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Defining Philosophy in Early Modern Germany (IX): Keckermann on Why Philosophy Cannot Be Defined

Stefan Heßbrüggen-Walter

In the last post of this series, I have discussed Crellius’s attempt to define philosophy as a composite habit and Keckermann’s criticism of ancient conceptions of philosophy. Now I want to turn to Keckermann’s criticism of his contemporaries. Pace Keckermann, their majority aims to defend one or another definition from the ancient catalogue discussed in the last post. Only a minority (sunt nonnulli) believes that the rules of logical judgment (regulae iudicii logici) provide enough substance to resolve this question without an appeal to authority. The most prominent of these recentiores is Guilio Pace, because he claimed that philosophy cannot be defined, because it contains distinct forms of knowledge.1 Keckermann agrees and wants to defend the thesis that philosophy is not simple, but an aggregate. It is therefore not a distinct species of a higher genus.2 This has the consequence that a perfect real definition of philosophy is impossible, because such a perfect real definition must grasp the essence of the definiendum: it is an explicatio essentiae. A perfect essence of philosophy must, however, be indivisible and distinct from the essences of other things. Philosophy does not fulfill these criteria. So the best we can hope for is a description of philosophy: For Keckermann, philosophy is an aggregate (compages) of science and prudence. This combination is, however, not arbitrary: parts of philosophy belonging to science and parts of philosophy belonging to prudence hang together in a meaningful way (apta connexione et unione inter se conformata).3 To hang together in a meaningful way is for Keckermann equivalent to having a form.4

In this model, itt is the parts of philosophy, i.e. the three contemplative sciences and the three forms of prudence that qualify as ‘matter’ of philosophy. Aggregates that have a form are structured or organised (in this context, Keckermann again talks about conveniens unio). Examples for this are the world, a school, or the Church.5 harmony of shared principles. Intellect and will count as one object. Perfection of these objects as one end. And if one wants to know one liberal art, she must know all of them.6 But if all parts of philosophy originate in the same principles, have human capabilities as objects and share the common goal to make these capabilities better, why does Keckermann deny that philosophy is a unified whole that can be defined through its object, end, and principles?

Keckermann’s Criticism of his Contemporaries

Keckermann criticises Fortunatus Crell explicitly. With regard to Timpler and Casmann we can only infer his targets from the fact that their viewpoint is identical with what Keckermann has to criticise, namely the definition of philosophy as an ordered system of liberal arts (Timpler) or as system of Christian wisdom that contributes to our spiritual wellbeing (Casmann).

Crellius’s attempt to define philosophy as a composite habit is for Keckermann incoherent. If philosophy consists of two partial habits, it is an aggregate and cannot be defined. If we can propose a unified definition for philosophy as a such a composite habit, philosophy cannot be such a composite habit, because, if something can be defined, it is eo ipso a unity, in this case a habit that is in turn a species of the category of quality.7 But Keckermann himself asserts that there can be kinds of unity (namely a harmony of disciplines originating in common principles) that need not imply that this unity is the unity of a unified habit.

Timpler’s definition is too wide, including disciplines which are neither science nor prudence: logic and rhetoric are no parts of philosophy proper.8 Casmann’s definition employs a conception of wisdom that is misleading, because it includes habits that should be characterised as science or prudence. If a proper understanding of wisdom is substituted, the definition does not cover the practical part of philosophy, because it includes only metaphysics.9

Philosophy: in Books and Souls

Keckermann is more sympathetic to Timpler’s idea that philosophy can be understood either as a habit in the mind or as an aggregate of precepts existing e.g. in books.10 Apparently, Keckermann agrees with Timpler that both view points can coexist. In one sense, philosophy sense resides in our minds. But equally well it makes sense to think about the cause of these habits, namely the system of precepts that ‘shows us the way’ how to develop these habits. This way is, of course, method. So Keckermann links Timpler’s suggestion to his (Zabarellian?) notion of method.11 He explains the distinction between method and result, precepts and habit, through a reference to logic: At times we regard logic as the habit we want to acquire. At times we regard it as the aggregate of teachings (comprehensio praeceptorum) that can serve as the cause of the logical habit, following Lucian who defined an ars as a system of precepts that are useful in the human life (a definition that Melanchthon, as mentioned by Keckermann, takes up, e.g. in the Praefatio in officia Ciceronis. The same is true for philosophy. It is perfectly legitimate to refer to Aristotle as summus philosophus, and, therefore, to philosophy as a habit in Aristotle’s mind. And it is equally justified to refer to Aristotle’s philosophy - a reference that does not refer to Aristotle’s bygone mental habits, but to his writings that allow us to acquire Aristotle’s philosophical habits. In this second sense philosophy must be understood as a discipline that contains itself the way of learning everything that is contained in it (the methodus omnium praeceptorum).12

