Before 1250, even with a statutorily restricted field of research, the Arts masters of Paris included in their teaching a certain number of philosophical disciplines. Courses imposed on Arts masters included ethics, using Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. Commenting on this text, Arts masters would interpret it and teach their own doctrine of “happiness”, involving concepts not always in agreement with those of the theologians. Taking into account the controversial context of the University of Paris, we focus in this paper on the opinions of Arts masters in both their differences and their agreements with the theologians, regarding the concept of happiness.
Avant 1250, même avec un champ d’études statutairement restreint, les maîtres ès arts de Paris abordaient un certain nombre de disciplines philosophiques. Parmi les enseignements prescrits à ces maîtres se trouvait l’éthique, étudiée dans l’Éthique à Nicomaque d’Aristote. En interprétant ce texte, les maîtres ès arts enseignaient ce qu’ils comprenaient comme « bonheur » en utilisant un réseau de concepts pas toujours en accord avec celui des théologiens. Autour du concept de bonheur, nous tentons ici d’observer les différences et les ressemblances dont témoignent — dans le contexte controversé de l’Université de Paris — les ouvrages pertinents des maîtres ès arts par rapport à l’opinion des théologiens.
The examination of a problem that scholars of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have studied passionately is considered here, namely the differentiation between philosophy and theology in the Thirteenth-century University of Paris. This inquiry is far from simple because it includes more than just a conventional classification of sciences. It depends on a supportive institutional framework such as a university and a corpus of literature that includes justifications and discussions. Texts such as the subject of this paper were the product of the activity of masters of Arts. In the case of studies carried out at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Paris in the thirteenth century, constant allusions are made to the division of sciences along with allusions to institutional divisions. This makes the reader think that the boundaries between philosophy and theology are just the boundaries between the matters studied by theologians and the matters studied by philosophers. But there the problem begins. It is not clear what is to be studied by philosophers and what is to be studied by theologians, even in the sphere of the University regulations. What becomes evident is that not only was philosophy sometimes forbidden for masters of Arts, but it was also sometimes not advisable for theologians either. Indeed the masters who wrote these texts discuss the different interpretations of philosophical questions offered by philosophers and theologians. In most cases, when masters distinguish between philosophers’ answers and theologians’ answers to a question, they are discussing philosophical matters. To these questions, theologians have given their answers and philosophers have given their own. The masters, in turn, present both answers, leaving some fundamental issues unsolved.
The increasing enthusiasm for philosophy in the second half of the thirteenth century has long been an object of study by medievalists. Recently, Claude Lafleur has shown that this enthusiasm was already present in the early thirteenth-century works of masters of Arts. These masters of Arts differentiated what philosophers do from what theologians do. In several philosophical matters, although they were not allowed to teach natural philosophy they would use forbidden texts in the discussions of the allowed texts. Nevertheless, they were not supposed to give their own solutions to the philosophical problems that they posed. This is why they gave the theologians’ answers and the philosophers’ answers, leaving some questions unsolved.
In discussing the concept of happiness they would introduce several issues connected to ethics. Happiness as the highest good was one of their concerns. This is related to the discussion of whether one can achieve happiness in this life or not. Connected with this is the importance of virtues in attaining such an end as the highest good and also the framework of the soul responsible for putting the virtues into practice.
The present essay is organized according to different approaches necessary to grasp the texts. First, a historical approach will provide a picture of the complexity of the institutional situation. Then, a philological approach will show the qualities and specificities of the texts available to the masters of Arts and of the texts that they produced. Finally, the philosophical issues that are considered by the masters will be analyzed, including methodological matters and the concept of happiness with its several relevant aspects. Methodological matters, such as the questions with two answers, are closely related to the concept of happiness. However, it will remain unclear which position the masters take, as will be observed, when discussing questions such as “whether happiness is possible in this life or not.” Actually, the methodological resource of leaving questions unsolved will allow the masters to discuss rather freely some delicate issues.
II. Historical Approach
The reception of the Aristotelian works in the thirteenth century is surrounded by controversial circumstances. As early as 1210, Aristotle’s works on natural philosophy and commentaries on them were forbidden to be taught (non legantur) in Paris, privately or in public (publice vel secreto). Moreover, in case of disobedience there would be excommunication. Five years later, the Cardinal Legate Robert de Courçon repeated the prohibition of some of Aristotle’s works together with the prescription of some others. On the one hand, the text of Courçon prescribes the reading of Aristotle’s Logic (together with works of logic by Boethius and Porphyre) and Priscianus’ Grammar, as an ordinary course ; on the other hand, it allows teaching the Ethics and other books only during holidays. Courses on natural philosophy (Libri naturales) including the Metaphysics and Summe of them were not to be taught ; nor were the doctrines of David de Dinant, Almaric de Bènes, or Maurice of Spain. Moreover, the text of Courçon repeats explicitly excommunication as a punishment for disobedience.
The range of meanings that the verb lego entails permits that the masters interpret it as teach but not necessarily as read. By 1225, an anonymous master wrote a treatise on the powers of the soul. This means that even if masters did not teach courses on Aristotle’s natural philosophy, they did read the texts and studied them privately. Thus, even though Aristotle’s works were not taught they definitely were used. Moreover, masters used not only the works of Aristotle but also the commentaries of Arab philosophers, as argued by Hasse and Gauthier. By 1228, there was also a warning against the use of philosophy in the Faculty of Theology. In 1229, there was a strike at the University of Paris due to some “events.” There had been the “most awful insults” (atrocissimis injuriis) to members of the University. For that reason there would be no courses ; nor could the students or masters live in Paris or in the diocese during the strike. Unless the offences were satisfied the strike would last for six years. The same year the University of Toulouse was founded by the Treaty of Paris ; through this university, the church expected to lead the inhabitants of Toulouse to orthodoxy. Curiously, shortly after, a letter was sent from the University of Toulouse inviting the masters of Paris to move to Toulouse where the libri naturales were not forbidden. This may have caused the migration of many masters and students to Toulouse during the strike. The prohibition on the libri naturales at Toulouse would not appear until 1245.
By 1231 Pope Gregory IX, not so concerned about the exodus of masters to Toulouse but mostly about the use of the libri naturales in the Faculty of Theology, reopened the debate in the bull Parens Scientiarum. First, he absolved or allowed the bishops to absolve those excommunicated by the 1210-1215 Regulations. This fact is crucial because without punishment no regulation would have the same strength, since the power of a law accompanies the punitive element. Second, he forbade the masters of Arts to use the libri naturales and he advised the masters of Theology, not to use philosophy and not to show themselves as philosophers. He allowed the teaching on natural philosophy once the books had been purged of all doctrinal errors ; a Commission would be named to carry out such a task. Third, he allowed the faculty of Arts to rule about the way in which they would have to dress as well as in which way and at what time courses were to be taught and even what books were to be read in class. In addition, he gave to the Faculty the power of punishing all those who did not follow its prescriptions. Finally, a further problem : Gregory IX did not abrogate the previous regulations of 1210-1215. Therefore, there were two contradictory regulations in force at the same time.
As the masters wrote between 1230 and 1246, they were within the frame provided by the bull Parens Scientiarum, because there would not be a new syllabus until 1252 (for the English nation) and 1255 (for the entire Faculty of Arts). Since the frame itself is controversial, the works of the commentators may have carried the same controversy. Actually, they had been using but not teaching Aristotle’s natural philosophy. How was this possible ? Masters did not teach courses on Aristotle’s natural philosophy, but they included their readings on Aristotle in the courses they gave, as will be observed. With this new regulation, Gregory IX allowed them to teach whatever they wanted ; but they could not use the works until the latter had been purged or corrected. How did they assimilate this Regulation, if at all ? To find out in the texts what was used along with the books of Ethics to organize the knowledge of Aristotle in a systematic, coherent framework is one of the aims of the present paper. Masters were not just repeating theories while they taught ; that is why they presented several “theoretical constructions” of their own, as will be discussed below. As for the facts, they kept studying the books (since there was no sanction against studying them) in order to be ready to teach them when they were allowed. They eventually became familiar with the books, and the books eventually were prescribed in 1252-1255.
The reception of Aristotle
The arrival of Aristotle’s texts in the West during the Middle Ages involves three stages. First, Boethius translated some works of logic and rhetoric in the sixth century. Then in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, almost all the works of Aristotle were gradually translated, and they were systematically organized between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. A third stage, which mainly involved work on texts, began toward the end of the fifteenth century. The second stage, which is of importance here, took place within universities of developing cities. Masters of Arts realized that they knew only the names of some entire areas of knowledge. A new interest in studying these disciplines then emerged. The Aristotelian system of sciences was therefore an instrument toward recovering and organizing Aristotle’s works as well as translations from Arabic sources. The Nicomachean Ethics in particular was studied in the west before 1250 following two partial translations : the Ethica Noua and Vetus. The Ethica Vetus (dated near the end of the twelfth century) included books II and III. Around 1220 another incomplete translation appeared ; it was perhaps made by Michael Scot. It was the Ethica Noua, which includes Book I and therefore, the first definition of happiness (felicitas). These translations would be used until Robert Grosseteste made a complete translation in 1246-1248.
The arrival of Aristotle’s works to the West opened a wide range of possibilities for the masters of Arts. Thus, their interest in them made their field of knowledge become wider and therefore overlapped with the theologians’ field, since only theologians were allowed to teach them. According to Claude Lafleur, “the consequence of the growth of their domain of studies made the masters of Arts realize the specificity and the value of their intellectual task : to study and to teach the whole human knowledge”. The theologians of Paris began using philosophy and reaching their own conclusions sometimes different from those of philosophers. The case of Ethics and the concept of happiness may be an example of this. Some authors consider that the seeds of the later conflict between the Faculties of Arts and Theology were sown when commentators on the Ethics started distinguishing between concepts that could be interpreted from what they called : “a theological point of view”, and those from “a philosophical point of view”.
III. Philological Approach
The reading of these texts includes several levels. A picture of these levels is important for understanding the reception of the Nicomachean Ethics in general, and the commentaries analyzed here in particular. The first level is that of the Nicomachean Ethics with which none of the authors here studied have worked. At the second level are situated the fragmentary Latin translations of the Nicomachean Ethics, which will be considered briefly. At the third level, finally, are the texts that will be discussed below. What is called “Aristotle” in the present paper is actually one of the “standard” interpretations of Aristotle. Today’s interpretations could involve a fourth level of analysis, but the presentation of the research will be simpler if “the present interpretation of Aristotle” is considered as “Aristotle.” It should be recalled also that this interpretation is of the same epistemological value as the thirteenth-century interpretations.
1. The source
The masters comment on the first book of Nicomachean Ethics, i.e. the Ethica Noua, which deals with happiness in general. There, Aristotle defines political science as a practical science. The political science is developed in the Nicomachean Ethics and in the Politics. In chapter 1 of the Ethics, Aristotle establishes the subject and method of this discipline. Ethics is a practical science ; it searches for the universal concerning our actions. Aristotle then defines the concept of happiness (eudaimonia). There is a highest good which is the end that all things seek. Happiness is the end in the case of human actions. Happiness is not a means to achieve something else, because we all seek happiness for its own sake. It is a final end because whatever we seek is sought for the sake of achieving happiness. Happiness will reside in actions, in operations according to human virtue (aretè-excellence). We can reach this virtue through performance of good actions. Performing good actions will give us excellence ; therefore we will be happy, because whoever reaches excellence, and enjoys and sustains this state, also reaches happiness. Happiness then is an end and is moreover the highest good for which we wish. Happiness also involves self-sufficiency. A virtuous man then will be self-sufficient (autarchès), and in this will reside his happiness.
In which kind of life, then, does happiness dwell ? Aristotle builds a framework considering three kinds of life : the life of pleasures, the political life and the contemplative life. The fact that happiness cannot be encountered in the life of pleasure is clear, because it is related to corporeal life, and that is not what men specifically are. There are two remaining ways of life, political life and contemplative life. As man’s happiness is related to his nature (to what is proper to man), and what is proper to man (what defines him) is rationality, then his happiness is not related to pleasure or political life in the end, but rather to contemplative life. In addition, if happiness is an activity, it depends on man. One can be happy as a man. But happiness as well as virtue must last one’s whole life, for it to be a perfect life.
