Quaderni di Noctua, Vol 5 (2019)

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La critica di Robert Holcot alla causalità

Onorato Grassi


Robert Holcot discusses the principle of causality in q. 3 of Determinationes, a text also preserved in q. 53 (ms. Cambridge, Pembroke College, 236) and q. 58 (ms. Oxford, Balliol College, 246) of Quodlibet I. In this text, Holcot maintains that the relation of causality is not evident. He gives two reasons: first, he calls into question the distinction between cause and effect – since the effect is not encompassed in the cause, it cannot necessarily follow from the cause – and second, he invokes the possibility that God has to produce an effect entirely independent of any natural cause. The solution envisaged by Holcot understands the knowledge of causality as a case of probable knowledge (probabiliter). The relation of causality stems from observing the repetition of the relations between two res, so that when a res is present one can expect another to be present. The present article has two appendices: the first contains the version of the text conserved in mss Pembroke and Balliol, the second instead contains the version conserved in the ms. Düsseldorf, Universitäts-und Landesbibliothek, ms. F. 5 and in some early-modern printed editions.


Keywords: Robert Holcot; Determinationes; causality; God; probable knowledge.


English titleRobert Holcot’s criticism of causality


DOI: 10.14640/QuadernidiNoctua5-8

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