Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Promotion of Francis of Meyronnes

Well, it's the anniversary we have all been waiting for, the date of the letter which promoted Francis of Meyronnes to being a master of theology. Here is a screen shot from the CUP.

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Letter on the Cult of Scotus

 The Franciscan minister general composed a letter on the occasion of the 30 year anniversary of the confirmation of the cult of Scotus, available here.

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Conference on the Absolute Primacy of Christ

 There is a conference planned for July on the absolute primacy of Christ, information here.

From their description:

Join us at Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Catholic Retreat Center from July 14th-16th, 2023, for a grace-filled weekend of conferences on the Absolute Primacy of Jesus Christ. In Medieval times all of the great scholastics, including Saints like Anselm, Albert the Great, Thomas Aquinas, Bonaventure and Bl. John Duns Scotus, grappled with the question of God's primary motive in bringing about the Incarnation. Was it because of sin - no sin, no Incarnation? Or was Emmanuel God's original plan - sin or no sin, always the Incarnation? The objective of this Symposium is to create an opportunity for scholars to present theological arguments in favor of the absolute primacy of Christ and to create a resource - a handbook, as it were - for theologians and faithful alike who want to learn more about the beauty and intricacies of this Christocentric perspective of creation and salvation history.

New Book: Cognitive Issues in the Long Scotist Tradition

 A book has appeared, edited by Heider and Andersen. Available here.

The blurb:

The late-scholastic school of Scotism (after John Duns Scotus, † 1308) left considerable room for disagreement. This volume innovatively demonstrates just how vividly Scotist philosophers and theologians discussed cognitive matters from the 14th until the 17th century. It further shows how the Scotist ideas were received in Protestant and Reformed milieus.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Conference on Scotism and Platonism, May 2023

Announcing a conference on the interrelations between Scotism and Platonism, Bonn 2023. I hope to see you there! note that you can also attend via zoom.

Goff on a variety of topics

 here is an old but good video of Dr. Jared Goff discussing Scotism and Palamism.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Festum Scoti, 2022

 Hello, and happy feast! A day late, yes.

Here is the collect:

Domine Deus, fons omnis sapientiae, qui Beatum Ioannem

presbyterum, Immaculatae Virginis assertorem,

nobis magistrum vitae et scientiae dedisti, concede, quaesumus,

ut, eius exemplo illuminati, et doctrinis nutria,

Christo fideliter adhaereamus. Qui tecum vivit.

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Alistair McGrath on Natural Theology

 The contemporary theologian Alistair McGrath has written an entry on natural theology for the new resource "St. Andrews Encyclopedia of Theology," which will attempt to do for theology what the Stanford encyclopedia has done for philosophy.

I have written on the topic as well recently (see the first blog entry of the year), so I have a few points of criticism.

One is that McGrath makes no mention of Christian Wolff, who wrote a natural theology that was quite influential on the continent. Indeed, McGrath is focused on the English understanding of natural theology as closely allied with natural philosophy and the physical sciences.

This means that McGrath makes no mention at all of Nicolas Bonetus, the first person to write a Theologia naturalis and assign it a place among the system of sciences inherited from Aristotle. But perhaps, since this the encylopedia is electronic, the author will update it later. 

More of an oddity than anything else, McGrath treats the natural theology of Raymond Sebonde under the heading of 'Renaissance and Reformation', though he notes that it is from the late fiftheenth century, surely part of the medieval era. And again, Sebonde was writing a hundered years after Bonetus.

We come to Duns Scotus. McGrath devotes only a paragraph to Scotus, and, given that the English discussion of natural theology and natural philosophy is predominate, the only doctrine of Scotus that is singled out is the notion of Haecceity.

A further development of importance to natural theology was due to the Franciscan theologian Duns Scotus and his successors. The concept of haeccitas (‘this-ness’) emerged during the fourteenth century as a means of capturing and preserving the distinct identity of any particular aspect of the natural order. Although this concept was important for the philosophy of religion, it was adopted in the nineteenth century by the Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, who used it as the basis of a heightened attentiveness to the individual aspects of nature (Boggs 1997), which is particularly evident in his 1877 poem ‘As Kingfishers Catch Fire’.

So no mention of univocity of being, or Scotus' proof for the existence of God, or the nature of metaphysics and theology. the former doctrine, as is well known, is treated under the rubric of natural knowledge of God. 

In the end it makes an interesting contrast with Milbank and his school, for whom Scotus is of cosmic catastrophic significance. For McGrath, it seems Scotus is mainly of interest because of the poetry he inspired.

Saturday, August 13, 2022


 Hi all, been busy this year, sorry. But here is some recent news of interest to the Scotist community.

