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July 2, 2021 Off By Felso

Nominal travelogue… It expresses the teaching of the English theologian William of Ockham (1295-1349). The teaching of William of Ockham, who is considered the founder of nomenclature and one of the pioneers of English empiricism, is also known as scépticisme théologique (Tr. Theological skepticism).

William, an excommunicated Franciscan priest, was one of the main factors in the independence of philosophy from theology. The scholastic age of great thinkers came to an end with William of Ockham.

He was an Aristotelian logician rather than a theologian. By saying “the universal is not real” (that is: it is not an object, it is just a word that expresses many similar things. It is a name) to correct the misinterpretation of Aristotelian logic, first put forward by Porphyrios and then adopted by Avicenna and Augustine, and perpetuated in the metaphysical field. he wanted.

In his commentary to Aristotle’s Categories, Prphyrios debated whether genera and species were substance or corporeal. Metaphysical realism, which says “Universals are real” (La. Universallia sunt realia), was the product of this misinterpretation and discussion. On the other hand, in accordance with Aristotle’s purpose, logical universals that want to regulate what is happening in the human mind are just names (La. Universallia sunt nomina). For the Ockhamian it was true that universals existed before objects (La. Universale ante rem), but this was a proposition of limited validity for theological explanations. To suppose a creator god, the creatures had to have existed in the godlike mind before. However, this did not require them to exist in the human mind, which is the domain of logic.

For the human mind performing the process of acquiring knowledge, of course, the universals emerged after the objects (La. Universale post rem). The human mind had abstracted them from individual objects and presented them as names. William of Ockham thus separated science and metaphysics, philosophy and theology, and drew the boundaries that they could not cross. It is in this result that the doctrine of nominalism, first put forward by Roscelin, the priest of Compiegne (11th century), and later developed by the medieval Aristotelians (14th century) under the leadership of Ockham, is of great importance.

Meanwhile, it should be remembered that the great scholastic Thomas Aquino (13th century) also sensed this misinterpretation of Aristotle’s logic and tried to correct it. It should not be forgotten that Duns Scotus’ semi-realism (13th century) also strengthened the foundations of Ockhamism with its great inclination towards nominalism, although it prevented Thomas’s attempt to correct it by connecting logic to metaphysics. The idiom Ockhamisme specifically expresses the logic of William of Ockham (See E. A. Moody, The Logic of William of Ockham, London 1935). This logic is particularly famous for dividing meanings into three: logical, epistemological, theological. The strength of this logic is that it treats objects as the main and thoughts as secondary.

However, it is also a big mistake to deny that the singular includes the general. According to Ockham, only individual objects are real, general concepts are created by humans, and they have no reality independent of the objects, nor do they reflect the properties of objects. This forward drive carries the necessary fallacy of opposing metaphysics with a metaphysical understanding. Indeed, Ockhamism’s erroneous view of this truth will be used against materialism in Berkeley’s contemporary semantics.

While distinguishing the singular from the general, contrasting them with a metaphysical understanding without seeing their dialectical dependence is the main reason for this error. The characterization of Ockhamisme with theological skepticism is due to the doubt it creates against the theology’s claim to rationality and scientificity. For the Ockhamian one should simply believe, not try to reconcile theology with rationality. It is nothing but the sum of all the scholastic, rotten and empty assumptions that claim to make the science of the divine realm. Ockhamism, which turned the universities of the 14th and 15th centuries into real battlegrounds, is one of the most progressive movements of the Middle Ages, despite its weak points. One of the masters of philosophy says: “Nomenclature is the first expression of materialism in the Middle Ages.”

Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer Yıldırım