But it should be kept in mind that writings for Keckermann still are a means to an end: his cursus philosophicus is written philosophy. But its only goal is to allow its readers to acquire philosophical habits. Accordingly, he structures his presentation of what we should know beforehand, the praecognita in such a way that he deals first with the methodus praeceptorum, the ‘way of learning precepts of philosophy’, then with the habit that comes from these precepts.13


These reflections lead us back to another thinker defending the undefinability of philosophy, namely Piccart: for him, a teacher had been an indispensable instrumental cause of philosophy. In a different context, I had already pointed out that Keckermann does not agree (see here). In this post, we have learned his general justification for this stance.

The multifaceted debate on what constitutes philosophy in early modern Germany with its wild variety of influences, standpoints, and arguments is in need of more research than I can provide in a series of blog posts. Any kind of summary of my findings in this series would necessarily be limited and preclude other avenues of research. Still, I hope to have shown that this fascinating topic deserves further study.

  1. Cf. Keckermann 1612, p. 12f: “Iam quod ad recentes autores videmus plerosque veterum recitatas descriptiones retinere. Sunt tamen nonnulli, qui rem non tam autoritate veterum, quam Regulis iudicii logici cupiverunt expensam, inter quos est clarissimus aeque Iurisconsultus ac Philosophus Julius Pacius. Is enim in Prolegomenis Physicis in hac se ait esse sententia, quod philosophia accurate definiri non possit.” Keckermann refers to the following passage in Pace’s Naturalis auscultatio (Fracofurtum 1596), p. 337: “Philosophia lacte accepta, suo ambitu complectitur metahysicam, mathematicam, physicam, politicam,et logicam. Et in hac significatione, ut opinor, definiri non potest: quia non est verbum synonymum, sed continet scientias omnino diversas et separatas: utcumque variis modis describatur ab Ammonio in praefatione in Isagogen Porphyrii. Recte autem dividitur in contemplativam, activam, et rationalem seu logicam.” 

  2. Cf. Keckermann 1612, p. 8: “Sed non est Philosophia univocum quid et simplex; sive non est distincta rei species; sed ex eorum numero, quae aggregata et collectiva Logici vocant.” 

  3. Cf. Keckermann 1612, p. 8f: “Quod perfecte definitur, id perfectam naturam et essentiam habeat necesse est; cum definitio sit explicatio essentiae: perfecta autem natura et essentia haec duo habet 1. ut sit unica et in se indivisa, id est, ut habeat essentiam simplicem et impartibilem 2. ut sit ab aliis omnibus divisa, ut specie et natura sua distincta sit ab omnibus aliis rebus, quaesunt in mundo. Talis non est philosophiae natura, utpote in qua multae simul disciplinae colliguntur velut in fasciculum et aggregantur. Quapropter errant, qui Philosophiae accuratam Definitionem audari posse existimant, aut solicite inquirunt; ; quanqoquidem unius essentiae explicatio, id est, Definitio, eius nulla est, quod unicam et simplicissimam essentiam non habet, ex quarum rerum numero Philosophiam esse vel ipsa explicatio vocabuli manifestum facit. Quod ergo definiri exacte non potest, ita describamus: Philosophia est compages scientiae et prudentiae, apta connexione et unione inter se conformata.” 

  4. Cf. Keckermann 1612, p. 15: “Forma philosophiae est illarum diversarum materiarum et partium inter sese conveniens unio, et connexio in certis principiis, obiecto et fine.” 

