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Jack Alan Reynolds
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Mind 105 (418) (1996)
The Cambridge Translations of Medieval Philosophical Texts are meant to be companions to The Cambridge History of Later Medieval Philosophy,1 which appeared in 1982. They have been slow in coming, however: the first volume, Logic and the Philosophy of Language,2 appeared in 1988, and this second volume, Ethics and Political Philosophy, in 2001. The connection between the History and the Trans- lations is somewhat loose in any case. For example, a volume on Philosophical Theology is planned for the Translations series even though the History notoriously avoided philosophical theology altogether.3 And the volume now under review provides texts on such topics as self-sacrifice (in translations 5–8) and resistance to authority (in translations 9–11), which were not treated in detail in the History. Even so, the History is not entirely forgotten. For example, the History’s coverage of the reception of Aristotle’s Ethics and especially the debate about the ultimate end can be profitably studied in connection with this volume’s two extended treatments of book 10 of the Ethics (Albert the Great in translation 1 and Jean Buridan in translation 16); and the History’s discussion of conscience is fleshed out in translation 2, which presents Bonaventure’s analysis of conscience and synderesis. It would have been useful, I think, to have another text on conscience for purposes of comparison, although as McGrade points out, Bonaventure’s “conclusion that one ought (in conscience) to comply more with the command of a superior than with one’s own conscience … is implicitly contested by Ockham in Translation 15” (170), which asks whether an errant individual is bound to recant at the rebuke of a superior.
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