Author: Mário Santiago de Carvalho
Part ofThe ‘Cursus Conimbricensis’ (coord. by Mário Santiago de Carvalho)
Peer-Reviewed: Yes
Published: May, 28th, 2019
DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.3234133

The latest version of this entry may be cited as follows: Carvalho, Mário Santiago de, “Cursus Conimbricensis”, Encyclopedia, Mário Santiago de Carvalho, Simone Guidi (eds.), doi = “10.5281/zenodo.3234133”, URL = “”, latest revision: May, 28th, 2019.

General Presentation

The generic term “Conimbricenses”, or “Coimbra Course” (Cursus Conimbricensis), was coined by philosophical historiographers to reference a set of eight works of commentary on Aristotle’s philosophy, published by the presses of Coimbra and Lisbon between the years of 1592 and 1606. These were brought together under the general rubric Commentaries on Aristotle by the Coimbra Jesuit College. The tradition which first introduced this designation could already be said to inform v.g. the work of Francisco Soares Lusitano, whose Philosophical Course (1651) alludes to the “Coimbra Priests”, as he terms them, as does the Course of António Cordeiro (1677; 1714). In any case, even though “Conimbricenses” rapidly imposed itself – we know v.g. that 17th and 18th century written testimonies of the Universities of Groningen and Strasburg make mention of it –, to the point that it can still be commonly found in present-day Histories of Philosophy, because the term is topological and geographical in nature, it should start being used more cautiously. This designation overshadows v.g. other courses or course segments (still unpublished) from other colleges in Coimbra, most notably the one from the Coimbra Benedictine College. We would prefer to use this geographical term in a more rigorous manner, and thus, in order to avoid any confusion, from now on this Jesuit philosophical enterprise will be here referred to as the Coimbra Jesuit Aristotelian Course (henceforth: CJAC)

Designed for the study of philosophy in the many colleges of the Society of Jesus, literally from the Atlantic to the Ural Mountains, and then from China to Brazil, the more than three thousand pages that make up the CJAC aimed to comment on Aristotle’s work and thought. The authors of these volumes sought, of course, to do this in a manner befitting their time period. It is precisely by attending to this epochal factor that we can speak, as we revisit this tradition, of genuine innovation and originality, even though the CJAC acknowledge Aristotle’s out-of-datedness in regard to certain subjects (AnIIc9q2a2). Seeking to answer the concerns of their contemporaries, and with their most urgent challenges in mind, the CJAC unprecedently called upon the age-old peripatetic tradition and made it enter into a critical dialogue with the problems brought about by the 16th century, a novel and difficult time. No doubt the times were difficult. At least, the following words – “…en nuestros tiempos tan peligrosos” – can be read in the Vulgate version of the illustrious Spiritual Exercises (EE 369, 3) written by the founder of the Society of Jesus, Ignatius of Loyola.

It is important to keep in mind that we are dealing with a European historical-philosophical period in which, at least within academic circles, “philosophy” was pure and simply another name for “Aristotelianism” ­– or “Aristotelianisms” as some prefer, wishing to be more precise. Aristotle was “il maestro di color che sanno” (Inferno IV, 131), or “maître à penser”, and to philosophize in the school of Aristotle was to have access to the most cutting-edge knowledge. Portugal (and the University of Coimbra, naturally), in such a scenario, was no exception, and Portuguese students were thus on the same wavelength as their European counterparts.

The genesis of the CJAC can be traced back to 1542 when the first Jesuits arrived in the city of Coimbra to make their mission among students. In 1555 King John III passed down the Royal College of Arts, founded by him in Coimbra in 1547, to the Provincial of the Society of Jesus, so that Jesuits could teach and grant degrees. In doing so, the King’s goal was to solve a crisis affecting the College’s masters, who stood accused of being more or less sympathetic to the ideas of Erasmus of Rotterdam. The King thus sought to prevent further ideological conflicts, involving the masters he had invited to the Royal College, all of them illustrious foreign and Portuguese humanists.

The College’s curriculum was organized in two levels: the first, of a humanist tenor, and the second, of a philosophical tenor, which prepared students for the study of theology. Because the CJAC deals exclusively with philosophy, we will concern ourselves only with the second level. Students enrolled in the latter program studied and commented on (or, as people used to say then, “read”) mainly Aristotle’s books of Logics, PhysicsMetaphysics, Ethics and On the Soul for around four years (seven semesters, to be precise).

Even though the several thousand pages which ended up integrating the unfinished CJAC made no mention of their authors, the names of the Jesuit priests who wrote them are known to us. Here are their names (the reader is invited to obtain more information regarding each one of them in the respective entries of this Encyclopaedia): Manuel de Góis (1543-1597), the group’s foreman, who in the late 70’s early 80’s began to write his own contributions for the CJAC, viz. the commentary on Physica (Coimbra, 1592), Meteororum (Lisbon, 1593), Parva Naturalia (Lisbon, 1593), Ethica (Lisbon, 1593), De Coelo (Lisbon, 1593), De Generatione et Corruptione (Coimbra, 1597) and De Anima (Coimbra 1598). Sebastião do Couto (1567-1639), who ranked second in terms of importance, the commentator of the voluminous tome of the Dialectica (Coimbra 1606). Baltasar Álvares (1560-1630) comes third among those who participated in the CJAC. To him we owe the elegant, yet rather difficult, appendix to the volume of the De Anima, entitled Treatise on the Separated Soul. Finally, born in Braga, Cosme de Magalhães (1551-1624), who may have been the editor of the De Anima – Góis had died in the meantime – having added to it an appendix entitled A Treatment of Some Problems regarding the Five Senses.

By combining the mentioned dates with a reference by Sebastião do Couto (InIIp163-4) to the third book of Fonseca’s Dialectical Instructions, one will notice that, even though the CJAC several volumes were published between 1592 and 1606, they must have been composed prior to that. This is important, especially for erudite contemporary scholars who are interested in matters of influence, source and affiliation. Taking into account a possible timeline, we dare hazard that, somewhere between the late 70’s and the early 80’s – surely at least 10 years prior to the publication the first volume – the CJAC were already being prepared, and the team of professors responsible for its composition, namely Góis, were no doubt already discussing it. It should be noted that Góis taught in Coimbra between 1574 and 1582. Another lesson – maybe “another task” would be a better expression – that can be drawn from this story is that the contributions of Évora-based scholars to the CJAC should be considered relevant. After an internal quarrel, in the early eighties, which culminated with Spanish priest Luís de Molina’s (1535-1600) removal from the team that was working on the CJAC, the activity of the four Portuguese Jesuits consisted, especially in the case of Góis, in establishing a personal editing style based on the writings of the many professors from the Society at the College of Coimbra and the University of Évora. We know the names of most of these professors whose work informed the editing of the CJAC, but those we are most certain about, so far, are Pedro da Fonseca, Cristóvão Gil, Marcos Jorge and Pedro Gómez. We have yet to investigate the extent of their written contributions, more or less involuntary, to this very significant editorial activity, which was carried out, as noted before, in the Publishing Houses of Coimbra (António de Mariz’s and Gomez Loureiro’s Presses) and Lisbon (Simão Lopes’ Press). (The reader is invited to consult the Editorial History related to one and each of the titles in this Encyclopaedia).

Regardless of how we evaluate these four Jesuits’ initiative, its breakthrough in philosophy is unquestionable. The accuracy of this statement can be assessed by taking the following factors into account: (i) lessons were printed to ensure students would not waste time copying them (a didactic and pragmatic factor); (ii) as a team, Coimbra Jesuits tried to produce, through rigorous experimentation, a distinct philosophical identity (a methodological factor or related to research); (iii) they used an international academic language, of European reach (an internationalization factor); (iv) the work had a global impact, quickly being translated and/or adapted into the most unlikely languages (a factor related to the dissemination of knowledge); (v) their work was modern and pragmatic, simultaneously expository and encyclopaedic (conception and exposition factors).

Although right after being published the tomes in question were contested by a few Jesuit colleges from abroad, the truth is that, because they had been written in the international academic language of the time, Latin, and disseminated with the support of Gutenberg’s recently established industry, the CJAC could easily develop a rich editorial history extra muros: in Venice, Lyon, Cologne, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Mainz (one can clearly see that that French, Italian, and German presses assumed a paramount role in their distribution to the detriment of English presses). In Europe, the CJAC kept being used as textbooks until the 17th century (v.g. in Poland) and were effectively available for consultation in university libraries until the 19th century (Halle, Jena, etc.). At least until the mid-1600s, the CJAC kept being published in Europe at a pace of one volume per year. We do not wish to belittle the CJAC’s extensive socio-cultural reach – they were surely read by members of the Jewish community who attended Coimbra and Évora Universities – nor overlook the expansionist (i.e. missionary) bent of the Society of Jesus, but it is nonetheless important to note that it was due to the work done in Coimbra that Aristotle could reach China, India and South America. The various sections of this Encyclopaedia try to express this geographical variety.

Some important titles in the context of this unheard of feat in the propagation and globalization of the knowledge that was being spread from Coimbra to the world might be remembered and the following riddle, answered: how could a country that was so small, both geographically and demographically, and which, on top of that, was under the nominal rule of a foreign power, nurture, spiritually, culturally and administratively, a religious domain which was almost the size of the entire known world? Figures are too clear: 92,000 square kilometres, as regards the Portuguese geographical territory, a scarce dimension of population, then not exceeding 1,300.000 people. If we attend to the case of Aristotle in China, perhaps the most paradigmatic – we should not forget that the Aristotle who reached China is that of Portuguese Jesuit priest Góis –, we will notice that in the catalogue of the Catholic Library of Beitang, which lists the bibliographic materials that Nicolas Trigault (1577-1628) transported from European libraries to Macao (1616/19), the CJAC are represented as follows: 3 editions of the Ethica (1593, 1594, 1612); 2 editions of the De Anima (1598,1617); 2 editions of the Parva naturalia (1593, 1594); 2 editions of the De coelo (1593, 1594); 2 editions of the Meteororum (1593, 1594); 2 editions of the De generatione et corruptione (1597, 1615); 2 editions of the Physica (1592,1616); 1 edition of the Dialectica (1611) and one joint edition of the De coelo, the Meteororum and the Parva naturalia (1603). Therefore, it would not be unlikely that important figures from the European (and even the North-American) philosophical, cultural and academic milieu, like René Descartes, John Locke, Wilhelm Leibniz or Charles S. Peirce, might have come upon the CJAC. This may have very well been the case, otherwise it would be difficult to understand why the young Karl Marx read and quoted two works authored by Góis, the Physica (187a27-28) and the De Generatione et corruptione (317b15-18) in his doctoral dissertation (Jena, 1839).

Earlier, the Venice edition of 1602, dated however from October, 23rd 1601, had appeared with what it seems to be the first vernacular translation of the Coimbra title as “La filosofia di Aristotele con li commentarii del Collegio Conimbricense della Compagnia di Giesú”, by Piero da Ponte and Hieronimo da Diedo. Ponte’s and Diedo’s title said it all: the books were about Aristotle’s philosophy interpreted by the Coimbra College of Jesus. Future thinkers were to read it under this label, even though the noun “Coimbra” was to lost its geographical connotation and become a possible identity key, as may well be the unexpected case of the Levantine logic, in early modern Lebanon, routed in the teachings and textbooks provided at the Jesuits’ Maronite college in Rome. In two of La Flèche’s pupils, René Descartes, and Petro Mohyla – the latter, probably not so well known, but being the founder of the college that was to became the largest centre of scholarship and education in Eastern Europe, the Kyivan Mohyla Academy (Academia Kiiowo-Mohileana) –, is noticeable a certain knowledge and influence of Coimbra Jesuits. The same happens with two Leichoudes brothers, Ioannikios and Sophronios, who established the Slavic Greek Latin Academy in Moscow between 1685 and 1694 (the earliest example of a higher education institution in Russia); they may have used parts of the CJAC in their books.

Philosophizing with Aristotle? A systematic, deductive and dialectical exposition of the science of philosophy

A noted expert on Aristotle, to the extent that he could read the Stagirite’s Metaphysics in the original Greek like no one else, Pedro da Fonseca was the first to be contacted by his superiors for the CJAC initiative. We were in the 60’s and so, from its head office in Rome, the Society of Jesus recognized the importance of Coimbra by giving it the great responsibility of delineating a philosophical corpus which would help define the order of the new apostles (as the Jesuits were known in that town). We truly are traversing a terra incognita when it comes to Fonseca’s place in the European history of critical scholarship on the Metaphysics. Nevertheless, it would not be an overstatement to say that, during his time, Fonseca’s office played a similar role in the development of the Metaphysics to that which some Silicon Valley basements did in the more recent history of the computer industry. This cleric from Proença-a-Nova set the tone and laid the ground for the “Jesuit” philosophical program by claiming that the goal of Coimbra’s academy would be to produce a new return to Aristotle. In the Preface to the first edition of the Dialectical Instructions (1564), he provided the rationale for an “Aristotelian turn”, claiming, in what could be a sort of programmatic text, that:

The preceding era was so utterly bereft of brilliant literature that, even if every philosophy student wished to be an Aristotelian (Aristotelici haberi), there were very few who actually studied Aristotle (Aristotelem evolverent). In effect, philosophy students thought the Aristotelian doctrine (Aristotelicam doctrinam) was more perfectly contained and proficiently explained in summaries and commentaries (summulis quibusdam ac quaestionibus) composed by certain zealous and diligent scholars than in the work of the author himself. However, even if this way of thinking is generally true, it is no secret that philosophy started to deteriorate when it became subordinated to this manner of teaching and learning (haec docendi, discendique consuetudo). (…) Wary of this, our Academy in Coimbra (nostra haec Conimbricensis Academia) followed in the footsteps of other schools and began teaching in this manner (docendi rationem), returning, so to speak, to the sources (veluti in cunabulis), and considering that the explication of Aristotle’s books (in explicandi libris Aristotelis) should be our priority. (Port. transl. 1964, p. 9)

Some years later, in the introduction he wrote for the Metaphysics (1577), Fonseca will get to the point of proposing a “political” and prophylactic reading of Aristotle’s place in the philosophy of his time. The superiority of Aristotle’s thought and work (ingenio Aristotelis), provided that anything which might challenge the “respublica Christiana” was expunged, Fonseca said, would work as a powerful weapon in the fight against the threats that paganism and atheism (gentilitas et atheismus) posed to the study of science. Unaware of the mistake that to think a return to the peripatetic tradition was the key to defeat Lutheranism – this would entail trivializing the path opened up by Ph. Melanchthon – Fonseca felt like he was a second Augustine, we dare say, fighting against what he thought was a nascent and growing academic probabilism. Philosophically speaking, the idea of “philosophizing with Aristotle” (de ratione philosophandi Aristotelis) represented a call for access to scientific knowledge against those who allegedly made light of it, confining themselves to adiphoristics, which they tried to pass for the pursuit of wisdom (sapientia). To be sure, to think whatever one wants is quintessentially human, but so is admitting that humankind is not barred from science (scientia) and truth, the conquest of the latter in fact defining who we are. Fonseca was not ambiguous on this matter: it is the essence of the human being to attain science through learning (hominem esse disciplinem capacem). This statement naturally begged the question of what the path to attain it should be, and Coimbra advanced its own response.

In truth, part of the method championed in the first of Fonseca’s texts mentioned above, i.e., the reproduction, translation and thoroughly study of Aristotle’s text – in a segment called “explanation” (explanatio) –, was followed only in the CJAC’s major commentaries, viz. PhysicaDe CoeloDe GenerationeDe Anima and, partly, Dialectica. The remaining of the CJAC’s volumes obey two different methodologies. Francisco Toledo’s Roman course (1563/69) was also composed using a different method. Góis’ Ethica unfolds as a series of disputes – Disputationes Metaphysicae was also the title that Francisco Suárez had given to his masterpiece, a philosophical introduction to theology (Salamanca 1597) – and all the other Coimbra volumes took the form of the systematic treatise. Contemporary scholars have been unanimous in their assessment that Suárez’s work offered a radically new perspective on the Stagirite’s metaphysics, but the same could be said of Fonseca’s bold work in logic, published as Institutiones almost thirty years before.