  5. Cf. Keckermann 1612, p. 14f: “Dum autem scientiae et prudentiae compagem Philosophiam dicimus, quandam eius materiam et formam notamus. Materia Philosophiae sunt partes, ex quibus ea colligitur et integratur; nimirum tres scientiae, et totidem Prudentiae. Ea quae Logici vocant aggregata et collectiva, hoc habent proprium, ut ex multis velut materiis et partibus constituantur. Ita mundus constat ex omnibus Dei creaturis, velut materia: Schola constat ex Praeceptoribus et discipulis, tanquam sua materia: Ecclesia ex multis Christi membris. Sic ergo etiam philosophia suam habet materiam, eamque non unicam, sed variam et diversam, constantem nimirum ex scientiis multis et prudentiis.” 

  6. Cf. Keckermann 1612, p. 15: “In arte Logica docetur collectiva esse duplicia: quaedam temeraria, ut sunt acettus tritici temerere congestus, aut acervus brutorum caesorum, et in talibus nulla est forma: sed sunt alia aggregata ordinata, in quibus diversarum quidem partium congeries est; sed talis tamen, quae concinnu aliquem ordinem et unionem admittit, quale aggregatum est mundus, Ecclesia et Schola; itemque ea de qua nunc agimus, philosophia; utpote in qua diversae scientiae et prudentiae inter se uniuntur et copulantur suavissima quadam Harmonia communium primorum principiorum, a quibus omnes scientiae et prudentiae pendent, posteriam unius obiecti, intellectus nimirum et voluntatis humanae, cui philosophia omnis destinatur, et denique unitus etiam finis, qui est humanae mentis et voluntatis perfectio, ut suo loco dicetur. Et propter hanc arctissimam partium philosophiae unionem, dixerunt veteres omnes artes liberales inter se velut manus iungere mutuas operas tradere, ut qui unam perfectissime scire velit, necesse habeat omnes cognoscere.” 

  7. Cf. Keckermann 1612, p. 13: “Fortunatus Crellius in Prolegomenis commentariorum super Acroamaticos Aristotelis, Philosophiam ait esse habitum animi, qui scientia et prudentia constat. Sed dum habitum definit videtur ea opinione fuisse, quod Philosophia unicum quid sit et simplex, sicuti quidem, animi habitus certa est et determinata qualitatis species; […]”. This however cannot be true, because philosophy is not a determinate quality, as Keckermann adds in a footnote: “Omnis habitus certa est species Qualitatis; Philosophia non est certa species qualitatis: est enim omnium habituum congeries. Ergo Philosophia non est habitus.” 

  8. Cf. Keckermann 1612, p. 13f: “Post Crellium alios reperio scriptores Philosophos, qui Philosophiam sic describunt: quod sit ordinatum artium liberalium Systema. Item, quod sit Systema Sapientiae ad salutarem tum veri cognitionem, tum actionem boni. Quarum Descriptionem prior hoc habet naevi, quod Philosophiam in latissima significatione describit, atque adeo sit ipso descripto latior: Neque enim Philosophia, si vocabulum idonee distinguas, omnes artes complectitur, sed eas tantum, quas Scientias et Prudentias proprie appellamus. Est et ipsa ars Logica et Rhetorica liberalis, neque tamen ambitu Philosophiae continetur, ut suo loco ostensuri sumus, et iam ante etiam ostendimus.” 

  9. Cf. Keckermann 1612, p. 14: “Posterior Descriptio hoc habet vitii, quod vocabulum sapientiae latissime et ambigue usurpat. Cum autem in Descriptionibus omnia debeant esse propria et perspicua, pro sapientia scientias oportebat, et prudentias nominasse, utpote a quibus sapientia proprie dicta, longissime differt. Quod si autem Sapientiae nomen proprie et distincte capias, iam descripto erit angustior descriptio, quia sapientia stricte dicta, ut supra ostendimus, unica tantum philosophiae pars est, Metaphysica nimirum. Ut ergo Commentarium hunc de philosophiae descriptione concludamus, sciant Auditores summam omnium eorum, quae hucusque dicta sunt, eo tendere, ut perspicue intelligatur, Philosophiam non esse quid unum, sed multa simul collecta; ideo non tam definiri exacte posse, quam describi ex diversarum quibus constat, rerum compage.” 

