Toletus, Francis (1532–1596)

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Francis Toletus, the first important Jesuit philosopher, was born in Córdoba, Spain. He studied philosophy at the University of Valencia and theology at the University of Salamanca under Dominic de Soto. While a professor of philosophy at Salamanca, Toletus entered the Jesuit order (1558). He taught philosophy at the order's Roman College from 1559 to 1563 and theology from 1563 to 1569. In 1593 Toletus became the first Jesuit cardinal. He died in Rome.

Toletus's Latin philosophical works include commentaries on the logic, physics, and psychology of Aristotle; Toletus's commentary on Thomas Aquinas's Summa (Enarratio in Summam Theologiae Divi Thomae ) also contains philosophical material. In all these works his views are Thomistic with many personal modifications. In the theory of knowledge, Toletus taught that individual things are directly apprehended by the intellect, that the primary object of knowledge is a sort of particularized form (species specialissima ) and not being in general (Physica, Venice, 1600, p. 12), that intellectual abstraction is simply a precision from accidents and a consideration of the substance of anything (De Anima, Venice, 1575, p. 170), that the agent intellect may be fundamentally the same power as the possible intellect (De Anima, Venice, 1586, pp. 144146). His metaphysics is distinguished by a theory of triple acts in the same being: formal, entitative, and existential (Physica, p. 33). The existential act is limited in two ways: by the receptive potency and by its efficient cause (Enarratio, Vol. I, p. 118). He denied that essence and existence are really distinct principles (Physica, p. 34; Enarratio, Vol. I, p. 79), and that matter is pure potency; it has its own actuality (Physica, pp. 3236), but form is the principle of individuation (De Anima, p. 163). The number of the categories (ten) in Aristotle's logic is merely probable. It is possible rationally to demonstrate the existence of God but the famous "five ways" of Thomas are incomplete; they do not establish the key attributes of God (Enarratio, Vol. I, 69).

See also Aristotle; Epistemology; Epistemology, History of; Soto, Dominic de; Thomas Aquinas, St.; Thomism.


The Latin philosophical works are collected in Omnia quae Hucusque Extant Opera (Lyons, 1586). See also Enarratio in Summam Theologiae Divi Thomae. 4 vols. (Rome, 18691870).

Works on Toletus include L. Morati, "Toledo, Francisco de," Enciclopedia filosofica (Venice and Rome, 1957), Vol. IV, cols. 12161217 (an excellent entry to which the present account is indebted); C. Giacon, La seconda scolastica (Milan: Fratelli Bocca, 1944), pp. 2544, 5165.

Vernon J. Bourke (1967)

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Toletus, Francis (1532–1596)

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