Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

A twelfth-century Scholastic philosopher, and theologian, b. at Mortagne in Flanders in the first decade of the twelfth century; d. at Laon, 1174. He was educated in the schools of Tournai. From 1136 to 1144 he taught at the celebrated School of St-Genevieve in Paris. From Paris he went to Laon and was made bishop of that see. His principal works are a treatise on the Holy Trinity and six "Opuscula". Of the "Opuscula" five are published in d'Achéry's "Spicilegium" (Paris, 1723) and the sixth in P.L. (CLXXXVI, 1052). A logical commentary which is contained in manuscript 17813 of the Bibliotheque Nationale and which was published in part by Hauréau in 1892 is also ascribed to him. Finally, there is extant a letter written by him to Abelard in which he expounds the Platonic view that the body is an obstacle to the higher operations and aspirations of the soul. On the question of universals, Walter, according to John of Salisbury, was the leader of the Indifferentists, according to whom the universal is in itself indifferent, but becomes the predicate of an individual subject by the addition of various status , that is determinations or, at least, points of view. Socrates, for example, is an individual, a species (man), or a genus (animal) according to the status , or point of view, which we adopt. The significant thing about this theory is that it explicitly declares all real existence to be individual existence and implies that whatever unity there is in the universal (specific or generic) is a product of thought. It is, therefore, a protest against the exaggerated realism of the school of William of Champeaux, and, at the same time, prepares the way for the moderate realism which was definitely formulated in the thirteenth century.

More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Parents' Prayer For Their Children HD Video
  • Daily Readings for Tuesday, December 01, 2015
  • Pope Francis does the unthinkable following emotional tragedy in ...
  • Prayer For Faith HD Video
  • St. Eligius: Saint of the Day for Tuesday, December 01, 2015
  • Opium, heroin or cocaine: What drug is YOUR country known for?
  • 'Body lifted from the ground': Young Central American woman dies ...

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 11:1-10
1 A shoot will spring from the stock of Jesse, a new shoot will grow from ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 72:1, 7-8, 12-13, 17
1 [Of Solomon] God, endow the king with your own fair judgement, the son ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 10:21-24
21 Just at this time, filled with joy by the Holy Spirit, he said, 'I ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 1st, 2015 Image

St. Eligius
December 1: Eligius (also known as Eloi) was born around 590 ... Read More