Although the CJAC’s label already presented their volumes as “commentaries”, the section of the explanatio was in accordance with the standards set by humanist authors, who claimed strict attention to the text was essential to philological analysis. Thus, the CJAC tried to combine the pedagogical aim of providing students with a more rigorous lexicon for critical inquiry and dispute with that of seeking, with or without the help of older or more recent commentators, the intentio Aristotelis. However, just like the value of the original source, the importance of dispute as a research method and for the pursuit of for truth was unquestionable. For that reason, in the above-mentioned “major commentaries”, after the explanation section (explanatio), another important (if not even the most important) methodological component would be articulated via the so-called questions (quaestiones), which would normally be subdivided into articles (articulus) and these, in turn, into sections (sections). It is mostly through these subtle but telling editorial particularities that the philosophical sparkle and vigour, as well as the fragilities, of the “school of Coimbra” become apparent. Even though the method was partly indebted to the so-called modus parisiensis – a pedagogy, centred on the students’ abilities and a structured study plan, which connected Strasburg, Rome, Paris, Alcalá and Coimbra – and continued, albeit in a modified fashion, a long and consolidated medieval tradition, we can still talk about a genuine “school” of thought. Published anonymously, with great grief to Manuel de Góis, the CJAC is the embodiment of this school. In what follows, we will seek to capture and present a bit of that identity. For now, it must be said that it is immediately apparent how these Portuguese Jesuits’ dialectic-disputational approach, put to the service of the exposition of science, gave shape to what was very clearly a common contribution to the pursuit of truth. Coimbra’s editorial initiative was the product of an ambitious program to provide the Society of Jesus with a philosophical manual for the whole world. It so happens that this global pretension was emerging from a radically local basis as a consolidation of methods inherited, transformed and, above all, adapted to discussions scholars deemed urgent and formulated in the context of a religious identity still under construction. Jerónimo Nadal’s famous “spiritual practices” in Coimbra, in step with a European campaign to revive the spirit of Ignatius of Loyola, and the fact that CJAC’s composition and the Ratio Studiorum were contemporaneous events, are two clear signs of a religious identity in search for its consolidation.

The CJAC’s massive ambition, along with their geopolitical reach, can explain its incompleteness as well as its “prolixity” or bloated erudition. As far as we know, the first adjective was employed by René Descartes, who studied philosophy in the Jesuit College of La Flèche. At the same time, the CJAC scholars aspired to something impossible, not to say “utopian”: a textbook that would contain not only the commented philosophical text and its explication, but a whole array of problems occasioned, to a certain extent, by the many sections of the Aristotelian text. The textbook’s pages would be profusely illustrated with thousands of quotes and references appended to the marginal notes. Some have even called it a “hypertext”. Progressing as a powerful machina veritatis, it is undeniable that the emphasis placed upon the exposition of science was expressed in a disputational-dialectical manner, here and there dazzling diaporetic. Apart from providing summaries and highlighting the ideas deemed most important, this philosophical powerhouse allowed students in any part of the world to obtain information, prepare for exams, acquire, should they require it, in-depth knowledge about certain subjects (consider the marginal notes on display in the illustrations reproduced further in this monograph, which were very useful educational tools) and, even prime themselves for the discussion of theses regarded as merely probable (probabilis).

Let us reiterate: in the end, all of this was an impossible ideal. The CJAC we find in print mistakenly lead us to think that they reflect the kind of teaching that was done in the College of Coimbra (or at the University of Évora). One would simply have to compare any of the sections in the printed version with those in the original manuscripts to see that there were considerable differences between the real or effective teaching and the intended or ideal teaching. We only have to consider the famous BGUC Ms. 2399, attributed to Fonseca, which is much shorter than the volume of the De Anima, or the BNP Ms. 2518, authored by the no less prominent Cristóvão Gil, equally incomparable in size to any of the CJAC books. Therefore, it is easy to see that the pedagogical aspect of things was duly problematized and theorized, particularly by Couto, as we will see in due time.

This educational aspect, about which we will say more in the following paragraph, intersects with the systematic question (ordo) of the CJAC’s organicity. However, the problem of systematicity (filum doctrinae) must be considered from a number of different angles, including that of its relative absence (mostly editorial). Curiously, and once again drawing attention to the lack of symmetry between reality and ideality, it is significant that the publication sequence of the several volumes of the CJAC does not correspond to the order in which the various subjects ought to be taught, nor to the order of their relative importance. Thus, to make everything clear, so much so that this is also the order we will follow in this volume: although the Jesuits’ Educational Code (the known Ratio Studiorum, whose last edition came out in 1599) prescribed that the teaching of physics would follow that of logic, after which one would go on to metaphysics (by way of the so-called “science of soul”), in practice, things never worked in that way, neither in Coimbra nor in Évora. Also, one must keep in mind that the Portuguese university tradition in the Arts followed a four-year curriculum (or seven semesters from 1565 onwards) which also included the study of ethics. Although the pedagogical plan had been reformed several times, and given that logic’s lion share in it was indisputable, the more sensitive issues were those pertaining the place of metaphysics, the order in which the several books of physics were taught (including the so-called “science of the soul”) and the particularity of ethics.

Going back to the issue of systematicity but leaving out the historical constraints which had always hindered the plans for a curricular reform, and overlooking a few details, we may be a little more assertive as to the following: the Philosophy curriculum would have begun with a section on logic (i.e. on the Organon, giving variable airtime to each of its books and taking into account the Isagoge by Porphyry). This subject was sometimes still taught during the second year, when students would normally start tackling the Physica. “Natural philosophy”, as we can also call it, will take up a very significant part of the CJAC because, apart from the eight books that compose the Physica (taught in a portion of the second year and in the third year), the De Coelo, the Meteororum, the Parva Naturalia, the De Generatione et Corruptione and even the books on the De Anima (taught in a single semester of the fourth year) were also encompassed by that designation. In the fourth and fifth paragraphs, we will spend more time on such a clear prevalence of the Physica in a philosophical course whose aim was to prime students for theology. In so few semesters, colonized by logic and physics (the first being given more importance than the second), not much time was dedicated to the study of the Metaphysica, compressed into only a few books, which were read sometime between the third and fourth years (e.g. between March and May of 1578, according to BNP Ms. 4841, by Lourenço Fernandes, or between September and December of 1562, as per the abovementioned course by Pedro Gómez).

The case of the Ethica was somewhat similar to the Metaphysica as the former was likewise covered only very briefly, in the penultimate semester and in the second course (in 1563/64 e.g., Luís Álvares teaches it in the second course in tandem with the Physica). In addition to what we have said on other occasions, see for example what BGUC Ms. 2318 (by Ignatius of Tolosa, 1563) tells us as to what could be considered a possible, but real, course summary, in the case of the Physica: classes started on March 6th of that year, students began reading Book II on April 26th, Book III on June 8th, Book IV and Book V on September 9th (one in the morning and the other in the afternoon), Book VI on November 2nd, Book VII on the 20th of the same month and Book VIII on December 10th. During that same period, Molina, based on what we can gather from the excellent manuscript he left us (BPE Ms. 118/1-6), filled a full academic year with the Logica (1563/64), closing his address with a commentary on the books of the Ethica. It would be impossible to follow strictly Tolosa’s calendar using the more than eight hundred pages of the homologous volume composed by Góis. Furthermore, in case (as some have suggested) Molina’s manuscript was meant to inaugurate the CJAC, one would have to admit that this prominent Jesuit’s educational and editorial choices collided with those of Fonseca and Góis.

Thus, in what regards the CJAC’s organicity and systematicity, what is fundamental is not so much the order in which it was published, but how its authors theorized the intersection between the station of each subject in the hierarchy of knowledge and the order in which those subjects ideally should be taught. In other words: there is an order to the exposition of science (ordo in disciplinis) which must confront itself with the more problematic issue of the ontology of science (ordo naturae/ordo cognoscendi). Just as an aside, let us not forget that Lutherans, more concerned with theological doctrines, took into account the logical connections between the various subjects, and Calvinists, more interested in the sum total of theological knowledge, attended to how each discipline was systematized, assembling them into an organic or encyclopaedic corpus. Coimbra’s alternative on this matter is expressed on the two main Prefaces (Proœmium) to the CJAC, the first by Manuel de Góis, in the Physica (an inaugural moment of reflection on the editorial project in question), the second by Sebastião do Couto, in the Dialectica (which should be read as an assessment of the project).

At first presenting philosophy as a kind of etiology, “knowledge of the causes” of everything that exists, a distribution of the sciences is then made at the crossroads between the following perspectives (between 1 and 3, the epistemology is kaleidoscopic, not final, and 4 describes the core of the problem we want to tackle):

(1) real sciences vs. sermocinal sciences (i.e. the science of things vs. the sciences of language, external and internal), the latter comprehending grammar, rhetoric (history and poetry) and dialectics.

(2) practical sciences vs. theoretical or contemplative sciences, the latter comprising physics, mathematics (i.e. geometry, arithmetic, and mixed mathematics), and metaphysics (i.e. ontology, “pneumatology”, theology, etc.) and the former the active practical sciences, such as logic and morals (including ethics, economics and politics), and the productive sciences, such as grammar, rhetoric, painting and dance, etc.

(3) superior vs. inferior sciences, a hierarchy of knowledge or the sciences, the first encompassing mathematics, physics, moral and metaphysics/theology, and the second the seven liberal arts (grammar, rhetoric, dialectics, arithmetic, music, geometry and astronomy), as well as the seven servile arts (agriculture, hunt, military art, sailing, surgery, weaving and mechanical arts).

(4) lastly the ordo in disciplinis, always organized in ascending order, depending on whether the point of departure was discovery (inventio) (4a), teaching (doctrina) (4b), dignity (dignitas) (4c), or “evidence and certainty” (4d): logic, mathematics, physics, moral and metaphysics (for 4a and 4b); moral, mathematics, physics and metaphysics (4c); metaphysics, physics and mathematics (4d).

After having presented the encyclopaedia of the sciences, in an architectonic (and not a genetic) fashion, the exposition of the science of philosophy will seek to follow a pedagogical-educational standard (4), without trying to circumvent the difficulties in the intersection between dignity (4c and 4d), discovery (4a)/teaching (4b) and the principle of evidence (4d). In fact, although the latter (4d) is considered the “intrinsic reason of science”, from the historical perspective of the realization or application of a true ordo in disciplinis, it would be more rigorous to speak of an ontology of evidence instead of an epistemology of evidence. It is only natural that the ontogenesis of science would have outshined the phylogenetics of science in the context of an educational disquisition which aimed to pit epistemological pluralism – Coimbra’s solution – against epistemological monism – e.g. Antonio Bernardi’s solution. The goal was also to provide an arena for an old conversation about some peripatetic topoi, imperiously applying the following Aristotelian episteme: scientific knowledge consists in the disposition (habitus) to agree in conclusions which are not only true but certain, since they result from a demonstration based on principles that are evident. Articulating this idea will require us to gloss two key points. For one, we have the principle which states that “all teaching and learning comes from a pre-existing knowledge” (An.Po. I 71a1sg), and, for another, that which concerns the difference between what is known “by us” (nota nobis) and what is known “in itself” (nota natura) or “by itself” (De Ver. q.10, a.12). Positing an ascending hierarchy of evidence would allow our authors to envision an ideal non-human science and, from that standpoint, a metaphysics that would aspire to a mathematical degree of certainty (4d). From a Kantian perspective, that would be tantamount to acknowledging that metaphysics could never be a science (i.e. evident). From the vantage point of life’s natural, incarnated and pragmatic order, of human knowledge and the acquisition thereof, degrees of evidence (4d) problematically intersect with those of science’s dignity (4c). Mathematics was perceived as the key to evidence, but metaphysics was seen as the key to dignity. This means that metaphysics, theorized here as a historical or a human science, is thus not the one that offers the most evidence “in itself (or the least dignity in itself)”, but the one that provides the most dignity “in itself” (or the least evidence in itself). It is from the paradoxical intersection between dignity (old) and evidence (modern) that the theological authoritarianism articulated in the philosophical work of the Society of Jesus springs forth. But any politically engaged and religiously motivated exposition of science (in this particular case the Jesuits cannot be differentiated from their Lutheran and Calvinist colleagues) will, in its own way, try to bring together the logic of the categories and the metaphysics of substances. Let us stick to the former without however forgetting that “dignitas” was also the word used to translate “axiom”, i.e., an indemonstrable proposition that those who wish to learn something would have to sustain, and whose clarity (perspicuitas) would derive from a foundational principle that is common to all the sciences. Consequently, when the intellect corrects error or uncertainty, it does so by means of a “congenital light (inditum/nativum) which affirms the most general principles (…) and through which reasoning deduces many things (…), sometimes with full clarity and certainty, and sometimes as mere probability…” (Phpr2).

However, we should bear in mind that in Coimbra this project was (or intended to be) almost entirely philosophical. That is, to some extent, something novel and original, and it deserves to be highlighted as such. Prior to the development of the epistemology of evidence in European philosophy, which will emerge in the wake of Descartes (here too, a disciple of the CJAC), that is, in the context of the epistemology of Analytics, what stands out is an attentiveness to the human dimension of science, product of the articulation between the cognitive order of doctrine (nota nobis) and the ontological order of nature (nota natura). In other words, at the intersection between the order of knowledge and the order of nature, the principles of knowing and the principles or internal causes of being, one can locate a novel kind of human science. This will be a conspicuous and recurrent conflict throughout the CJAC. If, in any way (i.e. in an unspecified time, inaccessible to history), both orders of knowledge could coincide, for the time being there would be an urgent need to expose science as it is (its system or filum doctrinae). However, because, ultimately, an essay or a pedagogical endeavour express and realize an incarnate, historical or human manner of access to the dilemma or the paradoxical juncture in question, if one wished to outline the first and fragile horizon of the CJAC, one could always say, drawing upon a future Hegelian discussion, that to begin to philosophize (principium/Prinzip/Grundsatz) and to find a way or a place in which to begin to philosophize (initium/Ausgangspunkt), produce an asymmetrical encounter, qualitative, never coinciding. Thus, “probability” is often the only thing that historical time makes available to humans, and “dialectics” the appropriate method to achieve it. The latter is a methodology that notably multiplies questions and disputes, and the acceptance of probabilism is what lies behind the at once taxing and fascinating worldview that informs the dialogic mode of inquiry which we, following the Greeks until today, are proud to call “philosophy”. What is most thought-provoking is the permanently brittle cohabitation of probability with an unshakable political and programmatic faith in the possibility and certainty of science. Confronted with the motto “quod nihil scitur”, Coimbra Jesuits do not hesitate in giving an optimistic, affirmative and combative response to the question, dear to them, “utrum sit vera scientia”.

The science of logic: discovery, teaching and demonstration

Perhaps to differentiate itself from the volume which had appeared in Central Europe bearing the false seal of the “Conimbricenses”, the genuine CJAC volume on logic prefers to designate as “Dialectic” the set of items in the Aristotelian OrganonCommentarii Colegii Conimbricensis S. J. In universam Dialecticam Aristotelis, i.e. Commentaries on the Whole of Aristotle’s Dialects by the Coimbra College of the Society of Jesus. Let us recall that, as a nod to the European editorial market, to the counterfeited edition was given the hyperbolic title Collegii Conimbricensis Societatis Iesu Commentarii Doctissimi in Universam Logicam Aristotelis, i.e. Very Wise Commentaries on the Whole of Aristotle’s Logics by the Coimbra College of the Society of Jesus. When choosing the word “dialectic”, Couto surely wished to have it echo the title of Fonseca’s tome, Institutionum Dialecticarum Libri Octo, despite the fact that both denominations, ‘dialectic’ and ‘logic’, were more or less regularly accepted, the first being more commonly in the context of the Topics or for the study of probability, and the latter in the context of the Analytics or the study of demonstration. In any case, both denominations were acceptable and common.

The commented works included in the CJAC’s volume on Logic are (the first five assuming more prominence than the last two): Isagoge, CategoriesOn InterpretationPrior and Posterior AnalyticsTopics and Sophistical Refutations. With the only exception of the first, written by Porphyry, all these works were composed by Aristotle. The uneven weight of the subject matters the volume deals with can be explained by the importance given to science and the language at its service to the detriment of the topics. Recent interpreters have considered epistemology’s high rank to be the product of a certain regressive dissent, quite unlike Fonseca’s supposed openness on this matter. Clearly, it is correct to say that, for Sebastião do Couto, dialectic syllogisms have a lower standing than demonstrative syllogisms, and in what concerns the importance of science, Jesuits do not quarrel with each other. (It seems evident to us that Couto had a greater appreciation for Fonseca than Góis). Whichever the case, Couto acknowledges something crucial to those, like Aristotle, who see philosophy as a common dialogic quest, viz. the value of the penultimate book of the Dialectics for scholastics and pedagogy, for academic gatherings (colloquia) and the exchange of worthy (honestus) ideas (congressus), and finally, for the discipline of philosophy in all its diversity. It is for this reason, but also because the aim – not to say duty – to engage in a permanent battle against error that the two last titles of the Dialectics must be taught.

Tallies and statistics tell us that Couto’s text is 3.5 times longer than Aristotle’s Organon and, in light of that, what stands out the most is the relevance and novelty of subjects such as the theme of “pre-cognition” (in the initial chapter of the Prior Analytics), the theory of universals (in the Preface to Isagoge), and the doctrine of the signs (in chapter 1 of On Interpretation). In what follows these three subjects will be tackled but first let us say a word more about logic or dialectics.