Tobias Hoffmann has updated his Bibliography of Duns Scotus, find it here.

Claus Andersen has tracked down volumes of the Vatican edition of Scotus' works on and published the links, here.

Finally, I appeared on the "Dogs with Torches Podcast" to discuss Scotus, univocity, and their modern critics, here.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Natural Theology

 A new special issue of the journal RIVISTA DI STORIA DELLA FILOSOFIA has come out, an issue devoted to the topic of natural theology.

Here are the contents, which contain two essays of direct interest to scholars of Scotus and Scotism:

Alberto Frigo, "Radical natural theologies from duns scotus to christian wolff. Introduction."

Garrett Smith, "The Natural Theology of Nicholas Bonetus."

Alberto Frigo, "Même la Trinité: Descartes, Pascal et Saint-­Ange"

Gabriel Meyer-­Bisch, "Usages et fonctions du concept de «cité de Dieu» dans la première philosophie de Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (Uses and functions of the concept of City of God in the early Leibniz’s Philosophy.)"

Pietro Terzi, "Involution and the Convergence of Minds. The Philosophical Stakes of Lalande’s Vocabulaire"

Olivier Boulnois, "La teologia naturale, Duns Scoto e la deduzione a priori della Trinità (Natural Theology, Duns Scotus and the a priori Deduction of the Trinity.)"

Édouard Mehl, "La Puissance et son nombre, d’Abélard à Kepler"

Jean-­Christophe Bardout, "Prouver sans démontrer. Malebranche et la Trinité"

Gualtiero Lorini, "«Diversa Theologiae naturalis systemata»: Christian Wolff’s Ways to God"

Enrico I. Rambaldi, Patrizia Pozzi

Monday, December 27, 2021

Scotist News

 Hello dear readers, here are a few items worthy of note that have recently appeared.

1. A digital edition of the debate between Duns Scotus and Guillelmus Petri Godinus is now available on the website of the Scotus Archiv (Bonn), here. Website still under construction, but the text and manuscript photos are up now. The debate is about the principle of individuation, and is one of the only, if not the only, place that Scotus directly confronts the Thomist theory.

2. A journal issue dedicated to Antonius Andreae has appeared, here.

3. And, finally, the long-awaited book edited by Giorgio Pini, called Interpreting Duns Scotus, has now appeared.

A veritable end of year feast for all!

Monday, November 29, 2021

More on Scotus' Birthplace

 So back on the theme of where Scotus was born, namely, was he Irish (Scotus, Hibernicus), or Scottish (Scotus). While it is commonly held today that the Scottish position has triumphed, there was some criticism on a post from earlier in the year to the effect that the word "scotus" originally meant someone from Ireland and only later, possibly during Scotus' own time did it come to mean someone from Scotland. 

While transcribing the Additiones magnae, a text compiled by William of Alnwick from Scotus' Oxford and Parisian teaching, I came across the following sentence, that is obviously sketching a map of Europe and also distinguishes between Scotland (scotia) and Ireland (hibernia). 

"...inter Norwegiam et Scotiam et inter Hyspaniam et Hyberniam..."

This is from the end of Add. II d. 14 q. 4. Even if William of Alnwick may be expanding on Scotus' text (studies on the Additiones II are in their infancy, so I don't know if there is a parallel elsewhere in Scotus yet), it shows that ireland was already being called 'hibernia' by about 1315, close to Scotus' lifetime.

Monday, November 8, 2021

Festum Scoti

 Happy Feast everyone!

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Francis of Meyronnes early defense of the univocity of being

Francis of Meyronnes is probably the most influential and important Scotist of the fourteenth century. His many works survive in hundreds of manuscripts and many were printed in the early days of the printing press. His commentary on the Sentences exists in three versions, called 'ab oriente', 'summa simplicitas' and Conflatus. He became a master in 1323 by decree of the pope after lecturing at Paris.

My post is about the first of the three commentaries. In the 'ab oriente' commentary, most likely to be Francis' first discussion of the univocity of being (given the lack of editions, we cannot be sure; it does not matter much, however, for Francis tends to recycle his arguments), he establishes a series of principles, which he calls regulae, and then derives conclusions from them. basically, the regulae are topical rules or 'maximal propositions' as explained in Boethius' commentary on Aristotle's Topics. It is a fairly interesting dicussion, concluding with a series of doubts. I translate and paraphrase these rules and doubts here.

Franciscus de Mayronis, In Sent. I d. 22 'ab oriente'.


R1. whenever some intellect is certain about one concept and doubtful about two [concepts], the certain concept is univocal to the two doubtful ones.

R2. Whenever some intellect is certain about one concept and doubful about either of two others, that certain concept befalls both according to the same formal notion.

