Discussion on the Existence of Universals in Paul of Pyskowice’s Autonomous Question "Utrum universalia subsistant" preserved in Cod. BJ 1900


  • Hanna WOJTCZAK


Krakow Jagiellonian Library, Cod. BJ 1900; Albertus Magnus; opinio Platonis, opinio Vicklefistarum, opinio Aristotelis; universale in potentia; universale secundum actum; universale in re, post rem, ante rem; universale pro eius formali/materiali/essentiali significato


The problem of the ontological status of universals is one of the most important topics of the medieval discussion, which was also attended by Paweł of Pyskowice, a scholar from Kraków in the first half of the 15th century. He addressed this question in his very extensive commentary on Isagoga (preserved in cod. BJ 1900, mostly in Paul’s handwriting), whose authorship was for years wrongly attributed to Benedict Hesse. In this commentary, 9 questions were devoted to the so-called difficult Porfrian questions. Two of them bear the title Utrum univeralia subsistant. The same title is also given to the stand-alone question (written in Paul’s handwriting but loosely attached to cod. BJ 1900) which is the subject of this paper. Although it repeats the subject of two questions belonging to the commentary, it definitely differs from them — not only in substance but also in form. At the beginning, Paul presents three realistic positions: two extreme ones, i.e. Platonic and Wyclifist, and a moderate one — Aristotelian. Referring to them, he adopts the Aristotelian solution, according to which there is no universal in essendo separated from individual things. Paweł analyses universals on two levels: the metaphysical or epistemological, and the logical.