As we saw in the previous paragraph, the importance logic assumed in the curriculum was probably exaggerated. Possibly testifying to this excess, in 1574, provincial Miguel Torres lamented the fact that students had become “buenos dialeticos, pero muy flacos en la philosophia que es lo principal” – a similar complaint one could make about some present-day University departments which, overwhelmed by analytical philosophy, end up neglecting everything else. In praise of dialectics or logic, which was dubbed “the scales of truth”, “the rule and measure of the sciences”, “the breeder of wisdom” and had gained acceptance as an effective component of philosophy, the CJAC define it as an “art or doctrine of discovery”, thus revealing the true heuristic and epistemological horizon of dialectics. Given that all science relies upon prior knowledge, its conclusions entail the so-called “first knowledge”. Following Aristotle, among the praecognita, the CJAC highlight those principles that are common to all scientific demonstrations (e.g. the principle of identity) and the “first-notions” (An.Po. II 1 89b24). As a matter of fact, presenting itself as a sermocinal science, that is, concerning language: be it through argumentation – through which one acquires knowledge about the accidents –, division – providing knowledge about the parts –, or definition – giving us knowledge about the essence –, logic or dialectics:

(i) allows us to reach what is unknown by way of what is already known

(ii) teaches us how the mind can avoid making mistakes,

(iii) allows us to investigate unknown subjects using the help of those that are more familiar.

It must be noted that in spite of its falsifiability and the fact that we are not really in the realm of the empirical sciences (quite on the contrary), (i) through (iii) articulate the specific aspect of what one could call, following Karl Popper, “the logic of discovery”. We mean, mutatis mutandis, an attentiveness to the logical-epistemological principle science and research should stick to. Dialectics may, in effect, be the driving force behind research or discovery but, to be clear, “discovery” (inventio), for the CJAC scholars, does not have the same meaning we nowadays attribute to it. The proximate goal of dialectics is to prescribe the method and the norms of discovery, and its ultimate or mediate goal is to put its own discoveries to the service of our reasoning faculties. Additionally, dialectics has the obligation to aid the other sciences, given that it studies the causes that are most apt and dependable for the demonstration of an argument. Although the issue of whether dialectics is a theoretical or a practical science is rather controversial, the CJAC seconds Fonseca’s contention that it is only a practical science, despite claiming it is divisible into two branches: theoretical (docentem) and applied (utentem). Let us try to explain this seeming contradiction: applied dialectics (utens) concerns the concrete and is connected to the scientific subjects and theoretical dialectics (docens) studies abstract matters, researching and prescribing the pure forms of discovery. Theoretical logic teaches us how to compose syllogisms according to the rules and the applied logic helps us configure syllogisms following said rules. . It would not be a ridiculous claim to read the entire CJAC as applied dialectics.

Concerning the problem of universals, in the context of which the CJAC tried to fight Platonism and Nominalism and sought to maintain Porphyry’s five predicables (genus, species, difference, proper and accident), Coimbra’s scholars promoted a particular type of unity, called “unity of precision”. In addition, two more features belonging to the universals would be their ability to exist in particulars and their predicability in relation to particulars. One should make clear that the unity which is proper to universality is the unity of privative precision, a type of unity not purely negative, common of a subject with the potential to see its form negated, i.e. divisible into particulars. In other words: the unity of privative precision is proper to a nature considered in itself, it does not become larger as the number of abstracted concepts is multiplied and it unfolds in tandem with the power to be within many. Put still differently: privative precision straddles a numerical unity (concerning individuals) and a formal unity (concerning common nature), leaning more towards a numerical than a formal unit, more “for itself” than “by accident”. Defined by a nature’s irreducibility to particulars, “unity of precision” cannot be really divided into itself or into its particulars, but, as happens with formal unity, although differently from it, it has got the aptitude for being divided. This formulation, which seems difficult, means nothing else but the intention of giving to the universal, taken in itself, a unity of it own, without precluding the possibility of science. In light of universality’s three defining features, mentioned above, it is easy to see how the so-called problem of universals inevitably intersects with that of knowledge and metaphysics. In fact, the connection between the Isagoge (which takes up the problem of universals) and the De Anima (which revolves around the question of knowledge, as we shall see) will allow us to claim that, considered formally as a relation, universals express the ultimate definition of essential being and that, ontologically speaking, relation (not aptitude) is the last perfection of universals, i.e. the very foundation of universality.

Knowledge and science naturally begin with the senses and the CJAC never wonders whether the soul is a tabula rasa, a line of thinking that links Aristotle to Locke. The information provided by the senses is expanded and consolidated through experience – in a cumulative fashion, both bookish and empirical –, and culminates in the conquest of the universal or the intelligible. As such, science can evolve and, above all, be presented in a deductive manner. By decreasing order of dignity, the senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch capture the images of singular things and allow the two inner senses – common sense and the imagination (the CJAC continue the tradition of reducing this number, following Fonseca) – to edge towards universalisation. The transition from the domain of the singular to that of the universal corresponds to a shift from the realm of sensitive knowledge to that of intelligible or scientific knowledge. Without reproducing it here, let us provide a summary of a text (Ispr5) that effectively explains the process in question: when an external sensible (i.e. an object that can be captured by the senses) presents itself to one of the five sensing organs, it prints its respective image on it (species/imago), allowing one, for example, to see a colour; subsequently, the images that represent that colour reach our common sense through the optical nerves, albeit in a modified form; this enables the common sense to acquire a knowledge (notitia); as an “image” or “sensible species”, it travels to the imagination (imagination/phantasia), which expresses the corresponding form of knowledge (cognitio), producing an “expressed image”; henceforth, this image (phantasma) will journey towards the potential intellect or passive intellect (these are synonymous terms) so that the intellective faculty can gather knowledge on the object; however, since the species to be produced by the intellect must be spiritual, and the image in question is corporeal, the active intellect must intervene, and raise the image to the plane of universality. The active intellect plays three key roles in this regard – illuminating phantasms (phantasmata), updating the intelligible object and producing the intelligible species in the potential intellect – but we should also acknowledge the pre-eminence of the passive intellect. The latter is entrusted with thought itself and charged with the task of judging and attaining contemplation. It is misleading to speak of “intellects” because what we are dealing with here is two different aspects of the same ability to think. It should be noted, however, that the triple function of the active intellect is crucial to an apt cooperation between the sensitive and the intelligible, a common feature of Aristotelian epistemology.

Because they are acts and not qualities, intellections bring the object before the spirit not in its real but in its intentional being, which is to say that thought is always thought-about (as the 20th  century phenomenology will insist). Let us clarify this idea: intellection processes the articulation between the intellective faculty and the thing thought. Expressing and representing the object of thought, this articulation leads to the formation of an intelligible aspect of the thing-in-itself, that is, to the production of an effective knowledge (notitia genita) or a “mental word”. The commentaries on the De Interpretatione and the De Anima are, in this regard, at once crucial and correlated. To compose, to reason and to judge are the three fundamental pillars of intellective apprehension (apprehendendo per intellectum) and, although syllogistic reasoning is advanced as the vehicle of science (and thought) par excellence, any reader of the CJAC will realize that, to reiterate a previous argument of this book, the hermeneutics of the explicatio and of the quaestio appear as essential discursive mechanisms for the pedagogical (and also the probabilistic and problematic) configuration and presentation of the science. When confronted with the question “what does it mean to think?”, the CJAC defend both the singularity and the universality of the procedure in question, but, whichever the case, the science they envision exclusively belongs to the realm of truth, universality and essentiality.

Being, and our ability to say something about it that abides by the principles of logic, but above all the problem of predicaments, placed philosophy in the vast territory of words and things. Any Aristotle student knows that categories or predicaments allow us to enter into an analytic conversation with the ontology of reality. Hence, the noticeable interference between the Categories and the Metaphysica, mainly in Books IV and V of the latter. We should also take into account that in preparation for the baccalaureate exam (which normally took place in February, during the third course) undergraduates that could not read the Metaphysics could instead prepare the Categories. Thus it should not surprise us – and not just that, it will prove crucial given there is no commentary on the Metaphysica in the CJAC – to find a thorough discussion on the doctrine of analogy in the Categories. Its centrality is conspicuous, especially if we take into account that Coimbra adopted the said doctrine, rather than the Scotist doctrine of univocity, to articulate the notion of transcendence. The terms that define this topic, which, following M. Heidegger, we call “ontotheology”, have always been debatable and, unfortunately, as happens in so many other theoretical fields, expecting the CJAC to clarify them would be vain. As with every school textbook, the lesson lies mostly in the two traditional formulas of analogy, based on attribution and proportion, the latter sometimes termed “analogy of proportionality”. This analogy of proportionality can, in turn, be subdivided into “proper” and “improper analogy”, the first being responsible for the distinction of synonymy and, the second, in addition to holding several concepts in the mind, effects a double imposition and relation (Cac1q1a1-3). Of particular interest to us is what results from the cross between words and things. The combination of the categorical and substantial dimensions occasions a perspective according to which one can map reality in an epistemic and curious manner. For example, the admission of a relation between quality (qualitas) and quantity (quantitas), both principles of the bodies, quality and quantity allow for epistemic, transversal, non-contradictory readings (or even teleologically commensurable), which can comprise dimensions, properties, names or entities, and even arts or disciplines, such as physics, ethics, aesthetics, metaphysics, mathematics, etc.

Different, in its material development, is the importance given to the doctrine of signs (signum). We owe Couto the first systematic 17th century treatise on the matter that Locke will name “semiotics”. Semiotics would have seen, in the work of another eminent Portuguese philosopher, João Poinsot O.P., a more systematic and thorough formulation than that of Couto. However, as a student in Coimbra, the Dominican would have read the Jesuit’s treatise. Faced with the task of commenting the original words of Aristotle in On Interpretation (1, 16a4-5) – one also should not to forget the work done by Domingo de Soto on this text (In Dialecticam Aristotelis Commentarii, Salamanca 1552) –, the reader of Coimbra’s volumes would have noticed the importance given to an already modern notion of “sign” as well as how the problem of signification was disregarded or even held in contempt, at least when compared with the way this subject was handled by someone like Peter of Spain. The CJAC all but ignore this medieval logician. Defining “sign” as that which represents to the mind something different from itself, one should explain its relation to the knower (the subject) and the thing signified (the object). Most significantly, signs can be divided (there is much debate about this topic) into formal signs and instrumental signs (they can also be split into natural signs and conventional signs). Formal signs, generated by the cognitive faculty, produce knowledge by recording a form interiorly, making an object present to the mind (e.g. the concept of the sun in the mind of the astronomer). Instrumental signs give us knowledge about exterior reality. Material objects can function as signs as long as they are known in advance as objects that represent other objects (e.g. how the image of smoke relates to fire, requiring us to have prior knowledge of what smoke is). To maintain, as Couto did, that “sign” is a “connotative term which formally indicates the power to signify and denote the thing signified” (InIc1q2a3s2) meant repudiating traditional knowledge on the signification of concepts/phonemes/graphemes (the three so-called “doctrinal signs”) and taking up a more up-to-date perspective on the matter. The ultimate aim was to, once again, make reality as a whole semiotically accessible to humans since, according to the new worldview, human beings are entitled to an ontological role and depicted as referees of meaning. Surely, this is one of the reasons why the doctrine of signs ultimately becomes enmeshed in epistemological, psychological, metaphysical and theological issues. One final point: despite the fact phonemes are generally seen as more important than graphemes, since the CJAC is a product of the printing press, it gives writing an unusually prominent role. Writing’s emancipation is presented thusly: as signs that refer to things, there is a formal difference between grapheme and phoneme, and if the signification of phonemes (like the signification of concepts) is considered simple, the signification of graphemes is considered complex (InIc1q3a4).

To Couto we also owe a synthesis between the two major theories on the master (de magistro), a common term back then, the one of Saint Augustine and that of Saint Thomas Aquinas. An inclusive thinker, Couto believed all human beings have the capacity to learn (disciplina), as long as the adequate method (ordo) is followed. Since the intellect of each apprentice is a tabula rasa, it would be the master’s job to teach (doctrina), or as it was also said then, to transmit science. Such could not happen without the cooperation of both, although with different degrees of responsibility. The teacher had to rely on examples from the sensorial realm, enable the production of images that can help the student reach the intelligibility of things, transforming the latter’s confused and generic knowledge into an explicit and singularized knowledge like that of the teacher. In order to make this clear, it will be important to make a few brief references to epistemological frameworks that we do not use today. They will likely help us understand what is at stake with regard to this proposition about the missionary motive of inclusion for one’s progression in/through clarification, using the terminology of Aristotle’s physics (act/potency). We might attend, first, to the discrimination of four kinds of knowledge – “actual confused”, “potential confused”, “actual distinctive” and “potential distinctive” – ontogenetically presented like this: confused knowledge precedes distinctive knowledge, it acts as an intermediary between ignorance and distinctive knowledge (notitia distincta); given that they may exist in the same intellect, actual distinctive knowledge can coexist with potential confused knowledge, and potential distinctive knowledge can coexist with actual confused knowledge, although it is not possible that actual confused knowledge coexists with actual distinctive knowledge, nor can potential confused knowledge coexist with potential distinctive knowledge (PhIc1q2a1). “Evidence” can, thus, increase or decrease, be greater or smaller (SaIc2q2a5), but the manner in which it occurs varies according to the science in question. Let us look at the case of theology, science par excellence. It is said that its possible evidence can concern the object and its knowledge. In the case of the former, what matters is the clarity (claritas) and transparency (perpicuitas) with which the object is presented to the intellective faculty (the truth about things), and in the case of the latter, what is important is the clarity of perception with which the object is penetrated. In fact, truth can be divided into the truth of things and the truth of knowledge; the first is transcendental (transcendens), it is a property of the being in question (passio entis), and it is related to metaphysics; the second, opposed to falseness, and called “complex” or “formal truth”, is characterized by the fact that the intellect knows the thing as it is and concerns logic. Although the quantitative weight of the latter is significant, the relevance of the former must not be underestimated. Recapitulating: even more than Góis, at the same time he fully rejected any kind of Platonic innatism, Couto reinforced the role played by experience and the teacher’s knowledge and method in education. Rather enthusiastically conceived, the underlying conviction was that the human being’s aptitude for learning would, after all, be as certain as the mathematical rule of the triangle. At any rate, the CJAC’s pedagogical optimism, realism and empiricism are so striking that Couto even admits some simultaneity between the advances in first knowledge and the progress in demonstrations (SaIc1q3a2).

Continuing with the topic of science, it will also be up to Posterior Analytics to expose the doctrine of propositional connections (connexiones propositionum), absolutely necessary even for God. This translates into the reinforcement of the essentialist track in the context of which physics will be acknowledged as a single science, fundamental but multifaceted, viz. as a vast scientia de mundo and as a committed scientia de anima as well. These subjects will be addressed in the following paragraphs.

The science of physics: the plenitude of the world or the whole world

Given that the CJAC considered metaphysics to be the science with the greatest dignity, it is extraordinary that more than 73% of their pages focus on physics. Perhaps it would be better to speak of “natural philosophy” every time to make clear that it would be incorrect to equate this subject with what will later become Galileo’s physics.

Of the five registered meanings of “nature” (PhIIc1q1a1) the central one coincides with that of the Greek word phusis, understood as “generation”, “emergence of life” or “animation”. Having established, after thorough discussion (Phprq2a2), that natural philosophy is a “strenge Wissenschaft”, i.e., a rigorous science (be it in E. Husserl’s or Jorge Luis Borges’s sense), all knowledge about the world (scientia de mundo) will be attained via the exposition of the most general principles and under the aesthetic aegis of perfection (almost in the literal sense of the Latin word “perfectum”). In a way, natural philosophy starts with that which is most perfect and ends with that which is least perfect. Put in the literary terms of the time: the CJAC fight against the contemporary authors who maligned nature by dwelling on the study (exhaustive, given that it covers the whole of natural reality) of the following theoretical fields:

  • the more common principles of physics, namely: matter, form and privation, nature and its causes, unity, species and types of movement, finite and infinite, place, void and time, the Prime mover and its attributes [Physica];
  • mobile being, the structure and composition of the Universe, the five simple bodies, the four elements of the so-called sublunar world, their place and type of local movement [De Coelo];
  • the corruptible dimension of the Universe, generation, change, growth, mixed bodies [De Generatione et Corruptione],
  • imperfect mixed beings [Meteororum].