  10. Cf. Keckermann 1612, p. 15f: “Caeterum ut scientia et prudentia; ita et earum compages Philosophia dupliciter spectatur. Primo quidem ut est compages habituum in mentem humanam introdoctorum: Secundo, ut est compages praeceptorum Philosophicorum, per quae habitus isti Philosophici in mente humana acquiruntur.” 

  11. Cf. Keckermann 1612, p. 16: “Nos in hac tractatione Philosophiam interdum accipiemus, prout in mente humana consideratur: interdum vero prout Methodum habet omnium praeceptorum, quibus Philosophiae disciplinae traduntur.” 

  12. Cf. Keckermann 1612, p. 16f: “Ab initio nostri Systematis Logici monuiumus, vocabulum Logicae artis interdum sumi pro ipso habitu, qui est in Logici mente: Interdum vero sumi pro comprehensione praeceptorum Logicorum, ex quibus tanquam causis habitus iste Logicus in mentem Logici introducitur, quomodo etiam Lucianus laudante Philippo Melanchthone, artem definit Systema praeceptorum utilium in vita humana. Quod ibi de Logica diximus, id de omnibus in universum disciplinis intelligendum est, atque adeo etiam de Philosophia Scientiarum et Prudentiarum compage; quod nimirum interdum ista compages ipsos scientiarum et prudentiarum habitus in mente hominis comprehendat: ut cum dicimus, Aristoteles fuit summus Philosophus, per Philosophiam accipimus compagem habituum in mente Aristotelis: interdum ver non ipsi habitus scientiarum et prudentiarum notantur, sed comprehensio praeceptorum, ex quibus isti habitus acquiruntur; ut cum dicimus, Aristoteles nobis Philosophiam perscriptam reliquit, non intelligimus relictos Aristotelicae mentis habitus, qui perscribi non poterant, sed praecepta, quibus tum Aristoteles istos habitus acquisiverat, tum nos etiam assequi possumus.” 

  13. Cf. Keckermann 1612, p. 17: “Et cum dicimus cursum Philosophicum nos tractaturos, non de habitibus loquimur, sed de praeceptis, quorum Methodum in isto cursu Philosophico sumus tradituri, sic ut Auditores istos habitus Philosophicos dextre ac facile possint acquirere. Caeterum quando nos praecognita Philosophiae hoc loco tradimus, sciendum est ea accommodata esse quidem ad ipsam Methodum praeceptorum, de qua diximus: post etiam ad Habitum ex ea Methodo oriturum.” 

Defining Philosophy in Early Modern Germany (VIII): Keckermann and Crell against the Ancients

Stefan Heßbrüggen-Walter

In the previous post of this series, we have seen how Francesco Piccolomini and Michael Piccart argue for the thesis that philosophy cannot be defined at all. However, neither of them was concerned in any detail with previous attempts to define philosophy in any detail in order to show their shortcomings (Piccolomini was content to provide a priori reasons why such a definition is impossible, Piccart focuses on his Ramist opponents). Fortunatus Crell and Bartholomäus Keckermann develop a critical analysis of proposals of how to define philosophy and discard them all (it should be noted, though that Keckermann thus turns against his earlier self, because he had first believed that philosophy could be understood as a good habit of the soul, see this earlier post).


In the Praefatio to his In octo acroamaticos Aristotelis libros commentarii, Crellius quotes numerous purported definitions of philosophy, but only three of them deserve closer analysis, because the rest of them are encomia rather than definitiones: they contain a praise of philosophy, but cannot count as definitions. His three candidates for a definition of philosophy are:

  1. philosophy as cognitio rerum prout sunt,
  2. philosophy as divinarum et humanarum rerum, causaumque, quibus haeres continentur, scientia,
  3. philosophy as artium dicendi, Physiologiae, et praeceptorum de moribus cognitio tanta quantam humana mens in hac naturae imbecillitate assequi potest.1

(ad 1) This definition fails, because it refers only to metaphysics and it does not contain a proper genus of philosophy, maybe because cognitio is an end of philosophy (see below).2

