Der Gelehrte bei Marsilius von Padua und Wilhelm von Ockham. Zur Abgrenzung von politischer und gelehrter Autorität in der Philosophie des 14. Jahrhunderts

Das Mittelalter 17 (2):16-33 (2012)
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Abstract

In ‘The Republic’, Plato famously reduced practical authority to theoretical authority, arguing that a just society must be governed by philosophers. This idea of the philosopher-king flourished in the medieval specula principum. The medieval papacy was grounded on a similar blend of practical and theoretical authority. The Pope was credited with the capacity to decide on the truth of beliefs because he was elected to office. In their fight against the omnicompetence of the Pope, Marsilius of Padua and William of Ockham were aware that in order to contain the power of the papal office, they had to find a way of legitimately distinguishing between theoretical and practical authority. Consequently, both of them severed the traditional link between political theory and virtue ethics, considering the virtue and the wisdom of the ruler as accidental to the legitimacy of government. In contrast to this demotion of theoretical authority in the state, both Marsilius and William argued that experts should play a bigger role in the church. The definition of true belief and heresy should not, according to them, lie in the hands of an elected official (i. e. the Pope), but rather in the hands of theological experts. This article aims to show that the critique of the papal monarchy gave rise to a new understanding of the distinction between theoretical and practical authority.

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