Nominalism ‘A rose by any other name would still smell sweet’ IV


  • Realists: Human Beings unique among animals in the ability to reason or to know the natures of things. To know a things essential activity and not just accidental activity.
  • Accidents = that what it inhere in a substance/subject.
  • Form=Gk shape= intelligible conditions of the thing

Intelligible conditions make a rose not a tree, or a table. Not material conditions, in other things. 

  • Realists argued a Light necessary to illumine intelligible things, intellect, active intellect or agent intellect.
  • Light is a metaphor for describing the ability of the intellect to make illumine or evident essential activities of a thing (apart from accidental). Ask questions what is it? What does it do? How is it shaped? Intellect asking fundamental questions, What is it???

Intellect separate the intelligible essential activity (always rose) from accidents material conditions (change) (sometimesred, smell).

  • This power, for the intellect, is a light, illumines the species like sunlight illumines a thing.

 Intellection = Mind forms image, developed representation from sense data, a phantasm. Phantasm like an image but more, It’s an image sound, memory, not just an image or sound. Phantasm is an Image on steroids. Phantasm bombarded by intellect for essential activities, x-rayed/light/question exposes its form or essential activity from accidental activities. Shared by all of its kind learned through questioning.

  • Term universal directly and necessarily relates to the nature/form of things. TA = the concept, the essential activity of the thing, is efficiently caused by the mind (the mind puts it together), but the formal cause/shape, is the thing itself. Mind participates (works with the thing) in the thing to arrive at (better understanding of the thing) a concept. Concept that by which the thing is known. Concept is borrowed thing, incomplete but important. Participation theory of knowledge. Adam knew the animals in a way they (animals) did not. Adam named them, he could see their nature, form, essence.

Concept= that by which something is known.

See insidiousness Satan, not creative corrupt already there/ and could name animals. Animals could not name Adam

Man recognizes his ability to do that. Man grasping at power of potency, power to name without agency to name. will making himself what he is not.

God’s thumbprint known through creation, nominalist remove essence from themselves, call it something else

Adam cannot be Eve, his essence prohibits this

Will precedes intellect, ignore the Light,  grasp for something, grasps agency to name, Satan corrupting ability to name

Name our essence authority of which man does not have power to do so

  • Intellection theory hinges on two details/elements
  1. Species communicates both material conditions & intelligible conditions of a thing to rest of reality. Like a gift.
  2. Only rational beings, Human Beings specifically tuned (radio waves around us, instrument can pick them, know them because of effect, have a cause, radio receiver, must be radio waves communicated to receiver) to perceive and understand the essential activities or forms of things including itself. Mind is tuned to the knowledge of essential activities (the thing), not just from images many times, kind of knowledge that can understand nature of a thing, true for all things of its kind, only mind is particularly tuned to this work through intellect

Carpenter imposes intelligibility order onto wood

  • Nature imposes intelligibility/ form on acorn to potentially generate oak tree.
  • Potency is not agency
  • WoO get rid of both
  1. Species from Ockham’s razor,
  2. No unique capacity of intellect to abstract or discriminate between essential and accidental activity, not necessary.
  • Result
  1. No species >>no causal relationship between knowledge of thing and thing itself
  2. Cut out that process by which intelligible conditions of the species becomes evident or known= intellection. For the nominalist, knowledge begins in person with the senses (subjective).

Nominalists: Roscelin, (first nominalist)>Abelard>Ockham (better logician) Attractive by its simplicity tired scholastic mental gymnastics.

Nominalists simple, insufficient and dangerous because it was insufficient (Augustine, grace, Pelagius what he left out) up to now no one doubted things composed mater & form.

Voluntarism (moral system developed from nominalism).

No real connection between concept and thing between (universal) terms empty wind, sound, mind put common characteristics together, only connection mind ability to reflect common usage.

God Delusion Richard Dawkins watching corruption on the world something to the restraining power of deity that can punish. Restraining power of CCTV of committing crime. Fighting against God as a loving Person, clinging to authoritarian entity, restraining hand of voluntarism, desire of man to use will over intellect

God will not permit the essence to be change. Man is not God, he is not the unmoved mover, does not set ball in force.

Grace perfected nature

Should not posit what is unnecessary, Ockham’s razor, (13:47) ultra-realists were WRONG.

Universal term vague abstract representation of the thing in reality. Mind reassembles the thing in reality, but it resembles not essentially connected to the thing itself. Quest of simplicity

By 1400’s his thought on universal terms adopted by majority of universities. Oxford, Paris, Cologne.

Conformed to philosophical school empiricism, focuses on sensible data of particular things, WoO bolster works in hard sciences, focus on particular things

One species of animal, human, asks questions

Things of one group share essential characteristics in common, not because we say they do but because they do.

Artifact two elements composed/made artisan takes stuff (matter, lumber) forms (intelligible) a thing. All things composed of these basic two fundamental elements matter & form,

Intellection/reason sets human beings apart from both roses or animals.

Human beings have Intellection. Human beings know roses, roses do not know Human beings

  • 2 types of Knowledge for nominalists (Intuitive & abstract knowledge)
  1. Sense impressions produced by sense data (Accidents, biologist put in categories)
  2. Reflection on the sense data/impressions.

Nominalism focuses on particular thing of knowledge.

  • Most regrettable William of Ockham separation participation in nature. Realists knowledge depends on participation of the knower in the things that are known.
  • In contrast to participation theory of knowledge, nominalists make simplified concepts solely dependent on minds creative ability but also his explanation would omit the very real connection that we have things, including ourselves and God.
  • Ironically, in an effort to know world better, the nominalists cuts man off from the world, from himself, and from God.