Monday, 30 May 2011

Protestants, Rabbinical Judaism, and Samaritans

The other day I was talking to an old friend, a Protestant. He had called me with a question that really had him confused," How can Jews reject the Gospel and Jesus Christ when you can show them point by point the cause and effect, the prophecies, and the parallels of Judaism and Christianity? It just seems like bold denial!" I started by pointing out that it's easy to look at it from where you are, but the other side is doing the same thing. When we read Isaiah 53 we see Christ, when Jews read Isaiah 53 they see all kinds of things.

I started talking to him about Church history, and said," As a Christian, it is important for you to not separate the history of the Jews and the Christians. It is one Church history. When you look at the Old Testament you are reading Church history." When the Law was given to Moses the people of God became two classes, the priesthood and the laity. The Levitical priesthood had a specific role to play that no one else could perform, in the way the Hebrews approached God. Of course, anyone could approach God in simply prayer, but the Law was the context of Israel's relationship with God, and it could not be realized without a priesthood.

Early in Israel's history, after they took possession of the 'Promised Land' we see the Judges, we see prophets, we see king David and many other kings, as well. Finally, Israel found itself being chastised by God and was exiled to Babylon. It was during this time without a temple that Rabbinical Judaism was created. Without a temple, the priesthood could do nothing; Israel was left naked with nothing more than its scriptures. The Jews began to look towards their scriptures as the source of life and they became a scripture culture. Private, yet institutionalized interpretation of scripture became the new center of faith. It wasn't the sacrificing in the temple, as before. They couldn't even begin to fulfill the Law, because of their limitations.

I was once at an interfaith dialogue meeting and it was supposed to be civil, but things got a little wild. There were Christians of every denomination there as well as Catholics and Jews. It was hosted by the Beth Israel synagogue in my city, and a few of their congregation were in attendance who seemed bent on quarreling; they were dyspeptic to say the least. They began blasting the speaker, who was a Catholic priest. I think they took the venue to be an apologetics forum, which was not what it was supposed to be at all. They began vehemently attacking the notion that Christ had fulfilled all the commands of the Law, which wasn't even one of the points the speaker was making. In an attempt to simply silence them so that we could get back on track, I said to them," And how do you do it? Do you really think you fulfill the Law by reading your Torah and attending the synagogue?" And the most argumentative one said," But there are in the Midrash interpretations and in the Talmud statutes. If you throw in a 32nd of the challah into the oven on Shabbat this fulfills the sacrifices which the Law demands." or something very similar to it. My quick retort was," Your oven is not the temple, you are not a priest, and that is not in the Law." It became very silent.

But this is a perfect example of the popular Jewish view of their own religion. Their Midrash and their Talmud are equal to the Torah, though they would never admit it, because the Talmud and the Midrash have interpretive powers over the Torah. These two are direct products of Rabbinical Judaism. They are the commentary on and interpretation of the Torah by rabbis going back hundreds and hundreds of years, but they are not the Law. What should come to mind is Christ rebuking the Pharisees," Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that."

Christ did not come condemning the Law or those who follow it. At every point where Christ came into conflict with the Pharisees and the Sadducees it was over the imposition of rabbinical pretexts onto the Law and onto the people of Israel," You lay heavy burdens on men's shoulders and don't lift a finger to help them." But it is important to note that Christ did not condemn all the innovations of the Pharisees, he even said that some of their traditions were beneficial to keeping the Law. It was when the rabbis replaced the Law with their own statutes that Christ came into conflict with them.

Rabbinical Judaism may be seen, I will be so bold as to say that it should be seen, as a fulfillment of God's promise to blind Israel so that it will not see. The fog of merely human interpretation, uninspired interpretation of scripture led to the conflict between Israel and its Messiah. Rabbinical Judaism is perhaps wholly responsible for the inconsistency between what they imagined the Messiah would be and the reality of what the Messiah was, for Israel's inability to recognize it's Savior. It is very hard to imagine that Christ would have suffered a similar fate had he appeared during the time of King David, or during the time of Joshua or any of the Judges. There is a theological disconnect, a philosophical disconnect and a historical disconnect between the Judaism of the Old Testament and the Judaism we see at the time of Christ in the 1st century, just as there are huge disconnects between 1st century Judaism and the Hasidic Judaism of Germany in the 18th century.

