). Beginning on 176, Latour even goes so far as to attack the principles of logic, stating: “There has never been such a thing as deduction… Those who talk of synthetic a-priori judgments deride the faithful who bathe at Lourdes. However, it is no less bizarre to claim that a conclusion lies in its premises than to believe that there is holiness in the water”.
Cf. Bourdieu’s analysis of the functioning of investigators within the modern scientific fields. (Bourdieu 1991, p. 8
This included an understanding of rationality drawn from Aristotle, according to which human function is a rational activity. Human good is a function of rational activity performed well, which Aristotle takes to mean in accordance with virtue. Thus, for Aristotle, behaving rationally meant behaving in accord with virtue. This is important to Albert’s view of human action and his definition of rationality. However, what we are considering here is how rationality is defined and constructed, rather than the scholastic definition of rationality. See (Korsgaard 2008
; Gallagher 1991
For a useful introduction to the history of astrology, see (Tester 1987
The most thorough study of this process is still Lemay’s Abu Ma’shar and Latin Aristotelianism in the Twelfth Century
Ibid., pp. 18, 33. John D. North has pointed out that Abu Ma’ shar’s astrology was itself an “amalgam of Hellenistic and Indian astrology”. See (North 1986
(Lemay 1962, p. 84
). For Abu Ma’ shar, this was different from the passive potency Plato referred to in the Republic, which is often translated as the “rational soul”. For Plato, this soul was separate from the will, which acts at the behest of the rational soul. Abu Ma’ shar’s concept is closer to the way in which medieval scholars, such as Albertus, viewed Aristotle’s intellectual or intelligible soul, though will and intellect are closely combined in Abu Ma’ shar, whereas Albert sees will as a component of the intellectual soul. See (Plato 1991; Bremmer 1987
; Albertus 1993).
(Lemay 1962, pp. 82–83
), quoting from Abu Ma’ shar’s Introductorium maius
: “The third cause of his being, the virtue of heavenly bodies by the will of God produces in him whatever else he has … [including] the differentiation of his species from all others and his individuality…[as well as] the establishment of a suitable harmony between his vital and rational soul on one hand and his body on the other”. The translation is Lemay’s.
Medieval intellectuals commonly, though mistakenly, cited Ptolemy as the source of this concept. G. W. Coopland attempts to trace the provenance of this maxim in appendix four of his work, Nicole Oresme and the Astrologers: A Study of his Livre de Divinacions
). One should note that Coopland does not give any indication that it had entered the vocabulary of Latin Christian writers prior to Albert’s use of the saying. It seems likely that Albert was the one who passed this phrase on to those he influenced. Paola Zambelli notes that Albert “cherished” the dictum, quoting it repeatedly. See (Zambelli 1982
Richard Swinburne addresses both “basic beliefs” and the “conjunctive nature of ideas”, pp. 3–24.
Some grand claims have been made about the importance of the Condemnations of Paris of 1277. Pierre Duhem sees them as the beginning of modern science. Other scholars, such as L. Bianchi, have attributed a far more limited impact to the Condemnations. See (Duhem 1913–1959
(Albertus 1968a, pars I, p. vi).
Ibid., pars I, pp. 7, 10. “vacuum est desiderium”, which “Omne quod appetit, appetit per modum artis vel naturae; sed torquere [desiderium] appetit bonum”. All translations from Latin are my own.
Ibid., pars I, pp. 17, 21 “Voluptas nulla lege ordinatur”, and “non videtur pertinere ad bonam vitam”, because “voluptas est bonum bestiarum”.
Ibid., pars I, p. 10.
Ibid. pars I, p. 40. “Opus hominis, inquantum homo est, est rationis … oportet, quod opus hominis inquantum homo sit idem quod opus boni”.
Cunningham takes note of Albert’s insistence in the De bono
on the importance of choosing to act in accord with reason, but he fails to follow Albert’s argument through to its logical conclusion. See (Cunningham 2008, pp. 135–38
Albertus, Super ethica, pars I, p. 40. “Ratio numquam deflectitur a rectitudine, nisi alio quodam inclinante, scilicet concupiscentia et ira, quae corrumpit aestimationem prudentiae”.
Ibid. pars I, p. 81. “quod inducunt de radiis diversarum stellarum”.
