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

352. Conclusion. -- Bacon is faithful to scholasticism in the main drift of his teaching. But he espouses at least two fundamental theories which cannot be reconciled with scholasticism; hence it is that we give him a place apart in our classification. His denial of an autonomous value to philosophy runs directly counter to philosophy as conceived by the thirteenth-century scholastics. Then, too, his traditionalism and his theory of the intellectus agens seriously compromise the objectivity of knowledge and the soul's efficient causality: if God determines the intellectus possibilis to elicit the act of understanding, it is He who forms ideas in us; it is no longer the soul that abstracts them with the Divine concurrence.{1}

{1} The mind's native incapacity to reach truth, and the consequent necessity of a Divine revelation, recall the errors of De Bonald; but between him and Bacon there is this capital difference: for the former the revelation was made in the beginning and its data are transmitted by language; for the latter the revelation or illumination is special and varies from man to man. Père Delorme, of the Friars Minor of Bordeaux (353), tries at all costs to assimilate the philosophy of Bacon with that of the other Franciscans of the thirteenth century, and criticizes us -- with a suspicion of irony -- as having misrepresented Bacon in the first edition of the present work. A more careful consideration of the texts has only confirmed us in our view. Père Delorme's article is not quite free from bias and inaccuracy. It is not true that Peckham, Scotus and St. Thomas adhered to Bacon's ideological teaching (p. 14): all three hold the intellectus agens to be a part of the soul (cf. 359). Nor is it true that no other scholastic attributed to reason any greater influence than Bacon did (p. 22); quite the contrary.

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