OLD HABITS DIE HARD: THE ROYAL SOCIETY, THEOPHILUS GALE AND THE INTELLECTUAL VIRTUES1
Abstract. There were several English attempts to rethink ideas about cognition in the wake of the new attention and status given to natural philosophy in the seventeenth century. This article focuses on one of them, that of the Hebraist and ejected minister Theophilus Gale. After a brief look at some English sources for the ‘intellectual virtues’ of Aristotelianism, it emphasizes the strangeness of the categories of mimesis and experience in Gale’s account in his work Philosophia Generalis. The traditional close connection between the intellectual virtues and the five grades of Porphyry’s logic tree was, it is suggested toward the end of the piece, a convenient way of limiting the potentially rather large category of intellectual virtues. The subsequent history of ‘cognitive virtues’ (and their profusion in an author like Baumgarten) shows, just as the strange expansion of their number in Gale, the wisdom in finding some way of controlling the descriptive exercise of explaining what goes on in cognition.
Keywords: Aristotelianism, Cognition, Experience, Gale, Habitus