(Albertus 1971): pars I, p. 4. “Magnificamus deum creatorem, qui eminet proprietatibus omnium creaturarum … eo quod eius actus manifestatur in naturalibus”. Pars I, 23. “Deus non continetur caelo, sed potius est in ipso sicut motor indivisibilis … Rationabiliter autem iudicaverunt omnes gentes deum esse in caelo. Deo enim dederunt potestatem causandi et creandi ista inferior, et ideo, cum ab uno non possit esse nisi unum et ab uno … quod non incepit, non possit esse diversitas aliqua secundum naturam, dederunt ei caelum, quod in substantia ingenerabile est et secundum motum diversificatum, ut movendo illud causet nova inferior diversa eo modo. . . ut per motum locale corporis huius [Deus] causet mutationem omnem in inferioribus et diminutionem et additionem et corruptionem et remotionem et alterationem”.
For a detailed explication of the emanatory process in Albert’s works, compared to emanation as Plotinus and his intellectual descendants presented it, see Thérèse Bonin’s Creation as Emanation
(De Libera 1990
). This is what the author refers to as Albert’s “metaphysic of flows”, to emphasize the important role of the “flowing” of divine influence from point to point in creation, rather than the simple power of the light involved.
Albertus, De caelo, pars. I, 56. The most concise description of Albert’s ten-sphere system of the universe is found in his Problemata determinata, Jacob Weiseipl, ed. (Albertus 1975b). “His [the nine upper spheres] coniungunt ad sphaeram activorum et passivorum, et est orbis quattuor essentiarum simplicium, quae dicuntur esse elementa”.
Albertus, De caelo, pars I, p. 57. “super animas hominum illustrat”.
If we are willing to accept the Speculum astronomiae
as a genuinely Albertine work, this is where we find the clearest statement of the view that God works his will upon the earth through the stars, as if they were his instruments. See Albertus Magnus, Speculum astronomiae
, as included in Paola Zambelli’s The Speculum Astronomiae and its Enigma: Astrology, Theology, and Science in Albertus Magnus and his Contemporaries
): “Ipse qui est Deus vivus, Deus caeli non vivi, velit operari in rebus creatis … per stellas surdas mutas sicut per instrumenta”. On the authorship of this work, see (Hendrix 2010
This model, with its Neoplatonic elements, is representative of Albert’s system of thought as a whole. He derived the idea that God’s influence flows as a stream of light through each of ten heavens downward to the terrestrial realm from De causis et processu universitatis a prima causis. Albert’s system of thought appears broadly Aristotelian, yet instances such as this one remind us that his philosophical system contains a larger Neoplatonic element than might be immediately evident to a casual reader. For an exploration of some important examples of Neoplatonism in Albert’s thought, see Bonin, pp. 1–3, passim.
Ibid., p. 66.
Ibid., p. 66.
). Grant discusses the different properties and natures of the planets. These varying characteristics did present an apparent conflict. The planets were held to be composed of a perfect substance (quintessence) and thus could not have accidental properties. Therefore, it seems as if they should have had perfectly uniform influences, rather than differing from one planet to the next. Medieval scholars held the differentiation in influence to be explainable partly through the orbital positions of these planets. Some scholars argued that all earthly effects, such as heat or cold, came from celestial influences, but that these effects only existed as manifested in the patient. By the fourteenth century, the characteristics that were seen to incline a terrestrial patient toward a certain result, such as being hot-tempered or sickly, existed virtually (virtualiter
) in the celestial region, but not formally (formaliter
Albertus, “De fato”, pp. 68–71. It is abundantly clear that Albert also accepted the idea that one knowledgeable about the influences imparted by the heavens could also predict the likely future of an individual, as Zambelli outlines on pages 65–67. For example, see what Albert has to say in his commentary De generatione et corruption (as quoted by Zambelli): “et hoc modo innotescit, quoniam qui sciret vires signorum et stellarum in ipsis positarum in circulo periodali dum nascitur res aliqua, ipse quantum est de influentia caelesti praenosticari posset de tota vita rei generatae”.
