The World Explored, the World Suffered Education Issue Nr. 32 July 2020 - Page 23

inclusion which, by putting the particular in the universal made the unwary think that it was possible to get the particular out of the universal before it had been put there. So, Eriugena becomes, as a result of his Neoplatonism, a realist and declares for the supremacy of reason. At the same time, he keeps his belief in the individual and is compelled to give a place to the will which is not beneath that of reason. These two are therefore coordinate, but in a sense, it is the will which has the superiority, for the reason only lights the way, while the will is the agent, the power." This position whilst not recognizable as Aristotelian because of the centrality of the concept of the will is nevertheless beginning to look decidedly pre-Kantian. It departs from Kant in declaring that the will of God is, of course, superior to the will of man but the motivation given by Eriugena for this state of affairs is that God does not fit into any of the ten Aristotelian categories of Being. This is in its turn then connected to the surprising and perhaps ecclesiastical claim that God is "Nothing"--a position that might have contributed to Eriugena's condemnation by an ecclesiastical council. Eriugena's learning, however, was sufficiently admired by Charles the Bald for his patronage to continue requesting the translation of Greek texts into Latin amongst which were those of Pseudo Dionysius. Whilst translating various works Eriugena was also engaged in the writing of a five-volume work entitled "On Nature"(Periphyseon) which Anthony Kenny in his work "New History of Western Philosophy" characterizes thus: "There are, according to Eriugena four great divisions of "nature": nature creating and uncreated: nature created and creating: nature created and uncreating, and nature uncreating and uncreated. The first such nature is God, the second is the intellectual world of Platonic ideas which creates the third nature, the world of material objects. The fourth is God again, conceived not as creator but as the end to which things return... Where do human beings fit into Eriugenas fourfold scheme? They seem to straddle the second and third division. As animals, we belong in the third division and yet we transcend other animals. We can say with equal propriety that man is an animal and that he is not an animal. He shares reason, mind and the interior sense with the celestial essences but he shares his flesh, his outward self, with other animals." The soul according to Eriugena controls the body even post mortem when its particles are scattered and dispersed by the four winds. Somehow it is known by someone in some way that these particles were under control of the soul they once belonged to. The dualism is non-Aristotelian and stark. The fourth division refers to the end of all