2. The translation used by the masters
The authors, as noted earlier, worked with translations. Since the texts are based on a translation called Ethica Noua, some peculiarities of this translation should be noted. For example, the word “blessedness” (beatitudo translating makaria) appears three times in the Ethica Noua, seemingly reflecting the difference between it and happiness (felicitas translating eudaimonia). In addition, there is a gloss at the end of chapter 10 that suggests that men can be blessed like angels (“beatos homines ut angelos”). The text should say “beatos autem ut homines” ; with the addition, “ut angelos”, it can be interpreted as meaning that there is something else that man can reach, such as “angelic blessedness.” The source of this gloss is perhaps in the Gospels. This gloss could be also related to the fact that in these texts there is a close relationship between the powers of the separated soul and those of angels. It can be said because of this that separated souls can be similar to angels (at least in the fact that they are separated from matter).
3. The interpretations
Among the texts that are the subject of this paper, there are three different kinds of literature ; however, they all have the same subject. They all study the Ethica Noua, and interpreters have dated all of them before 1246-1248. The first is a commentary with questions, the second is an examination-compendium and the third is an exposition. Two of these texts are written by anonymous masters of Arts of the University of Paris. The first has been called the Commentary of Paris, and the second, because of the city where the manuscript is situated, is usually called the Compendium of Barcelona or Guide for students. Both texts have been edited ; the former partially edited by René A. Gauthier and the latter by Claude Lafleur. The third text, Expositio super libros Ethicorum, contained in two manuscripts, is the only one whose authorship is known (Robert Kilwardby).
The Commentary of Paris is a commentary with questions. Gauthier has dated it between 1235 and 1240. Its method is the following : first a fragment of the source is cited literally, is commented on and a sentencia is fixed as the interpretation. Then, one or more questions are raised on this fragment and the commentator gives his solution or sometimes leaves several alternative solutions. In addition, the author tends to discuss several topics not included in the Ethica Noua, but that can be derived from the discussion : for example, the structure of the soul.
The Compendium of Barcelona is a guide for the students who want to pass the final examination of the Faculty of Arts of Paris. Lafleur has dated it between 1230 and 1240. It is found in a single manuscript, since the production in series by the pecia system was only available for works written by theologians. The author of the guide has a plan divided in three parts : Logic, Ethics and Natural Philosophy. The part devoted to Ethics is divided in three : first the questions devoted to the subject and division of moral philosophy ; second the questions devoted to the Ethics ; and finally some questions on Plato’s Timaeus and on Boethius’ De Consolatione Philosophiae. The part on the Ethica Noua and Vetus is developed according to several questions established for the examinations. In addition, there is a pronounced interest on methodological issues within Ethics.
The Expositio super libros Ethicorum of Robert Kilwardby has been dated by P.O. Lewry between 1240 and 1245. Lewry also argues for the authorship of Kilwardby, based on style and contents. Kilwardby quotes excerpts from the source, explaining the sense and clarifying some terms. This way of commenting was very common and was also used by Albert the Great.
New literary genres that discuss philosophical subjects were organized according to methodological needs. In addition, these new ways of writing entailed the need to explain the new philosophy. The philosophical issues that spring from these texts are many. Some of them such as the concept of happiness are of interest here, because the interpretations would be different according to theologians and according to philosophers.
IV. Philosophical Issues
Since the Faculty of Arts was very strong in its teaching of logic, it is not surprising that all these authors are very interested in method. Method was then their first concern, because the strictness of the sciences depends on the correctness of the reasoning. They spent considerable time analyzing how Aristotle organizes this new discipline. The Guide devotes five paragraphs defining and dividing moral science. After that, it describes the division of the books in five further paragraphs. Only then does it start to consider the subject of this science, which is its proper subject, and how should one approach it. The authors were concerned about whether Ethics is a science. As a practical discipline, it must be considered in a different way from the speculative sciences. The Guide for students considers that science must proceed in a demonstrative, universal way ; and if Ethics talks about operationes, which are singular, it is an art rather than a science. Also Kilwardby considers arguments and reasons in detail when he reports on Aristotle. He establishes how many arguments are stated for each thesis, and he analyzes each argument in itself, considering sometimes even each part of a syllogism when an argument is more complicated.
A very important aspect related to methodology is the way the masters present the answers to a question. They use the formulas secundum philosophos/secundum theologos and loquendo theologice/loquendo philosophice, to distinguish the points of view from which they consider a question, and many times they leave questions unsolved. According to Lottin, the practice of differentiation, already spread by 1230-1240, tended to be characteristic of the masters of Arts. Even if one finds the same formulas in texts of theologians of the same period, such as John of La Rochelle, these theologians do not posit the formulas as the two answers of an unsolved question. In the texts of the masters of Arts, sometimes the theologians’ answer is discussed and refuted in the philosophers’ answer, but the masters do not solve the questions when the solution comes from philosophers. In other words, the masters do not explicitly claim their agreement with philosophers’ solutions. Rather, they leave the question with two alternative answers. They are alternative answers because they do not add any weight (perhaps only because it was obvious) to the answer of theologians. The two alternative answers are then equal from a methodological (logical) point of view. In addition, as will be proved below, the answers are sometimes opposed, and masters identify themselves with philosophers.
1. Concept of happiness as highest good
In the Commentary of Paris happiness is an end which is the highest good that “everything seeks” (Omnia appetunt summum bonum). This highest good, i.e. happiness, is also identified with the First (Primum) or the First Cause (Prima Causa). This identification may lead to the reification of happiness : although according to Aristotle happiness consists in living well and acting well (that is produced and maintained by virtuous actions), if happiness is identified with something like the First or the First Cause, the concept of happiness as an operation would be changed. One may indeed finish by identifying happiness with God. According to the commentator of Paris, there are traces or images of the highest good in the world, but the highest good itself cannot be found on earth. These traces or images come from a spiritual light that is the highest good itself, i.e. the First. Here, the highest good receives other specificity, this time with the light of the First, whose traces or images are in all things. He is talking in this passage about Augustine, whose theory of illumination will be used later to analyze the knowledge implied for an earthly happiness. Finally, the First is identified with God.
In relation to this, the Commentary of Paris introduces the discussion of God’s attributes along with the concept of the highest good. The first question is, in what manner is everything that exists good just because it exists. The commentator argues that things are good because they exist because of the will of the First. What God wants is good. Then everything would be wise, because of his wisdom, and powerful because of his power. Therefore, he answers that first is power, then wisdom, and finally goodness. Whatever exists is one, is true, and is good. The unity of everything comes from the power of the First ; the truth comes from the wisdom of the First ; and the wisdom in the First is related to forms that are like examples of things. With respect to these examples things are true ; so the truth of things comes from the wisdom of the First. Finally, the goodness of things comes from the will of the First. Therefore, everything is good just because it exists ; and the one precedes the true ; and the true precedes the good, but not absolutely, because in that case there would be composition, which would be a violation of God’s simplicity. This text is a good example to illustrate Lafleur’s opinion that masters felt they were meant to investigate the whole domain of knowledge. The master researches in a theological field and his remarks are not at all superficial.
Something different can be found in the Guide for students. As the master identifies happiness with the First, he concludes that it is uncaused. In that case it could not be participable to humans because “the first is not participable in its essence”. He then concludes that Aristotle talks here about a caused happiness. This kind of classification is analyzed and deeply developed all through the thirteenth century. There will be different kinds of classification : felicitas creata/increata, or causata/incausata, or perfecta/imperfecta. The reason for this proliferation of felicitates might be in the identification of happiness with God. To achieve that kind of happiness seems not possible here below (apud nos). If the masters themselves want to build a human science, then they have to establish a happiness that is possible here below. Nevertheless, the commentator of Paris considers that according to philosophers even the happiness as he has stated is possible to achieve in this life.
The Guide for students goes on to consider that happiness is a certain act or perfection of the soul. Then, it regards happiness as something to be acquired through virtue. Moreover, at the end of the same paragraph it defines intellectual virtues as “performed through the admiration of the forms that come from the First and of the contemplation of It”. Here intellectual virtues are like happiness, both are related to the knowledge and contemplation of the First. In the value that they grant to the intellectual virtues, the text is reminiscent of the tenth book of Nicomachean Ethics. The stress is on the knowledge of the First or of the First Cause. Moreover, the Guide for students states that happiness “is a caused good through which the soul can have enjoyment in the home of the First Cause”. At the same time, “there is another life in which the soul lives in itself knowing and feeling the First, and in such life there is happiness”. Out of all this a coherent concept may be outlined ; happiness is given with the performance of intellectual virtues that belong to the soul alone. Because of this, the soul is happy in this life through the contemplation of forms in the First, but it is better that the soul be separated from the body. In general, the fact of knowing and enjoying the First can be considered as a contemplative life, a contemplative life of the separated soul. However, as will be discussed below, there is the possibility of contemplation on earth.
The identification that two of our masters make of happiness with the First shows their effort to build a coherent system (with or without Aristotle’s system). In any event, this identification with the First probably makes happiness something more difficult to achieve in this life, although in the same respect not impossible, as will be noted by the masters.
According to Kilwardby, happiness is as in the Ethica Noua the act of the virtuous soul during a complete life. Master Kilwardby also explains that happiness consists in living well and acting well, bene vivere is the first act of the soul and bene operare is the second act of the soul. This teaching comes from the De Anima which was by then very popular. Then he considers which acts are proper to man, i.e. the operations that men do, because they are men, not because they are physicians or architects. The act proper to man is the act of the soul as a rational soul. Virtue is performed as an act or operation of the rational soul. Then happiness consists of the operation of the zealous soul during the whole life. In any case, Kilwardby considers that happiness within the purview of practical science is not related or compared with a gift of God. He does not include God in his analysis. The question whether happiness is given by God does not pertain to political science but rather to metaphysics or to theology. Considering the boundaries between sciences allows Kilwardby to follow the text of Aristotle even if he has to oppose other opinions.
Apart from Kilwardby, the other masters add several components to the concept of happiness. The most important perhaps is the identification of happiness with the First. This identification permits the building of a different link between ethics and natural philosophy and also between ethics and metaphysics. In this way the masters are impelled to study metaphysics and natural philosophy to explain, first, the nature of the First, and then the structure of the soul that makes possible the knowledge of the First. Also, because the goal is getting far from man’s possibilities, a problem arises related to man’s sufficiency to achieve happiness through virtue.
2. The place of virtue in the concept of happiness
As the subject of a practical science, happiness is considered an operation. The masters read in Aristotle and agree that happiness consists in living well and operating well (bene vivere et bene operare). However, the identification of the highest good with the First creates a number of interpretations. The commentator of Paris considers happiness as an operation, but in the following sense : the soul united with the First knows it and loves it. If happiness is an operation, this operation consists in loving and knowing the First. The commentator considers happiness more a union with the First than an action, because only in the union with the First (which is happiness itself) is there happiness. Happiness is the operation of knowing and loving the First, which the commentator identifies with God. In any case, to consider happiness as the act of knowing the First is remarkable since, without having the tenth book of the Ethics, the masters were already considering that the highest good involves the knowledge of the highest things.
However, if happiness consists in knowing and loving the First, achieving happiness becomes more complicated. Achieving happiness through the performance of virtues is not so easy to link with this concept. The commentator of Paris considers that the exercise of virtue remains only a means to approach happiness, not to achieve happiness. (“quia uirtus secundum quam attenditur uita contemplatiua est medium quo nobis unitur felicitas”) Happiness is united to us, not vice versa. Virtue then is reduced to a means through which one does not achieve but only merits happiness. Thus, virtue is a necessary condition but not sufficient to achieve happiness. The decisive movement is only performed by the highest good itself. When the union (coniunctio) happens, then an operation (operatio) occurs watching and knowing the First (“in aspiciendo et cognoscendo Primum”) according to the commentator of Paris.
Indeed, if virtue is not enough to achieve happiness, men are not sufficient or competent (sufficiens) to achieve happiness. The problem of sufficiency in achieving happiness is not trivial, because according to the Paris commentator only a perfect life will be sufficient to achieve happiness. He analyzes the various kinds of life according to the classification of Aristotle in two ways. In one way he links each kind of life according to each kind of soul, and in another way he considers each kind of life as a face of the soul ; it looks above it, below it and to its equals. The latter analysis can be considered an allusion to the theory of the two faces of the soul.