Remember that Judaism up until the time of Christ must be viewed teleologically as Church history. Christianity begins the exact same way as Judaism did; there are two visible classes: the priesthood and the laity. Christianity was an apostolic entity from its first inception and remained to be so, exclusively, until 1517. In 1517 Martin Luther began the 'reformation,' so called. You'll remember that the shift from old Judaism to Rabbinical Judaism was the shift from a sacrifice centered form of worship in the temple to a scripture centered form of worship in the synagogue. Originally, they had the scripture so that they could practice the Law, that is to say that scripture was only a means to an end, but they started practicing the Law to appease and accord with the scripture as if it were the end itself. History repeats itself in Christian history at the moment of the reformation. In Martin Luther's own words," Worship used to be addressed to God as a homage. Henceforth, it will be addressed to man to console and enlighten him. The sacrifice (Jesus Christ/ the Eucharist) used to have pride of place but the sermon (biblical interpretation) will supplant it."

For the Protestants, Christianity became something it had never been before. The Church was no longer "the pillar and foundation of the truth" as we read in 1 Timothy 3:15, but the scripture became "the pillar and foundation of truth." Before, Christ,' the True Vine,' had been the source of righteousness in the form of His body and blood in the communion, but now it had changed and the bible was the source of righteousness. A great and terrible confusion occurred in the Protestant mind and the words of God (the bible) and the Word of God (Jesus Christ) became synonymous, and their adoration was misplaced. Before, one apostolic institution, founded by Jesus Christ, had through divine inspiration expounded truth and innovated holy tradition; that institution was the Catholic Church. Now, everyone would interpret for themselves and innovate by themselves. Sola Scriptura was born and with it Protestantism, a "Rabbinical Christianity" if you will.

The Churches of the Apostles are to Christianity what Judaism was during the days of king David, and Protestantism is to Christianity what Judaism was during the time of Christ, and in many ways it is worse off. At least the Jews had sacramentality during the time of Christ; most Protestants, on the other hand, have 'rid' themselves of the priesthood and have reduced the communion to a mere ordinance and a sign, it is no longer reckoned to actually be 'the Sacrifice.' They have no sacramentality, beyond baptism, by their own admittance.

This division is almost certainly a punishment to the Catholic Church as was the 'Great Schism.' But leaving this aside. There is another way to show the difference between the Catholics and Protestants with Scripture, namely with the Samaritans. The Samaritans broke away from Israel and chose to worship the true God in a way that was not permitted by the Law; they chose to worship in the North at their mountain and were cut-off from Israel for their stubbornness.

Often Catholics are confounded and put to shame by the zeal, good works, and piety of Protestants, the very people they esteem to be ignorant of and vicious towards the Churches of the Apostles. They can't figure how they can be so Christlike while so many, if not most Catholics are stagnant, self-centered, and secular. Of course the Protestant is very desirous to answer that question and would say," It's because we are right!" But that is not the case; rather, the Protestant is a sign to the Catholic, just like the 'Good Samaritan' was a sign to all of the Pharisees and Sadducees who listened to Christ tell the parable. The Samaritan put every caste of Israel to shame by his charity, but the value of the parable comes from the irony of the fact that the Samaritan who was wayward, unclean, and cut-off from Israel was a better person than they who were part of the chosen people and yet refused to love their neighbor.
Christ uses the Samaritans on more than one occasion to shame the Jews; however, it should be enlightening for us. It was never intended to make Jews want to be Samaritans, rather it was meant to remind Jews of what they were supposed to be.

Christ in his ministry tells his disciples at first to avoid the Samaritan towns. He first sends his disciples to the Jews, because salvation is of the Jews. This happens today with the Catholics and the Protestants, Catholics start doing something, then the Protestants either catch on or get it after the fact. Case in point, the Charismatic movement. The Holy Spirit first gives revelation to the Holy Catholic Church, because salvation flows from the Church and its sacraments which Christ instituted, and then the separated brethren get their graces in an extraordinary way.

The big difference between the Protestants and the Catholics can be demonstrated through the conversation of Christ with the Samaritan woman at the well. She said to him," Sir, I can see that you are a prophet.
Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem." to which Christ answered," Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews." The Church is and must be the Church of the Apostles, the same Catholic Church founded by Jesus Christ. Salvation is not found outside of the Church. Christ does not have several brides, but one Bride.

