Peter Auriol on the Intuitive Cognition of Nonexistents. Revisiting the Charge of Skepticism in Walter Chatton and Adam Wodeham

Oxford Studies in Medieval Philosophy 5 (1):151-180 (2017)
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This paper looks at the critical reception of two central claims of Peter Auriol’s theory of cognition: the claim that the objects of cognition have an apparent or objective being that resists reduction to the real being of objects, and the claim that there may be natural intuitive cognitions of nonexistent objects. These claims earned Auriol the criticism of his fellow Franciscans, Walter Chatton and Adam Wodeham. According to them, the theory of apparent being was what had led Auriol to allow for intuitive cognitions of nonexistents, but the intuitive cognition of nonexistents, at its turn, led to scepticism. Modern commentators have offered similar readings of Auriol, but this paper argues, first, that the apparent being provides no special reason to think there could be intuitions of nonexistent objects, and second, that despite his idiosyncratic account of intuition, Auriol was no more vulnerable to scepticism than his critics.

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Han Thomas Adriaenssen
University of Groningen


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