Although humans are not sufficient (sufficiens) to achieve happiness in any of these lives, there are two opinions on whether humans are sufficient to do the good, i.e. to perform virtue. First, the opinion of theologians as well as the master’s is that we (humans) are a complete principle of the bad but not a complete principle of the good. Following this, the author gives two accounts of the source of good actions. On one hand, the philosophers’ opinion is that we are the principle of virtue, which is good ; we are then sufficient or competent to do the good, because we produce the good habit of virtue out of good behaviour. On the other hand, according to theologians, God infuses virtue in us ; the condition of possibility of our good behaviour comes from outside and because of that we would not be sufficient to do good. In this part, the answers are clearly opposite, because the habitus of virtue is infused by God’s illumination according to theologians, and the same habitus is the result of several operations according to philosophers. One must say also that in this part the key is found to affirm that the author identifies himself as a philosopher. The reason for this is that he is always using this double opinion : when the opinions agree he says “among us and among theologians”, and when the opinions disagree he talks about “philosophers” and “theologians” (he replaces “us” by “philosophers”, perhaps in order not to get involved in the discussion).
Kilwardby considers two important elements on the matter of virtue and habitus ; first, that there must be pleasure in a virtuous action, and second that the action itself is more important than habitus. The reason is that repeated action (ab assuetudine) makes habitus and habitus does not exist without having action before. In addition, Kilwardby will consider sufficiency as a property of happiness. If men can be happy (and they can, according to Kilwardby), then they will be sufficient to achieve happiness in this life, because they can perform virtue by habit (ab assuetudine).
In the Guide for students, men’s sufficiency to do good and bad is also discussed. There, the difference between the human science of philosophers and the discipline of theologians is also stressed. The question asked is whether we are the entire cause of good and the entire cause of bad. There are two answers : from a philosophical point of view, we are the entire cause of good and bad ; but from a theological point of view we are not a sufficient cause of good, it is necessary that God infuse his grace in us ; this is called “sinderesis” by theologians. The answer according to theologians agrees with the answer of the Commentary of Paris according to theologians. However the answer according to theologians is more developed in the Commentary of Paris as observed earlier.
Since happiness consists in love and knowledge of the First there are only two substances that can do that : men and angels according to the author of the Guide for students. There was a discussion among the masters of Arts as well as theologians on the differences and resemblances between human soul and angels. Of course the author is speaking here of the separated soul, he is then implying that man is mostly his soul. This can be due to the controversial gloss in the Ethica noua : “beatos homines ut angelos.” In any case, rational activity is what differentiates men from other creatures on earth and intellect is what we have similar to angels.
Angels as well as the separated soul have special virtues : “some virtues are characteristic of the separated soul and of the intelligences or angels (which is the same)”. In this reference the hierarchies among virtues are taken from Macrobius in his Commentary on the dream of Scipio. The theory comes from Plotinus, and through Porphyry is known by Macrobius. There are four levels of virtues : political virtues, purgative virtues, virtues of the purged soul and exemplar virtues. The author of the Guide for students asks why Aristotle does not consider the last two. Then our author assimilates what he calls virtutes consuetudinales with Macrobius’ political virtues, and the virtutes intellectuales with Macrobius’ purgative virtues. According to the master, as Aristotle only talks about moral and intellectual virtues, he will not talk about virtues of the purged soul and exemplar virtues which are both by definition, predicable only on the separated soul or angels. Again, the master is including the new theory within a scientific framework trying to incorporate all knowledge in a coherent system.
The commentator of Paris also discusses this division of virtues. He concludes that Aristotle talks about human virtues, and that not all the virtues of which Macrobius talks are human. The exemplar virtues are not human, nor are the virtues of the purged soul because they belong to the soul that is already separated from the body. There is a different concept of human for the commentator of Paris and for the author of the Guide for students. The former considers man as a composite of soul and body, but the latter considers in this part that man is only or mostly the soul, because it compares (resembles) men and angels.
Kilwardby does not consider Macrobius’ division of virtues. According to him, Aristotle’s division is sufficient because “with the intellectual virtues one perfects the speculative intellect, and with the moral virtues one perfects the practical intellect”. Evidently, he knew about the discussion found in the other texts because his claims can often be linked as a response to the other two masters.
The discussion on virtues includes again the bipolar answer according to theologians and according to philosophers. It also includes the implication that the theory of happiness consisting in knowing the First can lead to the Aristotelian value of the intellectual virtues. Knowing is the operation of the intellect as well as an intellectual virtue. Nevertheless there is the opinion of theologians that virtues are infused in us by God. However, the most important fact is that philosophers in this case have the opposite opinion. The three texts considered here mention that virtue is a habitus that is originated in repeated actions, so it depends on man only.
3. Happiness in Life
The concept of happiness and its relationship with virtue has already been discussed. Related to this is the possibility of achieving happiness in this life or only after death. The author of the Guide for students asks whether happiness is achieved in this life or in the other life. He does not consider Aristotle’s classification of lives, namely life of pleasures, political life and contemplative life. He asks whether there is happiness before death. It might seem that there is ; since Aristotle says that there is happiness in life and life is before death, therefore there is happiness before death. However, the master claims that life can be considered in two ways : one is life of the soul with the body, it is temporal and inconstant, and related to it there is no happiness. There is also another life, in which soul lives knowing and loving the First and in this life there is happiness. Soul is most alive in itself after death, when it is separated from body. Therefore, happiness is after death. The master considers that this is what Aristotle himself meant. According to him, Aristotle says that there is happiness in life, but he means in the life of the separated soul.
The master also asks whether the body can receive happiness like the soul. He answers that according to theologians the body can receive happiness because they establish that the soul and the body reunite after death. Philosophers do not establish this because it is a miracle, i.e. an unnatural event. Clearly, this question stresses the difference between philosophers and theologians. The master wants to define a kind of science possible here below (apud nos). Happiness can be investigated in a “human way”, i.e. in a philosophical way. Then according to philosophers, happiness pertains only to the soul, and not to the soul re-united with the body after death as is the opinion of theologians. Kilwardby states a different interpretation of the same question. The happiness of the soul with the body after death is not to be studied by philosophy, because it does not pertain to this science whether after death it is the soul or the whole man that is happy, he keeps Aristotle and Ethics out of the question. This is in contrast with the claim of the Guide for students that philosophers should not establish that kind of happiness because it is something unnatural (innaturale). Kilwardby only establishes boundaries to the object of the moral science, while the author of the Guide for students shows an opposition between opinions of philosophers and opinions of theologians. Lafleur has noted that a similar proposition of Boethius of Dacia in De Aeternitate Mundi was condemned in 1277.
Kilwardby defends the interpretation of Aristotle according to which we can be absolutely happy in this life. “It is to be noted that Aristotle calls living persons truly good, because if they are not truly good they cannot be absolutely happy, and according to him some living persons can be truly good and therefore absolutely happy.” Kilwardby is aware that there are other interpretations, and because of that, he considers that this is “against those who say that Aristotle means to attribute only an incomplete happiness for the living.” He may here refer to the “theologians” of the Commentary of Paris as will be seen. Happiness is possible in this life, according to Aristotle, Kilwardby claims. Moreover, he calls attention to the theologians’ opinion that the philosopher only considered perfect or complete happiness after death. Kilwardby says “against” (contra), he is conscious that these theories are opposite. While he limits the field of philosophy to what occurs in this life, he will not consent to an “incorrect” interpretation of Aristotle.
In the case of the Commentary of Paris, the discussion on the possibility of happiness in this life begins when the author discusses the classification of lives of Aristotle : life of pleasure, political life and contemplative life. The commentator of Paris introduces a new kind of life : the life of the separated soul. This brings him to the discussion whether there can be happiness before death or only after death. Again, there are two answers, one according to theologians and one according to philosophers.
To show the answer of the theologians, first he presents the three kinds of life ; then he relates each of them to a kind of soul ; finally he considers which kind of life qualifies for achieving happiness. As happiness is perfect, the life to achieve it must also be perfect. However, he says that during life man is susceptible to bad fortune, so happiness is not in any kind of life as stated by Aristotle. Here it is evident that the author confuses “happiness” and “blessedness” ; because of that he considers this life imperfect. He relates perfection to fortune rather than to virtue. When he resumes the classification of lives, he concludes that in none of them can there be happiness, because none of them are perfect. Considering that none of those lives can achieve happiness, there has to be another kind of life in which perfect happiness is possible. This new kind of life is stated as the only one where we can be united with happiness. The only perfect life is that of the separated soul. Therefore, theologians say that only in the life of the separated soul can there be happiness :
Ad hec est duplex respontio, et est prima hec. Auctor non sumit in ista diuisione omnes differencias uite et sic patet <quod> insufficienter procedunt predicta argumenta ; et sic patet quod non diuidit uitam inconuenienter. Posset enim de facili responderi ad predictas oppositiones quod de uita que est cum anima separata potest predicari felicitas et sic patet quod non sumit hic sufficienter modos ipsius uite. Et ista respontio est penes theologos.
The perfection that theologians are seeking cannot be found in earthly life. They are seeking the highest good, the First. The object of pursuit is much more important than the pursuer itself, man. So, as the commentator says, according to theologians, perfect happiness is given only in the life of the separated soul. In this way, another item is added to the previous configuration of lives. The Aristotelian division of lives appears incomplete in the eyes of theologians : contemplative life is not enough to bring happiness to man, therefore a new classification of lives will be necessary, where the life of the separated soul will be added. Perfect life enjoying felicitas would only be possible then after death.
Philosophers have another answer, and the Commentary of Paris states the alternative : a possibility of felicitas in this life (in ista uita). Philosophers do consider the possibility of predicating happiness on contemplative life. Contemplative life is defined as a combination of virtue and knowledge that occurs following the structure of the soul. There are two intellects : speculative intellect and practical intellect. On one hand the speculative intellect constitutes two parts, a superior part, called agent intellect, that has no contact with inferior things (it knows in summa) and an inferior part, called possible intellect, which is fallible because it knows particulars and singulars (singullatim) using images provided by sense and imagination (phantasia). On the other hand, practical intellect implies a superior part that tends naturally to superior good, and an inferior part that tends to created goods. In the latter, failure can occur. One must determine, in accordance with this soul structure, how philosophers conceive the contemplative life where happiness occurs :
Est autem alia respontio secundum philosophos et hec est respontio. Dicendum est quod uita in quam ponendo felicitatem non errabant philosophi predicatur de uita contemplatiua ; set dicendum est quod uita contemplatiua est secundum uirtutem et scienciam siue cognitionem ; set notandum quod duplex est cognitio : est enim quedam cognitio sine fantasmate et est quedam cognitio mediante fantasmate ; et illa uita contemplatiua que attenditur penes scienciam et cognitionem que est sine fantasmate est de qua predicatur uita quam ponendo esse felicitatem non errabant philosophi. Similiter dicendum est quod uirtus potest esse in parte superiori desideratiua uel in parte inferiori ; et circa uirtutem secundum quod est in parte superiori uirtutis desideratiue est uita de qua predicatur felicitas. Et sic patet quod uita que est idem felicitati predicatur de uita contemplatiua in quantum uita contemplatiua est circa cognitionem sine fantasmate et uirtutem que est circa partem superiorem intellectus practici siue uirtutis desideratiue.
Contemplative life must be developed according to virtue as it derives from the superior part of practical intellect (desiderative), and according to science that comes from the superior part of speculative intellect (the agent intellect). The concept of knowledge of the superior part of the speculative intellect implies a kind of knowledge without images (cognitio sine fantasmate). Phantasia forms the images (phantasmata) from the data that senses provide. Being the possible intellect related to phantasia and so to the senses, it can be right or wrong. Only the knowledge of the agent intellect not involving images (phantasmata) will be always right. This kind of knowledge is provided by illumination. Then this cognitio sine fantasmate can be interpreted as an illumination. The agent intellect (i.e. the superior part of the speculative intellect) can receive illumination from the First. As it receives the knowledge from the First, it would be knowledge that does not come from abstraction of the forms from the senses through the images (phantasmata).
The possibility of knowledge without images (phantasmata) is given in De anima et de potentiis eius, but its structure of the soul is not the same as in the Commentary of Paris. Most strange is the fact that in the latter the agent intellect not only produces knowledge but also accepts knowledge, while in De anima et de Potentiis eius storing knowledge is only a task of the possible intellect. A very similar structure of the soul can be found in another commentary of the same period, known as the pseudo-Peckham commentary. Here the knowledge “not always right” is also linked with the fact that it knows through phantasia. The “pure” knowledge is not contaminated or does not come from images (phantasmata). The concept of happiness implies then a whole theory of the soul and of knowledge.