This systematic and deductive reading of the world’s physics does not exhaust, as we will see in the following paragraph, the whole of natural philosophy, but its deductive logic and the fact that it conceptually encompasses the territory located between movement and rest in its entirety are noticeable. In another way, natural philosophy really appears before us as a parabolic figure of a vertical axis that culminated in the De Anima, precisely the text that aims to master and transcend the world. Capturing something that one can find, mutatis mutandis, colouring the horizon of Theillard de Chardin’s work, we will see that this line of thinking develops in accordance with an aesthetics anchored in exemplarism. Perhaps its paradigmatic textual expression can be found in De Coelo I c. 1. In fact, aesthetics is the genuine ground for the etymological meaning of “world”.

All the aforementioned basic principles of physics are subordinated to an ontological perspective of plenitude, grounded on the authority of what we could call “the rule of Pseudo-Dionysius”. As we will have the opportunity to see, throughout the CJAC, this rule will know many versions of itself. From a wider standpoint, however, what was at stake was the Homeric motif of the “great chain of being”, which received particular attention during Renaissance. The latter occasioned, first of all, the rejection of void space, given that, in light of a principle that stated that form is reality’s unifying principle, emptiness would shatter the notion that there is continuity between all things. Proceeding, by way of numbers, from God, who is also a unit, forms adorn “the world’s theatre” (CoIc1q1a1), natural forms always coming before artificial forms. Here Coimbra gestures towards Kant’s aesthetics rather than Hegel’s. By contrast, our knowledge of matter is double, as Bonaventure made clear: by negation (inficiatio), the perfection of the act being denied; and, by affirmation, when one attributes to it a fault or a certain degree of potency. However, given that matter was not created without a substantial form – this being more a Neoplatonic than an Aristotelian feature –, philosophers attributed to it multiple, metaphorical and sometimes antagonistic terms like: “non-being”, “great and small”, “region of dissimilarity”, “asylum”, “guild”, “receptacle”, “multitude”, “duality”, “empty shadow of the first essences”, “almost mirror”, “element”, “substance” and even “mother”.

Inhabited by movement, created nature aspires to rest. Its intelligibility, teleology or economy, i.e., all its effort (conatus) – and here’s a word which will be central for Spinoza –, is directed towards the common good. “Common”, we underline, meaning that good and perfection are assessed from the perspective of the species not the individual. Order, balance, finitude and perpetuity are other traits of the ontology of nature, taken in general terms. Time does not exist outside of the created world and will end at the moment the world is recreated (CoIc12q1a2). Although positively associated with existence, time is also evoked as an agent of demarcation, more times the cause of death than of birth, and more times the cause of oblivion than of science (PhIVc12-13). That is why existence, if well understood, will overcome the limitation of time. Refusing, in the natural order, both eternity (against Aristotle) and infinity (with Aristotle), any possible admission of the latter, in the context of nature’s abilities (viribus naturae), must exclude infinity in act, “infinity” being here taken in a categorematic sense. One can, however, admit of an improperly said infinity in act, viz. the infinity of division and addition (syncategorematic infinity). Because we have not yet incontrovertibly reached the notion of “open world”, which will characterize the modern universe, concerning the investigation about whether actual infinity would be in God´s power, the CJAC prefer the theses of philosophers and theologians who deny that possibility. With regard to the four causes, all of them in the province of the natural philosopher, without precluding the autonomy of the physical order, the mutual relation between exemplar, final and efficient causes stands out. But, given what was said in the beginning of this paragraph, we may understand the importance of a thesis according to which, although belonging to the class of formal causes, the exemplary cause is a true cause. Interpreting the exemplary cause as a “measure which allows one to assess the greater or lesser perfection of things” (PhyIIc7q1a3) the CJAC follows Fonseca’s authority.

The truest sense of “movement” must be based on the first unmoved Mover. In the case of things that have the capacity to move themselves, one must note that, following Duns Scotus, the CJAC acknowledges a kind of original identity between being and the reason for acting/moving. For now, it will suffice to say that we will again come across, in later paragraphs, with freedom irrupting from a physics of necessity. It is easy to understand how the study of movement, a rather important area of natural philosophy, can also be appreciated for its contributions to theology and for its role as the touchstone of freedom. In any case, physics’ main goal is the study of mobile beings, and movement is some sort of life in nature. Whoever investigates it should take into consideration the realm of natural causes and effects as well as reach the celestial spheres and God himself (PhIIIprp378).

Although circular movement is considered the most perfect – “principle of all movements, divine light of all material qualities, having so much efficiency that through its own virtue or capacity it diverts all plagues in the world” (CoIIc1q2a1) – circular movement is not adequate to explain the movement of the stars. Given that a diversity of impulses is required for the celestial machine to move, the CJAC recognises other kinds of motion, displaying a certain sensitivity to the supra-lunar space, that of the sky, light and other hidden faculties – to wit: faculties that are not yet known – which also influence the sublunar world. From among the six species of motion – “generation”, “destruction”, “increase”, “reduction”, “alteration” and “local movement” – the latter is the most prevalent. Everything points to the fact that the line connecting Nominalism and the English calculatores to Coimbra’s Jesuit digest, mainly via the attention paid to “universally accelerated” movement, maybe stems from the French and Salamanca contributions, perhaps the same that explain two very different Iberian approaches to physics of movement like that of Álvaro Tomás’ (De triplici motus, Paris 1509) and Domingos de Soto’s (Super octo libros pysicorum questiones, Salamanca 1551). If the importance of topology is marked by the variety of points of view on the category of place, when identified with mobility itself the category of place can only be thought by way of immobility, that being why the notion of imaginary surface gains an importance of its own. The latter brings together the notions of “imaginary space” and “imaginary time”, in which the CJAC preserve the legacy of Fonseca, the aim being to have the possibility to measure time and space, although, in this respect, Isaac Newton’s notion of absolute space-time could come to our aid.

Having surveyed the principles of natural philosophy, albeit generically, let us now turn to the world and its substance. Even though it is not, unlike what Antonio Bernardi intended, the book where the study of physics should begin, the De Coelo, opens with a theological-anthropological poem of sorts, whose aim was to portray the world as an enchanted place. It proclaimed that to contemplate the Universe was a wonderful thing and enunciated, with a Senequist tone, the boons it can bring to education, customs and the rejection of obsolescence. The perfection of the great world, the set of everything that exists, is the product of creation, an artefact of the supreme architect and of divine art. It is worth reproducing the said text in its cosmic-aesthetic splendour (CoIc1q1a3-5):

Perfection and beauty in the world (mundi perfectionem et pulchritudinem) become apparent by means of three notions: the completeness (absolutio) of each of the things that compose the world, difference and variety in nature (naturarum distinctio et varietas) and the order of its parts (partium ordo). These three facets shine admirably (mirifice elucent) all over the world (in mundi universitate). Concerning the first (…) a work’s perfection will depend upon how closely it follows its own principle; thus, the circle is the most perfect figure and the circular motion the most perfect of its kind, given that it effects a return to the beginning. As a matter of fact, all created beings return to their source and their cause, which is God, because they reproduce, through existence and nature, their images and their perfection (…). And each being through its own indivisibility represents the unity of God, just as through ornament (decor) it represents wisdom and through utility it represents kindness. As to the variety and difference in nature, the Universe is perfect (universi absolutio) for containing all categories of beings (…), given that it comprehends in itself the supreme genus of things – in which the being is firstly realized –, as well as the corporeal and incorporeal substances, the mixed and simple composites, the animate reasonable beings and those deprived of reason; and still the forms bound to matter as well as those free from it (…). Moreover – since the nature of a single species cannot contain all degrees of perfection in itself and it is thus necessary that there be many species through which these degrees can be distributed, each species surpassing the other in dignity –, one can see that this variety and inequality (varietas et inaequalitas) occurs at every level in the whole Universe, species being ranked according to an ascending hierarchy: in effect, mixed beings are more perfect than the elements; the plants more than metals; the animals more than plants; humans more than animals; and immaterial substances more than humans. There is, for this reason (…), a certain harmony (quasi harmonia) in the world. Just like in singing, where the discipline of voices produces a harmonious concert, the totality of the Universe forms an attuned whole through the agreement and variety of unequal and dissimilar things (…). At last, perfection in the world shines forth, as we have said, from the order of the parts composing it. The order is the distribution of equal and unequal things, each occupying its station (…). There is, however, in addition to this order of position (ordinem situs), another order that admirably (mirifice) highlights the perfection of the beings created; through it, the parts of the Universe are reciprocally ordered – similar to how soldiers (milites) relate to each other and the army’s commander – around a chief (unum principem), which is God: God is its efficient, exemplary cause and its only purpose.

With regard to the traditional view on cosmology, according to which the matter of the heavens and that of the sublunar world belonged to different species, the authors of the CJAC embrace the distinction between the two worlds as a likely one – its future defence, by Galileo, is well known. At the same time, the Jesuits left the door ajar to other ideas deemed by some as inimical to the Aristotelian paradigm, for example, the theory of impetus, named impulses or gravitas accidentaria, which stated that natural emanations impelled objects to fall (CoIIc6q1a2). However, it would be important to note that modern physics and Coimbra’s physics are very different, which, disregarding the usual interpretative antagonisms, and taking into account what the texts are already conveying, gives us food for thought, especially since the Kuhnian concept of “paradigm” may be shaken by the way the CJAC copes with tradition and transition.

If the De Coelo studies the place and movement of the elements, with an appendix dedicated to issues concerning each of the four elements (air, water, earth and fire), the De Generatione focuses mostly on the sublunar world. Generation and corruption, also included in the doctrine of the elements, testify to God’s providence, and the alleged rule of Pseudo-Dionysius can, in this context, be translated as follows: the kernel of the elements from the inferior world is contained within the higher celestial body, just as the lees of the superior world can be found in the inferior world (CoIIc1q2a3). Without evoking Nicholas of Cusa, at this point, Coimbra’s authors show they are not indifferent to what it seems to be a “physical” version of his program. This explains the way in which Coimbra’s Jesuits received the statement that conflict between the elements, as physical opposites, not only disrupts the Universe’s order but is also required by it. The correlation between the elements and the variety of their bonds is expressed by the predominance of a hermeneutics in which primary qualities are inherent in any element following a coherence of disagreeing agreement and the compensation of expenditures. This will assure, for example, the sublunar balance or, even better, the harmony of a world patently subject to change.

Covered both in the De Generatione and in the Meteorum, the third tier of the study of natural philosophy acknowledges generation and change as essential dynamics and promotes the investigation of so-called imperfect and mixed bodies. We are, in this case, dealing with the study of that which takes place in the sublunar atmospheric region, the nature of non-animated composites (we will talk about animated composites in the following paragraph), such as snow, ice (glacies), hail (grando), comets and phenomena produced by the reflection of light, such as rainbows, luminous meteors (caprae saltantes), St. Elmo’s Fire (Castor et Pollux), the Milky Way (circulus lacteus), sun dogs (parelia), floods, typhoons (Ecnephias), tsunamis (Euripus) and earthquakes, rays, lightning and thunders, sea storms (marinus aestus), fog, frost, clouds, winds, rains and omens of several types.

We know that, in 1563, e.g. in the 3rd course of the University of Évora, the study of the Meteororum was preceded by the De Sphaera, whose reading, as acknowledged by Fonseca while preparing for the CJAC, was a national idiosyncrasy. Portugal’s specificity in the context of European culture, as highlighted by the Jesuit, did not have so much to do with Aristotle (an authority in all Universities throughout Europe), but with the attention given to the work of John of Sacrobosco, Tractatus de Sphaera. Given it would be improbable to imagine that Fonseca ignored the prestige this medieval work had acquired in the academic realm, we believe his remark might concern the book’s relation to maritime expansion, made evident by the translation of the Sphaera that the eminent mathematician Pedro Nunes had made (1537). To Coimbra’s student Christopher Clavius we owe another precious commentary On the Sphere that ended up knowing an even greater fortune. In any case, despite not having yet received the attention it deserves, the volume of Coimbra that comments on the Aristotle’s Meteororum, is marked by a wider, yet imprecise, semantics of experience. Here “experience” should be understood, as the Posterior Analytics prescribes, not in terms of epistemological induction, but as its critical precedent, that is to say, recognising the impossibility of reaching true universality but also not neglecting the physical world full of change and variety we live on. Or perhaps, more than the problem of induction, what is here at stake, as a theoretical effort, is the very notion of experience – it is customary to speak of “experientialism” instead – somewhat opened to apprehend the qualitative nature of the singular or, to be more precise, opened to a non-systematic empirical approach to all types of reality. This is surely an element of crisis – like those that result from the option of Christianizing Aristotle whenever convenient to the “respublica Christiana”, as Fonseca recommended (Met. I, Proœm. c. 5) –, which justifies the inclusion of non-Aristotelian ideas in a commentary on Aristotelian science.

Necessary for the acquisition of knowledge about first principles and a first step in the process of induction and the formation of habit in the sciences and the arts, experience is repeatedly considered the mother of philosophy, and physics its place par excellence. Duarte Pacheco Pereira’s own motto, “experience is the mother of all things” (a experiência é a madre de todalas as cousas), illustrates the lack of sensibility to mathematics, the privilege given to quality to the detriment of quantity. Restricted to the predicaments, the third and last dimension of quantity – continuous extension – seems better framed by less-arithmetical notions such as “equality”, “inequality”, “excess”, “default”, “measure” and “proportion”. The distinction made by the CJAC between an absolute quantity (on the side of matter), and a measurable quantity (on the side of form) (GcIc4q4a2), gives us a glimpse of the kind of atmosphere prior to the discussion which will result in the modern Cartesian notion of res extensa. Here one may recall the importance of the pseudo-Aristotelian literature of the Problems, to which Góis and Cosme de Magalhães contributed and, at the same time, the Neoplatonic heritage for a notion of matter as somehow always informed, as stated earlier. This clearly evidences the heavy (and sometimes insurmountable) weight of the hypertext we mentioned earlier. Coimbra’s Jesuits were in conversation not only with Scotism (recall the mentioned privilege of the third dimension of the predicament of quantity) but also Thomism and Nominalism, and not only with the currents themselves but authors that interpreted them, sometimes very personally, like John Capreolus (d.1444), Paul Soncinas (d.1492), Chrysostomus Javelo (d.1538), Domingos de Soto (d.1560), Pedro da Fonseca (d.1599) and Francisco Suárez (d.1617).

Taking into account the irregular situation of mathematics in the Portuguese Province of the Society of Jesus (surely cultivated more attentively and strategically at the College of Santo Antão, in Lisbon, than in the College of Arts in Coimbra) and also considering the epochal discussion about the epistemic value of this discipline, we understand the small number of references to mathematics and its division into species in the CJAC. In Jesuit Coimbra, mathematics would be the only divisible or plural science. Its division entrusts arithmetic with the study of discrete quantity and geometry with the study of continuous quantity. Geometry differentiates itself from arithmetic because it abstracts matter in a different way. While admitting that arithmetic surpasses geometry in terms of demonstrative certainty and nobility, it is unquestionable that the latter carried more weight within the philosophical horizon of the CJAC. Geometry deals with the magnitude and considers lines and extensions abstracted from matter, at the same time it demonstrates the proportions of celestial circles. The CJAC did not mathematize the world nor did try to make up for it by promoting geometry. Instead, the program was clearly driven by a scientific effort to make a unitary and aesthetic reading of the worlds (supralunar and sublunar) that Aristotelian natural philosophy still separated.

The science of the soul or the invention of “anthropology”

In the previous paragraph we used the geometric image of the parabola as a means to explain a sensitive passage from the Meteororum into the De Anima, that is, from a form of knowledge about the World into a form of knowledge about the Human’s rootedness in the World. As a matter of fact, life, in all its levels and dimensions – spiritual and physical life, its causes, reasons [De Anima], biological aspects, and so on [Parva Naturalia] –, belongs to the study of the natural philosopher. It is in the terrain of physics that the science of Man or the soul is developed, and in unexpected dialogue with the Renaissance era, which, in the words of Giovanni Pico, had propounded de hominis dignitate (1486), natural philosophy will culminate in the knowledge of oneself in the world. If we wished to use a more modern word, which will become philosophically pertinent especially after Kant, we would have to say that the “anthropology” of Coimbra’s Jesuits was mostly physical. Man will have to open himself to metaphysics, or even impose it on himself, but it is worth keeping in mind, from here on out, that this will be done via the transcendence of corruption and time (although not entirely of movement) that happens with one’s separation from materiality. In a certain sense, this is where ancient Greece and European modernity come together. Or put in a more accessible, although not literal, manner: anthropology has a physical starting point and almost entirely exhausts itself in the physical domain; but it also has a metaphysical dimension, linked to an idea of dematerialization, which implies a rupture with historical time. One thus realizes that, ultimately, the ontological situation of human existence is not that of time, but eternity.

