The Problem of Infinity in Kyiv-Mohylian Philosophical Courses (the 17th– 18th centuries): A Preliminary Study

Keywords: infinity, Kyiv-Mohyla Academy,, scholasticism, actual and potential infinity, Pedro Hurtado de Mendoza, Rodrigo de Arriaga, Thomas Aquinas

Abstract

The article analyses the explication of the infinity in the philosophical courses taught at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy at the 17th and 18th centuries. It examines 12 philosophical courses – since 1645 (the course by Inokentii Gizel) until 1751 (the course by Georgii Konyskyi). It shows how the infinity was defined and in which kinds it was divided in different courses. In general, all the professors, as well as other scholastic philosophers, agree that categorematic infinity exists only in God, but syncategorematic is present in the created world. Regarding the question whether God, being omnipotent, can create a categorematic infinity in the world, the Mogilyans are divided into several camps: (1) Inokentii Gizel, Stefan Yavorskyi, Inokentii Popovskyi, Sylvestr Pinovskyi, Platon Malynovskyi gave a positive answer to the question; (2) Yosyf Volchanskyi, Ilarion Levytskyi, Amvrosii Dubnevych, Sylvestr Kulabka believed that this kind of infinity is in principle impossible, hence God cannot create it; (3) Teofan Prokopovych and Georgii Konyskyi took a sceptical stand and consider that the human mind as such could not solve this problem. The article analyses which arguments were offered by each camp, and gives suggestions what influenced the position of certain Mohylian professors. Most probably, Mohylian philosophers who supported the possibility of actual infinity in the created world were influenced by nominalistically oriented Jesuit philosophers, like Pedro Hurtando de Mendoza and Rodrigo Arriaga. The other Mohylians backed a more traditional idea, supported by Thomas Aquinas, that only one actual infinity can exist and it is God.

Author Biography

Mykola Symchych, Institute of Philosophy of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (Kyiv)

PhD, senior researcher

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Published
2018-12-13
How to Cite
Symchych, M. (2018). The Problem of Infinity in Kyiv-Mohylian Philosophical Courses (the 17th– 18th centuries): A Preliminary Study. Sententiae, 37(2), 6-19. https://doi.org/10.22240/sent37.02.006
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