Happiness, according to philosophers, resides in knowledge of the agent intellect (as a part of human soul) ; and in virtue emerging from practical (desiderative) intellect in its superior part, which is the general (in summa) desire for good. There is a possibility of human happiness. According to philosophers, happiness is possible in this life (in contemplative life). The contemplative life is described as a compound of knowledge (from speculative intellect) and virtue (from practical intellect).
Summarizing, there are two answers, which make clear the difference between philosophers and theologians. Some scholars have neglected the second answer, i.e. the answer according to philosophers. At first glance one might think that it was only an answer with which the author would not agree. However, he is holding the same structure of the soul and explaining it carefully in several places in the text. In addition, he bases his theory of virtues on the same framework. Then one must consider that this is part of his thought, and that philosophers’ thought is actually his own. Perhaps he would even consider himself a philosopher.
As has been noted, also in the question about when happiness is to be achieved, it is not clear what the position of the masters is. This is probably due to the readings that the masters used to interpret the Ethica Noua and Vetus and to the way in which they thought deeply, trying to make philosophy a coherent system of knowledge.
V. Conclusion Happiness according to philosophers and theologians
The study of early commentaries on the Nicomachean Ethics is not only a philosophical inquiry. The commentaries depended on and influenced in different ways the historical environment from which they sprang. As any historical event they reproduce a number of practices. This reproduction is seldom perfect ; so there is some originality within this imperfection of the reproduction that may produce new practices. Indeed, the masters of Arts failed to restrict their own field of research to what the syllabus said. They chose instead to investigate the whole domain of knowledge.
The masters of the Faculty of Arts produced a new philosophical field, when they reproduced imperfectly the boundaries fixed in the syllabus of what was allowed to be taught or used in the Faculty of Arts. The reason is that the texts they were supposed to teach involved the knowledge of other banned texts, which were related to them. In any case, they tried to explain the texts and make of them a coherent theory. They considered the philosophical field as their own field ; consequently they would try to study as much philosophy as possible. In addition, they dared to study it because the danger of excommunication was no longer valid after 1231. In any case, the ecclesiastical authorities were against the use of philosophy not only by masters of Arts but also by masters of Theology.
For some of the problems, philosophers and theologians had different answers. Secundum philosophos or secundum theologos, whatever the masters described, they always managed to get to the soul, to the intelligences, to the Prima Causa. Even if they could not teach natural philosophy itself, it was included in the courses on Ethics because it was necessary to grasp the text of the Nicomachean Ethics. What the texts show is that masters of Arts were studying philosophy and producing there own system of knowledge before 1250 and that they were committed to their research.
As for the concept of happiness before 1250, they sometimes disagreed with theologians, even if both were discussing philosophical issues, which were not allowed for masters of Arts, and not advised for theologians. The masters discussed with theologians because they considered that they had the conceptual tools for this and, in the domain of knowledge, they did not accept the hierarchy imposed by the ecclesiastical authorities on the University. The masters were thinking, and they considered all possible answers to a question. If the answer of theologians did not satisfy them, they would keep searching for a more accurate answer. This has always been the task of philosophers.
This paper originated from a research in the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies. I am very grateful to the institute for the financial support (“Joseph Wey” Fellowship), and to Prof. Lawrence Dewan for his precious help and advice. I would like to thank also Prof. Francisco Bertelloni for his continuous support and Prof. Claude Lafleur for his useful suggestions.
About the relationship between the division of sciences and the institutional framework, see J.H.J. Schneider, “Wissenschaftseinteilung und Institutionelle Folgen”, in M.J.F.M. Hoenen, J.H.J. Schneider, G. Wieland, ed., Philosophy and Learning in the Middle Ages, Leiden, Brill (coll. “Education and Society in the Middle Ages and Renaissance”, VI), 1995, p. 63-121.
See Commentary of Paris, below, section IV, 3, “Happiness in life”, p. 470-475.
C. Lafleur, Quatre introductions à la philosophie au xiiie siècle. Textes critiques et étude historique, Montréal, Institut d’études médiévales ; Paris, Vrin (coll. “Publications de l’Institut d’études médiévales”, XXIII), 1988. Also C. Lafleur, “Scientia et ars dans les introductions à la philosophie des maîtres ès arts de l’Université de Paris au xiiie siècle”, in I. Craemer-Ruegenberg and A. Speer, ed., Scientia und ars in Hoch- und Spätmittelalter, Berlin and New York, de Gruyter (coll. “Miscellanea Mediaevalia” XXII, 1), 1994, p. 45-65. Also see A. de Libera, “Faculté des arts ou Faculté de philosophie ? Sur l’idée de philosophie et l’idéal philosophique au xiiie siècle”, in L’enseignement des disciplines à la Faculté des arts (Paris et Oxford, xiiie et xve siècles), Actes du colloque international édités par O. Weijers et L. Holtz, Turnhout, Brepols (coll. “Studia Artistarum. Études sur la Faculté des arts dans les Universités médiévales”, IV), 1997, p. 429-444.
H. Denifle et É. Châtelain, Chartularium Universitatis Parisiensis (CUP), Paris, Delalain, 1889, t. I, no 11, p. 70-71 (1210) : “nec libri Aristotelis de naturali philosophia nec commenta legantur Parisius publice vel secreto, et hoc sub penae excommunicationis inhibemus.”
CUP, t. I, no 20, p. 78 : “Et quod legant libros Aristotelis de dialectica tam de veteri quam de nova in scolis ordinarie et non ad cursum. Legant etiam in scolis ordinarie duos Priscianos uel alterum ad minus. Non legant in festivis diebus nisi philosophos et rethoricas et quadruvialia, et barbarismum, et ethicam, si placet, et quartum topichorum. Non legantur libri Aristotelis de methafisica et de naturali philosophia, nec summe de eisdem, aut de doctrina magistri David de Dinant, aut Almarici heretici, aut Mauricii hyspani.”
The first three books of the ethics are referred to as “de forma” (that means that there is a regulation that prescribes their reading) in the compendia of studies of the faculty of Arts. Cf. C. Lafleur, avec la collaboration de J. Carrier, “La réglementation ‘curriculaire’ (‘de forma’) dans les introductions à la philosophie et les guides de l’étudiant de la Faculté des arts de Paris au xiiie siècle : une mise en contexte”, in L’enseignement de la philosophie au xiiie siècle. Autour du « Guide de l’étudiant » du ms. Ripoll 109, Actes du colloque international édités, avec un complément d’études et de textes, par C. Lafleur avec la collaboration de J. Carrier, index et bibliographie avec l’assistance de L. Gilbert et D. Piché, Turnhout, Brepols (coll. “Studia Artistarum. Études sur la Faculté des arts dans les Universités médiévales”, V), 1997, p. 521-548. For a mention de forma on the Ethics see C. Lafleur, avec la collaboration de J. Carrier, “Un instrument de révision destiné aux candidats à la licence de la Faculté des arts de Paris, le De communibus artium liberalium (vers 1250 ?)”, Documenti e studi sulla tradizione filosofica medievale, 5, 3 (1994), p. 154-203, see p. 202, § 284. The other books to be taught on holidays are philosophos (that is Plato’s Timaeus and Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy), treatises on rhetoric (to which is added the last book of Boethius’ De differentiis topicis — see in n. 5 : quarto topichorum), the quadriuium and Donatus’ Barbarismum (that is the third book of Donatus’ Ars Maior). Cf. Lafleur, “La réglementation ‘curriculaire’ (‘de forma’)”, p. 523.
About the identity of this Maurice of Spain, there are different opinions. The editors of the Chartularium consider it might be Averroes, reading Mauricii hyspani, as Mauri hyspani (the Spanish Moor). Luca Bianchi considers that this reading is not justified. Cf. L. Bianchi, Censure et liberté intellectuelle à l’Université de Paris (xiiie-xive siècles), Paris, Les Belles Lettres, 1999, p. 97-98.
CUP, t. I, no 20, p. 79 : “Ut autem ista inviolabiliter observentur, […] excommunicationis innodavimus.”
Cf. R.A. Gauthier, “Le traité ‘De Anima et de potenciis eius’ d’un maître ès arts (vers 1225)”, Revue des sciences philosophiques et théologiques, 66 (1982), p. 3-55.
Cf. R.A. Gauthier, “Notes sur les débuts (1225-1240) du premier ‘averroïsme’”, Revue des sciences philosophiques et théologiques, 66 (1982), p. 321-374. D.N. Hasse, Avicenna’s De Anima in the Latin West : The Formation of a Peripatetic Philosophy of the Soul 1160-1300, London, The Warburg Institute (coll. “Warburg Institute studies and texts”, I), 2000, p. 34-36. See also Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, lat. 3804a, f. 152vb.
Cf. J.M.M.H. Thijssen, Censure and Heresy at the University of Paris 1200-1400, Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press (coll. “Middle Ages series”), 1998. See also CUP, t. I, no 59, p. 114-116. Related to this, L. Dewan presents an “averroist” text, De potentiis anime et obiectis, of an Oxford theologian ; cf. L. Dewan, “Obiectum. Notes on the Invention of a Word”, Archives d’histoire doctrinale et littéraire du Moyen Âge, 48 (1981), p. 37-96, see specially p. 52-64 ; and Gauthier, “Notes sur les débuts”, p. 335-336, considers that De potentiis anime et obiectis has influenced on Paris theologians such as Philip the Chancellor and John of La Rochelle. In any case, the Paris theologians were using Averroes directly ; cf. ibid., p. 340-366.
CUP, t. I, no 62, p. 118 : “Nos dati provisores ab Universitate communi assensu et voluntate ita ordinamus, quod nisi infra mensem a die Pasche competenter fuerit satisfactum universitati magistrorum et scholarium secundum nostrum arbitrium super atrocissimis injuriis a preposito Parisiensi et complicibus suis et quibusdam aliis eis illatis, extunc nulli liceat morari in civitate vel diocesi Parisiensi causa studii, scilicet audiendi vel docendi, infra sex annos a fine predicti mensis numerandos : et pendente termino emende nullus leget publice vel privatim. Nec etiam post sex annos poterit quisquam reverti, nisi super predictis injuriis competenter fuerit satisfactum.”
Cf. C.E. Smith, The University of Toulouse in the Middle Ages : Its Origins and Growth to 1500 AD, Milwaukee, The Marquette University Press, 1958, chap. 2, p. 32-33.
CUP, t. I, no 72, p. 131 : “Libros naturales, qui fuerant Parisius prohibiti, poterunt illic audire qui volunt nature sinum medullitus perscrutari.”
Cf. Bianchi, Censure et liberté intellectuelle, p. 108-109.
A rigorous analysis of this bull, by which this one is inspired, can be found in Bianchi, Censure et liberté intellectuelle, p. 103-116.
CUP, t. I, no 79.
CUP, t. I, no 79, p. 138 : “Ad hec jubemus, ut magistri artium […] libris illis naturalibus, qui in Concilio provinciali ex certa causa prohibiti fuere, Parisius non utantur, quousque examinati fuerint et ab omni errorum suspitione purgati. Magistri vero et scholares theologie in facultate quam profitentur se studeant laudabiliter exercere, nec philosophos se ostentent, sed satagant fieri theodocti, […] sed de illis tantum in scolis questionibus disputent, que per libros theologicos et sanctorum patrum tractatus valeant terminari.” My emphasis.
CUP, t. I, no 87, p. 143. On April 23, the members were named : William of Auxerre, Symon of Alteis and Steven of Provins.
CUP, t. I, no 79, p. 137 : “Cancellarius quoque jurabit, quod consilia magistrorum in malum eorum nullatenus revelabit, Parisiensibus canonicis libertate ac jure in incipiendo habitis in sua manentibus firmitate. […] Ceterum quia ubi non est ordo, facile repit horror, constitutiones seu ordinationes providas faciendi de modo et hora legendi et disputandi, de habitu ordinato, de mortuorum exequiis necnon de bachellariis, qui et qua hora et quid legere debeant, ac hospitiorum taxatione seu etiam interdicto, et rebelles ipsis constitutionibus vel ordinationibus per subtractionem societatis congrue castigandi, vobis concedimus facultatem.”
Bianchi has noticed this, Censure et liberté intellectuelle, p. 103-116.