Let us begin, as we should, by the base of the matter. Written using the expository method of the Meteororum, but taking into account “an explanation of certain dispositions which are either common to all living beings, such as death and life, or only to animals, such as waking, sleep or breathing”, the volume on the Parva Naturalia constitutes an appendix to the volume of the De Anima. It is, in fact, an appendix filled with references which we nowadays would trace back to the field of psychophysiology. Let us highlight, in passing, the importance of such elements of thought for accomplishing some of the goals of Saint Ignatius’ spirituality (EE 65-70 e 73-81).

The textual relation between these two “biological” Aristotelian works was a topic of discussion, mainly due to the opinions of Paul of Venice, who strictly claimed that the animated body should be the subject of the De Anima. Differently, from the perspective of the CJAC, the De Anima should deal with life in its fundamental dimension. That explains why the De Anima should be studied immediately after the Meteororum, and the psycho and physiological matters of the Parva Naturalia, as an appendix to the De Anima. The point of departure is, thus, the vegetative soul, present in all living beings. But the true point of arrival could not but be the Origin itself, a trajectory common to every study of the human being, which explains, firstly, the distinction between the sensitive and the vegetative, and secondly, between the intellective and the sensitive. Vegetative and sensitive souls can be understood from two different points of view, seen together or separately, according to their own degree of animation, although it should be noted that the vegetative soul is not formally within the sensitive soul, being different from it in species. On the intellective soul, something more will be said latter.

Defined by humidity and heat and having the heart (compared to the Sun) as its source, the centrality and superiority of sublunar life is unquestionable: every living thing, even grass, is naturally nobler than a celestial body. At the level of true totality, life is superior to nature’s constitutive animation (perfect nature, according to the school of Aristotle) and, thus, it is nobler for a being to move itself than to be moved by others (only living things move themselves, in order to preserve themselves and their species, preserving themselves as individuals through appetite, food, and preserving the species through food and semen). We will return, in the following paragraph, to the problem of freedom emerging from this vital movement, but we should still point out that the CJAC assimilated some of the medical literature of their time. For instance, Tomás Rodrigues da Veiga, King João III’s physician and a lecturer of medicine, is seen as an authority to be taken into consideration.

Having discussed how life generally organizes itself, we now proceed to its specification, as in Aristotle, but now attending less to animation and more to animality. In the CJAC’s volume of the De Anima, what stands out is the importance given to the sensitive components of the soul and to sensitive knowledge, studied mostly in their articulation with medicine, the role of vision and the problem of the function of the senses. Let us not forget these texts were read in Coimbra campus by those who wanted to study medicine, which, together with maritime expansion, are most acknowledged for their contributions to the advancement of knowledge. But let us not forget the so-called “medicine of the soul”, certainly no less decisive for philosophical knowledge. Here the problems of the De Anima and the Ethica were articulated for the sake of an anthropology of the spirit, ideally incarnated.

Aristotle’s definition of the soul (An. II 413a22-24) comprehends four types of living beings, corresponding to four different modes of life – vegetative, sensitive, moving and thinking –, only the latter being unique to the human being. In effect, some superior animals share a form of thought with human animals – named “estimative” in the case of the first and “cogitative” in that of the latter – although non-human animals are incapable of scientific or universal thought. Following the hylomorphic legacy of Thomas Aquinas, the CJAC discuss where the soul is located in the body. According to the already mentioned centrality of life in the De Anima, the soul cannot operate without the body and, therefore, it is more perfect in the body than outside of it – that being the reason why, we may already add, History can be transcended in anthropology by Resurrection. In the interim, we will deal with the problem of separation, which will be addressed in the last paragraph. In order for the human soul (i.e. the intellective condition or capacity for science) to be given its specific and substantial form (i.e. be associated with something so universal and eternal as science) it will be necessary for the substantial being to become consubstantiated in a union with matter that is able to form a unity in the absolute sense (unum quid). Thus, the struggle against what Leibniz will call the “monopsychism” of Averroes recuperates Aquinas’s best intuition, to wit: that every human being thinks, with (or in compliance with) his/her own individuality, singularity and history, that being the condition for every person, as an individual, to reach universal science. But this also explains why some thinkers were criticized in the CJAC for mistakenly conceiving how the singular intellective soul is introduced in the human body. No doubt, the process of life begins with the vegetative soul, and the latter gives way to the sensitive and, finally, the intellective soul. Although these biological (hylomorphic) transformations happen gradually over time, in the case of the intellective soul, the abolition of the prior stages happens abruptly, the transformation taking more or less time depending on the gender of the child (80 days to the feminine, 40 to the masculine).

Via the growing complexity of life, one finally reaches the life of the spirit. A truism which will anticipate by centuries the argumentation of Portuguese philosophers’ response to positivism – recall, for example, 19th century Portuguese poet Antero de Quental –, the lesson to be drawn here is that without organic matter the spirit cannot be active but that in itself organic matter is unable to generate the life of the spirit. For this reason, the capacity to think in universal terms is a gift, injected by God into the body at a precise time during pregnancy. Deprived, from the start, from any sort of habits or species, the human soul will slowly acquire the habit of science, in the exact manner described by Aristotle: understanding firstly the principles which have a greater affinity with the light of the intellect, thence deducting conclusions either by itself, through its own experience or the work and ingenuity of a master. All the operations of the soul can be immanent, as in the case of knowledge, or transitive or near-transitive, as in the case of movements. And the movements of the soul can be either general or specifically human (for example, the movements of the intellect and the will). We again return to the topic of movement: the human being is moved, concurrently, by the directing capacity or reason; the imagination, which the remaining animals also possess; and the animal spirits, responsible for all the movements of the body (human and non-human body). However, when discussing the freedom of reason, we should attend to the characteristic mark of the life of the spirit or thought, i.e. the fact that movement will be subjected to a critical instance of separation between freedom and necessity. Let us recall that the life of the spirit, discussed in De Anima III, will be the object of the books about the active intellect (starting in chapter five), the passive intellect (starting in chapter eight) and the will (chapter thirteen).

The harmony that concerns the above mentioned physics of the world is expressed by how the anthropological difference inscribes itself on the level of existence. The fabrica humani corporis was created by God, author of Nature, so that every part of the human body would have its function, as evidenced by the admirable consonance of the movement of the heart, the arteries and the breath. Galen is not the only thinker who tries to complete Aristotle. Quoting Ambrose of Milan and Marsilio Ficino – let us make clear that, contrary to what one might think at first, the CJAC focused more on ideas than on their authors –, Góis claims that the body’s beauty is an image (simulachrum) of the mind, a product of the congruence and harmony between body and soul (GcIIc8q3a3). This harmony is observable at every level, from the movement of the will to that of the external limbs. The will operates the servile external limbs without the intervention of sensitive desire but, in the context of the faculties of the soul, the will acts as a supreme agent. We will return to this, in the next paragraph. Perfection and beauty are mutually reciprocal and, if the former rests on the completeness specific to any order or level of existence, the latter consists in the order itself. Take the case of human beings: first, their physical strength, the submission of the sensitive faculties to the will, of the latter to reason, and, finally, of reason to natural law. This explains why the scientia de anima, rooted in physics and in necessity, gestures in the direction of the metaphysical dimension of separation, where it is the competence of the will, although also compelled by nature, to announce its radical perfection, viz. the culmination of the experience of freedom against necessity. And we say “announce” because, we insist, as the human being is radically physical, only the resurrection of the body – although a glorious body – can take nature to its apex, in its hylomorphic expression, i.e., individual, personal and Christic. The elements that make up the new state of every human body are: rest, beauty – in height, size, complexion, given that the bodies of the blessed possess the four primary qualities (GcIIc8q2 and q4), a beauty which finds its prototype in Christ – and radiance, colour or vivacity. After judgment day, the perfection and beauty of the elements will increase in light, despite the fact that all the qualities of the natural order have a limit beyond which they cannot go (the qualities of the supernatural order such as grace and charity can, nevertheless, increase in earthly or historical life). The physical exposition of the science of the soul, which culminates in the explanation of knowledge and movement, directs our attention to a type of movement belonging to ethics, and one can even note, in this regard, that a word as organically political as “societas” can be called upon to translate the notions of “hylomorphism” (societas corporis) and “community of human beings” (hominum societas).

The subject of the rational soul also received much attention and was even the object of a conversation with Lutheran and Calvinist scholastics, but it is important to insist that the human soul, meaning every individual human being, eminently recapitulates all forms of life. Therefore, one cannot but underline the central role of the imagination and of illumination or light (and vision). The imagination’s centrality derives from the unimaginable territory and power (literally speaking) it acquired via the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius. The necessary and permanent demand for thought to keep returning to the plane of sensation means entailed the reinforcement of the role of the imagination – “imagination” being the frontier between the sensitive and the intelligible –, i.e., an insistence on the value and expressiveness of the sensitive. Here too, just as in the case of universals, the CJAC followed Fonseca’s doctrine, in a period during which intelligible images were being questioned (namely by Nominalism). Second, and in rapport with the defence of the mentioned expressiveness, a kind of illumination termed “effective” was advocated. The aim was to answer the thesis of the Cardinal of Vio Caetano – defender of an “objective” illumination – and by Silvestre de Ferrara, who supported a “radical” illumination. According to the doctrine of “effective” illumination, although the active intellect was not qualified to think, it still had the role of shedding light on sensible images, updating the intelligible object and generating intelligible images in the passive intellect. This was tantamount to finding a tertium (Scotist, on account of the “partial causality” involved) between those who explained the highest expression of knowledge from the bottom up (“radical” thesis) and those who explained it from the top down (“objective” thesis).

Radically physical anthropology is a product of the earthly realm (planet Earth, the house of human beings, also called parvus mundus). Let us recall the key beliefs of geocentric Aristotelianism: the planet’s repose at the centre of a voluble Universe, its balance and the ability to overcome the other elements, the excellence of its beneficence and the fact that it shares some similarities with the human body and animated beings in general. To the four traditional elements correspond the same number of human humours – blood, yellow bile, black bile and phlegm – and just as many temperaments, respectively: sanguine, choleric, melancholic and phlegmatic.

Nature does nothing in vain, does the best it possibly can, hates superfluity, it never refuses what is necessary, and it is fair because it grants everyone what they are due as established by with the uniformity typical of geometry (aequabilitas), not the equality typical of arithmetic. Operating intelligently, nature leads us to acknowledge the Aristotelian importance of final causality. We also should not forget how the eulogy of order, which prescribes beauty and stability, and connects heaven and earth, accentuates the motif of teleology in anthropology – what would be a version of the “anthropic principle” avant la lettre – in this case traversing and permeating nature all the way to its culmination in the supernatural. Human beings have this connecting role and that of transcending nature, although this motif can be traced back to the distant John Scotus Eriugena, who, understandably, is never mentioned in the CJAC. The key to nature is therefore beneath and beyond nature, both planes having their own autonomy. Given that humans live within the horizon of time and eternity, and they are the supreme or the ultimate form, knowledge about the intellective soul can be acquired on three different planes – those of the soul’s essence, of the soul within the body, and of the soul outside the body –, but only in the ambit of two sciences: natural philosophy, in the case of the first two planes, and metaphysics, in what concerns the third.

The De Anima thinks the human being via a discussion of the Aristotelian definitions of soul and the notions of participation and separation. The Thomist notion of “subsistent substantial form”, which concerns Aristotelian-Thomist hylomorphism, is considered in articulation with the eclectic Neoplatonic tradition, according to which, it is through the immaterial and spiritual aspects of rationality that human beings participate in Reason, thereby lifting themselves up from the materiality of the Earth (AnIIc2expB). This will explain not only why the human being is thought as a “horizon between two worlds” but also why one of the focal points of human knowledge is the doctrine of the necessary inflexion of the soul in the body. In other words, human beings can know themselves (the motto of Delphi is explicitly invoked), but in a necessarily indirect manner, having to return to the world of the senses, where the imagination has an imperative, compositional, even architectural role. For that purpose, humans rely on their creative power and intermediate status, essential elements of the spiritual act of thought. Relying upon the intelligible species, the soul (anima/animus) can know itself or attain self-awareness as follows: it apprehends the things, whose species is initially understood by the senses – to give an example: “man’s nature” as a common nature –; then, through a reflective act, the soul understands it by attaining the faculty and the image that enabled the soul to achieve such an act; finally, by discovering that the common image cannot be corporeal or even material, the soul reaches the conclusion that it is a spiritual potency and an incorporeal substance, and thus aware of its participation in reason and intelligence (AnIIIc8q7). As it often happens in the CJAC, these explanations create more problems than they solve, but, from the perspective of the tradition they converse with, the point to be made here is a simple one: the science of the soul cannot be identified with psychology (and does not exhaust itself in it). It contributes to the construction of an Aristotelian anthropology founded on an absolute novelty, the growing importance of immateriality and its relevance to the intelligibility of Truth. This novelty, by the standards of the time and the way of life of the Society of Jesus, was the product of an unwavering faith in reason and deliberation (rationis consiliique), in the life of the spirit, thought or science, and in the active life of praxis and science understood lato sensu. We will shortly see how Freedom and Necessity, Time and Eternity will be the philosophical problems called upon to give flesh to this demanding endeavour.

The science of ethics: happiness and freedom

Also termed “moral philosophy” or “moral science”, ethics represents an exception in CJAC, in several senses. Primarily because, unlike what happens with the main treatises, Góis does not follow Aristotle’s text, and Coimbra’s volume on ethics, instead of commenting the Nicomachean Ethics, disputes it based on Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologiae (especially the Iª- IIae and IIª-IIae). Two reasons may explain this exception. First, the study of the ethics by pupils who aspired to study Theology (also, Moral Theology) was merely propaedeutic and, second, Aquinas’ Summa might have offered a systematization of an Aristotelian book famous for its difficulty.

This choice to teach the Summa was not consensual in the Portuguese milieu of the Society. A text that perchance dates back to 1570 (BGUC Ms. 2313) comments on three books of Eth. from a perspective that does not coincide with that of the Summa Theologiae, the same occurring with BGUC Ms. 2426, dated 1596. Even more relevant are the commentaries of Pedro Luís, dated 1567 (BNP Ms. 2535/3), and of Lourenço Fernandes (BNP Ms. 4841), dated 1577. They are relevant because they precede Góis’s volume, although written in Évora. Their structure is markedly different from that of Coimbra’s commentaries: the first sticks to Aristotle’s chapters until book VI, but then provides short summaries of the three other books; and the latter opts for a thirteen chapter segmentation, subdividing some into questions.

Let us turn to Góis’s volume. His nine disputes are subdivided into four parts which configure the teaching framework and the philosophical horizon that defines the scope of philosophical ethics: the good and the end (the first two disputes), which, apart from configuring a meta-ethics, also set the ontological frontiers of ethics; happiness and human actions, first from the perspective of their principles, and then in their relation with good and evil (third and fifth disputes); the passions (sixth dispute); finally, the virtues, first studied overall, then with a focus on prudence, deemed the most important virtue and the other ones’ overseer. The remaining virtues – justice, courage and temperance – are briefly discussed in the last dispute. In conclusion, leaving out ethics’ metaphysical framework, the problem of happiness, the psychology of moral action (passions included) and the ethics of virtues (object of three disputes out of a total of nine) take up all of the exiguous space that is allocated to ethics. Do we need to say that, with little divergence, one of the most recent commentated translations we know of Aristotle’s homonymous work (C.D.C. Reeve, 2014), focuses predominantly on the same three topics that form the core of the Stagirite’s ethics?

Harking back to Socrates – more valued here than in the introduction of Fonseca’s Metaphysica – moral philosophy, we are told, concerns itself with the wide universe of human actions, happiness and the norms of a morally sound life. Or said in a more explicit manner: it sought to teach the principles behind an honest life, promote honest customs and enable a happy life. Divided, according to tradition, into the ethical or monastic, the economic or familiar and the political or civil, this partition ought to coincide with the order of moral philosophy’s exposition, the rhythm considered adequate to nature itself and the formation of a science of ethics. There is an element of this to CJAC’s plans because they start with the study of the human being itself (as a free actor in pursuit of happiness), they proceed to the study of family and they finish off with the question of human civil life. This explains the expositive order outlined above. According to Góis, ethics can be justified as follows:

(i) programmatically, the discipline’s horizon is the good and happy life, and pragmatically, a virtuous way of doing philosophy, given that it helps to distinguish between what is honest and dishonest, between what should be accepted and what one ought to reject;

(ii) its study is indispensable for whoever wants to become a perfect philosopher (perfectum philosophum);

(iii) in light of (i) and (ii), ethics primes students for other areas of philosophy;

(iv) Aristotle’s books of Eth. are still, in sovereign terms, “the primitive text” (M. Foucault) taught, although briefly and systematically, thanks to the Summa, taken as a framework;

(v) the three main goals of philosophical ethics – “to teach how to live honestly” (the foundational dimension), “instruct in the probity of customs” (the pragmatics of active life), “to guide towards happiness” (ethics’ programmatic teleological dimension) – correspond to the three constitutive dimensions of the human being: monastic, familiar and civil;

(vi) the subject of ethics is, after all, the human being, as one who acts freely (homo ut libere agit) in pursuit of happiness.

