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1. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 86 > Issue: 3
Takashi Shogimen Editor’s Introduction
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2. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 86 > Issue: 3
Gyula Klima Ontological Reduction by Logical Analysis and the Primitive Vocabulary of Mentalese
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This paper confronts a certain modern view of the relation between semantics and ontology with that of the late-medieval nominalist philosophers, William Ockham and John Buridan. The modern view in question is characterized in terms of what is called here “the thesis of onto-semantic parallelism,” which states that the primitive (indefinable) categorematic concepts of our semantics mark out the primary entities in reality. The paper argues that, despite some apparently plausible misinterpretations to the contrary, the late-medieval nominalist program of “ontological reduction” was not driven by considerations that try to “read off” ontology from semantic analysis or those that try to identify semantic primitives in their search for ontological primitives. The medieval authors presented a much more flexible, dynamic view of “Aristotelian naturalism,” which challenges both of the unappealing modern alternatives of “conceptual tribalism” and “conceptual imperialism.”
3. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 86 > Issue: 3
Catarina Dutilh Novaes Ockham on Supposition Theory, Mental Language, and Angelic Communication
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In my previous work on Ockham’s theory of supposition, I have argued that it is best understood as a theory of sentential meaning, i.e., as an apparatus for the interpretation of sentences. In this paper, I address the challenge posed to this interpretation of Ockham’s theory by the (presumed) existence of different kinds of supposition in mental language through the lenses of Ockham’s theory of angelic communication. I identify two potentially problematic implications of Ockham’s account of mental language as allowing for different kinds of supposition: the existence of non-significative supposition in mental language; and the possibility of ambiguous mental sentences. I then turn to angelic communication and examine these two issues from that point of view, concluding that there cannot be non-significative supposition in mental language, but also that there may still be room for sentential ambiguity in mental language.
4. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 86 > Issue: 3
Thomas M. Osborne, Jr. William of Ockham on the Freedom of the Will and Happiness
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When viewed in its historical context, Ockham’s moral psychology is distinctive and novel. First, Ockham thinks that the will is free to will for or against any object, and can choose something that is in some sense not even apparently good. The will is free from the intellect’s dictates and from natural inclinations. Second, he emphasizes the will’s independence not only with respect to passions and habits, but also with respect to knowledge, the effects of original sin, grace, and God. Third, Ockham consequently argues that someone is even able to will to be unhappy, and can will another’s happiness more than or even instead of his own.
5. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 86 > Issue: 3
Ian Christopher Levy Authentic Tradition and the Right to Dissent: William of Ockham and the Eucharist
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As a young bachelor of theology William of Ockham found himself under attack for—among other things—views he had expressed regarding the Aristotelian accident of quantity and the related question of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist. This essay focuses on Ockham’s conception of academic freedom as it was articulated in defense of his own position. Against fellow schoolmen who mistake their own magisterial opinions for settled Catholic dogma, Ockham insists on the latitude that is afforded scholars in matters that have not yet been definitively determined by the Roman Church. Hence when it comes to the precise alignment of the eucharistic accidents, until such time as the Roman Pontiff hands down an official determination, Ockham contends that he is under no obligation to yield to the pressures of envious academics. The younger Ockham, who pointedly refrains from accusing his opponents of heresy, simply asks that they would exhibit the same restraint.
6. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 86 > Issue: 3
Isabel Iribarren “The Eyes of the Church”: William of Ockham and John XXII on the Theologians’ Doctrinal Authority
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This article revisits certain aspects of the discussion originated by dissident Franciscans over the two keys conferred by Christ to Peter, bringing it into connection with the value that Ockham and John XXII accord respectively to knowledge and power in the definition of doctrine. Rather than an extraneous element in the debate, as it has often been perceived, the two-keys argument is pivotal to the proper understanding of Ockham’s ecclesiology and the pope’s own, as it serves to articulate the twin notions they both advance of “authority to inquire” and “authority to determine” on a question of faith. By focusing away from the usual template of the competing claims of infallibility and sovereignty, this article hopes to bring to light the profound similarities in their respective views on doctrinal authority and the value accorded to the theological enterprise.
7. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 86 > Issue: 3
Virpi Mäkinen Moral Psychological Aspects in William of Ockham’s Theory of Natural Rights
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Ockham’s theory of natural rights was based on a careful definition of the basic juridical terms dominium and ius utendi, as well as on the idea of human agency and morality. By defining a right as a licit power of action in accordance with right reason (recta ratio), Ockham placed rights firmly in the agent. A right was a subjective power of action. Ockham’s theory of natural rights was influential for later natural rights theories. Its advocates included leading thinkers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, whose views on the right to life, its relation to the right to property, and the state of nature resembled those ideas already developed by Ockham approximately three hundred years earlier.
8. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 86 > Issue: 3
A. S. McGrade The Ontology and Scope of Human Rights: Forward with Ockham
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Ockham is sometimes regarded as the chief source for a view of rights as arbitrary powers of radically isolated individuals. In fact he provides a quintessentially “reasonable” conception of natural or human rights, one which suggests a promising answer to the question of what such rights are, namely, capacities for reasonable activity. This view of personal rights is complemented by Ockham’s equally reasonable and suggestive account of what is naturally “right” for human communities in different human conditions. The unusual situation in which Ockham developed these ideas—as a theologian attacking the doctrinal pronouncements of a reigning pope—raises problems for extracting a systematic philosophical theory from his voluminous output, but the polemical setting of his political writings also gives them a certain relevance to current disputes about the place of secular thought in religious contexts.
9. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 86 > Issue: 3
Books Received
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