CUP, t. I, no 201, p. 227-230 and no 246, p. 277-279.
Cf. C.H. Lohr, “The Medieval Interpretation of Aristotle”, in N. Kretzmann, A. Kenny, J. Pinborg, ed., E. Stump, associate ed., The Cambridge History of Later Medieval Philosophy : from the rediscovery of Aristotle to the disintegration of the scholasticism, 1100-1600, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1982, chap. 3, p. 81.
Cf. ibid., p. 82-83.
Cf. ibid., p. 86-87.
Cf. Gauthier, “Notes sur les débuts”, p. 332 : “Michel Scot […] accompagne l’archevêque de Tolède au IVe concile du Latran. Il n’est pas impossible (quoique la chose reste fort douteuse) que Michel Scot ait profité de ce séjour en Italie pour traduire du grec l’Éthique à Nicomaque : il serait l’auteur de la Translatio antiquior, […] dont le livre I connut une large diffusion sous le nom d’Ethica noua.”
There are 40 extant codices of the Ethica Noua. They are listed in Aristoteles Latinus, Ethica Nicomachea, XXVI 1-3, fasciculus primus, Praefatio, by R.A. Gauthier, Leiden, Brill, 1973, p. lviii-lxii.
AL, Ethica Nicomachea, fasciculus quartus.
Cf. C. Lafleur, “Les ‘guides de l’étudiant’ de la Faculté des arts de l’Université de Paris au xiiie siècle”, in Hoenen, Schneider, Wieland, ed., Philosophy and Learning : Universities in the Middle Ages, p. 139. (My translation.)
Cf. Lohr, “The Medieval Interpretation”, p. 87. Lohr gives Manuscript Ripoll 109 as an example. See also F. Bertelloni, “Loquendo philosophice-loquendo theologice : Implicaciones ético-políticas en la Guía del Estudiante de Barcelona. A propósito de una reciente publicación de C. Lafleur”, Patristica et Mediaevalia, 14 (1993), p. 21-40. This distinction has already been pointed out by some authors of the twelfth century such as Gilbert of Poitiers. N.M. Häring, The Commentaries on Boethius by Gilbert of Poitiers, Toronto, Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1996, p. 194, 78-85. However, one may say that there is a distinction between the philosopher and the theologian but their viewpoints are finally reconciled. In masters of Arts of the thirteenth century, as will be shown, the difference remains. Nevertheless, the distinction among these earlier authors can become an interesting topic of further research.
For a standard interpretation of Aristotle’s Ethics see Aristote, L’Éthique à Nicomaque, introduction, traduction et commentaire par R.A. Gauthier et J.Y. Jolif, Louvain, Publications Universitaires ; Paris, Béatrice-Nauwelaerts, 1970, t. I, 1 (1st ed. 1958).
The latter would not arrive to the West until around 1260-1265, when William of Moerbeke translated it. Before that, some excerpts of the Politica were known through other works and through florilegia. For a complete analysis on the date of translations and quotations see, C. Flüeler, Rezeption und Interpretation der Aristotelischen Politica im späten Mittelalter, Amsterdam, Grüner, 1992, p. 15-29. For an account on the organization of philosophia practica before 1265, see F. Bertelloni, “Les schèmes de la philosophia practica antérieurs à 1265 : leur vocabulaire concernant la Politique et leur rôle dans la réception de la Politique d’Aristote”, in J. Hamesse et C. Steel, ed., L’Élaboration du vocabulaire philosophique au Moyen Âge, Actes du colloque international de Louvain-la-Neuve et Leuven 12-14 septembre 1998 organisé par la Société Internationale pour l’Étude de la Philosophie Médiévale, Turnhout, Brepols (coll. “Rencontres de Philosophie Médiévale”, VIII), 2000, p. 171-202.
Even if Aristotle considers the political life very important it is mostly considered in the books of the Nicomachean Ethics that had not yet arrived to the West or in the Politics, which was not available either. Nevertheless, consideration is made of the felicitas ciuilis, for example, in the Commentary of Paris.
NE, I, 10, 1100a10-1101a21. Aristotle distinguishes between happiness (eudaimonia) and blessedness (makaria). Aristotle wonders if a man can only call himself happy at the end of his life. He answers this question with a distinction : “Happy” differs from “blessed” in that happiness depends only on the state of self-sufficiency (autarcheia) of the virtuous man, whereas blessedness comes from outside man, from fortune, and does not depend on man’s behaviour. “Blessed” is here more like “fortunate,” the one whose life has provided him with all desirable things. “Happy” is the man “sufficiently” virtuous to face unfortunate events while remaining happy (eudaimos), because “happiness” is within him in his virtuous actions and does not depend on external events. Therefore, one can say about a man that he is happy through his own efforts ; but one only can call “blessed” a man who has been given all things desirable for a man ; he is blessed in his whole life, but it does not depend on him. Aristotle says that he will focus here on the happy one, but our masters will not make that difference. In the discussion about how fortune might influence happiness, they do not distinguish sometimes between “happiness” and “blessedness,” and sometimes they would consider the importance of fortune for the concept of happiness when discussing perfect life.
AL, Ethica Nicomachea, fasciculus secundus ; Ethica Nova, 99b2, p. 82 ; 00b29, p. 87 ; 01b5, p. 89.
AL, Ethica Noua, p. 88, 01a14-21 : “Quid igitur prohibet felicem dicere eum qui secundum virtutem perfectam operatur et exterioribus sufficienter habundat, non quolibet tempore, set perfecta vita ? Aut apponendum et victurum ita et finiturum secundum racionem, quoniam futurum inmanifestum nobis, felicitatem autem finem et perfectum ponimus ubique et omnino. Si autem ita, beatos dicemus vivencium quibus existunt que dicta sunt, beatos autem homines [ut angelos].”
This gloss might have been inspired by some passages of the Gospels, such as Lk. 20.36 : “Neque enim ultra mori possunt : aequales enim angelis sunt et filii sunt Dei, cum sint filii resurrectionis.” And Mk. 12.25 : “Cum enim a mortuis resurrexerint, neque nubent neque nubentur, sed sunt sicut angeli in caelis.” And Mt. 22.30 : “[…] in resurrectione enim neque nubent neque nubentur, sed sunt sicut angeli in caelo.” Cf. Nova Vulgata. Bibliorum Sacrorum editio, sacrosancti oecumenici Concilii Vaticani II ratione habita iussu Pauli PP VI recognita Auctoritate Ioannis Pauli PP. II promulgata, Città del Vaticano, Libreria editrice Vaticana, 1998.
Cf. O. Lottin, “L’identité de l’âme et de ses facultés pendant la première moitié du xiiie siècle”, Revue néoscolastique de philosophie, 36, 2e série, 41 (février 1934). Lottin talks about among others Philip the Chancellor who, as will be shown, had a strong influence on the Commentary of Paris. Also, cf. J. Weisheipl, “Albertus Magnus and Universal Hylomorphism. Avicebron : A Note on Thirteenth-Century Augustinianism”, The Southwestern journal of Philosophy, 10, 3 (april 1980), p. 239-260.
R.A. Gauthier, “Le cours sur l’Ethica Noua d’un maître ès arts de Paris (1235-1240)”, Archives d’histoire doctrinale et littéraire du Moyen Âge, 42 (1975), p. 71-141. The remaining part of the work is the commentary on the Ethica Vetus contained in Paris, Bibl. Nat., lat. 3804a, ff. 152ra-159vb, continues in ff. 241ra-247vb ; and there is a third part in Paris, Bibl. Nat., lat. 3572, ff. 226ra-235vb. About the relationship between these two manuscripts, see J. Sclafer, “Remarques concernant quelques manuscrits universitaires de l’abbaye St-Martial de Limoges copiés par Jean le Limousin”, Archives d’histoire doctrinale et littéraire du Moyen Âge, 42 (1975), p. 143-146.
C. Lafleur, avec la collaboration de J. Carrier, Le “Guide de l’étudiant” d’un maître anonyme de la Faculté des Arts de Paris au xiiie siècle. Édition critique provisoire du ms. Barcelona, Arxiu de la Corona d’Aragó, Ripoll 109, fol. 134ra-158va, Québec, Faculté de philosophie (coll. « Publications du Laboratoire de philosophie ancienne et médiévale de la Faculté de philosophie de l’Université Laval », I), 1992.
Cambridge, Peterhouse 206, ff. 285r-307v, and Prague, Czech State Library 513 III. F. 10, ff. 1-11 (this second manuscript contains only the commentary on Book I). The Cambridge manuscript is the only one used for this analysis.
Cf. Gauthier, “Le cours sur l’Ethica Noua”, p. 71. This commentary is part of a longer commentary that includes the Ethica Vetus that is described by O. Lottin, “Un commentaire sur l’Ethica Vetus des environs de 1230-1240”, Recherches de théologie ancienne et médiévale, 6 (1934), p. 84-88, and is also studied by O. Lottin in “Psychologie et morale à la Faculté des arts de Paris, aux approches de 1250”, Revue néoscolastique de philosophie, 42, 2e série, 62 (mai 1939), p. 182-212.
Cf. L.J. Bataillon, “Les textes théologiques et philosophiques diffusés à Paris par exemplar et pecia”, in La production du livre universitaire au Moyen Âge : exemplar et pecia, Actes du symposium tenu au Collegio San Bonaventura de Grottaferrata en mai 1983, textes réunis par L.J. Bataillon, B.G. Guyot, R.H. Rouse, Paris, Éditions du Centre national de la recherche scientifique, 1988, p. 159.
Cf. Lafleur, “Les ‘guides de l’étudiant’ de la Faculté des arts”, p. 179. In Lafleur’s description, of 99 columns in the entire manuscript, 60 are devoted to logic, 24 to grammar and only 5 to ethics. Cf. ibid., p. 147.
Cf. P.O. Lewry, “Robert Kilwardby’s commentary on the Ethica Noua and Vetus”, in C. Wenin, ed., L’homme et son univers au Moyen Âge, Actes du septième congrès international de philosophie médiévale, Louvain-la-Neuve, Institut supérieur de philosophie (coll. “Philosophes médiévaux”, XXVII), 1986, p. 799-807.
Here the studies of logical problems are not considered, even if they were of major concern in the Faculty of Arts, since only the discoveries or the inferences made through the study of Ethics are of interest here. Nevertheless, some methodological issues can be found also in texts devoted to the Ethics.
Lafleur, Le “Guide de l’étudiant”, § 73-77.
Ibid., § 78-82.
Ibid., § 83-91.
Ibid., § 85.
Ibid., § 86.
Cf. Cambridge, Peterhouse 206, f. 289va.
See below in this paper.
Cf. O. Lottin, Psychologie et morale aux xiie et xiiie siècles, Louvain, Gembloux, 1957, t. I, p. 523, 525.
Jean de la Rochelle, Tractatus de divisione multiplici potentiarum animae, edited by P. Michaud-Quantin, Paris, Vrin (coll. “Textes philosophiques du Moyen Âge”, XI), 1964 ; especially the tertia pars devoted to happiness, p. 137-190.
See below, section IV, 3, “Happiness in Life”, p. 470-475.
Gauthier, “Le cours sur l’Ethica Noua”, p. 96 : “quia omnes philosophi comunicabant in hoc quod omnia appetunt summum bonum, et nominabant illud nomine felicitatis…” (Ethica Noua, p. 65, 1094a2-3).
Cf. Gauthier, “Le cours sur l’Ethica Noua”, p. 106 (see the two following notes).
Ibid. : “Ad hoc dicendum quod omnes habent summum bonum, set non habent summum bonum sicut beatificans, set alio modo ; quia in omnibus est primum, quia in quibusdam est sufficiencia sicut in diuiciis, et non est ibi sufficiencia que est in ipso, set uestigium aud imago. Et sic patet quod omnia et homines omnes possunt appetere summum bonum.”
Ibid. : “Aliter dicendum est, sicut dicit Augustinus supra Johannem in illo uerbo : ‘Erat lux in tenebris et tenebre eam non comprehenderunt’, et dicit ibi quod lux solis equaliter se habet ad cecos et uidentes, set tamen ceci non recipiunt lumen solis, set uidentes ; similiter lux spiritualis, hoc est summum bonum, equaliter est in omnibus tam bonis quam malis, tamen mali non recipiunt lumen a primo ; et sic summum bonum est in ipsis et tamen non habent ipsum, et sic appetunt ipsum. Et hoc modo debet intelligi quod dicit.” See also subsequent question, p. 106-107.
