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Saturday, March 02, 2024

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An accidental intersection of two chains of causality ...

“Beothius, in his prison cell, calls upon the Lady Philosophy to console him, and she replies in the language of the Stagirite. There is, in a sense, such a thing as chance. A man who, digging in his field, comes across a buried treasure, may be said to have found it by chance; he who hid it and he who finds it have both gone to the same spot but without in the least intending the discovery. Chance, then, is still here the accidental intersection of two chains of causality to meet, without being determined to meet by any end. That is to say no *human* end: but how about divine ends? Nothing ever happens outside God’s providence; even matter, since matter too is created, introduces no element of blind necessity into the universe, nor can it play the part of accidental cause as it does in the uncreated world of Aristotle …”

— from *The Spirit of Medieval Philosophy.* (And, yes, Gilson’s prose style is flabby and florid.)

Thanks, James. Gilson has made important contributions to philosophy. His prose above is clear enough.

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