Notice that Christ is not telling the woman that she is damned, or that she does not obtain salvation, he is only telling her as a matter of fact that she is ignorant of the whole truth, because she is separated from Israel. He does not accuse her of idolatry, neither does he withhold his miraculous ministry from her or her village, but stays on with them teaching and doing miracles for several days. He does not give the Samaritans the same hard time that he gave to the Syro-Phoenician woman who plead and plead for her child, but recognizes them as separated brethren of Israel. Martin Luther said," We are compelled to concede to the Papists that we have no knowledge of the scriptures apart from them." and because they have no revelation of salvation apart from the scriptures, salvation is from the Church. This puts Protestants squarely in the same position of the Samaritans in relation to the Catholic Church who would be analogous to the Jews.

When I talk about how great the Catholic Church is with Protestants and how happy I am to be a Catholic, I never do so cloaked, I speak freely and candidly. I'm never sly, and I am completely open, congenial and free with them. Because of this they feel more free to object, and for that I'm glad, so that I can talk with them freely and with confidence just as Christ did at the well with the Samaritan woman. When all is said and done, the one question in the end is often," Well, why be a Catholic? What is the benefit? I don't see it. If we are both one in the same Christ, if we both have salvation, and if we both believe in the bible why do I need to be a Catholic?" The answer to that question is simple: they need to be Catholic for the same reason that it would have been better for the Samaritan woman to be a Jew. To be a Catholic Christian is as superior to being a Protestant Christian as being a Jew is to being a Samaritan. Surely, no one would argue that it was better to be a Samaritan than a Jew! Were there any Samaritan apostles? Did Christ reveal himself through the Samaritans? No. Salvation is of the Jews. Salvation is found in Christ's Church.

Truly, Protestants, if their faith is true, are saved. Truly, they are incorporated into the body of Christ in the resurrection. Truly, the Holy Spirit works powerfully through them, even now and in such ways that put many Catholics to shame. And certainly, that Samaritan woman who had faith was superior to the Pharisees who hated and doubted Christ, but does anyone think that she was the equal of any Jewish woman of similar faith? You know that isn't the case. We work for the same wages, but when put to it who would you rather be? A son or a hireling? Who would you rather be? The Prodigal son, or the son who was always loyal to his father? Don't think that the Prodigal son was a better man than his older brother; his older brother only had a bad attitude! To be the loyal son is far superior, than to be prodigal out of ignorance and only then return.

The Protestants are the one sheep, and we are the ninety and nine. That is why we must strive to bring them in again, where they are safe, where they have the life giving sacraments, and the perfect doctrine of truth, because we already know how happy it makes the Father to get back that one sheep. Because we know they need the Eucharist. There is no use and no point in hating or being at useless enmity with the Protestants. Pray for conversions amongst our separated brethren. And if you are a Protestant reading this, and if today you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your heart. God be with you.   

"Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and choice, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim." ~Aristotle~

Sunday, 29 May 2011

The Greatest Revelation of God to Humanity is Humanity

To love God more I learned theology. I refuted countless heretics and put them to shame, but I did not learn how to love God there. I merely learned to love winning. I did not propagate the love of truth, only indignation against lies. No one loved me more, and neither did I love more, though many men hated me more. I was not comforted, and my longing worsened. My love of winning had swollen my pride. I learned more and became more fluent in theology than most people ever dream to be, but I did not earn by pursuit of it that which I wished to obtain. I had been certain that if only I understood God I would not offend him, that if I observed His beauty I would love him and not betray Him. Imagine my horror when I had exhausted the intellectual and theological offerings of our fathers, and was still a wretch.

I reasoned, then, that I had understood what was acting, but I had not understood what was being acted on. I hadn't understood the relationship. So, I became a philosopher. I learned the truth about what the difference is between what I think I know, and what I do know. I learned even more intimately about God, which made me happy. All human activities and the ways of angels, and the cosmos were exposed to me and nothing was beyond the apprehension of my reasoning. I knew what men meant to say when they did not know how to say it, what they meant to do when they failed to do it. I knew better what they were loving than they themselves did. But though I knew better that which they loved, for all my knowledge and understanding, it did not produce love greater than theirs. These who were ignorant of what the good really is, of who God really is, why He is, and themselves loved in a way that made me pine to be like them. Just as we all seek to love as children do and to be pure as they are, so was I seeking. There were simple answers for everything, and yet I was not simple. Beloved philosophy did not make me love, but she showed why everything I learned in theology was. She gave me a reason for all the foolishness of the Gospel.