Ibid., p. 121-122. See, infra, n. 66.
Ibid., p. 121 : “Primo dubitatur in hunc modum. Quecunque sunt, in quantum sunt, bona sunt ; quare omnia in quantum sunt, bona sunt.” (Cf. Boethius, De hebdomadibus, PL, 64, 1311D).
Ibid., p. 121-122 : “Ad hoc dicendum est quod non dicuntur omnia bona quia sunt ab uno bono, set dicuntur esse bona quia sunt a uoluntate primi. Quia enim Deus uoluit, ideo omnia sunt bona. Set sic est quod uoluntas semper est respectu boni, et quia uoluntas est boni in quantum bonum, quecunque sunt a uoluntate primi sunt bona. Vnde dicendum est quod non debuisset facere hoc argumentum : quia sunt a bonitate primi omnia sunt bona, ergo omnia sapiencia ab ipsius sapiencia ; set debuisset facere hoc argumentum : quia sunt a uoluntate primi, sunt uoluntaria, ergo a sapiencia sapiencia et a potencia potencia. Et propter hoc dicendum est aliter quod sine dubio omnia bona sunt a uoluntate primi, et quia uoluntas semper est boni in quantum bonum, omnia quecunque sunt a uoluntate, bona sunt.”
According to Georg Wieland, the use of the transcendentia (ens, unum, bonum, uerum) comes from Philip the Chancellor. Cf. G. Wieland, “L’émergence de l’éthique philosophique au xiiie siècle, avec une attention spéciale pour le ‘Guide de l’étudiant parisien’”, in Lafleur et Carrier, ed., L’enseignement de la philosophie, p. 169-170. Cf. Philippi Cancellarii Parisiensis Summa de Bono, ad fidem codicum primum edita studio et cura N. Wicki, Bernae, Editiones Francke (coll. “Corpus philosophorum medii aeui, Opera philosophica mediae aetatis selecta”, II), 1985, q. 1-3, p. 5-23.
Gauthier, “Le cours sur l’Ethica Noua”, p. 122 : “Vnde prius est potencia et postea sapiencia et postea bonitas ; quecunque enim sunt, unum sunt ; et quecunque sunt, uera sunt ; et quecunque sunt, bona sunt ; et unitas omnium est a potencia primi, unius enim proprie est potencia ; ueritas omnium est a sapiencia primi, sapiencia enim est in ipso quantum ad formas que sunt in ipso in ratione exemplarium quorum est cognitio et cognitio est respectu ipsius ueri et sic ueritas rerum siue encium est a sapiencia primi ; bonitas autem encium est a uoluntate primi, et quia uoluntas est respectu boni, encia dicuntur bona. Et sic patet quare omnia in quantum sunt, bona sunt. Et notandum quod unum precedit uerum et uerum bonum et est ibi ordo aliquo modo, etsi non sit prius et posterius simpliciter.”
The fact that “everything is good because it exists” is evidence of the readings on Boethius De Hebdomadibus (PL, 64, p. 1311a-1313c).
The consideration of Potentia, Sapiencia et Bonitas comes from Hugues of Saint Victor and Richard of Saint Victor that influenced Peter Lombard (Sententiae L I, d. 34, c. 3-4). Gauthier himself considers this (p. 121). These three concepts are closely related to the Trinity, as it is evident in the text of Peter Lombard, so the master refers clearly to the revealed Theology and not to a “mere” theology of the philosophers. This last distinction is actually advanced some years after the texts analyzed here by Thomas Aquinas, in the Expositio super Boetium De Trinitate, q. 5 (ed. B. Decker). Even if there is a vivid discussion on the division of speculative science in Thomas as well as in Aristotle, this paper does not intend to be included in this discussion.
Lafleur, Le “Guide de l’étudiant”, § 92 : “Item queritur utrum felicitas de qua hic agitur sit causata. Et uidetur quod non. Probat enim hic auctor quod illa est bonum perfectissimum. Sed nichil est tale nisi Primum. Ergo hec felicitas est ut Primum ; ergo est incausata. — Ad hoc dicimus quod felicitas dicitur esse bonum perfectissimum inter bona participabilia uel humana. Et sic intelligi hic Aristotiles. Primum autem non est participabile in sui essentia, cum sit simplicissimum. Propter hoc illud quod dicitur hic, intelligitur de felicitate causata.”
For an inquiry about these different kinds of happiness see A.J. Celano, “The ‘Finis hominis’ in the thirteenth-century commentaries on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics”, Archives d´histoire doctrinale et littéraire du Moyen Âge, 53 (1986), p. 23-53.
See below, section IV, 3, “Happiness in Life”, p. 470-475.
Lafleur, Le “Guide de l’étudiant”, § 77 : “Est autem felicitas causata et est quidam actus anime uel perfectio, ut habetur in primo Ethicorum.” NE I, 13, 1102a5-6, Ethica Noua, p. 91.
Lafleur, Le “Guide de l’étudiant”, § 79 : “quia uirtus est medium per quod acquiritur huiusmodi felicitas.”
Ibid., § 79 : “Et notandum quod uirtus intellectualis est per admirationem formarum a Primo et Eius contemplationem.”
Ibid., § 77 : “Huiusmodi autem sciencie uirtus dicitur esse subiectum a quibusdam, quia principaliter est intentio de uirtute – sicut dicunt –, per quam felicitas acquiritur. Potest tamen felicitas melius subiectum dici eo quod est finis propter quem omnes operationes fiunt et uirtutes. In moribus enim finis principaliter mouet et propter finem omnia intenduntur. Est autem felicitas causata et est quidam actus anime uel perfectio, ut habetur in primo Ethicorum, deducens ipsam in Esse Optimum (est enim felicitas bonum perfectissimum inter bona participabilia ; est enim primum bonum quod participari non potest per essentiam suam). Est illud bonum causatum mediante quo potest anima frui loco Prime Cause.”
Ibid., § 95 : “est autem alia uita qua uiuit anima in se intelligendo et affectando Primum, et in tali est felicitas.”
See below, section IV, 3, “Happiness in Life”, p. 470-475.
Cambridge, Peterhouse 206, f. 291va : “ergo quod cum in precedenti parte narraverit Aristoteles felicitatem esse aliqua operacionem anime studiose practice in uita perfecta iam in subsequenti parte idem demonstrationis. Sub alio tamen modo declarauit enim quod circa operaciones sit ipsius anime optimas et delectabilissimas et talis etiam operacio practica studiosa durans in uita perfecta.” (NE 1101a10-19).
Cambridge, Peterhouse 206, f. 287ra : “alia est ex parte rei scilicet quod existimant bene uiuere et bene operari esse idem felicitati et intelligit per uiuere actum anime primum, per operari actum anime secundum.” The Commentator of Paris makes a similar consideration see Gauthier, “Le cours sur l’Ethica Noua”, p. 114.
This has been shown by Gauthier, “Le traité ‘De Anima et de potenciis eius’.” In a recent publication B. Bazán, Anonymi Magistri Artium “Sententia super II et III ‘De anima’” (Ms. Oxford, Bodleian Library, Lat. Misc. c. 70, fol. 1ra-25vb ; Roma, Bibl. Naz. V. E. 828, fol. 46vb, 48ra-52ra). Édition, étude critique et doctrinale par B.C. Bazán. Texte du De anima uetus par K. White, Louvain-la-Neuve, Institut supérieur de philosophie ; Louvain et Paris, Peeters (coll. “Philosophes médiévaux”, XXXVII), 1998, has affirmed that there was actually courses on De Anima, as the one that he publishes.
Cambridge, Peterhouse 206, f. 290ra : “in prima ostendit quod aliqua est operacio hominis secundum quod homo. […] Communiter intendit que est hec operacio : ostendens que sit operacio secundum animam racionalem in quantum talis sic operacio hominis et quod homo est secundum animam eius set non est secundum uegetatiuam et sensitiuam, ergo secundum racionalem et utique in hac racione hoc nomine uita pro anima. Ex hoc enim quod proprius actus anime est uiuificare se et per anima ponitur uita.”
Cambridge, Peterhouse 206, f. 291vb : “dicit quod cum quicquid inest hominibus insit a doctrina, racionale est felictitatem a deo datam esse, cum deus sit causarum optima, et felicitas sit bonorum humanorum optimum ; set utrum sic sit uel non, alterius scrutacionis est quam ciuilis, sicut forte methaphisice uel theologice.” He makes this assertion concerning what Aristotle claims in 1099b11-14. Aristotle here says that happiness as a gift of God is a scrutiny of another science ; however he does not precise in which science it is to be investigated. See Ethica Noua, ed. Gauthier, p. 83, 6-7 : “Set hoc quidem utique alterius erit scrutacionis proprium.”
Gauthier, “Le cours sur l’Ethica Noua”, p. 107 : “Iterum, felices operantur, scilicet in aspiciendo primum et cognoscendo ; vnde cognoscere primum et diligere sunt opera alicuius cum habet felicitatem. Et hoc modo intelligit auctor cum dicit quod ipsi dicebant quod uita et operatio sunt idem felicitati.”
Ibid., p. 115.
Cf. ibid., p. 107 : “tamen errabant in hoc quod dicebant quod nos sumus principium sufficiens uniendi illud summum bonum nobis.”
Ibid., p. 115 : “Item queritur de enumeratione istius triplicis uite et penes que accipiuntur ? Ad hoc duplex solutio. Et est prima hec. Vita uoluptuosa sumitur secundum animam uegetabilem, quia uita uoluptuosa est in corpore per comparationem ad potenciam generatiuam et nutritiuam. Vita ciuilis sumitur penes animam sencibilem, quia uana gloria et honor et huiusmodi sunt in anima sencibili, aud si sunt in rationali, hoc est in comparatione ad animam sencibilem ; item, illi ciues qui faciunt quecunque faciunt propter honores et uanam gloriam, uiuunt sicut bestie, et ideo sumitur uita ciuilis penes animam sencibilem. Vita autem contemplatiua sumitur penes animam intellectiuam ; in anima enim intellectiua sunt uirtus et sciencia circa que consistit uita contemplatiua ; […] Aliter dicendum est quod iste sumuntur penes animam intellectiuam. Set notandum quod anima intellectiua siue humana habet triplicem comparationem : comparatur enim ad corpus quod sub ipsa est, et comparatur ad ea que supra ipsam sunt, et comparatur ad ea que in equali se habent cum ipsa. Et uita uoluptuosa attenditur <in comparatione> anime humane ad corpus quod sub ipsa est ; uita enim uoluptuosa, sicut iam dictum est, est circa corpus in illa parte in qua uirtus generatiua et nutritiua. Vita autem ciuilis attenditur in comparatione unius anime humane ad aliam, uel unius hominis ad alium hominem ; uita enim ciuilis est qua unus homo uiuit honeste cum aliis hominibus ; et sic patet quod uita ciuilis sumitur in comparatione anime humane ad equalia sibi. Vita autem contemplatiua sumitur in comparatione anime humane ad superiora siue ad felicitatem, quia uirtus secundum quam attenditur uita contemplatiua est medium quo nobis unitur felicitas.”
Lottin, “Psychologie et morale à la Faculté des arts de Paris”, p. 190 (ms. 3804a, f. 152va) : “Aliter dicendum est quod, sicut anima secundum partem speculatiuam habet duplicem naturam secundum quam comparatur ad superiora et hec uocatur intellectus agens, aliam habet secundum quam comparatur ad inferiora et hec uocatur intellectus possibilis, et secundum intellectum agentem semper est in anima ueritas, secundum possibilem non, similiter ex parte intellectus practici sunt iste diuerse nature : una que respondet intellectui agenti et hec uocatur superior semper est ad bonum, inferior non ; et ad hanc ultimam partem perficiendam et rectificandam indigemus scientia morali.” About the two faces of the soul see J. Rohmer, “Sur la doctrine franciscaine des deux faces de l’âme”, Archives d’histoire doctrinale et littéraire du Moyen Âge, 2 (1927), p. 73-77. He relates this doctrine to Jean de la Rochelle and to Gundissalinus. This theory can be also found in Arnvlfi Provincialis, Magistri artivm Parisiensis (c. 1250), Divisio scientiarum, in Lafleur, Quatre introductions, p. 335-336, l. 540-560. There is in this text also a peculiar theory of the rise of the soul to the Creator through intellectual virtues, which is studied by R.A. Gauthier, “Arnoul de Provence et la doctrine de la fronesis vertu mystique suprême”, Revue du Moyen Âge Latin, 19 (1963), p. 129-170.
