved by experience.
                        From: William of Ockham (Seven Quodlibets [1332], I Q x)
                        A reaction: This is splendid honesty from a medieval monk. How would such a clear thinker have responded to modern brain research? Colin McGinn still maintains William's view, despite modern knowledge. Our ignorance produced conceptual dualism.
29. Religion / B. Monotheistic Religion / 4. Christianity / a. Christianity
To love God means to love whatever God wills to be loved
                        Full Idea: To love God above all means to love whatever God wills to be loved.
                        From: William of Ockham (Seven Quodlibets [1332], III Q xiii)
                        A reaction: A striking thought, which could be meaningful to the non-religious. Is it possible to form an image of what a perfect and ideal mind would love most? This might generate a set of universal values. It is tricky to find out what an actual God loves.