Before I did not lust, because God said not to, not because I understood why it was evil. I did not curse because the scripture said not to, and not because I understood cursing to be evil. I forgave because it was obligatory, or because I wanted to be forgiven, and not because I understood that the welfare of my neighbor affects my welfare, not because I understood that they suffered more greatly for doing evil than I did suffer for having it done to me. Before, I thought that man was ignorant because he was evil; I did not understand that he is evil because he is ignorant. In all this blind, juvenile obedience I had no thought for myself, for my emotions, for my needs, my wants, or my desires. As selfless as I was, I had no love and it profited me nothing. Theology had taught me to do what was right, but it was She who taught me why I ought to do it. And so, like the ancient philosophers, philosophy gave me this much, if it did not make me love: I learned to do without the law and with no one to make me, that which other men do only out of fear of the law or because they are forced to do so.

I understood, then, that if I was to love God, to truly love God, and to have a pure life I must love. I must love through actions. In order to love 'Love,' who is God, I must become that which I aimed to love. Theosis, I understood, was my aim. As He is an all consuming flame, I too must be set on fire, not in order to be destroyed, but to become flame. To love in the act. To love all that I see, by having a pure look. I knew that if I did not make myself into love, then the Love of God would destroy me in it's inferno. For the eternal embrace of God is to the righteous person perfect homeostasis and peace, because the two flames become one through Christ in the Holy spirit, and to the evil person that same embrace is an unrelenting torment.

I had sought God, I had sought His face, because I believed that if I just saw Him I would be cured. Blessed be, I was not self-deceived in thinking this. Only I only saw dimly, in theology, and in philosophy. At last I saw, and knew in truth that my clearest revelation of God was my human neighbor. I knew that if I saw God it would be love at first sight, all-curing love. And so, I knew that I must love my neighbor, because my best revelation of God is His image, mankind. God is best loved when we love mankind.

God was too terrible a thing to gaze upon for me; a worm like myself would shrivel and burn at His appearance. But like Perseus, I gazed into a reflection and was able to look upon a lethal sight, he a hideous gorgon, but me Beauty itself, who is God. Man was that reflection I gazed at, and if I looked into that mirror and detested all that I saw, then in truth I hated God. Purity comes from love of neighbor, as does prudence, as does wisdom, as does all virtue and happiness.

Now, the great adventure is to learn how to love. That is to say, to learn who to love and in what way, and at what time and to which extent. Who should I strike out of love, and who should I embrace. Who should I confront and who should I defend. Who should I give to and to whom should I turn my back. And many other similar questions there are. A life figuring them and acting them all out is not wasted. Truly, without love, you are nothing.

"Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and choice, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim." ~Aristotle~

Friday, 6 May 2011

St. Augustine-On Time

In discussing the creation of everything physical, Augustine asks,” What is time?” Answer this question as would Augustine.”

Augustine would say that time is a logical construct that conditions and expresses the perceptions of created things. That is to say, as Augustine did, that man is temporally conditioned, but God is not. He grapples right away with the substance, if I may say substance, of time,” What is it?”

            In order to answer this he has to figure out where it begins and where it ends, and so he looks quite naturally to the creation itself, because God alone is uncreated and time is not God. So, Augustine knows that he will find the answer in those things which are created. He asks of God,” How did you create heaven and earth?” He, in his meditative style, takes a hard right and says that if God were to grant him the boon of being able to speak to the prophet Moses, surely Moses could tell him!

            Yet, here he make’s a hard left as if to say,” No, only you can teach me God!” He makes this hard left by pointing out that only God can educate him by use of the language ‘mentalese’ necessary to understanding the answer. He says that if Moses did know the answer and could tell him it wouldn’t profit him at all, because the answer would be in another language (Hebrew, perhaps) and to Augustine would be nonsense syllables. 