(ad 2) This definition is insufficient, because it concerns only the contemplative parts of philosophy and leaves out those parts that are concerned with action (i.e. practical philosophy).3

(ad 3) This definition is mistaken in three respects: it omits metaphysics and mathematics, although these are the most noble parts of contemplative philosophy; it presumes that the liberal arts are a part of philosophy; and it determines the genus of philosophy by its end, knowledge (cognitio), not taking into account the main goal of practical philosophy, action.4

So none of these definitions gives the proper genus of philosophy and their scope is either too broad, including the liberal arts, or too small, excluding practical philosophy. The nominal sense of philosophy as ‘love of wisdom’ does not provide more illumination either: wisdom and the love of wisdom both again only address the cognitive concerns of philosophy, leaving out moral philosophy as one of its constituent parts. It may be conceded that philosophy as a whole has acquired its name from its nobler part, contemplative philosophy, but that does not count against the consensus omnium that maintains that moral philosophy is a proper part of philosophy, too.5

But there is nevertheless something to be learned from Aristotle, namely from his understanding of wisdom as a ‘composite habit’; it has two parts, namely knowledge and intellect.6 So even though this definition of wisdom does not grasp the essence of philosophy, it shows that in principle it should be possible to define philosophy as a composite habit, too, consisting of a theoretical and a practical part.7 Accordingly, Crellius proposes to define philosophy as a composite habit, consisting in wisdom and prudence and asserts that this is the Peripatetic definition of philosophy as a whole. The genus, habit, is known from logic. The specific difference in this definition consists in the two intellectual virtues that are joined in philosophy as a composite habit.8

In order to explicate his own definition Crellius refers to the five intellectual virtues in EN 6 and relates them to the distinction between eternal or necessary things and contingent or changeable things. What belongs to the first realm, does either not change at all because of its eternity or eventual changes are caused by the nature of the thing. Disciplines dealing with eternal things are concerned with contemplation or cognition. Their objects are not subject to human influence (non fieri, sed cognosci a nobis possunt). Three intellectual virtues are in this sense concerned with contemplation: scientia, intelligentia, and sapientia. Disciplines dealing with contingent objects can be called ‘practical’ (Crellius provides a reference to Averroes), because they aim at actio et effectio. This does not preclude that in these disciplines we get to know things - but always having action in view as the ultimate end, so that this knowledge must always be applicable to problems of how to act or what to do.9 Crellius argues that his definition of philosophy is complete, because it comprises all dimensions of what our minds can in excel in, excluding only our ability to produce things, i. e. the artes.10


Keckermann extends Crellius’ catalogue of ancient definitions, including not only cognition or awareness of Divine and human things, but also two more Platonic (or platonicising) views of philosophy: philosophy as the attempt to get as similar to God as one can (i.e. to ‘deify oneself’ within the limits of the humanly possible) and philosophy as a meditation of death. These last two views had been disqualified by Crellius as mere encomia. Keckermann’s criticism is a bit more detailed. True, to define philosophy as ‘self-deification’ in the aforementioned sense is a logical mistake, because this purported definition does not contain a valid genus. But equally important is the fact that to strive for similarity with the Divine is a topic that belongs to theology rather than to philosophy.11 The second platonising definition of philosophy Crellius does not really adress is the view of philosophy as meditatio mortis. Keckermann argues that this can at best be regarded as an effect of philosophy, but an effect cannot be at the same time a genus of the cause responsible for bringing about this effect. Following Ammonius, he also maintains that this definition is metaphorical, because it does not concern natural death, i.e. the separation of the soul from the body at the end of life, but rather a turn of the soul from the objects of the senses towards the sumblime contemplation of things. And again the definition is too broad, because meditating our finitude is an important subject in theology, because it is intimately related to the problems of sin.12

Finally, we can follow Plato in presuming that philosophy is some kind of awareness of Divine and human things. Crellius had subsumed this awareness under the heading of knowledge in the full-blown sense (scientia). This version of the definition is traced back to the Stoics by Keckermann.13 The same formula, substituting cognitio as the genus of philosophy is ascribed by him to Cicero.14 Keckermann himself prefers to render the original Platonic term γνῶσις as notitia.15

In his objections to this tradition of defining philosophy, Keckermann refers explicitly to a contemporary author defending this tradition of defining philosophy as the most adequate solution: Franciscus Toletus.Toletus believed that the disjunction between immaterial, i.e. abstract, and material, i.e. concrete objects is complete and that this definition is the only one grasping both the theoretical and the practical part of philosophy. So his understanding of this definition is completely contrary to Crellius who had, as mentioned above, denied its validity, because it only refers to the theoretical part of philosophy.

