Divine Light and Human Wisdom: Transcendental Elements in Bonaventure’s Illumination Theory

International Philosophical Quarterly 48 (2):175-185 (2008)
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Abstract

This paper argues that structural elements of Bonaventure’s illumination theory significantly parallel Kantian transcendental philosophy. The question of whetherand what elements of transcendental thought can be found in Bonaventure’s philosophy is potentially instructive both for understanding medieval influences on transcendental philosophy and for raising the philosophical question of why substantially similar premises and thought-patterns result in substantially different solutions. After defining what I mean by “transcendental philosophy” and justifying that definition I turn to Bonaventure’s illumination theory and highlight thought patterns parallel to Kantian transcendental philosophy that emerge in Bonaventure’s epistemology. Finally, I discuss how their differences help us to understand the variations in medieval and modern solutions to what is sometimes termed “the transcendental problem.”

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