ND   JMC : History of Medieval Philosophy / by Maurice De Wulf

178. The Dawn of Moderate Realism. -- After Abelard's time philosophers were either frankly pantheists or else pursued the trend of thought initiated by the philosopher of Pallet. These latter devoted careful attention to the similarity of essences in the objective order and to the genesis of abstract and universal concepts in the subjective order. For the solution of the Universals problem it was necessary to show that there is a real foundation for referring the general or common representation to the particular being: that things really possess the natures apprehended by abstraction, and that, if the form of universality, as such, is a product of the understanding, the content of that form is truly applicable to an indefinite number of real beings, actual or possible. Therefore what is affirmed of the number is not the concept of a genus or species, but the object itself of this concept, which object is the nature of the things. It is impossible to say who can rightly claim the honour of being the first to offer an adequate formulation of moderate realism. The doctrine of Abelard was again outlined by ROBERT PULLEYN. But towards the close of the century moderate realism had achieved a rapid and final triumph. We find it in the works of SIMON OF TOURNAL (between 1176 and 1192), a writer who has been unjustly accused of rationalism and Averroïsm,{1} who expounds with a striking degree of clearness the Aristotelian doctrine on the sense-origin of ideas and on the nature and real validity of the process of abstraction. Finally, moderate realism is fully and plainly propounded in the writings of John of Salisbury.

{1} Author of a commentary on the Athanasian Creed and of a Summa Theologica in which he quotes a good deal from Scotus Eriugena, but which contains nothing anti-scholastic. Simon was one of the first to make the acquaintance of Aristotle's Physics. Cf. our Histoire de Philos. scol. Pays-Bas, p. 39.

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