Keckermann does not agree with either Crellius or Toletus, although his reading of the definition seems to be closer to Toletus. But he regards it as inadequate. The first mistake is, again, logical. The genus is too remote. In other words, there are kinds of cognition, awareness or knowledge that do not belong to philosophy.16 Keckermann’s second objection concerns the scope of the definition: awareness of divine things is also topical in theology. And cholars of law apply the same definition to their own discipline. Finally, both natural philosophy and mathematics are not captured by this definition, because neither domain of objects is clearly either divine or human (again, Keckermann does not provide more argument to clarify this assumption).17

The last authority criticised by Keckermann is Speusipp. He defined philosophy as both a desire (appetitus) for wisdom and contemplation of ‘truth as truth’ (contemplatio veritatis ut veritas est). Two genera are posited in this definition, but none of them is a true genus of philosophy. And if we assume that each definition is supposed to cover both the theoretical and the practical part of philosophy, both attempts fail, because they include only one of these parts. To define philosophy as contemplatio veritatis excludes the practical part (the question whether a desire for wisdom can cover both parts of philosophy is, again, not discussed by Keckermann).18

What about Aristotle himself? In his extant work, we find no general definition of philosophy. What is called “philosophy” in Met. 1.2 (and defined as ‘science of truth’) refers in fact only to its theoretical part: only here, truth is an end in itself. In practical philosophy, the end is action, as is emphasised by Aristotle in the very same passage.19


Since this blog post is too long already, a detailed treatment of Keckermann’s own views on the indefinability of philosophy (and his engagement with Crellius) must be deferred to the next post. But it should already have become clear that both Crellius and Keckermann share the notion that the debate about defining philosophy must remain stagnant as long as it is exclusively wedded to the range of definitions to be found in ancient texts. And both believe that the main task in this debate is to do justice to the fact that philosophy is concerned both with knowledge and action. Whereas Crellius believes that this tradition can be extended creatively by an understanding of philosophy as a composite habit, Keckermann is more sceptical - as I will discuss in the next post of this series.

  1. Fortunatus Crell, In octo acroamaticos Aristotelis libros commentarii, Neostadii in Palatinatu: Harnisch, Matthaeus, 1587, p. 1

  2. Cf. Crell, p. 1: “[…] non prima [sc. definitio]: quia primam tantum Philosophiam definit: cuius tamen verum genus non continet: […]” 

  3. Cf. Crell, p. 1: “non quinta […]: quia partem duntaxat Philosophiae quae in contemplatione versatur, non totam Philosophiam, quae etiam in actione consistit, definit.” 

  4. Cf. Crell, p. 1: “non ultima: quia […] tum contemplantis Philosophiae duas nobilissimas partes, Metaphysicen et Mathematicen omittit: tum artes dicendi, quae Philosophiae pars […] non sunt, admiscet: et quidem primum illic locum assignat: tum denique genus, a fine petitum, cognitionem ponit: quae contemplantis tantum, teste ipsomet Aristotele, non practicae Philosophiae finis est.” 

  5. Cf. Crell, p. 2: “Tametsi enim Philosophia, sicut et sapientiae, nomen ad solam contemplantem Philosophiam attinere videatur; moralis tamen non minus quam illa, Philosophiae appellatione comprehenditur: idque communi omnium consensione: licet ab illa, ut pote nobiliori parte, nomen sit consecuta.” 

  6. Cf. Crell, p. 2: “Sic enim sapientiam Philosophus definit: ‘ut sit intelligentia et scientia’, id est, habitus, ex duobus istis habitibus intelligentiae et scientiae, compositus.” 

