Aquinas's use of the lex parsimoniae

We all know that Ockham's razor wasn't really Ockham's razor. He got the shaving device second hand from his predecessors, among them, Aquinas.

Below are some instances of Aquinas's use of it, which I have shamelessly lifted from Schütz's Lexikon. Schütz lists them in the entry for fieri (and you'll see why). I came across them last week and I thought it would be handy to gather them here for anyone who is interested in the topic.

Three things to note: (1) Of the instances from the Contra gentiles and the Summa theologiae below (which are all the instances save one), almost all are found in objections. The only one that isn't from an objection is the one from CG, I, 42 (the first one). (2) The instance from the commentary on the Physics (the last one) is used in explicating Aristotle's argument. (3) I made minor changes to the wording and punctuation of the second and last ones since I noticed discrepancies with the Leonine text.

Don't cut yourself!


quod sufficienter fit uno posito, melius est per unum fieri, quam per multa (CG, I, 42)  

quod potest sufficienter fieri per unum, superfluum est si per multa fiat (CG, III, 70)

quod potest compleri per pauciora principia, non fit per plura (ST, I, a. 2, arg. 2)

quod potest sufficienter fieri per unum, superfluum est, quod fiat per multa (ST, I, q. 108, a. 3, arg. 2)

quod sufficienter potest fieri per unum, non oportet, quod per aliquid aliud inducatur (ST, II-II, q. 22, q. 1, arg. 1)

quod potest fieri per unum, superfluum est plura ponere (ST, II-II, q. 45, a. 2, arg. 3)

quod potest fieri per unum, superflue fit per multos (ST, III, q. 82, a. 2, arg. 2)

Quod potest fieri per pauciora, superfluum est si fiat per plura (In Physic., I, l. 11, n. 14)

Save the unicorn!

This has almost nothing to do with Aquinas. But I invite you to consider my defense of the unicorn and examine your conscience. Perhaps unicorns would be an appropriate topic for a synod of bishops in Rome. I wonder what Walter Kasper thinks about them.

Godoy's Philosophical Works?

Does anyone know who might have plagiarized Pedro de Godoy's philosophical works.  Echard merely writes, "Opera ejus philosophica alii usurparunt, et inverecundi plagiarii sub proprio nomine typis ediderunt."  He mentions Calavieri's Galeria de'Pontefici Domenicani, p. 699, which is available on Google and does not explain in any more detail how to find the text itself or who might have published it.

German Theology and Philosophy vs Scholastic

After reading selections from The Pope Emeritus's interview on Vatican II, it occurred to me that twentieth-century German theology and its antecedents in some ways seem to share the same faults as medieval German thought (with the exception of St. Albert.)  I was reminded of this text from De Wulf's Philosophy and Civilization in the Middle Ages:

"Endowmentof the personal worth of the individual with metaphysical support; devotion to clear ideas and their correct expression; moderation in doctrine and observance of a just mean between extremes;  the combination of experience and deduction,-these are the characteristics, or, if you will, the tendencies, of the scholastic philosophy as it was elaborated by Neo-Latins and Anglo-Celts.    But,  in the Neo-Platonic group of German thinkers in the thirteenth century,  all of this is replaced by very different characteristics,­ fascination for monism and pantheism; mystic communion of the soul with Deity;  craving for extreme deduction; predilection for the study of Being, and of its descending steps;  aversion to clarified intellectualism;  delight in examples and metaphors, which are misleading and equivocal; and above ail the want of balanced equilibrium, in exaggerating certain aspects and doctrines regardless of all else."

For interview selections, see

How bad was scholastic manualism?

Perhaps not all that bad. See my brief post on this at the AMU philosophy department blog.

Dare I say that Aquinas was the first "textbook Thomist"?