Original Research

Some aspects of the epistemology of William of Ockham

David Levey
Koers - Bulletin for Christian Scholarship/Bulletin vir Christelike Wetenskap | Vol 51, No 1 | a923 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koers.v51i1.923 | © 1986 David Levey | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 January 1986 | Published: 31 January 1986

About the author(s)

David Levey, Department of English, University of South Africa, P.O. Box 392, Pretoria, 0001., South Africa

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The background section of the article deals with Aquinas's and Scotus's definition of the relation between intellect and senses. It is shown that Aquinas postulated a species in terme diary between the two, while Scotus only postulated it for abstractive cognition . Ockham removes the intelligible a species altogether, stressing the reliability of intuitive cognition as the basis of certitude about p re se n t situations, while perfect intuitive cognition is the basis of certitude about past situation . Ockham 's theories of the habitus are discussed as seeming to contradict the principle of the razor, but are demonstrated not to involve external intermediaries. Ockham 's epistemology safeguards the intrinsic psycho ­ logical unity of man and allow s a more direct know ledge of the wrold, in that it derieves universals from particulars and does sway with Aquinas's unwieldy theories of illumination and abstraction. Because all knowledge begins with intuitive cognition, an empirical scientific method is for the first time justified.


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