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PHL206H1 Study Guide - Passive Intellect, Vishvarupa

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Deborah Black

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Sketch briefly Bonaventure's theory of seminal reasons, indicating the main philosophical and theological
problems that the theory is meant to solve (2)
Bonaventure’s seminal reasons
Bonaventure contributes seminal reasons to explain the origin of new beings in the universe
The origin of new beings is a problem because for Bonaventure, all existence is attributed to God,
who created it and holds it in existence by His will
Because the world is so radically contingent upon God’ will, only God can impart form unto matter
All secondary sources do is give a new mode of being to a form already created in matter
How then is God completely responsible for the emergence of these new beings?
Seminal reasons: seeds principles
Matter contains within it active principles like seeds
A chunk of matter has its own possibility of what it can become
How did God create all these things at first, yet they turned to different things
If you have dirt, they are active principle that it can turn into plants
Nobody needs to do anything to the matter. It can become something on its own
Seed can turn into a plant on its own without another person imposing an action
Aquinas says we have to slap a form onto the matter
If you have dirt, you melt it into glass
God puts form on matter
Anaxagoras thought the structure was actually in the matter
Contradiction: it would contain the idea of diamond and non-diamond
Bonaventure: there is a potentiality of the structure inside the matter
In what sense does Aquinas hold that God's existence is self-evident? Briefly explain Aquinas' reasoning
in support of his position and explain why it requires Aquinas to offer proofs for the existence of God (4)
Aquinas’ self evidence of God
There are two kinds of SE
SE in itself
If you are a brilliant physicist, you can find E=MC2
If you understand all, then the equation is SE
But if I am not good at Physics, then it is not SE
It is SE in itself, but not to me
SE to us
1 + 1 = 2
I can understand this, and it is therefore SE
Aquinas thinks the proposition God exists is SE in itself, but not in the human intellect
If we could understand what the term God means, then it would come obviously that God exists
The only who can see this SE is angelic intellects
We have to go through long arduous arguments
The consequence of Aquinas’ rejection of the SE of God to us is his many teleological arguments, where
he starts with those things that are physically SE (world is in motion, existence of degree, and etc) in
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order to demonstrate the existence of God.
Another consequence of this rejection is the rejection of ontological arguments for God
Why, according to Aquinas, does the human intellect require phantasms or sense images in order to
acquire and even to exercise knowledge? (Your answer should refer both to the nature of the human
intellect and to the nature of the objects that it knows) (5)
What is an intelligible species according to Aquinas, that is, what is its function in human knowledge and
how is it acquired? According to Aquinas, why do we need phantasms or sense images as well as
intelligible species to exercise our knowledge? (ii)
Aquinas on abstraction
Intellect is immaterial
All the things we see are particular and material
How is it that those material things impacts us to make us have thoughts in the immaterial mind
The outside material things give us sense impressions
The imagination takes those sense and forms them into wholes, which is a phantasm
When we get a phantasm, we are one degree away from reality
We just have the image of the forms
Next, the intellect, which has both passive and agent faculties, comes into play
Our agent intellect abstracts the characteristics of the phantasm
The agent is like an x ray machine
It pulls out the universal form (intelligible species) and slaps it onto the passive intellect
The universal form can represent any singular example of that form
Then after the agent puts the intelligible species onto the passive intellect, the passive intellect does
two things
It apprehends essences from sensible things and forms concepts of them
It enables us to make judgments of the apprehended essence
(Henry questions the species)
But we need a ray of illumination
How do we know what to pull out, what is the universal?
The agent intellect has its divine power because of the divine light
What is the theory of the so-called "double truth"? To what extent if any, does Boethius of Dacia's position
on the eternity of the world embody a double truth theory? (7)
Interpretation A:
Boethius states that if reality held conditions of philosophy then the world is eternal
However if the reality falls under the conditions of theology, then the world is not eternal
This is “not the double truth theory and not breaking law of non-contradiction” interpretation
However there is interpretation B:
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