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Marsilius of Inghen


Scholastic philosopher and theologian; b. near Nijmegen, Holland, c. 1330; d. Heidelberg, Aug. 20, 1396. A disciple of john buridan, he taught arts at Paris with notable success and was twice elected rector (1367,1371). In 1377 he represented the English nation of the university at Avignon. He was again in Avignon in 1378 and traveled to Italy. Studying theology at Paris, he became a master before 1382. When the University of Heidelberg was founded in 1385 by Urban VI, he was appointed its first rector and began lecturing in 1386. Through his efforts Heidelberg quickly became a center of nominalism and a cultural influence in Germany.

In logic he followed the via moderna of william of ockham, denying the reality of universals and the traditional meaning of suppositio simplex, which he classified under material supposition. His nominalist revision of the Summulae logicales of Peter of Spain was published many times under the title of Textus dialectices (Vienna 1512, 1516, etc.) and used as a text in many German universities. He also commented on the Prior Analytics of Aristotle (Venice 1516).

In natural philosophy he followed Buridan rather than Ockham, teaching the new theory of impetus to explain projectile motion and acceleration. He also adopted the graphic coordinate method of describing intension and remission of forms proposed by nicholas oresme. Because of the condemnation of Latin averroism in 1277, he admitted the possibility of infinite magnitudes and of rectilinear movement of the universe as a whole. Accepting the proportions of velocities proposed by thomas bradwardine, he combined the Mertonian calculationes with the new Parisian physics in his commentaries on Aristotle's Physics (Lyons 1518), De generatione et corruptione (Strasbourg 1501), and in his Abbreviationes libri physicorum (Venice 1521).

In his Quaestiones supra quatuor libros sententiarum (Strasbourg 1501) he was less skeptical than Ockham regarding the ability of reason to prove the existence of God, preferring the arguments of duns scotus. However, since nothing can come from nothing, he insisted that philosophy cannot demonstrate the creation of the universe from nothing. Regarding free will, he followed Buridan in teaching a modified determinism, insisting that the will is not always free to choose. With albert of saxony, he promoted nominalism in German universities.

Bibliography: g. ritter, Studien zur Spätscholastik, v.1 of Marsilius von Inghen und die ockhamistische Schule in Deutschland (Heidelberg 1921). j. hanslmeier, in Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d new ed. Freiburg 195765); supplement, Das Zweite Vatikanische Konzil: Dokumente und Kommentare, ed. h. s. brechter et al., part 1 (1966) 7:108. b. nardi, Enciclopedia filosofica, 4 v. (Venice-Rome 1957) 3:330. a. c. crombie, Augustine to Galileo: The History of Science, A.D. 4001650 (Cambridge, MA 1953). m. clagett, The Science of Mechanics in the Middle Ages (Madison, WI 1959).

[a. maurer]

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