Thursday, October 28, 2010

Longeway on Ockham on science

There's a neat review here of John Longeway's translation of book III-II of Ockham's Summa Logicae*. I can't vouch for it, as I haven't got hold of the book itself (it is on the reading list), but it seems coherent and well-written (my first line of defence against nonsense on the Internet).

The book is an English translation of Ockham's commentary on Aristotle's Posterior Analytics, and includes an extensive commentary and a history of the intellectual background to Ockham's work. Longeway argues for Ockham's importance as the founder of empiricism in the West. According to the review:
... he avoided that error of Early Modern empiricism that now seems most
objectionable: the attempt to construct our public world from purely subjective
experience. Ockham is a direct realist, relying on the causal relation between
concept and object to establish the concept's reference. In his view, what makes
belief cognition is the right causal relation between the knower and what is
known, not the possession of a sufficient justification for one's belief.

Definitely worth acquiring. Unfortunately (and surprisingly) not yet in the Warburg Library, so we shall see if Waterstones can deliver.

* Demonstration and Scientific Knowledge in William of Ockham: A Translation of Summa Logicae III-II: De Syllogismo Demonstrativo, and Selections from the Prologue to the Ordinatio.

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