Lottin, “Psychologie et morale à la Faculté des arts de Paris”, p. 198 quoting the Commentary of Paris on the Ethica Vetus : “Dicendum quod nos sumus omnino principium mali ; sed nos non sumus omnino principium boni ; immo, sicut dictum est prius, bonitas datur nobis a primo qui illuminat intellectum nostrum, et postea facimus bonum ; et hoc modo intelligunt theologi dicentes <quod> quia boni sumus, ideo bonum facimus, intelligentes de bonitate ista ; quia autem operatio bona, cuius fundamentum est ratio recta data a prima intelligencia, facit habitum qui est uirtus consuetudinalis, ideo dicimus quod operatio bona facit habitum bonum ; sed nos omnino sumus principium <mali> et apud nos et apud theologos, et ideo malum non diversificatur sicut bonum.” Nevertheless, he adds the philosophical point of view about this issue and he considers that in this case he and the theologians agree.
Lottin, “Psychologie et morale à la Faculté des arts de Paris”, p. 199 : “Aliter potest dici et ista solutio est secundum philosophos et non secundum theologos ; et tunc dicendum est quod nos sumus principium uirtutis tantum ; unde uoluntas que est in nobis existens et determinata est causa operationis ; que operatio causat uirtutem ; et secundum istum modum dicendum est quod operationes de necessitate antecedunt et nullus habitus antecedit operationes in moralibus ; et hoc modo dicendo, dicendum est quod illud quod dicitur quod omnis causa nobilior est causato, intelligendum est de causa determinata et non de causa indeterminata ; uoluntas enim est causa indeterminata et non causa determinata ; et propter hoc, cum operationes que causant uirtutem sint a uoluntate que est causa indeterminata, non oportet quod sint digniores et perfectiores habitu qui est uirtus.”
Ibid. : “Dicendum est quod loquendo theologice oportet dicere quod habitus bonus de necessitate precedit omnem operationem bonam, quia ratio recta est data a prima intelligentia ut illuminet intellectum humanum ; que quidem ratio recta est fundamentum cuiuslibet operationis bone ; et hoc est quod dicunt theologi quod bonum est infusum a Deo quo dirigente bene operamur. Et sic non sumus solum principium boni ; et hoc modo intelligendo dicendum est quod habitus est ante omnem operationem bonam, et secundum hoc concedimus omnia argumenta, que sunt ad hoc ostendendum ; unde non est inconveniens quod operationes causantes habitum qui est derelictus in intellectu a prima intelligentia illuminante ipsum practicum intellectum.”
Gauthier considers that the commentator never opposes but only distinguishes the two opinions, see “Le cours sur l’Ethica Noua”, p. 79 : “s’il n’oppose jamais théologie et philosophie, il s’est montré plus d’une fois soucieux de les distinguer.” He considers also the Commentary on the Ethica Vetus that he quotes from the same source as here. However, if the commentator says just the opposite thing according to theologians from that according to philosophers, he is opposing and not only distinguishing them. The fact that he does not say “they are opposite” is not making it “less” opposite.
See, supra, n. 91 : “Apud nos et apud theologos.”
Cambridge, Peterhouse 206, f. 295va-b.
Cambridge, Peterhouse 206, f. 289vb, l. 14-22 : “primo dicit quod eadem conclusio ostendendi potest ex autharchia (scr. cum fonte] eucharistia cod.) id est ex parte sufficiencia felicitatis et dicitur ab eu quod est bonum et archos quod est princeps siue custos sufficiente et hoc est : uidetur autem. Primo ponit racionem suam talem bonum per se sufficiens est perfectum et propter se tantum eligibile. Set bonum quod facit effectum eligibilem et nullo modo indigentem est per se sufficiens ergo huiusmodi bonum est perfectum et propter se tantum eligibile. Set felicitas est huiusmodi bonum ergo felicitas est bonum perfectum et propter se tantum eligibile”. In the Ethica Noua, p. 75-76, 97b6-7 one reads : “Videtur autem et ex autharchia <id est per se sufficiencia> idem contingere ; perfectum enim bonum per se sufficiens esse videtur. Per se sufficiens enim dicimus non se solo vivente vitam solitarem, set et parentibus et filiis et uxore et universis amicis et civibus, quoniam natura civilis homo.” (My emphasis.)
See, infra, n. 118. Cambridge, Peterhouse 206, f. 295va : “virtus tum non perficit in nobis a natura set ab assuetudine.”
Lafleur, Le “Guide de l’étudiant”, § 119 : “<Queritur> utrum nos sumus tota causa boni sicut sumus tota causa mali. Et uidetur quod sic per iam dicta, quia uoluntas est in nobis ut principium utriusque. — Ad quod dicimus quod loquendo philosophice sumus tota causa utriusque. Loquendo tamen theologice non sumus sufficientes ad bonum, sed oportet gratiam in nobis a Deo infundi, que a theologis sinderesis appellantur.” About synderesis see also § 106. Cf. Philippus Cancellarius, Summa de bono, ed. Wicki, p. 192.
Lafleur, Le “Guide de l’étudiant”, § 93 : “Ad hoc dicendum quod in ueritate inquantum est a parte Primi unumquodque est natum participare Ipsum, sed ex parte recipientium potest esse defectus. Nam nata est enim felicitas inesse diligentibus solum et affectantibus per amorem et cognitionem. Huiusmodi autem, que sic affectant Primum et diligunt, <sunt> solum due subtantie, scilicet homo et angelus.”
Cf. Lottin, “L’identité de l’âme”, p. 192-193. Philip the Chancellor (Philippus Cancellarius, Summa de bono, ed. Wicki, p. 85, 94-99) analyzes the differences between them according to the way in which they are illuminated by the First.
AL, Ethica Noua, p. 88, 01a14-21. See above n. 39.
Cf. Philippus Cancellarius, Summa de bono, ed. Wicki, p. 42.
Lafleur, Le “Guide de l’étudiant”, § 102 : “Item : quare non agit de uirtute exemplari neque de illa que est purgatiua animi ? Determinat enim de talibus Macrobius. — Dicimus quod hic agitur solum de uirtute que acquiritur per operationes anime coniuncte corpori. Hec autem est proprie consuetudinalis, que fit in domando passiones sensibiles. Sed alie uirtutes que dicte sunt, sunt anime separate et etiam intelligentie uel angeli — quod idem est.” The fact that they are considering intelligences tells us that they are discussing this topic on natural philosophy, and that they were using the libri naturales and the methaphysics which were not yet “purged.”
The theory of virtues of Macrobius was read all through the Middle Ages according to H. van Lieshout, La Théorie plotinienne de la Vertu. Essai sur la genèse d’un article de la Somme Théologique de Saint Thomas, Freiburg, Studia Friburgensia ; Paderborn, Bonifacius-Druckerei ; Paris, Librairie des jeunes, 1926, p. 123-155.
Macrobii Ambrosii Theodosii, Commentariorum in somnium Scipionis libri duo, Introduzione, testo, traduzione e note a cura di L. Scarpa, Padova, Liviana Editrice, 1981, I, 8, 5 : “Sed Plotinus, inter philosophiae professores cum Platone princeps, libro De virtutibus gradus earum vera et naturali divisionis ratione compositos, per ordinem digerit. Quatuor sunt, inquit quaternarum genera virtutum : ex his primae politicae vocantur, secundae purgatoriae, tertiae animi iam purgati, quartae exemplares.”
About the order of virtues see J. Flamant, Macrobe et le Néo-platonisme latin à la fin du ive siècle, Leiden, Brill (coll. “E´tudes pre´liminaires aux religions orientales dans l’Empire romain”, LVIII), 1977, p. 602-607. Albert the Great will follow partially this interpretation but he will consider that the virtus purgati animi is the same as the virtus heroica in Aristotle. (Super Ethica, I. 7 lect. I, Ed. Colon.14/2, 514, 24-33 : “et hoc fit per divinam quandam et heroicam virtutem, per quam aliquis imitatur divinam aequalitatem secundum remotionem a perturbatione passionum. […] Et has virtutes vocat Macorobius purgati animi, quibus in divinam similitudinem ascendatur.”) In this manner Albert will consider the virtues of the purged soul as possible in this life. About this see J. Müller, Natürliche Moral und Philosophische Ethik bei Albertus Magnus, Münster, Aschendorff (coll. “Beiträge zur Geschichte der Philosophie und Theologie des Mittelalters”, LIX), 2001, p. 192-197. A different consideration of Macrobius theory is found in Hervé Le Breton, cf. C. Lafleur et J. Carrier, “La Philosophia d’Hervé le Breton (alias Henri le Breton) et le recueil d’introductions à la philosophie du ms. Oxford, Corpus Christi College 283 (Deuxième partie)”, Archives d’histoire doctrinale et littéraire du Moyen Âge, 62 (1995), p. 359-442, see p. 384-385, § 35-37. An interpretation of this text can be found in C. Lafleur, avec la collaboration de J. Carrier, “La Philosophia d’Hervé le Breton (alias Henri le Breton) et le recueil d’introductions à la philosophie du ms. Oxford, Corpus Christi College 283 (Première partie)”, Archives d’histoire doctrinale et littéraire du Moyen Âge, 61 (1994), p. 149-226, see specially p. 179-181.
Commentary on Ethica Vetus, Paris, Bibl. Nat., lat. 3804a, f. 154ra : “Primo dubitatur de ista diuisione uirtutis. Et uidetur quod sunt insufficientes : quia Macrobius diuidit uirtutes in uirtutes exemplares, et in uirtutes que sunt purgati animi, et in uirtutes purgatorias et in uirtutes politicas. Et appellat uirtutes politicas uirtutes consuetudinales. Cum ergo auctor non tangat hic nisi duas species uirtutis ut dictas, uidetur quod insufficit diuidat uirtutem per intellectualem et consuetudinalem. Ad hoc dicendum est quod ista sciencia intendit Aristoteles solum de uirtute humana et non de aliis uirtutibus que non sunt humane. Et ideo cum omnis ille uirtutes quare nominat Macrobius non sint humane. Ideo non omnes tangit hic. Virtutes enim exemplares sunt uirtutes quibus cognoscitur primi essentia, et iste non sunt humane. Iterum uirtus que dicitur purgati animi non est humana : quia ista uirtus que postquam anima separata est a corpore. Set uirtutes politice sunt humane et uirtus purgatoria est humana, quia uirtus purgatoria acceditur in comparatione intellectus uel rationis ad superiora sicut uirtus intellectualis quare illam non oportuit hic determinare quia aprehenditur sub uirtute intellectuali.” (The orthography of the manuscript is kept.)
In any case, our compiler will further compare men and angels. Later, it is asked whether it is necessary that the intelligences merit happiness through virtue like men. He will introduce then a theory of a twofold intellect for angels. (Lafleur, Le “Guide de l’étudiant”, § 105.)
Cambridge, Peterhouse 206, f. 295ra : “et patet <quod> sufficit huius diuisionis considerando diuisionem intellectus per practicum et speculatiuum intellectuales enim perficiunt speculatiuum, morales (scr.] mortales cod.) uero practicum.”
Lafleur, Le “Guide de l’étudiant”, § 95 : “Gratia huius queritur utrum sit felicitas ante mortem. Et uidetur quod sic, quia, sicut dicit hic auctor, felicitas est in uita. Felicitas enim quedam uita dicitur. Sed uita est ante mortem, ergo et felicitas.”
The fact that this life is subject to fortune is also considered in the Commentary of Paris. This is solved by Aristotle with the distinction between [eudaimon] happy and [makarios] blessed. (See above p. 457, n. 37) Nevertheless, the masters (except for Kilwardby) have not seen this difference. Hence they consider fortune as part or constituent of happiness.
Lafleur, Le “Guide de l’étudiant”, § 95 : “Solutio. Dicendum quod duplex es uita : una scilicet in qua uiuit anima cum corpore, et hec est temporalis et inconstans, et ideo de tali non est felicitas ; est autem alia uita qua uiuit anima in se intelligendo et affectando Primum, et in tali est felicitas. Anima enim maxime uiuit in se post mortem, cum sit a corpore separata. Et ideo innuit hic Aristotiles felicitatem esse post mortem.”