In the context of an already very brief study of ethics, even briefer are the references to economics and politics. This has consequences. For example, the volume of the CJAC on this topic is almost limited to the mere enunciation of the several parts of a virtue so important for law and politics as is justice. The printed work of two Jesuits, although unrelated to the CJAC, Luís de Molina (De Iustitia et Iure), who taught it in Évora from 1577-78 and 1581-82, and Francisco Suárez (De Legibus) who lectured on that subject in Coimbra from 1601-03, show us, however, that the study of politics, like that of law, was mostly done at the Faculty of Theology, where the Summa de Teologia was read in that ambit. The same happened in Salamanca, Évora and Alcalá. In any case, politics is present in the CJAC in the admission of a civic expression of happiness – always the eudaemonist Aristotelian stress – and one must note that prudence (the most important of all virtues) is important for the three dimensions of politics. Moreover, we already had the opportunity to emphasize the legitimacy of focus on the political dimension of the CJAC, understood lato sensu. That is to say, the civic expression of happiness translates itself into the capacity a superior spirit has to preserve moderation, repress the errant appetites, not flatter itself with vain pretension, leading it inclusively to participate in public affairs and be beneficent. Although we find in this some traces of Stoicism, they are really just that, since the Neo-stoicism of the time was criticized inasmuch as it collided with Christian values. This will become clear in the parts dedicated to the passions, or the emotions, as we would now call them, using a language that belongs more to psychology. In addition to the education that the Humanities surely provided, the ideal of an ethical education was acknowledged, the aim being to form human beings who would rise above themselves (to avoid saying “Super” or “Overman”, given the ambiguous resonance with F. Nietzsche’s word). The therapeutic conception of each human being, considered in him/herself, can thus be reconciled with the importance of ethics understood as a “medicine of the soul”. And this explains the foundational concurrence of the “science of the soul” in ethics.

 The formal distinction between the good and the end that opens this small volume of the CJAC – to put it differently, that inaugurates this series of disputes – sets the stage for a teleological moral philosophy, creationist or “theological”, in rapport with the metaphysical dimension of eudaemonia. The combination of this Aristotelian strand with the theological one explains why the treatise on happiness unfolds as a road from the exterior/material to the interior, from body to soul, and within the soul, from the natural to the supernatural. Dynamically, the procedure reminds us of Augustinianism and, anthropologically, it can even be read in conjunction with some European propositions on the inner man, humble and free. Here we might invoke Master Eckhart, never quoted in the CJAC, of course, but even more important that procedure would be coherent with Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises. However this eudaemonist ethics with a theological bent aims to justify the Aristotelian definition of happiness as a constant intellective way of life which complies with the prescriptions or regulations of a righteous or virtuous reason; in Aristotle’s Latin words: an “activity of the soul conducted by reason, or not lacking reason, in conformity with virtue, in a perfect life” (Eth. I 7 1098ª18). The emphasis of this ethics of virtues on the constancy of a perfect life would also have to confront, on the plane of human actions, not only what makes an action human but also, inevitably, the economy between the will and the intellect. Before we address the Aristotelian issue of dispositions (héxis/habitus), adopting the Thomist distinction between “acts of Man” and “human acts” – the latter being those that result from a human being and are free i.e., determined by reason and finality –, Góis refers himself to the will as the most universal cause of the movement of any of the faculties, and the intellect as the highest and noblest faculty, at least when considering the issue in its generality. We will return to this topic at the end of this paragraph, but in the volume of De Anima what we are told is that the will moves the will, and the intellect directs the will. This is the same as defending that freedom’s root is in the intellect, but that the will is free to elect its own goal which is the Good, be it through production (as happens with love), or through ordinance (as happens with intellection). The object proposed by the intellect to the will as an external formal principle is the Good and the End, and the morality of human actions hinges on the agreement with them.

The knowledge that Coimbra Jesuits had of the human being (and, incidentally, of the typology of circumstances for the moral valuation of actions) recognizes the tenacity of the conceptions, demonic instigations and organic dispositions as impeditive to the despotic dominance of the will over the internal senses. They thus speak of a “political” dominance of the will over the sensitive appetites. In the terminology of the time, rooted in Thomism, the “political” domain was opposed to the “despotic” domain. The despotic appeared as “that in which the lord rules over the servants, who do not have the capacity to resist, because they have no rights of their own”. The political was conceived in the terms of the activity of a prince of a State who “rules over its citizens, who, although they obey his orders, have the right to resist because they are free…” (Etd4q3a2). The right of revolution, or in today’s language, “civic resistance”, is the object of F. Suárez’s committed attention, namely in what regards the struggle against the intents of the Most Serene King James I of England and VI of Scotland.

The discussion about the role of the will in sensitive life gave way to one about intellective life. But from the determining point of view of eudaemonia (beatitude or happiness), the ultimate form of human happiness – supernatural –, which could only be achieved in the life to come, was an affair of the intellect and not of the will. Philosophically speaking, it would coincide with the intuitive contemplation of divine nature, the intellect’s role being to realize the object into a perfect and simple act. In what concerns the real difference between the will and the intellect, nothing, really nothing, can surpass the intellect (even supernatural acts such as the light of Glory are superior to the acts of will, such as Charity). Does this mean that the will has no intervention? Let us first keep in mind that supernatural happiness is not merely an act of intellect (and neither is it just an act of the will). For one, because it is possible to conceive of supernatural happiness in historical time, incarnated, with all its two dimensions or experiences. In this historical happiness also intervenes the supernatural charity of blessedness, and this can be the maximum expression of timely accessible happiness to the human being. “Maximum” at least in the light of two more experiences to which the incarnate individual may access, the one of a practical natural happiness, consisting in the virtue of prudence, and the natural contemplative happiness of the divine being and of immaterial beings, meaning, one of the expressions of metaphysics.

The historical gift of supernatural charity is, of course, imparted by God. It is impossible to conceal its relation to a burning theological issue of that time, the links between Nature-Grace and Natural-Supernatural. The more or less implicit clash with the Lutheran principle of the divine and salvific exclusivity of faith is also clear. Philosophically, it could be said that different conceptions of freedom and will were at stake. As the principle behind an operation or activity, the innate and gratuitous gift of charity entails the theological transformation of the will (the “habit”, in the Aristotelian lexicon of the period), capital structure of perfection and improvement in the context of the beatific process. It must be noted that a habit’s end is its operation, and the latter cannot be performed without the effort of the will. A fine theological thesis by Aristotle is here deployed to refute a no less fine theological thesis by Luther. The underlying idea is that eternity – “the most perfect activity of all” and, therefore, men and women’s supreme good – can also be attained via the transformative and ecstatic power of love (caritas) realized in the transformation of the will. The emphasis on “habits” can thus be seen as the “gymnastic” eulogy – in the spiritual sense the word “gymnasia” had in Origen) of practical or active life, understood as a disciplined exercise of an enamoured will, i.e., transformed by freedom, and freely infused. However, Jesuits believed that the will freely intervenes in love to produce its own object. Realizing that this thesis did not collide with that of the lesser perfection of the will vis-à-vis the intellect, Góis taught that the will, although second in the order of nature and in degree, is first as to the notion and the operation of the tendency regarding celestial beatitude. We will soon see where this discussion takes place in the CACJ. Let us ask for now what this may mean in the light of the non-explicit context of Portuguese Molinism? It means that every human being has a share in the realization of a horizon of causality which roots the freedom of the creature in Freedom of the Creator. Only thus can the will be understood as the first on the plane of celestial beatitude which crowns Christian anthropology, for each man and woman have, in fact, the freedom to refuse that ultimate horizon of divine justice.

The idea of a gratuitously transformed will at the level of the “habits”, which has clear implications for human activities or operations – for active life, to mention again a famous title by Hannah Arendt – also surfaced on the editorial plane. Earlier we said that in two different texts – the Ethica IV (published in 1593) and the De Anima (IIIc13q1-4), published in 1598 – Góis took up the issue of the role and the importance of the will and the intellect. It was, in fact, a rather ordinary topic in academia, at least since the Franciscans had begun using it against the Dominicans (13th century). We know that, for example, when younger, Góis answered, as a subject for an “examination” in metaphysics (Coimbra 1582), the question “utrum intellectus sit potentia nobilior voluntate”, meaning “is the intellect nobler than the will?” Despite its briefness, his examination of the two texts that belong to the CJAC presents us with two perspectives – viz. the perspective of morality or Good, and the perspective of being or Truth –, the goal being to, with a nod to Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, argue that the act of love (scilicet the will) is eminent in the realm of morality, but not in that of nature or ontology. The philosophical register of the Ethica concentrates on human actions and the existential concrete and, as such, it concerns the abandonment of an absolute perspective, requiring us to pay more attention to the physical and human causality, meaning to think with our feet on the ground. “There is absolutely no human action that does not originate in the will…”, that is, “although the root of freedom is in the intellect, formal freedom resides solely in the will…” (Etd4q1a2). Besides, the Ethica establishes that:

(i) “the will moves the intellect, allowing it to be exercised, as well as the remaining faculties that relate to human actions” (conversely, the intellect “moves the will at the level of the species”);

(ii) “being the most universal (not the highest) cause, the will concurrently moves the other faculties, in such a way that, together, the power with which it concurs and itself, form an integral cause, from which results one and the same act (in number)”

For further emphasis: “formal freedom” and “the most universal cause” concur in the realization of a single act. The analogy we can use to elucidate (ii) – universal causes/particular causes vs. common good/particular good – follows the Scotist parallelism of the God’s concurrently partial and universal nature; grounded on the God/will distinction, the “proportion” (see the text below) also ensures and proclaims the autonomy of these two dimensions:

… as the universal cause, God concurs with secondary causes in order to act, and, together with a secondary cause, He makes a full cause, which motivates one and the same act, its coalition being, in proportional terms, akin to that between the will and the remaining faculties (Etd4q3a1).

If we read the two parallel texts of the Ethica and the De Anima in conjunction with one another, we notice no radical differences, since both extol the excellence of will and freedom every time the problem of situated or historical life is discussed – the “existence”, viz. the being outside of its causes. It is here, precisely, that Coimbra is in rapport with the Salamanca of Francisco de Vitoria, claiming that existence (esse), if we trust the words of some interpreters, is the fundamental common ground of all beings; to cite the Spanish original of the Latin text of In Primam (q5a1): if something does not exist, todo le falta (“everything is missing”). Such is, we maintain, the aim of the ethics of Coimbra, its scholars advocating an optimist and humanist approach to education and equating freedom with the situation of any human being. Perhaps it would be worth to recall Luis de Molina who, inquiring into the notion of “free will” (quid nomine liberi arbitrii intelligendum sit), adamantly affirms that more than merely opposing itself to coercion, liberty’s true enemy is necessity (Concordia q14a13d2p12). The bridge between Duns Scotus and Kant can be constructed thusly. If ethics is the ground of freedom, with regard to human actions (a voluntarism which identifies the universality of the cause with the will), everything else, with regard to human actions, must be based on ontology. Coimbra tries to maintain its faithfulness to Aquinas and Aristotle, and that is why the final reinterpretation of their doctrine of truth and beatitude sticks to the contemplation of the divine essence or Being (esse). However, the fact that Coimbra’s teachers approached the will and the intellect as two really different faculties, as well as the way in which the two planes were articulated, seems to us to create difficulties that were neither resolved nor discussed. And although one might think the “dialogue” with the rule of Pseudo-Dionysius could help us, we can see that Góis deems its consideration pertinent in the context of the “affective union”, not the “contemplative union”. In any case, we at least know that, rebutting Durandus apropos the treatise of virtues, Góis sides with Capreolus, emphasizing human effort: “applied acts operate concurrently as active principles in the generation of habits”. Góis explains (Etd7q3a2): “… the intellect and the will are the active universal causes of habits”, and in those two causes there can be several species of habits, which explains why a particular active cause may lead one of those two faculties to produce one habit instead of another (such a cause would be the act itself as the product of the corresponding potency). This means that we can see what Góis did not write, but that later Western modern philosophy was able to articulate: that the will is also the active universal cause of any habit and that, still and always, the will has the role to determine the specific property of/in a choice.

Metaphysical science, natural theology and “pneumatology”

We have thus far repeatedly insisted: none of the volumes of the CJAC is dedicated to the Metaphysica. For a long time historians of philosophy maintained that such an absence could, in a way, be explained (or filled) by Pedro da Fonseca’s incomplete, but colossal Commentaries on the books of Metaphysics by Aristotle (Commentariorum in libros Metaphysicorum Aristotelis) whose first volume was published quite early (1577) in the history of Jesuit philosophical editions. Today, we are in a position to affirm that assumption may be wrong. To be sure, in 1592 (the very same year in which the Physica was finally published, by Góis) Fonseca thought about writing a volume on the Metaphysica to be part of the CJAC, but it is also correct to add that the two main foremen of the CJAC, Manuel de Góis and Sebastião do Couto, have left us their intentions and plans on some of the contents that should or could be in the books they both called “first philosophy”. However, it so happens that in addition to Fonseca’s work something pertaining to metaphysics was in fact published in the CJAC. For example, one of the appendixes to the De Anima focuses especially on metaphysics, as evidenced by the statements of Manuel de Góis and Baltasar Álvares. At the very beginning of his Commentary, Góis wrote (Anpr):

(…) the science of the soul communicates admirably with first philosophy because, through analogy and likeness we can, by means of our intellect, achieve the intelligible and free substances of matter, and the human mind, transforming itself into something higher, is called to the divine nature from whence it came.

The second Jesuit, Father Álvares, responsible for the aforementioned appendix, Treatise of the Separated Soul, clarifies that, when taken in a precisive manner, i.e., separated from the body, the study of the soul had no place in the “Commentaries on the books of first philosophy” as they had been composed by the Stagirite. Thus, although anticipating the publication of a Coimbra Commentary on Metaphysics in the CJAC, a dimension of metaphysics that exceeded Aristotle was explored. In light of its extension and importance, the mentioned Treatise constitutes an absolute novelty and appears in the context of an editorial operation – the CJAC, to be precise – which can be read as opposed to Fonseca’s method of access to philosophy. As we have seen, for Góis, access to philosophy ought to be made predominantly through physics, but Fonseca had different ideas. Already in an early stage of his career as published writer of philosophy (1564), he wrote the following in the opening section of his Dialectical Instructions:

(…) because no philosophy students should be unfamiliar with the books on First Philosophy (called Metaphysica), given they are quoted by professors at every step, and to them is many times consigned the more careful discussion of the common difficulties raised in the remaining philosophy books, I thought it would be easier for me to write, and easier for philosophy students to understand, if I were to present, firstly, those subjects containing the principles and the fundaments of all philosophy. In effect (…) once such fundamentals are established and consolidated, the remaining subjects will be more easily understood by the students (…) and more comfortably and briefly developed by me.

Since we cannot have access to the volume of the Metaphysica which should have integrated the CJAC, and in spite of what we will dare to conjecture ahead, this apparent divergence in the access to philosophy in the College of Coimbra is worth keeping in mind. Francisco Suárez’s ideas on this matter were similar to Fonseca’s, although on a particular subject – the study of the separated soul, to be precise – the former hesitated between ceding such a study to theology (in the 1572 version) or metaphysics (in the edition later revised by Suárez himself). While the reader of Fonseca’s Metaphysica has the impression that the commentary exhausts the whole of philosophy – just as an example, read V c.4, qq.1 and 2, as a possible “Treatise on Nature” – the reader of Góis’s Physica has a parallel, but opposite, impression. To be sure, the “exposition of the matters in which the principles and the fundaments of all philosophy are contained” mentioned by Fonseca, differs from the perspective advocated and realized by his confrere Góis.

Based on the textual indexes we have, what can we now add to the discussion about a possible volume of the CJAC, dealing with metaphysics, which was never published? Frequently termed “first philosophy”, metaphysics would have as its object (subjectum) of study the being qua being, but it would dedicate itself to the investigation of the supreme causes, like God, and the more common principles. Unlike mathematics, it was a single science, and to the model of analogy of attribution – “analogy” and “participation” are important keywords in the metaphysics of the CJAC – was given the task of explaining why a same name and notion, “being”, was so diverse in its habits, whether through extrinsic denomination or real communication. Thus, God, the causes, the being qua being, but also the separated substances (such as angels or the disembodied soul) and the supreme genera are all objects of metaphysics, in different ways.

