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Godfrey of Fontaines (c.1250–c.1306/9)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-B047-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 24, 2024, from

Article Summary

Godfrey of Fontaines studied philosophy and theology at the University of Paris and subsequently taught theology there. A theologian by profession, he developed a highly interesting philosophy, especially a metaphysics. For Godfrey, metaphysics studies being as being. Being itself is divided into cognitive being and real being, and real being is divided into being in act and being in potency. In finite beings, essence and existence are neither really distinct nor intentionally distinct; they are identical. Human reason can prove that God exists, and reach some imperfect knowledge concerning what God is, but cannot prove that the world began to be. For Godfrey, corporeal entities in this world are composed of matter and form, but heavenly bodies probably lack prime matter. On philosophical grounds, he favours the theory that there is only one substantial form in human beings – the intellective soul – but for theological reasons leaves this question open. His philosophy is somewhat more Aristotelian and less Neoplatonic than that of most of his contemporaries.

Citing this article:
Wippel, John F.. Godfrey of Fontaines (c.1250–c.1306/9), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-B047-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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