  7. Cf. Crell, p. 2: “Ea igitur nobis adferenda definitio erit, qua hanc etiam Philosophiae partem amplectatur: ideoque eodem fere modo definienda nobis Philosophia utpote habitus compositus erit: quo sapientiam Philosophus definivit: […]” 

  8. Cf. Crell, p. 2: “[…] eodem fere modo definienda nobis Philosophia, utpote habitus compositus, erit: quo sapientiam Philosophus definivit: ut scilicet dicamus: Philosophiam esse habitum, sapientia et prudentia constantem: hanc Peripateticam totius Philosophiae definitionem esse statuo: […] Genus habitus est: differentia, sapientia et prudentia constans. genus ex Logicis notum est: de differentia aliquid breviter dicendum est.” 

  9. Cf. Crell, p. 2: “Aristoteles, libro sexto Ethicorum quinque recenset habitus: artem: scientiam: prudentiam: sapientiam: intelligentiam: idque ob diversas res, diversosque rerum fines et scopos. Res omnes vel necessariae sunt et sempiternae: vel contingentes et mutabiles: e quibus illae vel semper sunt et unquam fiunt: vel fiunt quidem: sed a natura non a nobis: hae vero a nobis pro consilio fiunt: itaque in nostro positae sunt arbitrio. Ceterum sicut duplicis generis res sunt: ita duplex disciplinarum genus est, quae res illas tractant: et duplex illarum disciplinarum finis et scopus. Quae res necessarias tractant Scientiae contemplantes dicuntur: quia finis earum contemplatio et cognitio est: idque propterea, quia de illis rebus agunt, quae non fieri sed cognosci duntaxat a nobis possunt. in his disciplinis tres illi habitus, scientia, intelligentia, sapientia, conspiciuntur. Quae res contingentes tractant practicae, quo modo ab Averroe vocantur, appellari possunt: quia finis earum actio et effectio est: idque propterea: quia in illis occupantur quae fieri a nobis possunt. Agunt quidem istae quoque disciplinae de rebus, ut illas cognoscant: sed non ut in cognitione subsistant: sed ut ad actionem cognitionem transferant quae ultimus et primarius earum finis est.” 

  10. Cf. Crell, p. 3: “Quia igitur tres illi habitus, scientia, intelligentia, et qui ex utroque constat, aliudque nihil est quam duo isti simul, sapientia, ad contemplantem prudentia ad agentem quibus duabus partibus tota Philosophia, ut iam iamque dicemus continetur, attinent idciro sapientia et prudentia Philosophiam definire.” 

  11. Cf. Keckermann, Opera Omnia, Genevae: Apud Petrum Aubertum 1614, col. 9f: “Ac primo quidem Platonem summum Philosophum in medium producamus, qui Philosophiae descriptionem diversam in diversis suis Dialogis proposuit. Primum ergo sic describit, quid sit ὁμοίως θεῶ κατὰ το δψνατὸν ἀνθρώπων similitudo Dei quatenus est homini possibilis. Quibus verbis impropria propositio continetur, qua effectus quidam Philosophiae generalis et latus de ipsa Philosophia praedicatur, ita ut nullo modo possit esse vera descriptio; i, quod genus non habeat legitimum; 2, quod non sit adaequata rei describendae; siquidem a Theologia potius hoc spectamus, ut reformet in nobis imaginem et similitudinem Dei. Ut taceam, quod iis verbis commiscentur ea quae sunt per Accidens, id est, imbecillitas humana, cum iis, quae sunt per se de Philosophiae natura. 

  12. Cf. Keckermann, col. 10f: “In Theage Plato philosophiam definit μελέτην τῶν θανάτω meditationem mortis. Sed nic in hac significatione legitimum genus est; quia meditatio mortis est effectus philosophiae. Effectus autem nuquam est rei genus. Secundo, in eo etiam peccat, quod Metaphorica Definitioni inserit contra Canonem bonae definitionis qui extat 6. Metaphys Absint Metaphorae a Definitionibus. Esse autem Metaphoricum hoc, quod dicit Plato, de meditatione mortis, testatur Ammonius super Isagogen Porphyrii, ubi inquit: Si mentem Platonis diligenter consideremus, duplicem is statuit mortem: Unam naturalem qua anima solvitur a corpore: Alteram voluntariam, qua anima intra corpus haerens sese abstrahit a sensibus, et elevat ad sublimem rerum contemplationem. Itaque iuxtaPlatonem meditatio mortis nihil est aliud, quam elevatio animae et abstractio a corporis sensibus. Denique etiam latior est Definitio haec definito, quia meditari mortem non tantum Philosophia, sed etiam Theologia, et quidem haec inprimis docet, cum mors sit stipendium peccati, cuius consideratio propria est Theologiae.” 