            Here he makes the differentiation between the ‘outer’ physical ear and the ‘inner’ spiritual, soulish, or mental ear. That is, the mind may become aware of something in the tangible realm through external sensation, but sensation does not mean ‘understanding’ in the mind. After external sensation, the interior sense affecting (acting upon) the sensation, translates the knowledge into ‘mentalese.' Finally, God speaks to us or we use our reason and thereby give assent to certain things and reject others. So, what happens, according to Augustine, is that a thing is sensed, Moses’ voice in this case, by the outer ear. Then, the interior ear can make nothing of it; id est, it cannot be translated into mentalese. Ergo, there being no way for Augustine to make sense of what Moses would tell him about the creation and/or creation itself, he cannot apply his reason to it in order to give assent. But even if Moses was speaking the same language as Augustine (Latin) so that the sensation of Latin could be translated into ‘mentalese,’ then as may be discerned from the above, God would still have to teach Augustine’s soul in ‘mentalese’ in order that he could give assent to Moses’ words which would have been translated by the inner ear. 

            Therefore, Augustine comes to it again and declares that only God can teach him the answer; all this only in the hopes that if he understood “how” God created everything, he might then use his reason to understand “what time is.” In doing all this, Augustine is making the assertion that God is the only being that teaches us from within. He’s in part declaring this, because he needs an answer that gets beyond creation.

            It’s this ‘getting beyond creation’ that Augustine comes to next in his thoughts. He addresses the issue of ‘framework.’ By framework I mean {s-t}space and time, the ‘stuff’ of creation. He notices that questions addressed ‘towards’ things of {s-t} which would make sense, become nonsense when addressed ‘about’ {s-t}. This brings us back to what he noticed at the beginning: that he, Augustine, along with all other men, is temporally conditioned. He realized that things made sense for temporally conditioned beings inside the frame work of {s-t}, but that outside of the framework of {s-t} things made no sense. For instance, to ask about the beginning of things ‘in’ time makes perfect sense, but to ask about the beginning of time makes no sense, because it predicates a time before time… which is nonsense. This is why he believed that God, who is not temporally conditioned, who ‘teaches from within,’ would have to bypass his temporal conditioning, so that Augustine could project his assent onto that which God (Holy Spirit) had revealed upon temporally conditioned things, i.e. creation.

            From this he constructed a schematic, or rather elaborated on Christian ‘truth,’ by stating that there was a temporal realm and an eternal realm. He had to figure out how things “were” in both of these realms. He postulated, or rather asserted, that the only things which really exist are in the ‘now.’ They’re really real, really happening, really being. The ‘now’ was or seemed to be predicated by the past, and the future was anticipated by the now. Further, the past was collapsible into the present, or ‘now,’ through memory, and the future was collapsible into the present through anticipation. That they could be collapsed meant that they ‘were.’ He explains this by stating that everything that is, was, and will be a ‘now’ is a static point in God’s view in the eternal realm. In this way, God is in all time, and yet timeless. 

            The things which follow necessarily from Augustine’s conclusions that the only things which really exist are in the ‘now’ and that all ‘now’s’ are static points in the eternal realm is that time is a mental construct designed to measure the non-existent portions of time. Time is a proverbial ‘zero’ designed to give us a set of reference points between events. You can’t measure what doesn’t exist, yet that is precisely what we do with time, if all that really exists is in the ‘now.’ 

           Each ‘now’ is self-destructive and pregnant with the future. I would attempt to improve upon that merely by stating that each now is the “self-destructive child of the past that is pregnant with the future.” But it is self-evident that even this is temporally conditioned, because in the eternal realm, according to Augustine, each “now” is an independent static point. 

            If we participate with the constructs of the eternal and temporal realms that Augustine lays down, we see that it is inevitable that time really is only a mental construct. This is because if the past ‘is not’ and the future ‘is not,’ then the present is not temporally conditioned, but only a static point. This theory satisfies that God is always creating and never in flux of any kind; He is always creating ‘now.’ And if now is all that exists, then time which includes more than ‘now’ must be a logical construct… like ‘zero.’
"Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and choice, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim." ~Aristotle~

William of Ockham

How does William of Ockham develop his Conceptual Nominalism?

