Basic Notions of Metaphysics: Transcendentals
In this podcast we investigate the Medieval notion of “transcendentals”, an underlying and all pervading principle of Sacra Doctrina and philosophy of Middle Ages that was nevertheless rarely in the focus of contemporary scholarship. The doctrine of transcendentals is one of those teachings that are so common and obvious that one has trouble noticing it, similarly as we have trouble noticing air that we’re breathing.
We differentiate the original meaning of the term “transcendental” from its modern use, inaugurated by Immanuel Kant, and proceed to depict what “Being”, “One”, “True”, “Good” et al. meant as “convertibles” for the sages of Medieval Tradition and why is this convertibility so important.
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I recall Paracelsus, to whom philosophical cognition was a “zuwerffen” – objects throwing their meaning at man. Because they have that bit of firmament in them. It says itself what it is.
What happened to being in philosophical discourse? I think it was replaced by knowledge as the most important. Knowledge has an economic value. It’s treated as a commodity (rightly so I’d say). The more specialized (rare) knowledge is, the more value it has.
Being, on the other hand, is the most universal, basic, common and therefore economically worthless trait a thing can have.
Being escapes categories yet these days people seem to want to become more categorized.