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Sunday, November 08, 2020

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"Edward Buckner comments: The distinction [between first and second intentions] is rediscovered in various ways by subsequent philosophers. "

You have taken this rather out of context. I suggested three hypotheses - an hypothesis is a proposition which I invite you and others to entertain without committing myself to its truth.

Hypothesis 1 was that the distinction between first and second intentions is inherited by Zabarella, not discovered or rediscovered. The forum accepted this as true.

Hypothesis 2 was that the distinction between first and second intentions as a tradition, i.e. inherited or handed down, disappears entirely after the 16th century. After discussion, and after I discovered that Hobbes mentions it in his Logic, the forum rejected this as it stands (though I think it still stands in modified form).

Hypothesis 3 is as you put it above. But it is merely a speculation.

“If Buckner is telling us that Kant's pure-empirical distinction runs parallel to Zabarella's first intention-second intention distinction, then that can't be right. For Zabarella's animal and human being, which are first intentions for him, count as empirical concepts for Kant.”

That’s exactly the wrong way round. I was speculating that first intentions = empirical concepts and second intentions = pure concepts.

“Any comparison of Zabarella (1533-1589) the Aristotelian and Kant is bound to be fraught with difficulty because of the transcendental-subjective turn of modern philosophy commencing with Descartes (1596-1650).”

Not quite as simple as that. The scholastics recognised a concept akin to the data of sense, namely the sensible species. Aquinas “Species intelligibilis se habet ad intellectum, sicut species sensibilis ad sensum” – the intelligible species is related to the understanding as the sensible species is related to sense. So the extent of the ‘turn’ is questionable. However, the scholastics strictly (and rightly, IMO) distinguished between the material that belongs to logic, which Aristotle deals with in the Organon, and that which belongs to the theory of perception, which Aristotle deals with in De Anima.

“For Aristotle, the categories are categories of a real world independent of our understanding”

Zabarella (I appreciate you haven’t seen his text, or the translation we are working on) discusses precisely that claim in his Logic. E.g. he mentions Averroës’ claim that “the ten categories are the subject both in the sciences and in logic, but in two different ways. In logic, as secondary concepts apply to them, that is, as second intentions are imposed upon them, and in the sciences as they are concepts of realities which exist outside the soul, which is as though to say, as they are cognizable. For we cognize realities through their concepts, which we grasp in the mind.”

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