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29 8
nentaux comme Abbon de Saint-Germain-des-Prés. II pennet de voir dans le détail à
quel point le grec a continué, malgré l’oubli généralisé dans lequel il était tombé, à irri­
guer la langue latine et sa créativité. L’exposé sur l’hébreu et l’araméen, outre une
évaluation des emprunts bibliques, comporte une étude précieuse sur les noms divins et
les termes du culte. Mais c’est sans doute avec les échanges entre langues germaniques
et latin que la vie quotidienne, dans toute sa diversité, se laisse le mieux sentir. On
remarquera des études particulières sur des modes de composition des mots germaniques
avec préfixes, mal connus des romanophones et donc difficilement perceptibles pour
eux : leur étude amène à renouveler certaines étymologies ; citons, au hasard, celle de
compartió , qui n’est pas en fait un composé de cum et partis, mais un emprunt au germa­
nique et à un préfixe *ga-. Le latin des pays germaniques, moins connu des lecteurs
romanophones, se déploie en ces pages avec une stupéfiante diversité.
Il ne manque donc plus que la bibliographie complète et les tables pour que cette
masse prodigieuse de connaissances devienne pleinement manœuvrable, pour la plus
grande gloire de la philologie médiolatine.
Pascale B ourga in
Dominik P erler , Theorien der Intentionalität im Mittelalter, Frankfurt am Main:
Vittorio Klostermann, 2002 (Philosophische Abhandlungen, 82), XIII-435 pp. Euros 42.
This study on the development of the intentionality issue from about the middle of
the 13th century up to about the 1340s has been written with great competence. It opens
with a short description of Brentano’s (1838-1917) theory of the so-called intentional
inexistence of objects known, and other objects of what we nowadays call ‘mental atti­
tudes’ ; Brentano is given some attention because he himself refers to Medieval ‘prede­
cessors’ on this account. Some methodological preliminary remarks are added in order
to articulate the important differences between Medieval and modem debates on the
intentionality issue (1-30).
The multifarious discussions of intentionality are divided along the lines of what the
author regards as different models by which several authors attempted to clarify the
various relationships between (1) objects of cognition as really existing in the outside
world, (2) their status of things cognized qua cognized , and (3) the cognitive acts as
such. The first model (31-105) is called that of the ‘formal identity’ between the esse
intellectum in actu and the intellectus in actu. It is rightly associated with Thomas
Aquinas’s (Aristotelian) view of the matter. Perler underlines the formal character of this
identity, and rightly rejects any pictorial interpretation of the similitudines involved.
I cannot see, however, why he opposes (3 Iff ; 80ff.) the identity model to the ‘representationalism’ model ascribed to Aquinas by Claude Panacelo and others. To my mind, the
so-called ‘identitity model’ can only be taken in terms of representationalism, rather than
of what Perler indicates as ‘direct realism’ if this is opposed to representationalism.
The second Part (107-83) deals with the cognate views of Petrus Johannes Olivi and
Dietrich of Freiberg. The model involved is called ‘the constitutive model’ (‘Konstitutionsmodell’). This model is characterized by the focus on the active role of the intellect
in acquiring knowledge. In this context, it is the (supposed) mediating role of the intel­
ligible species in particular that is questioned. Considerable attention is paid to the
modem interpretation (Kurt Flasch) of Freiberg’s innovative views of the active role of
the intellect in terms of a ‘Copemican revolution’.
The third Part (185-251) discusses what is baptized ‘the model of the intentional
objects’, featuring in Duns Scotus and the early Scotists, who underline the special mode
of (diminutive) being falling to objects qua cognized (esse intentionale or intelligibile ;
esse obiectivum , esse cognitum , all taken as esse diminutum). As a result of Scotus’s
view that any intentional act, directed as it is to certain aspects o f being of the object
examined, is ‘aspect-bound’, the intelligible species is an indispensable element of the
cognitive process. Perler rightly highlights that the species lore is firmly rooted in
Scotus’s metaphysical doctrine of the constitution of things.
The fourth Part (253-317) is devoted to what is called ‘the model of intentional pre­
sence’. In this context, the controversies between the respective views surrounding the
intentionality issue as held by Hervaeus Natalis and Peter Auriol are dealt with, parti­
cularly from the important viewpoint of the proper nature of intentional presence : Can
human cognition attain the object as it really exists outside the mind, if it is only inten­
tionally present in the intellect ? The distinction between abstractive and intuitive cogni­
tion plays a key role in this context — incidentally, in a crucial text witness in Auriol,
Scriptum , prooemium, sect.2, n. 74, I 197, quoted in Perler, p. 263, the expression ‘per
modum termini relativi’ should be construed with sequi, rather than with videtur — , as
do Auriol’s view of illusions and the charge of scepticism against him. Perler rightly
gives particular attention to Auriol’s view of the so-called apparitio obiectiva , by which
the indiscriminate unity between the object and its phenomenal and intentional presence
is safeguarded. However, he seems to be wrong in claiming (p. 281) that when the real
object is cognized, another entity, to wit, the intentional, apparent object, comes into
being, which differs from the real object, albeit not qualitatively. On the contrary, to
Auriol, (1) the phenomenal object does differ from the real object qualitatively, only not
numerically — [his view], Auriol explicitly asserts {In I Sent. dist. 27, q. 2 ; Ms. Vat.
