Oxford Franciscan John of Wales (d. 1285) is considered to be the forerunner of ‘classicising friars’ (a group of scholars in 14th-century England who renewed the tradition of composing the preaching aids and sermons by including exempla based on ancient sources in their writings). He brought up the issue of pagan virtue, knowledge and salvation, labeled by John Marebon in his recent book as ‘problem of paganism’. This paper focuses on the image of ancient philosophers in John of Wales’ ‘-loquia’ sequence and aims at tracing his means to envisage pagans as ‘praeter-spiritual’ believers in the one God and intends to display his way to solve the stated problem.
My paper shall treat the question of how Aristotelian philosophy was approached among 14th-century Scholastics by examining the controversy over the reality of second intentions. I will investigate the disagreement between Herveaus Natalis and Robert Alyngton concerning the question of whether logical determinations have extra-mental reality. My work shall illustrate how these figures appropriated, used or challenged Aristotle’s theory of analogy, univocity, and equivocity in support of their arguments. My work will thereby serve to emphasize the philosophical creativity and argumentative rigor of Scholastics working in the relatively little studied period of 14th-century philosophy after Ockham.