Being qua being is, of course, the proper object of metaphysics, God is its main object, and the creatures, in their subordination to being, its partial object. In the commonly employed terminology, and to simplify, we might say that Coimbra’s Jesuit metaphysics studied some of the facets that are nowadays said to constitute this Aristotelian discipline. It articulates aetiology/archaeology (study of the first causes and first principles), ontology (study of the being qua being and of the supreme genera), ousiology (study of substance or substances), theology (study of the First Being or unmoved Mover) and pneumatology (study of separated or dematerialized substances).

Couto also terms it “supernatural metaphysics” (metaphysica supernaturalis), given it is a knowledge that considers the fundamental dependency of the essence of things vis-à-vis the First creating, final and exemplary (etiologic dimension) cause. Góis seems to prefer the denomination “divine philosophy” (divina Philosophia) because it deals with the contemplation of the realities that transcend nature (transnaturalium), that being the reason why he notes that in it the human intelligence reaches a contemplative apex (theological and pneumatological dimensions). CJAC’s authors often used the term “theology” instead of “metaphysics”, but they did so without neglecting the distinction between revealed theology and natural theology, the latter being the only one that belongs to metaphysics. Natural theology differs from revealed or biblical theology in formal terms, according to Góis, or, according to Couto, in terms of the “light” specific to natural and revealed theologies. Because Jesuits were methodologically barred from the metabasis eis allo genos (AnPo., I 7, 75a38 or De Coel. I 1, 268b1sg.), meaning, the possibility of, in a certain Faculty (namely Philosophy), handling matters belonging to the higher Faculties (Theology), natural theology was an autonomous kind of metaphysics. Certainly, that prohibition was not always easy to respect. We know that this epistemic separation was sometimes disrespected, although Coimbra’s dissent was marked neither by the excesses of the 1277 Parisian condemnation, nor that of Berlin, in 1794. Moreover, later, in the initial lines of the De Legibus, Suárez insists on ending the conflict between the Faculties (sine ulla imperfectione vel confusione), but “inter philosophus et theologus” some disputes would inevitably arise. Only this explains the sort of refrains we so often encounter when reading the texts in question: “dissidium”, “controversia”, “disceptatio”, “magna quaestio”, etc.

We are in a position to advance, although in a cautious and partial manner, the work that Góis and Couto produced as a potential commentary to the Metaphysica for the CJAC. What follows is merely conjectural, although based upon the indications or allusions that both have left in the texts (leaving aside the very important Preface). The fact that Góis must have started Metaph. I (A) is relevant because it is the only concrete reference left to us to both the question (1st) and the article (1st). In passing, we can note that Góis does not seem to follow Fonseca’s segmentation. Góis’s goal was to describe the perfect science, which exceeded physics in its concentration on the immaterial, not examined according to Plato, his theory of ideas being corrected from the standpoint of the theology of divine ideas. This statement is rather important since, from the get-go, it gives us an indication of the importance of “pneumatology” (a word not yet known to the CJAC), in rapport with the previous allusions made by Góis and Álvares. Above all, they both indubitably diverge from the point of departure for Fonseca and Suárez’s Metaphysics.

We cannot say more about the state of a possible “editorial office” in Coimbra, but it is almost certain that, for both Couto and Góis, the Books IV (Γ), V (Δ), VII (Ζ) and IX (Θ) had at least been planned (taught?). The easier cases are those of Books IV (Γ) and above all V (Δ), considering their importance for the clarification of the logical issues that were the object of examination in the baccalaureate, in Coimbra and in Évora. Thus, for example, Góis writes, in passing, that Metaph. IV will focus “ex professo” on Good. Book IV (Γ), we should not forget, congregated several topics that might be tackled in the Metaphysica, the division of this science and a section on the so-called first principles. And in it, the investigation of Good would have very likely been part of the study of principles as first causes or of transcendentals (i.e. of Good as an affection of being). The importance of Metaph. IV (Γ) can also be attributed to the fact that the famous formula “being qua being”, the proper object of metaphysics, was studied therein. It could have also been there that authors discussed the several theses in conflict on the scope of metaphysics, taking the opportunity to insist in the unity of metaphysics, as Aristotle in IV 2, or oppose themselves to Antonio Bernardi’s epistemological monism. More broadly, Góis draws our attention to Metaph. V (Δ), i.e., the book about “words that have multiple senses”, as Aristotle called it. Contrary to Aquinas, Góis denies that the principle of numeric distinction depended exclusively on matter, admitting too the explicit defence of the inadequacy between extension, quantity and immateriality. Problematizing the manner in which a singular natural form depends on a certain particular object (in the second chapter of Book V?), Góis alludes to the intrinsic difference between quality and quantity, or their incommunicable singularity; would have this taken place in chapters thirteen and fourteen? Referring us to a commentary of his on the De Coelo, Couto also explicitly mentions Metaph. V, more specifically how two accidents of the same species can be known by the same intellect – an issue reserved for chapter ten? Couto is more explicit on where to approach the doctrine of relation (its rationale and the species that ought to be covered in chapter fifteen), namely apropos the examination of Caetano’s thesis (De ente VII, q. 15) on the subdivision of the relations of being into transcendental and non-transcendental or predicaments. Again one realizes the important place of logic (or predicaments) in this fifth book of the Metaphysica, a position which, as we know, Fonseca and Suárez also moved away from. Perhaps following Durando, the theory of the modes of anteriority, according to nature or according to time, would also be a topic for Metaph. V (Δ) (in chapter eleven of the CJAC?).

We then have the issue of two books students were not tested on during the baccalaureate. Metaph. VII (Ζ) is the book of substance, essence and accident and Metaph. IX (Θ) concerns the anteriority of the act over potency (to be covered in chapters eight to ten). It is Couto who mentions that Metaph. VII (chapters six, seven or twelve?) will report, partly, on the differences, operations and perfections of all individuals, without leaving the topic of the species aside. Curiously here Couto confesses that he covers this very topic in De Anima III, a work of his (an allusion to an academic summary?) that we do not know, but which could have been part of the task in his hands (1612?) to revise Góis’s work for a second CJAC’s edition. For his own part, Góis alludes to Metaph. IX (Θ) as the place where he will refute Durando’s opinion, following instead that of Capreolo’s on the positive concurrence of the active principles in the generation of habits (in chapter one?). Couto, also apropos Metaph. IX (and in the same page where he mentioned a De Coelo of his, a work which we also do not know much about, but, again, which could have been previously taught), refers himself to the correlation between the intellect and the senses, the several operations of the former (simple, complex and discursive), and the knowledge about the first principles (in chapter twelve?). In case this last conjecture has some plausibility, we may say that Couto would have widened and completed what Fonseca, unfortunately, could not.

We know of other references, although not the books where they could have been inscribed. We find in Góis a not very precise allusion to rational, i.e., not real (metaphysical?) composition within the separated substances, but this subject was later taken up in the Treatise on the Separated Soul, by Álvares. Góis also writes that he will negate “ex instituto” the soul’s pre-existence vis-à-vis the body as well as the idea that the former has a lower value when mixed with the latter, a parallel topic to that of On the Soul (AnIIq7). And, alluding expressly to a few “commentaries on first philosophy”, Góis considers the idea of examining the knowledge the intellect may have, while in the body, of the separated substances. Strangely, we even find an allusion to the “books on first philosophy” apropos the Aristotelian theory of flavours (on account of 1010b18?).

Couto left us notes on what could have been Coimbra ousiology. He writes that the Metaphysica would have been the place to study the Platonic rationale concerning the common nature of substances, mainly the specific ones, which exist for themselves, universal, separated from singulars and whose division and singularity would be based on true principles. Then, he would examine the metaphysical differences between imperfect and incomplete beings, abstract substances, beings’ integral parts and their modes, and explain what genus includes the predication of the universality of a real accident, such as “man” vis-à-vis “Divine Word”. Additionally, Couto would clarify the subject of analogy, viz. of the accidents in relation to the substance, or of creatures in relation to God, since their common multiplicity cannot be perfectly understood, but only in an absolute manner, in one case, and relative (per respectum), in other. We believe that all these subjects could have been dealt with in books V (Δ) and VII (Ζ). Finally, we read that the “distinction between the passions and the actions” would have been kept for a “much more adequate and profuse explanation” (we hazard that it would have taken place in the same two books or perhaps in book IX), similar to the case of the study of differences between divine, angelic and human knowledge, or the examination of the various types of supposition (antecedent, consequent, intrinsic and extrinsic), concerning God’s knowledge of future contingents.

As it is inferred from these scarce, albeit representative allusions, it will not be possible to reconstruct what could be, or what could have been, the volume of the CACJ dedicated to Metaphysics. The reader will find in the end of this article a possible scheme of the entire future commentary. In any case, to conclude our argument, we may still insist on the similarities between Metaphysica XII 6-9 and Physica VIII. In the ambit of natural theology, these similarities articulate a core dimension for any missionary or geoculturally expansive project. Góis considers as genuinely Aristotelian the claims about the First mover or the first principle of the movement, God, the main cause of the movement, unquantifiable in terms of magnitude and exempt from change, perennial, necessary and unified. However, the points of view of physics and metaphysics may not coincide, or better, there may not be a relation between a physical line of approach and a metaphysical one. It is read, mainly in Metaph. XII 7, that Aristotle had allegedly reached the wider meaning of movement, i.e., including spiritual movements. Additionally, the Treatise on the Separated Soul contains a section on movement (de appetitu/de motu), which inquires, namely (Asd6a2), into the potential autonomy of movement, eventually conferring the separated soul the capacity to move itself and to move things outside of itself, a capacity that is, in fact, different from those of the intellect and the will.

Despite God’s omnipresence, which, admittedly, Aristotle would have likely been unaware of, natural theology attributes to God a triple movement – straight, oblique and circular – and a double knowledge – the “science of vision” and the “abstractive science” or “science of simple intelligence”. If the allusion to Pseudo-Dionysius’ triple movement is not surprising, let us not forget that elsewhere Góis picks up the Scotist distinction between the kinds of knowledge to grapple with the problem of human knowledge: “intuitive knowledge” or “knowledge of vision”, regarding the knowledge of something present qua present, and “abstractive knowledge” or “knowledge of simple intelligence”, in the case of absent things (AnIIc6q3a1). Regarding God’s knowledge of vision, which concerns the existence of things in their historical situation, God does not know via the necessity of nature, but via a hypothetical necessity, factoring in the freedom of His will which presides over the act of Creation (it is worth noting that the relation of the CJAC with the so-called Molina’s or Fonseca’s “middle science” still has not been studied). Absolutely transcendent to nature, of which He is the free author and through whose wonders He communicates with humans, God is, nonetheless, not in the heavens, but inhabits an infinite imaginary space. Furthermore, His is a non-absolute power, totally reflected in the order of Goodness, which is, ultimately, the main object of God’s will. As efficient, exemplary and final cause, God created everything with mode, beauty, order, and also number, weight and measure. He preserves everything, although, as we saw in the paragraph on physics, second or secondary causes are not deprived of their true autonomy and capacity.

Any knowledge that the creature may have of the One and Triune God can never capture the infinite perfection of His nature. The knowledge that a philosopher can have of God will always be abstractive, based on His creatures, never intuitive, face to face. Because theology is not evident, given that it depends on the dispositions of the Catholic faith, which, by themselves and intrinsically, do not tend towards evidence, the faith in the biblical God requires the contribution of physics, metaphysics and, obviously, theology. God can be thus known through causality (Physica VIII), from which, in fact, results all causality of moving causes, essentially subordinate, and equally all their effects. Consequently, the Jesuits admit a certain knowledge of the infinite perfection of God’s nature, in two other ways, following Pseudo-Dionysius: either by removing from Him the perfections which are not absolute, or attributing to Him the absolute perfections in a superlative manner.

Conversing, once again tacitly, with Molinism, the CJAC’s authors maintain that not only Goodness is the object of the divine will, but also that God’s science is as speculative as it is practical. The love towards God is, simultaneously, an honest, useful and pleasant action, providing joy and delight to the spirit, and giving us access to happiness. Being, God, the perfect happiness, humankind will experience greater unhappiness (summa miseria) if shun from the Supreme Good. Also the consummation of all mankind’s historical condition (the new heaven and new earth, or the Augustinian Celestial City), depends on God, who did not create for humans only the heaven that the intellect is able to see, but also a celestial city of happiness, where there is no shortage of Sun nor Moon, because it is lit with the clarity of God.

Thus, metaphysics also announces, in a precise way, the transcendence of time and space. But it is not the same to get to metaphysics via the physics of the World or the physics of Man, although, as seen in previous paragraphs, the physics of Man cannot obliterate the physics of the World. Another corollary: while the metaphysics of the world exhausts itself in natural theology, the metaphysics of the human aspires to supernatural theology. This happens through immateriality or dematerialization. Since we are now dealing with a metaphysical state which culminates in a personal anthropological nature, not in a gnosiological or ontological state, here the dematerialization has little to do with the Stagirite. Very simply put, according to the Jesuits who are commenting Aristotle, one can only continue talking about metaphysics provided Aristotle is overcome. As announced from the beginning of the “science of the soul”, the Treatise on the Separated Soul probes the post-mortem state, considered to be non-natural (because “natural” is the soul’s return to its bodily condition, thanks to a preternatural resurrection) but also non-violent (because during its historical life the soul progressively separates itself from the domain of the sensitive and material). Inevitably inquiring into the immortality of the individual soul, but convinced that Aristotle would endorse his thesis, Álvares’ bet in the rationality of his arguments depended also on the demands of the Council of Trent. Moreover, the famous and controversial work of Pietro Pomponazzi, the Tractatus de immortalitate animae, is quoted one single time by Álvares, but there is a clear relation between the texts of both authors. However, after covering this old pagan subject, Álvares dwells upon the study of the so-called “separation state”. Of course, in this future state, the human soul thinks without sensible images, but because it remembers its personal or incarnate history, during which it made contact with various species, while separated, the intellective soul finds itself in a radically different condition. Indeed, with separation, the will becomes much more intense, the faculty of motion more distinct, the potential intellect quicker and more penetrating and the active intellect, in particular, will adopt a distinctive way of illuminating external objects and their images. The soul’s new immaterial condition obliges us to face “separation” as being a pneumatological motif of anthropological relevance, at least in two perspectives. The first one is epistemological, because it admits of the existence of a new kind of knowledge, the second, eudaimological, since what characterizes the separated soul is its greater freedom and happiness, no soul dominating over others, all souls being naturally equal (Asd6a4).

Let us address the first perspective. The rational soul has three prerogatives: (i) instilled by God, without matter and, therefore, having an extrinsic origin; (ii) as if originating in what is closest to God; (iii) of high spiritual stature, immune to any concretion with matter, not depending on the support of the imagination, being the only form to engage in spiritual activities. This being said, while separated, human soul has the ability to achieve in itself a distinct and clear knowledge of the object, to know the infused species in a distinct manner and the acquired species in an even more specific way. The evidence to which the separated soul has access is marked by (a) the power to know all that belongs to the realm of the sensitive; (b) a distinctive knowledge of itself and of other souls; (c) by being able to “naturally” know the sphere of all possibilities that exist in God. This extra-corporeal form of knowledge, which the CJAC fittingly describe as “distinct” and “clear”, reveals itself as a possible theological (metaphysical) contribution to modernity. This would be even clearer were it not for the political component (also metaphysical) in the claim to a spiritual communion (respublica spiritualis animarum separatarum), a feature of separation, which will occasion the “very pleasant and happy life” of the soul (AnIIIc13q5a2). If we provisionally set aside the correlation between ethics and metaphysics, as well as the relation between the (meta-) physics of the world and the (meta-) physics of the human, a key lesson stands out. We may be dealing with a modern thesis of historical productivity. It states that (now) the soul knows itself better than (with) the body. Descartes will say it, with no ambiguities, in his Meditations II (AT VII, 23). However, it should be noted, keeping in mind those contemporary interpreters in search for signs of an emerging modernity, that the topic of the separation of matter (B. Álvares) cannot be mistaken with that of the immunity to matter (F. Suárez).


Met. Explicit references  
I (A) q.1. a.1: The study of immaterial beings PNEUMATOLOGY
IV (Γ) [c. 2] Good as an affection of the being ONTOLOGY
V (Δ) [c. 2 The doctrine of causality]

[c.6] Matter as principle of individuation

[c. 10 The doctrine of opposition]

[c. 11] Anteriority and its modes

[c. 13 and 14] Quantity/Quality

[c. 15] The doctrine of relation

VI (E)
VII (Ζ) [cc. 6 and/or 7 Essence/existence and/or the forms of things]

[?c. 12 Unity per se]

IX (Θ) [c.1 On the division between potency and act]

[cc. 8-10] The anteriority of the act over potency

[c.12 Modes of the knowledge of the intellect]

X (I)
XI (K)

Although articulating the authorships by M. de Góis and S. do Couto, the previous table proposes a possible subject index of what could have been a volume eventually named Commentarii Colegii Conimbricensis S. J. In Libros Metapysicorum Aristotelis Stagiritae. Despite its natural briefness, the proposal is not economical and assumes that all five subject matters indicated as belonging to metaphysics (aetiology or archaeology, ontology, ousiology, theology and pneumatology) would have been acknowledged by that volume. In the centre column, all expressions into square brackets [] are, of course, conjectural.