Borgh. 329, f. 302rb, quoted by Perler, p. 280, n. 55) “non ponit varietatem aliquam aut
distinctionem vel numerum cum realitate illa quantum ad aliquid absolutum, sed addit
respectum ilium intrinsecum et indistinguibilem qui dicitur apparitio obiectiva” — and
therefore (2) cognition of a real object does not involve two entities, but one only
(i.e. the object itself), which is authentically represented by its intentional presence ; and
this mode of diminutive being qualitatively differs from its real mode of being outside
the mind. In this case, as well as on many other occasions (e.g. in his dispute with
Panaccio ; see above), Perler seems to be a victim of his peculiar view of representation,
which, to him, seems to imply an epistemological distance between thing and the object
represented. In addition, Perler’s associating Auriol with Hervaeus, however under­
standable in many other respects, seems to jeopardize the pivotal difference between
these two thinkers when it comes to the ways they look upon the possibility of reaching
the real object of cognition.
The fifth Part of this study (319-97), which goes under the heading ‘the model of the
natural signs’, discusses the way in which people like William of Ockham and his pupil
Adam Wodeham tried to avoid the problems raised by the other doctrines surrounding
the intentionality issue. They not only considered intermediary elements like cognitive
species superfluous, but also rejected the role of the objects’ intentional modes of being,
and instead posited that cognitive acts, the sensitive acts as well as the intellective ones,
immediately concern the individual, material objects of the outside world. Perler rightly
points out the problems their own solution gives rise to, in particular the questions [a]
how the singular acts by themselves can be signs and be intentional without producing
mediating intentional entities, and [b] how the assumption of ‘mental language’
contributes to explaining the efficacy of the model of natural signs.
The brief conclusive chapter (399-411), entitled “D a capo: Brentanos Problem und
die mittelalterlichen lntentionalitätstheorien!\ presents a survey of the pivotal outcome
of the foregoing chapters.
With a view of modem thought, Dietrich of Freiberg’s theory of cognition and its
metaphysical background surely deserve the special attention Perler gives to them. In
this context, Flasch’s characterization (in successive studies since the 1970s) of
Freiberg’s position as a ‘Copemican turn’ similar to the Kantian revolution is discussed.
Freiberg argues for the causal function of the human intellect, which does not depend of
previous sensorial cognition. His position comes most clearly to the fore in his claiming
that the categorial structure of the outside things is imposed upon them by our intellect.
By themselves, the things possess a hylemorphic structure (‘matter and form’), but this
structure does not formally imply their quidditative being as either subsistent or nonsubsistent beings. Consequently, the intentionality issue is handled differently in that the
causative role of the object is seriously reduced (see e.g. D e origine III, 186: “Si igitur
inter intellectum et huiusmodi sua obiecta attenditur aliqua causalitas, necesse est ipsam
inveniri potius apud intellectum respectu rerum quam econverso”). However, unlike
Kant, who took the Aristotelian categories as the outcome of a haphazard division,
Freiberg in no way detracts the fixed categorial structure of the things as determined by
Aristotle. On the contrary, he claims that the outside things have certain distinctive
features of their own on which the imposition of their categorial structure is founded, in
a fixed way, that is. In the final analysis, the categorial structure, it is true, is a cognitive
modus, but its imposition upon the things by the intellect is determined by their own
distinctive ontological features. This is clearly recognized by Perler (see e.g. p. 169ff.),
but his rejection of Flasch’s thesis is far from radical.
Perler’s distinction of several interpretive models seems to jeopardize the recognition
of the basic difference between modem thought and the various Medieval views of
intentionality. This difference consists in the firm conviction, commonly shared by all
Medieval thinkers, that ultimately cognition is always founded upon the outside things
(the cum fundamento in re idea). The metaphysical and epistemological questions with
regard to the reliability of the mental phenomena as representative of the real things
(verae res), so focal an issue in the Middle Ages, are completely missing with postKantian thinkers. Therefore references to Brentano and Frege and the like can only serve
to attract modem readers’ attention ; from the doctrinal point of view, they may cause
confusion rather than afford real understanding of Medieval positions.
Perler’s lofty habit to bring home Medieval positions by using own examples some­
times overshoots the mark, e.g. when, in order to explain the lack of coordination
between the diverse cognitive powers in Freiberg’s doctrine, he critically asks how it is
possible that I simultaneously see a table as an object with certain properties and
conceive it ‘as a substance’. His choice of an artefact like a table is unfortunate, since to
the Ancient and Medieval mind, artefacts are never regarded as substances, but as inci­
dental aggregates which, as transcending the categorial borderlines do not as such
belong to any category.
Maastricht University
L. M. de R ijk
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