            First it is important to be sure of what conceptual nominalism is before I set about to show how it is developed. Conceptual nominalism states that there are no universals in the sense that the term ‘universal’ is usually meant; there are only particulars. Universals, according to conceptual nominalism, do exist, but only insofar as they are concepts. Applied, this means that all single malt scotch does not share the same light [amber colour], rather that all their colouring meets the concept of light [amber].

            It seems that Plato started with forms to explain the same observed things that Aristotle explained with universals. With William of Ockham, I cannot tell, if he is making an attempt to rescue the theory of universals, or do away with it. William seems to be doing to Aristotle in his works, what Aristotle did to Plato in his works. In his mind, I think that William was at the very least trying to save Aristotle from the Scholasticists. At any rate, William changes the popular meaning of ‘universal’ that means a ‘shared and separate substance that is reality,’ to ‘concept’ which means a ‘shared name and idea signifying reality across particulars.’

            All this being said, I’ll now make an attempt to show how exactly William of Ockham developed his conceptual nominalism. William, as necessity would have it, distinguishes between natural signs and conventional signs. Conventional signs are words and natural signs are concepts. To further individuate these and give them greater context, William introduces terms. For William of Ockham, there are two kinds of terms; the terms which point at things are called by him terms of first intention, and the terms which point to other terms are called by him terms of second intention. The reason these terms are so termed is that terms of first intention predicate terms of second intention. Beyond these, there are six metaphysical terms that signify things that are signified by words of the first and second intention.

            The six metaphysical terms bring us to the ‘one over the many’ argument implicit in William’s work. These terms are: one, good, something, true, being, thing. They are peculiar in that they are predicated of each other. This corresponds to the ‘one over the many’ argument in the following way. Duns Scotus and his predecessors stated that the universals were concomitant and necessary to the particular things which possessed them. This created a serious problem, because if God were to theoretically destroy a single universal then all the particulars which possessed them would radically cease to exist. Duns Scotus attempted to remedy this glaring fault in the theory of universals by propounding haecceity as the remedy. Haecceity was, according to Duns Scotus, the property in each individual thing that makes it particular and individual. William of Ockham, however, answered back with the already age old ‘law of economy’ which we now in his honor call ‘Ockham’s razor,’ which in it’s essence states,” Entities are not to be multiplied without necessity.” William was accusing the ‘Subtle Doctor’ of breaking this very law by innovating haecceity.  That is to say, William was asserting that haecceity doesn’t exist and is unnecessary, because universals do not exist, at least in such a way as that which would predicate or necessitate haecceity.

            William offered another solution to the problem of particulars and universals by positing that Duns Scotus was quite simply incorrect about what a universal is. If universals are only mental constructs, that is, if they are only concepts, then, you could destroy the concept in any given number of minds, you could destroy universals in their entirety and the things which they signify would still exist. The reason for this, to explicate the obvious, is that understanding is of things, not of concepts created by the mind. The terms are not what is understood, it is what they signify that is understood. Things are understood by terms. So, to William of Ockham, a universal was merely a sign of many things, a concept with a name.

            It is finally necessary to truly explicate William against universals. He points out in his Summa Logicae Part 1 what should, perhaps, be evident to all of us, namely that particulars are of two kinds: those which are one and yet signify the many, and those which are one and signify nothing beyond themselves. Conversely, universals are not only capable of signifying the many, but also of being predicated themselves of the many. And so it is reasonable to conclude that there are, therefore, no universals. Ergo, there could be no universals, because there could be no particulars. Universals exist because things that possess them exist. The universal [white] exists because things, that is to say ‘particulars,’ which are white exist. However, if particulars merely be the sum of universals, then, of necessity, particulars do not exist. For as he points out in the first part of his work, that while a population constitutes a single universal, it does not constitute a particular. Therefore, a population of universals does not constitute a particular.

            So, in the main, William of Ockham, the Franciscan Schoolman, very excellently wades through the scholasticism of the period and with great clarity declares that universals do not exist outside of the mind. He stands out as a conceptual nominalist. And for all the pillow biting and fist pounding of the scholastics, they cannot seem to refute him. Indeed, from my examination, I find no great scholasticists after him. He brings a great era of philosophy to an end, and we might say even paves the way for scientific and inductive reasoning, as opposed to theological and deductive reasoning.  

"Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and choice, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim." ~Aristotle~