The latter position, ascribed by the schoolmen to the Averroists, becomes dominant among the later Nominalists, William of Occam and his disciples, who withdraw all doctrines of faith from the sphere of reason.
When nominalism was revived in the 14th century by the English Franciscan, William of Occam, it gave evidence of a new tendency in thought, a distrust of abstractions and an impulse towards direct observation and inductive research, a tendency which had its fulfilment in the scientific movement of the Renaissance.
Scholasticism in the widest sense thus extends from the 9th to the end of the 14th or the beginning of the 15th century - from Erigena to Occam and his followers.
Still later Duns Scotus and Occam were both Franciscans.
But the name with which the Nominalism of the 14th century is historically associated is that of the " Invincible Doctor," William of Occam William of who, (q.v.),, as the, author of a doctrine which came occam to be almost universally accepted, received from his followers the title Venerabilis inceptor.
The hypostatizing of abstractions is the error against which Occam is continually fighting.
Occam reproaches the " modern Platonists " for perverting the Aristotelian doctrine by these speculations, and claims the authority of Aristotle for his own Nominalistic doctrine.
The universal is not anything really existing; it is a terminus or predicable (whence the followers of Occam were at first called Terminists).
As regards the existence (if we may so speak) of the universal in mente, Occam indicates his preference, on the ground of simplicity, for the view which identifies the concept with the actus intelligendi, rather than for that which treats ideas as distinct entities within the mind.
Occam, who is still a Scholastic, gives us the Scholastic justification of the spirit which had already taken hold upon Roger Bacon, and which was to enter upon its rights in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Occam, on the other hand, maintains in the spirit of Hobbes that the act of abstraction does not presuppose any activity of the understanding or will, but is a spontaneous secondary process by which the first act (perception) or the state it leaves behind (habitus derelictus ex primo actu = Hobbes's " decaying sense ") is naturally followed, as soon as two or more similar representations are present.
In another way also Occam heralds the'dissolution of Scholasticism.
The union of philosophy and theology is the mark of the middle ages, but in Occam their severance is complete.
The most interesting example of this method is seen in the Tractatus de sacramento altaris where Occam accepts the doctrine of Real Presence as a matter of Faith, and sets forth a rational theory of the Eucharist (afterwards adopted by Luther) known as " Consubstantiation."
Occam denied the title of a science to theology, emphasizing, like Scotus, its practical character.
But only in the period following Occam did it become a current doctrine.
And to assert its absolute sovereignty (Defensor pacis, c. 1352); while the Franciscan William of Occam (d.
It now found a bold supporter in William of Occam (q.v.), and through him became widely accepted.
He was one of the first to attack the realist doctrines of Duns Scotus, and is interesting mainly as the precursor of William of Occam in his revival of Nominalism.
~Thus the ancient struggle between the Papacy and the Empire was renewed, a struggle in which the pen, wielded by Marsiglio of Padua, William of Occam, John of Jandun and others, played an important part, and in which the new ideas in religion and politics worked steadily against the arrogant papal claim.
Its theology was, of course, scholastic, but of what was then called the modern type, the Scotist; its philosophy was the nominalist system of William of Occam, whose great disciple, Gabriel Biel (d.
The word "doubt" has made historians think of intellectual difficulties - of the "theological scepticism" taught by Occam and Biel, of the disintegrating criticism of Humanism.
It is a curious commentary on the theories of Duns Scotus that one pupil, Francis, should have taken this course, while another pupil, Occam, should have used his arguments in a diametrically opposite direction and ended in extreme Nominalism.
WILLIAM OF OCCAM (d.
Probably, however, Occam was present at the assembly.
Michael of Cesena died in 1342, and Occam, who had received from him the official seal of the order, was recognized as general by his party.
William of Occam was the most prominent intellectual leader in an age which witnessed the disintegration of the old scholastic realism, the rise of the theological scepticism of the later middle ages, the great contest between pope and emperor which laid the foundations of modern theories of government, and the quarrel between the Roman curia and the Franciscans which showed the long-concealed antagonism between the theories of Hildebrand and Francis of Assisi; and he shared in all these movements.
Papae (1335-1339), Occam only incidentally expounds his views as a publicist; the books are mainly, some of them entirely, theological, but they served the purpose of the emperor and of his party, because they cut at the root of the spiritual as well as of the temporal supremacy of the pope.
In his writing Super potestate summi pontificis octo quaestionum decisions (1339-1342) Occam attacks the temporal supremacy of the pope, insists on the independence of kingly authority, which he maintains is as much an ordinance of.
(q.v.), Occam inveighs against the pope's opinions and decisions on the value of the life of poverty.
Occam was a sincere Franciscan, and believed with his master that salvation was won through rigid imitation of Jesus in His poverty and obedience, and up to his days it had always been possible for Franciscans to follow the rules of their founder within his order.'
Beside the theological and political works above quoted, Occam wrote Summa Logices (Paris, 1488, Oxford, 1675) commentaries on Porphyry's Isagoge, on the Categoriae, De Interpretatione and Elenchi of Aristotle.
M Lindsay's article on "Occam and his connexion with the Reformation," in the Brit.
The doctrine of the rights of the lay monarchy sustained by Occam and John of Paris, by Marsilius of Padua, John of Jandun and Leopold of Bamberg, was affirmed by the jurists and theologians, penetrated into the parlements and the universities, and was combated by the upholders of papal absolutism, such as Alvaro Pelayo and Alonzo Trionfo.
The pope, by the bull Quia quorundam (November 10, 1324), cited Michael to appear at Avignon at the same time as Occam and Bonagratia.
Treatises on poverty appeared on every side; the party of Occam clamoured with increasing imperiousness for the condemnation of John by a general council; and the Spirituals, confounded in the persecution with the Beghards and with Fraticelli of every description, maintained themselves in the south of France in spite of the reign of terror instituted in that region by the Inquisition.
Though he may technically be classed as an " extreme realist, " Duns is the forerunner of those later Nominalists, like William of Occam, who unsettled every intellectual ground of belief in order that they might resettle belief upon Church authority, not reason but rather scepticism being for them the ancilla domini.