James of Viterbo and the Late Thirteenth-Century Debate Concerning the Reality of the Possibles

Recherches de Theologie Et Philosophie Medievales 74 (2):483-522 (2007)
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Abstract

This paper reconstructs the teaching of James of Viterbo on the ontological status of the possibles, and compares his position with those of Henry of Ghent and Godfrey of Fontaines. James holds that possibles are real only in a qualified sense, as objects of God’s power and knowledge. While James appears to have been influenced by Henry in his explanation of divine knowledge of creatures, in his analysis of the possibles he makes no use of Henry’s theory of esse essentiae, and he denies Henry’s claim that divine ideas function as exemplar causes of the possibiles. James’ theory is actually much closer to that of Godfrey, although Godfrey himself was highly critical of James’ teaching

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Mark D. Gossiaux
Loyola University, New Orleans

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