  13. Cf. Keckermann, col. 10: “Et Stoici in sua secta hanc Philosophiae Definitionem constanter retinuerunt, quod sit divinarum et humanarum rerum scientia.” 

  14. Cf. Keckermann, col. 10: “Quod Cicero secutus 2. Officiorum: Philosophia, inquit, est divinarum humanarumque rerum cognitio.” 

  15. Cf. Keckermann, p. 10: “Definit etiam Philosophiam Plato, quod sit gnw=sis tei/wn kai\ a)ntrwpi/nwn pragma/twn, kai\ tw=n e)n tau/tois ai)ti/wn notitia divinarum et humanarum rerum, atque adeo causarum, a quibus ea sunt.” 

  16. Keckermann does not go into the question whether there could be a genus of philosophy that is not too remote. 

  17. Cf. Keckermann, col. 10: “Franciscus Toletus hanc Definitionem ait esse omnium perfectissimam; utpote quae tam Theoreticam quam Practicam philosophiae partem complectatur, quaeque sic accipienda sit, ut per res divinas intelligantur abstracta ab omni materia, pureque intelligibilia: per res autem humanas materiata et sensibilia. Sed si res accuratius excutiatur, ne descriptio quidem philosophiae bona censeri debet. Nam primo Genus est valde remotum, quod decebat esse proximum lin legitima Definitione. Secundo, etiam definitio latior est definito; quia notitia rerum divinarum ad Theologiam quoque sanctam pertinet, atque ex eo factum est, ut Iurisperiti suae Iurisprudentiae eandem Definitionem accomodaverint, ut videre est in principio ff. ut taceam, quod nec Physica nec Mathematica doctrina sub hac definitione comprehendatur; maxima enim pars Physicae, nec ad qei=a, nec ad a)nqtrw/pina referri potest, quod idem de Mathematicis intelligi debet.” 

  18. Cf. Keckermann, col. 11: “Speusippus in Definitionibus Platonicis: Philosophia est, inquit appetitus sapientiae et contemplatio veritatis ut veritas est. Sed nec hic verum genus usurpatur, et praeterea etiam duo ponuntur genera, et insuper id in definitione ponitur, quod est definito angustius; si quidem contemplatio veritatis ad Theoreticam philosophiae partem per se pertinet, non autem Practicam, ut paulo post monebimus.” 

  19. Cf. Keckermann, col. 11: “De Arist. ante diximus, scripsisse eum praecognita philosophica sive de natura philosophiae libros tres; qui, si extarent, non magnopere opus hac nostra tractatione foret. Iam vero cum ii interciderint, factum est ut generalis Philosophiae descriptio nusquam in iis Aristotelis monumentis, quae hodie extant, relicta fuerit. Nam quod cap. 1.2. Metaph. Philosophiam ait esse scientiam veritatis, non existimanda est generalis ista descriptio, sed particularis explicatio, quid sit ea Philosophiae pars, quae Theoretica vocatur; quod sequentia statim verba disserte comprobant, quibus inter Philosophiae partem Theoreticam et Practicam disiunctione facta inquit: Theoreticae enim finis est veritas, Practicae autem opus.” 

"The Steadfast Philosopher" (Gerard van Honthorst, 1623, Collection Hohenbuchau, Schlangenbad, on loan to Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna)

"The Steadfast Philosopher" (Gerard van Honthorst, 1623, Collection Hohenbuchau, Schlangenbad, on loan to Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna)


Certosa di San Martino:

> Above: by Ciao Anita! (2009).

> Below: by Kyle Thompson-Westra (2011).