Monday, April 08, 2019

Hugh of St. Victor on the Liberal Arts

...the knowledge of words is considered under two heads, namely: pronunciation and meaning. To pronunciation alone grammar applies, to meaning alone dialectic applies; to pronunciation and meaning together rhetoric applies. The knowledge of things is concerned with two points, form and nature. Form is in the exterior disposition; nature, in the interior quality. The form of things is considered either under number, to which arithmetic applies, or under proportion, to which music applies, or under dimension, to which geometry applies, or under motion to which astronomy applies. But the consideration of the interior nature of things belongs to physics.

[Hugh of St. Victor, On the Sacraments of the Christian Faith (De Sacramentis), Deferrari, tr., Ex Fontibus (2016) p. 5.]

Without having the Latin in front of me, I'd still hazard the guess that 'articulation' would probably be a less misleading translation than 'pronunciation'. By 'physics', of course, the only non-art in the list, Hugh means the old sense, in which it would be slightly broader than what we sometimes mean by 'philosophy of nature'.

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