Albertus, “De fato”, p. 66. “[Intelligentia] influens per motum caeli regulat et causat operationes intellectuales animae”. “sic est in omnibus moventibus et motis quae distant invicem. similiter est intelligentia et anima: quoniam intelligentia distat, et imprimit in animam rationalem secundum locum distans ab eo”. In this quote Albert is relating Aristotle’s view of the influence of the way the Prime Mover influences sublunar events, at least as Albert understood the Philosopher’s position. From a Christian perspective, the “intelligence” in question, the Prime Mover, is God. There is no doubt that Albert accepts the view that God’s influence orders the cosmos through celestial bodies, as indicated in the solutio on p. 68: “dicitur fatum forma ordinis esset et vitae inferiorum, causata in ipsis ex periodo caelestis circulis ambit nativitates eorum … Forma autem ista causata ex caelesti circulo et inhaerens generabilibus et corruptibilibus”.
Albertus, Super ethica, pars I, p. 84. Albert makes a vivid argument by analogy between those things that influence the soul through the body and the persuasive force a father can exert over his son, or a friend over a friend. “Id est persuasivum ad opus, sicut pater persuadet filio et amicus amico”.
Ibid. pars I, p. 66. “Illud quod est per causam necessariam, firmius est in nobis quam quod per causam non necessariam”. For a more detailed discussion, see Albert’s commentary, De physica, Paul Hossfeld, ed. (Albert 1987, pars I, pp. 116–18).
Ibid., pars I, p. 84. “quod est pars sensitivi appetitus, quo propulsatur nocivum”.
Ibid., pars I, pp. 145–46. “Dicendum, quod omnis malus est quodammodo ignorans et habet ignorantiam electionis”. Albert certainly had it on good authority that free will can only be directed toward a good end, unless twisted by an outside influence. In his commentary on Matthew, Albert adduces Aristotle and John Damascene in agreeing with Augustine, whom he quotes as saying “Voluntas namque non est nisi in bonis; in malis flagitiosisque factis non voluntas, sed cupiditas proprie dicitur”. (Albertus 1987a, 1987b).
Paola Zambelli has also noted the importance of Albert’s Super ethica to understanding his view of the relationship between free will and celestial influence. See Zambelli, p. 176.
(Albertus 1890). “Est enim in homine duplex principium operum, natura scilicet et voluntas”.
Ibid, I.II, p. 51. “Natura quidem regitur sideribus, voluntas quidam libera est”.
Ibid., I.II., p. 51. “sed nisi renitatur, trahitur a natura et induratur, et cum natura moveatur motibus siderum, incipit voluntas tunc ad motus siderum et figuras inclinare”.
Albertus, “De fato”, p. 68.
Ibid. “in rebus autem generatis, propter mutabilitatem ipsarum esse, est recepta mutabiliter et contingenter”.
Ibid. “ergo dicendum, quod fati causa necessaria est; sed ex hoc non sequitur aliud nisi quod sit necessarium ipsum esse, sed non sequitur quod necessitatem rebus imponit: quia non inhaeret eis secundum potestatem caelestium, quae necessaria sunt, sed secundum potestatem inferiorum, quae omnino mutabilia et contingentia sunt”.
Ibid., p. 49. Necessary modes of causality cannot exist within the sub-lunar realm. Thus, all terrestrial effects are the result of causalities representing varying levels of likelihood that effects will come to pass.
Ibid., p. 241; Albertus, Questiones, pp. 219–20. Desires “non sint per essentiam de natura rationis, participant tamen cum ratione”.
In scholastic terminology the sensitive appetite is the force that provokes an agent to action through the corporeal senses. Properly speaking, the will is associated only with the intellectual appetite.
Albertus, “De fato”, pp. 68–69.
Albertus, Questiones, p. 59. “astronomi non dant principia, ex quibus contingit prognosticari aliquid de his quae subsunt libero arbitrio, secundum quod subsunt illi, sed coniecturantur de dispositionibus corporum, quae inclinare et retrahere liberum arbitrium, sicut corpus trahit animam”.
Albertus, Speculum, pp. 218–221. “Secunda magna sapientia, quae similiter astronomia dicitur, est scientia iudicorum astrorum, quae est ligamentum naturalis philosophiae et metaphysicae”. This, of course, assuming the Speculum is a genuinely Albertine work. But even if not, this mirrors the sentiment expressed in a great many of Albert’s undoubtedly genuine works.
Ibid., p. 220. “si … ordanavit Deus … mundum istum … velut operari in rebus creatis … per stellas … sicut per instrumenta … quid desideratius concionatori quam habere mediam scientiam, quae doceat nos qualiter mundanorum ad hoc et ad illud mutatio caelestium fiat corporum mutatione”.