Ibid., § 94 : “Item queritur utrum corpus sit natum recipere felicitatem sicut anima. Et uidetur quod sic, cum sit instrumentum per quod anima operatur bonum. Et ita uidetur corpus mereri sicut anima. — Ad hoc dicimus quod secundum theologos hoc habet ueritatem, quia ponunt animam reiungi corpori post mortem. Sed hoc est plus per miraculum quam per naturam. Simpliciter enim hoc est innaturale, et ideo non ponitur a philosophis. Et propter hoc cum felicitas sit post mortem, sicut probat hic auctor, et non ponunt philosophi animam post mortem coniungi corpori, ideo proprie felicitas per naturam debetur solum anime et non corpori.”
Ibid., § 84 : “Primum est utrum de felicitate potest esse scientia, et uidetur quod non. Felicitas enim est bonum spirituale, et de tali non potest esse certa cognitio apud nos, quia sicut uult Aristotiles in secundo Phisicorum, intellectus noster obscurus est et ebes ad nature manifestissima. Et dicit Commentator ibi quod per “manifestissima” dat intelligi spiritualia, que omnino separata sunt a motu et materia. Cum ifitur felicitas sit bonum spirituale, uidetur quod de ipsa apud nos non est certa cognitio, quare nec firma scientia. — Ad hoc intelligendum quod illud bonum dupliciter potest considerari : uno modo in relatione ad suam causam, et hoc modo de ipso non est scientia apud nos nec certa cognitio (uel si est, magis pertinet ad astronomiam) ; alio modo potest considerari felicitas ratione finis, et ita possunt cognosci eius proprietates per quas mouet ad operandum, et sic facit scientiam apud nos.”
Cambridge, Peterhouse 206, f. 293va : “utrum enim post mortem felicitetur anima uel totus homo forte non pertinet ad ipsam <doctrinam civilem> nec hoc determinat Aristoteles.”
Cf. Lafleur, “Les ‘guides de l’étudiant’ de la Faculté des arts”, p. 154, n. 36. Proposition 18 : “Quod resurrectio futura non debet concedi a philosopho, quia impossibile est eam investigari per rationem. — Error, quia etiam philosophus debet captivare intellectum in obsequium Christi.” (CUP, t. I, no 473, p. 544. For a new edition of the condemnation accompanied with a complete analysis see D. Piché, La Condamnation parisienne de 1277, nouvelle édition du texte latin, traduction, introduction et commentaire par D. Piché, avec la collaboration de C. Lafleur, Paris, Vrin (coll. “Sic et Non”), 1999, this proposition in p. 84). Boethius of Dacia says this in his book De Aeternitate mundi : “Cum ergo tu ipse dicis et dicere debes multa esse vera, quae tamen, si non affirmes vera nisi quantum ratio humana te inducere potest, illa nunquam concedere debes, sicut est resurrectio hominum quam ponit fides”, in R. Hissette, Enquête sur les 219 articles condamnés à Paris le 7 mars 1277, Louvain, Publications Universitaires (coll. “Philosophes médiévaux”, XXII), 1977, p. 309.
Cambridge, Peterhouse 206, f. 293ra : “Et notandum diligenter quod uocat hic Aristotiles uiuentes uere bonos, quia si non est uere bonus nisi simpliciter felix, et secundum ipsum aliqui viuentes sunt uere boni, secundum ipsum aliqui viuentes sunt felices simpliciter : quod est contra eos qui dicunt Aristotilem uelle uiuentem felicitari nisi incomplete.”
See above n. 112.
Gauthier, “Le cours sur l’Ethica Noua”, p. 115 : “Item auctor diuidit hic uitam in uitam uoluptuosam et ciuilem et contemplatiuam et dicit quod in hoc quod ponebant omnes uitam, uerum dicebant, set in hoc quod ponebant felicitatem esse uitam uoluptuosam aud ciuilem etc., errabant. Et uidetur quod nichil dicat, quia omnis uita aud est uoluptuosa aud ciuilis etc. ; ergo, si uita diuiditur in has, uita predicabitur de aliqua istarum, uita dico que est felicitas et in quam ponendo non errabant philosophi ; set uita uoluptuosa non est huiusmodi uita, quia uita uoluptuosa est cira diuicias, set ostensum <est> quod circa diuicias non est felicitas, et sic ista non predicatur de uita uoluptuosa. — Item, non predicatur de uita ciuili, quia uita ciuilis similiter est circa diuicias, per diuicias enim adquiruntur honores, et sic non predicatur uita que est felicitas de uita ciuili. — Nec de uita contemplatiua, quia uita contemplatiua est inperfectorum, quia sciencia et uirtus est inperfectorum, felicitas autem est perfectorum, et sic uita que est felicitas non predicatur de uita contemplatiua.”
Ibid., p. 115-116 : “Item ad idem. Vita uoluptuosa et ciuilis sumuntur penes animam uegetabilem et sencibilem ; set secundum animam uegetabilem et sencibilem ; non unitur nobis felicitas ; et sic uita que est felicitas non predicatur de uita uoluptuosa nec de ciuili. Similiter nec de uita contemplatiua, quia uita contemplatiua est penes uirtutem et scienciam. Et sic uidetur quod predicta uita non possit diuidi in has tres uitas precedentes.”
Cf. ibid., p. 116.
Cf. G. Wieland, Ethica-Scientia Practica. Die Anfänge der philosophischen Ethik im 13. Jahrhundert, Münster, Aschendorff (coll. “Beiträge zur Geschichte der Philosophie und Theologie des Mittelalters”, Neue Folge, XXI), 1981, p. 147-148.
Cf. Gauthier, “Le cours sur l’Ethica Noua”, p. 116.
The structure of the soul is described in ibid., p. 101-102 : “Aliter dicendum est quod, sicut in intellectu speculatiuo est duplex pars, scilicet pars superior et pars inferior, similiter in parte intellectu que uocatur pars desideratiua est duplex pars, scilicet pars superior et pars inferior. Illa enim pars speculatiui intellectus que est superior semper est recta, et illa pars uocatur intellectus agens, qui habet cognitionem omnium rerum in summa et indistincte ; […] et in cognitione huiusmodi intellectus non potest esse error. Est autem pars inferior que uocatur intellectus possibilis, et iste non est rectus semper, immo potest esse rectus et non rectus.”
Ibid. : “Similiter dicendum quod pars intellectus practici superior desiderat et appetit et cognoscit, set ista cognitio est cum affectu, et istud desiderium et ista uoluntas semper sunt recta ; […] Est autem alia pars inferior, et circa istam partem inferiorem partis desideratiue est libertas arbitrii ; […] tamen illam partem que est inferior et miscetur uirtutibus sensibilibus, possunt recte uelle et non uelle, et sic habent liberum arbitrium.” This framework is analyzed by ibid., p. 87, and by Lottin, “Psychologie et morale à la Faculté des arts de Paris”, p. 182-212. The latter analyzes ms. 3804a in that part devoted to Ethica Vetus, where the intellect framework is further developed. Another text, which may have influenced this, is De Anima et de potenciis eius, Gauthier, “Le traité ‘De Anima et de potenciis eius’”, p. 48-55 : De Potentia Rationali.
Cf. Lottin, “Psychologie et morale à la Faculté des arts de Paris”, p. 189-190 : “Dicendum est quod duplex est habitus partis intellectiue. Quidam enim est habitus qui innascitur cum anima humana ; uerbi gratia, humana anima secundum partem que uocatur agens habet cognitionem rerum in summa, et ista cognitio seu habitus innascitur cum ipsa anima ; item anima nascitur cum amore primi, et iste habitus seu istud desiderium est innatum ; et secundum huiusmodi habitus accipiendo intellectum, intellectus semper est rectus. Si autem accipiatur in comparatione ad habitus acquisitos in ipso, tunc non semper est pars intellectiua recta, nec intellectus rectus, immo potest esse rectus et non rectus ; et hoc ultimo modo non semper est intellectus practicus ad bonum ; et hoc modo necesaria fuit philosophia moralis ad uirtutem, et non fuit sufficiens naturalis.” This fragment of the commentary on the Ethica Vetus is contained in the same manuscript as our commentary on the Ethica Noua (according to Gauthier they are fragments of the same commentary, cf. Gauthier, “Le cours sur l’Ethica Noua”, p. 71).
Gauthier, “Le cours sur l’Ethica Noua”, p. 116.
Lottin, “Psychologie et morale à la Faculté des arts de Paris”, p. 190-191. (f. 153va.) : “Intellectus agens habet cognitionem rerum in summa ; unde dicit Boetius : summam retinet, singula perdit. Sic ergo patet quod intellectus agens non cognoscit res uel species rerum singillatim, et sic non potest facere cognitionem rerum singillatim in intellectu possibili ; et propter hoc oportet quod intellectus possibilis habeat aliunde cognitionem singulorum, et sic in habendo huiusmodi cognitionem comparatur ad phantasiam et sensus ; et sic contingit in ipso falsitas siue error. Sed non sic est a parte rationis imperantis uirtuti sensibili : ipsa enim ratio habet appetitus distinctos et cognitionem appetituum distinctam ; et ideo huiusmodi appetitus distinctus potest in sensum facere ; et ideo cum sensus et ratio sint in eodem, oportet quod sensus sit rectus, ratione existente recta ; non autem sic est a parte intellectus possibilis et agentis.”
As in Paris, Bibl. Nat., lat. 3804a, f. 153ra (the orthography of the manuscript is kept) : “et dicendum est ad hoc quod anima humana habet duplicem partem speculativi intellectus, scilicet partem supremam que uocatur intellectus agens, et partem inferiorem et hec uocatur intellectus possibilis. Et intellectus agens plus recipit illuminationem a primo quam possibilis. Similiter est a parte partis motiue : in motiua enim parte anime humane, que uocatur pars desideratiua, est duplex uirtus seu pars, scilicet suprema et inferiora et suprema pars plus illuminatur a primo quam inferior pars. Et quia illa suprema pars maxime illuminatur a lumine primi influente. Ideo illa uirtus desiderativa quantum ad illam partem recte agit semper ; quantum ad partem inferiorem, non tantum illuminatur a lumine primi, et ideo potest ordinari ad recte et non recte operandum. Et hoc est causa quare intellectus humanus non semper quantum ad quamlibet sui partem est rectus ; set est in ipso possilibitas ad rectum et non rectum.” Also, (f. 153ra-rb) : “Intellectus enim humanus defficit et quia pars inferior eius non omnino illuminatur a primo et quia est inclinatus ad fantasiam. Et propter hoc potuit magis peccare quam intelligencia. Intelligencia autem non habet nisi unum deffectum scilicet quantum ad partem eius inferiorem et non quia intellectus eius sit inclinatus ad fantasiam. Et ideo intelligencia non ficit (sic) tantum coacta ad peccandum sicut homo.”
Gauthier., “Le traité ‘De Anima et de potenciis eius’”, p. 53-54 : “hic notandum est quod alique forme sunt in intellectu possibili quas non abstrahit intellectus agens a fantasmatibus, set anima adquirit eas per rectam operationem, sicut sunt iusticia, prudencia ; et alique sunt quas adquirit per superiorem illuminationem, ut quedam que intelliguntur de Deo et diuino modo.”
Cf. Lottin, Psychologie et morale aux xiie et xiiie siècles, t. I, p. 514, the manuscript quoted is Florence, Bibl. Naz. Cent., conv. sopp. G4 853, f. 68vb : “Dico quod in anima rationali est duplex pars, inferior scilicet et superior : superior qua contemplatur superiora, inferior qua contemplatur et considerat inferiora. Cum ergo dicitur quod intellectus semper est rectus, hoc est quantum ad superiorem partem ; non hoc modo ratio est motor phantasie, sed solum quantum ad partem inferiorem est motor phantasie, et hoc modo non semper est rectus et propter hoc non procedit ratio. Aliter potest dici, sicut dicetur, quod intellectus agens cognoscat omnia, sed indistincte, cum autem illuminatur a phantasibus, tunc facit cognitionem distinctam in intellectu possibili ; similiter dico quod, cum dicitur quod intellectus est semper rectus, hoc est prout indistincte se habet circa omnia, set tunc non mouet phantasiam ; cum autem est circa singularia distincte se habens, tunc mouet phantasiam et tunc non est semper rectus ; et propter hoc mouet quandoque recte, quandoque non recte.”