Essential Bibliography

§ 1: “General Presentation” – Bibliography

ANDRADE, A.A.B de. «Introdução», in Curso Conimbricense I. Pe. Manuel de Góis: Moral a Nicómaco, de Aristóteles, Introdução, estabelecimento do texto e tradução de António Alberto de Andrade, Lisbon 1957, I-CXIV.

BARATA-MOURA, J. «Uma nota sobre a ‘praxis’ em Francisco Suárez», in A. Cardoso et. al (coord.), Francisco Suárez (1548-1617), Tradição e Modernidade, Lisbon 1999, 225-237.

CARVALHO, J. de. «A livraria de um letrado do século XVI – Fr. Diogo de Murça», in Obra Completa II: História da Cultura (1922-1948), Lisbon, 1982, 569-638.

CARVALHO, M.S. de. «Introdução Geral à Tradução, Apêndices e Bibliografia», in Comentários do Colégio Conimbricense da Companhia de Jesus Sobre os Três Livros Da Alma de Aristóteles Estagirita, Translation of the Latin original by Maria da Conceição Camps, Lisbon 2010, 7-157.

CASALINI, C. Aristotele a Coimbra. Il ‘Cursus Conimbricensis’ e l’educazione nel collegio di Arti, Roma, 2012; Port. Transl.: Aristóteles em Coimbra: o ‘Cursus Conimbricensis’ e a educação no ‘Collegium Artium’, Coimbra, 2015; Engl. Transl.: Abingdon – New York, 2017.

COSTA, M.G. Inéditos de Filosofia em Portugal, Braga 1978.

GILSON, E. Index Scolastico-Cartésien, Paris, 1913.

GOLVERS, N. “Verbiest’s Introduction of ‘Aristoteles Latinus’ (Coimbra) in China: New Western Evidence”, in Id. (ed.), The Christian Mission in China in the Verbiest Era: Some Aspects of the Missionary Approach, Leuven, 1999, 33-53.

GOMES, J.P. Jesuítas, Ciência e Cultura no Portugal Moderno. Obra Selecta de Pe. João Pereira Gomes, S.J., org. by H. Leitão & J.E. Franco, Lisbon, 2012.

GOMES, P. Os Conimbricenses, Lisbon, 22005.

LAVAJO, J. C. «Molina e a Universidade de Évora», in I. Borges-Duarte (org.), Luís de Molina regressa a Évora, Évora, 1998, 97-122.

LEITÃO, H. & SANTOS, J.M.P. dos. «O ‘Kenkon Bensetsu’ e a recepção da cosmologia ocidental no Japão do séc. XVII», Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 54 (1998), 285-318.

MARTINS, A.M. «The Conimbricenses. Introductory Note to the ‘Commentarii Collegii Conimbricensis Societatis Iesu’» (Last revision: 2008), in:

MEYNARD, Th. «Aristotelian Works in Seventeenth-Century China: An Updated Survey and New Analysis» Monumenta Serica: Journal of Oriental Studies 65:1 (2017), 67-91.

RODRIGUES, F. História da Companhia de Jesus na Assistência de Portugal, tomo 2 (Acção crescente da Província Portuguesa), vol. 2: Nas Letras, Na Côrte, Além-Mar, Porto, 1938.

SCHMITT, Ch.B. Aristóteles y el Renacimiento, trad., León, 2004.

WAKÚLENKO, S. «Projecção da Filosofia Escolástica Portuguesa na Polónia Seiscentista», Revista Filosófica de Coimbra 15 (2006), 343-381.

WAKÚLENKO, S. «Enciclopedismo e Hipertextualidade nos ‘Commentarii Collegii Conimbricensis e Societate Iesu in Universam Dialecticam Aristotelis Stagiritae’ (Coimbra 1606)», in O. Pombo et al. (ed.), Enciclopédia e Hipertexto, Lisbon 2006, 302-357.


§ 2: “Philosophizing with Aristotle?” – Bibliography

BLUM, P.-R. «L’enseignement de la métaphysique dans les collèges jésuites d’Allemagne au XVIIe siècle», in L. Giard (ed.), Les jésuites à la Renaissance. Système éducatif et production du savoir, Paris 1995, 93-106.

CARVALHO, M. S. de. «The Coimbra Jesuits’ Doctrine on Universals (1577-1606)», Documenti e Studi sulla Tradizione Filosofica Medievale. An International Journal on the Philosophical Tradition from Late Antiquity to the Late Middle Ages of the ‘Società Internazionale per lo Studio del Medioevo Latino’ (S.I.S.M.E.L.) 18 (2007), 531-543.

CARVALHO, M.S. de. «Filosofia da Educação Conimbricense. Sobre o ‘De Magistro’ de Sebastião do Couto (no ‘Curso Aristotélico Jesuíta de Coimbra’, 1606), Revista Filosófica de Coimbra 24 (2015), 149-165.

CARVALHO; M.S. de. A questão do começo do saber numa introdução à Filosofia do século XVI português», in AA.VV., Razão e Liberdade. Homenagem a Manuel José do Carmo Ferreira, Lisbon 2010, 993-1009.

Código Pedagógico dos Jesuítas. ‘Ratio Studiorum’ da Companhia de Jesus (1599). Pref. de L.F. Klein; Nota Prévia, Introdução, versão portuguesa e notas de M. Miranda, Lisbon 2009.

CODINA, G. «The ‘Modus Parisiensis’», in V.J. Duminuco (ed.), The Jesuit Ratio Studiorum: 400th Anniversary Perspectives, New York 2000, 28-49.

DOYLE, J. «The Conimbricenses on the semiotic character of mirror images» The Modern Schoolman 76 (1998), 17-31.

FONSECA, P. da. Instituições Dialécticas. Institutionm Dialecticarum Libro Octo. Introd, establishment of the text, transl. and notes by J.F. Gomes, 2 vols., Coimbra, 1964,

FONSECA, P. Commentariorum in libros Metaphysicorum Aristotelis. T. IV, Hildesheim 1964 [orig. ed.: Cologne, 1615].

Pláticas Espirituales del P. Jerónimo Nadal, S.I., en Coimbra (1561), edited, with introduction and notes by Miguel Nicolau S.I., Granada, 1945.

SALATOWSKY, S. De Anima. Die Rezeption der aristotelischen Psychologie im 16. und 17. Jahrhundert, Amsterdam-Philadelphia, 2006.


§ 3: “The science of logic: discovery, teaching and demonstration”  – Bibliography

BEUCHOT, M. «Peirce y la escolástica hispánica», Anthropos 212 (2006) 160-167.

CARVALHO, M. S. de. «The Coimbra Jesuits’ Doctrine on Universals (1577-1606)», Documenti e Studi sulla Tradizione Filosofica Medievale. An International Journal on the Philosophical Tradition from Late Antiquity to the Late Middle Ages of the ‘Società Internazionale per lo Studio del Medioevo Latino’ (S.I.S.M.E.L.) 18 (2007), 531-543.

CARVALHO, M.S. de. «Tra Fonseca e Suárez: una metafisica incompiuta a Coimbra» Quaestio. Annuario di storia della metafisica 9 (2009) 41-59.

CASALINI, C. Aristotele a Coimbra. Il ‘Cursus Conimbricensis’ e l’educazione nel collegio di Arti.

COXITO, A.A. Estudos sobre Filosofia em Portugal no Século XVI, Lisbon, 2005.

WAKÚLENKO, S. «As fontes dos ‘Commentarii Collegii Conimbricensis e Societate Iesu in Universam Dialecticam Aristotelis Stagiritae’ (Coimbra 1606)», Philosophica 26 (2005), 229-262.

WAKÚLENKO, S. «Enciclopedismo e Hipertextualidade nos ‘Commentarii Collegii Conimbricensis e Societate Iesu in Universam Dialecticam Aristotelis Stagiritae’ (Coimbra 1606)», in O. Pombo et al. (ed.), Enciclopédia e Hipertexto, Lisbon 2006, 302-357.


§ 4: “The science of physics: the plenitude of the world or the whole world”  – Bibliography

BARRETO, L.F. «Do experiencialismo no Renascimento português», in P. Calafate (dir.), História do Pensamento Filosófico Português. Vol. II: Renascimento e Contra-Reforma, Lisboa, 2002, 23-34.

CAMPS, Mª da C. & CARVALHO, M.S. de. Cor, Natureza e Conhecimento no Curso Aristotélico Jesuíta Conimbricense (1592-1606), Coimbra 2016.

CAMPS, Mª da C. «A problemática do surgimento da vida humana no Comentário Jesuíta Conimbricense ao ‘De Anima’ de Aristóteles», Revista Filosófica de Coimbra 19 (2010), 187-198.

CAMPS, Mª da C. «‘The Pleasures of Seeing’ according to Manuel de Góis’ ‘Coimbra Commentary on De Anima’ (1598)» Quaestio, Annuario di Storia della metafisica 15 (2015), 817-826.

CARVALHO, M.S. de. «The Concept of Time According to The Coimbra Commentaries», in P. Porro (ed.), The Medieval Concept of Time. Studies on the Scholastic Debate and Its Reception in Early Modern Philosophy, Leiden – Boston – Köln, 2001, 353-382.

CARVALHO, M.S. de. «Corpo e Natureza (séculos XII-XVII)», Mediaevalia. Textos e Estudos 17-18 (2000), 157-186.

CAROLINO, L.M. Ciência, Astrologia e Sociedade. A Teoria da Influência celeste em Portugal (1593-1755), Lisbon, 2003.

CAROLINO, L.M. e CAMENIETZKI, Z. (coord.), Jesuítas, Ensino e Ciência: Séc. XVI-XVIII, Casal de Cambra, 2005.

COXITO, A.A. Estudos sobre Filosofia em Portugal no Século XVI, Lisboa, 2005.

DES CHENE, D. Physiologia. Natural Philosophy in Late Aristotelian and Cartesian Thought, Ithaca & London, 1996.

DINIS, A. «Tradição e Transição no ‘Curso Conimbricense’», Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 47 (1991) 535-560.

LEITÃO, H. & SANTOS, J.M.P. dos. «O ‘Kenkon Bensetsu’ e a recepção da cosmologia ocidental no Japão do séc. XVII», Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 54 (1998), 285-318.

MARTINS, A.M. «O Conimbricense Manuel de Góis e a eternidade do mundo» Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 52 (1996) 487-499.

MARINHEIRO, C. da S. «The Conimbricenses: The Last Scholastics, the first Moderns or Something in Between? The Impact of geographical Discoveries on Late 16th Century Jesuit Aristotelianism», in M. Berbara & K.A.E. Enenkel (eds.), Portuguese Humanism and the Republic of Leters, 395-424.

NUNES, P. Obras. Volume I: Tratado da Sphera. Astronomici introductorii de spaera epitome, Lisbon, 2002.

SANDER, C. «Medical Topics in the ‘De Anima’ Commentary of Coimbra (1598) and the Jesuit’s Attitude towards Medicine in Education and Natural Philosophy», Early Science and Medicine 19 (2014), 76-101.

WALLACE, W.A. Domingo de Soto and the Early Galileo, Aldershot-Burlington, 2004


§ 5: “The science of the soul or the invention of “anthropology”  – Bibliography

CAMPS, Mª da C. «The Immortality of the Intellective Soul, the Fundamental of Jesuit Coimbra Anthropology (1598)” Revista Filosófica de Coimbra 25 (2016), 353-366.

CARVALHO, M.S. de. Psicologia e Ética no Curso Jesuíta Conimbricense, Lisboa 2010; Italian trans.: Psicologia e Ética nel ‘Cursus Conimbricensis’, Rome, 2014.

CARVALHO, M. S. de. «O Lugar do Homem no Cosmos ou o lugar do cosmos no Homem? O tema da perfeição do universo antes do paradigma do mundo aberto, segundo o comentário dos jesuítas conimbricenses», Veritas 54 n. 3 (2009), 142-155.

Cognitive Psychology in Early Jesuit Scholasticism. Edited by D. Heider, Neunkirchen, 2016.

SALATOWSKY, S. De Anima. Die Rezeption der aristotelischen Psychologie im 16. und 17. Jahrhundert, Amsterdam-Philadelphia, 2006.

SIMMONS, A. «Jesuit Aristotelian Education: The ‘De Anima’ Commentaries» in J.W. O’Malley et al. (ed.), The Jesuits. Cultures, Sciences, and the Arts 1540-1773, Toronto Buffalo London, 1999, 522-537.


§ 6: “The science of ethics: happiness and freedom”  – Bibliography

A Escola Ibérica da Paz nas Universidades de Coimbra e Évora (séculos XVI e XVII). Volume II: Escritos sobre a Justiça, o Poder e a Escravatura, dir. and coord. by P. Calafate, Coimbra, 2015.

ANDRADE, A.A.B de. «Introdução», in Curso Conimbricense I. Pe. Manuel de Góis: Moral a Nicómaco, de Aristóteles, Introdução, estabelecimento do texto e tradução de António Alberto de Andrade, Lisboa 1957, I-CXIV.

CARVALHO, M.S. de. Psicologia e Ética no Curso Jesuíta Conimbricense, Lisboa 2010; Italian trans.: Psicologia e Ética nel ‘Cursus Conimbricensis’, Rome, 2014.

CARVALHO, «Estudo Complementar», in Manuel de Góis, S.J. Tratado da Felicidade, 65-115.

CARVALHO, M.S. de. «Des passions vertueuses ? Sur la réception de la doctrine thomiste des passions à la veille de l’anthropologie moderne» in J.F. Meirinhos (ed.), Itinéraires de la Raison. Études de philosophie médiévale offertes à Maria Cândida Pacheco, Louvain-la-Neuve, 2005, 379-403.

FUERTES HERREROS, J.L. El discurso de los saberes en la Europa del Renacimiento y del Barroco, Salamanca, 2012.

MOLINA, L. de. Concordia liberi arbitrii cum gratiae donis, divina praescientia, providentia, praedestinatione et reprobatione ad nonnullos primae partis D. Thomae articulos, Lisbon: A. Ribeiro, 1588.

ORREGO SÁNCHEZ, S. La actualidad del Ser en la ‘Primera Escuela’ de Salamanca. Con lecciones inéditas de Vitória, Soto y Cano, Pamplona, 2004.

SANTOS, M.A.M. «Apontamentos à margem das Conclusões impressas dos Mestres Jesuítas portugueses de Filosofia» Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 11/2 (1955), 561-567.


§ 7: “Metaphysical science, natural theology and “pneumatology””  – Bibliography

BURLANDO B, G. «Autoconocimiento intelectual en el ‘De Anima’ de Francisco Suárez y las ‘Meditaciones sobre Filosofía Primera’ de Descartes», in A. Cardoso et. al (coord.), Francisco Suárez (1548-1617), 169-186.

CARVALHO, M.S. de. «The Concept of Time According to The Coimbra Commentaries», in P. Porro (ed.), The Medieval Concept of Time. Studies on the Scholastic Debate and Its Reception in Early Modern Philosophy, Leiden – Boston – Köln, 2001, 353-382.

CARVALHO, M.S. de. «Tra Fonseca e Suárez: una metafisica incompiuta a Coimbra» Quaestio. Annuario di storia della metafisica 9 (2009) 41-59.

CARVALHO, M. S. de. «Between Rome and Coimbra: A Preliminary Survey of two Early Jesuit Psychologies (Benet Perera and the Coimbra Course)», Quaestio. Annuario di Storia della metafisica 14 (2014), 91-110.

Cognitive Psychology in Early Jesuit Scholasticism. Edited by D. Heider, Neunkirchen, 2016.

COUJOU, Jean-Paul. Suárez et la refondation de la métaphysique comme ontologie, Paris 1999.

FONSECA, P. Commentariorum in libros Metaphysicorum Aristotelis. T. IV, Hildesheim 1964 [orig. ed.: Cologne, 1615].

GUIDI, Simone. . L’Angelo e la macchina. Sulla genesi della ‘res cogitans’ cartesiana, Milano: Franco Angeli, 2018.

MARTINS, A.M. «Pedro da Fonseca e a recepção da ‘Metafísica’ de Aristóteles na segunda metade do século XVI» Philosophica 14 (1999), 165-178.

PEREIRA, J. Suárez. Between Scholasticism and Modernity, Milwaukee Wis. 2006.

Philosophy in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. Conversations with Aristotle. Edited by C. Blackwell & S. Kusukawa, Aldershot-Sydney, 1999.

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