Galina Vdovina. Late Thomists and Jesuits on the Mental Speech: Structural and Ontological Aspects. Vol. 3. No. 1. 2018

Publication Details

Late Thomists and Jesuits on the Mental Speech: Structural and Ontological Aspects
Title in the language of publication: Поздние томисты и иезуиты о ментальной речи: структурно-онтологические аспекты
Galina Vdovina
Doctor of Philosophy, Leading Research Fellow at the Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Address: 12/1 Goncharnaya Str., Moscow 109240, Russia.
P. 199–226.
Language: Russian
Document type: Research Article


The article considers the theme of thought as mental speech, as it was elaborated in the 17th century scholastic philosophy. The texts that served as the material for the article belong to the least studied part of the scholastic tradition; there are no modern publications about some mentioned authors. Meanwhile, it is post-medieval scholasticism that represents the culmination of scholastic thought, especially in an area that will later be attributed to the philosophy of mind. The analysis is concentrated on the problem of ontological units which are involved in the process of mental speaking, and on the concept as mental word that is produced in this mental speech act. The article investigates two leading post medieval scholastic conceptions of mental speech. One of them was elaborated by late Thomists, particulary, by John of St. Thomas (João Poinsot); another conception pertains to Jesuit philosophers and is considered through examples of several philosophical texts from the 17th century. The article shows that conceptions of late Thomists are ontologically overloaded as a result of introducing additional ontological units for different functions of a mental speech act. Besides, they almost inevitably lead to a representationalist understanding of the relation existing between thought and external reality. Instead, a distinctive trait of Jesuits’ conceptions is their ontological economy: plurality of functions of mental acts is not duplicated with the plurality of ontological units performing those functions. Moreover, Jesuits’ doctrines present the direct cognitive access to the external reality as theoretically plausible. That is why those conceptions appear considerably less archaic and more attractive for the contemporary philosophy and surely deserve further deep investigation.


17th century scholasticism, mental speech, late Thomists, Jesuits, quality in intellect, mental word, intentional act.


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© Galina Vdovina, 2018

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