R3. no equivocal has a concept distinct from its equivocates.

R4. no one can have scientific knowledge of the equivocal, while its equivocates are unknown.

R5: anyone can have scientific knowledge of univocals.

R6: no proposition in which there is an equivocal term can be verified unless for some of its equivocates.

R7: some proposition in which there is a univocal term cannot be verified for some univocate.

R8: nothing befalls an equivocal that does not befall some equivocate.

R9: something can befall a univocal that does not befall some univocate.

R10: the subject of every science is univocal to everthing about which something is demonstrated in that science.

R11: no attribute primarily befalling some subject can be demonstrated unless of those of which the subject befalls univocally.

R12: nothing can be demonstrated of an equivocal.

R13: every attribute which befalls something not primarily is demonstrated of something common to itself and some other.

R14: the truth of some principle does not extend unless to the univocates of its subject.

R15: no principle extends itself unless to the univocates of its predicate.

R16: no principle can be equivocal.

R17: whenever something common is said of one thing in an unqualified way (simpliciter) and of another in a qualified way (secundum quid), it is not said of them univocally.

R18: whenever something common is said of some things in a prior and posterior way (per prius et posterious), it is not univocal to them.

R19: when [something] is said of them according to more and less, it is not univocal to them.

R20: every common which is not said univocally of some things, is said of them equivocally.


C1: being (ens) is said univocally of God and creatures (from R1, R2, R5, R7, R9, R10, R11, R13, R14, R15).

C2: being is not said equivocally of God and creatures (from R3, R4, R6, R8, R12, R16).

C3: being is not said analogically of God and creatures, insofar as analogy is taken to be a middle way between equivocity and univocity (from R20).

C4: being is said univocally of substance and accident (from R1, R2, R5, R7, R9, R10, R11, R13, R14, R15, R16).

C5: substance is not equivocal to substance and accident (from R3, R4, R6, R8, R12, R16).

C6: being is said univocally of the absolute and relative (from R1, R2).

C7: being is not said of them [=the absolute and relative] equivocally (from “the same rules as above”).

C8: being is not said equivocally but univocally of the ten categories (from “the same rules”).

C9: being is said univocally of everything contained in the ten categories (from a rule in Aristotle’s Categories).

C10: the notion of the absolute is said univocally of all absolute categories (from “the rules stated above”).

C11: ‘relative’ is said univocally of all relative categories (from R1?, “other rules”).

C12: ‘accident’ is said univocally of the nine categories (from R1, “other rules”).

C13: being is not said univocally of real being and being of reason (from R17, R18, R19).

C14: being is said equivocally of real being and being of reason (from R20).

C15: our intellect cannot form one concept that is common to real being and being of reason (no appeal to a regula).

C16: those who posit such a concept (that is, a concept univocally common to real being and being of reason) have that unity in imagination and not in the intellect (no appeal to a regula).

C17: the division of being into being in the soul and being outside the soul is of an utterance (vox) into what is signified (no appeal to a regula).

C18: the ratio of being is said of being in potency and being in act (no appeal to a regula).


D1: why being is not a genus, even though it is said of many things in different species.

D2: if being were a genus, whether God would be in the genus of being.

D3: why it is denied that being is a genus, since if it were, God would not be in it (from D2).

D4: if the formality of being (ratio entis
is included in something that is irreducibly simple.

D5: if the formality of being can be included in things that are primarily diverse.

D6: if the formality of being is included quidditatively in some transcendental.

D7: if the formality of being is included quidditatively in some transcendental that is constituted from divided and dividing being.

D8: if the formality of being is included quidditatively in some category.

D9: if the formality of being is included in some pure perfection.

D10: if the formality of being is included quidditatively in some genus or species.

D11: if the formality of being is included quidditatively in some individual immediately corresponding to it.

D12: whether the formality of being is included universally in something other than a quiddity.

D13: if some transcendental is included quidditatively in some quiddity.

D14: why it is not the case that being is part of the quiddity of substance in the way that substance is part of the quiddity of humanity or of body.

D15: if the formality of being taken with an inferior is only accidentally one.

D16: if the formality of being taken with an inferior can make one concept.

D17: if an inferior of being can be conceived without being.

D18: if being would be part of the quiddity of something.

D19: if the attributes (passiones) of being can be conceived without being.

D20: why the formality of being does not make a composition with its inferiors the way the formality (ratio) of a genus does with its differences.

D21: if it is necessary to posit two orders (coordinationes) of being.

D22: if those two orders are from the nature of the thing (ex natura rei)

D23: if to abstract one common concept is repugnant to everything that is primarily diverse.

D24: whether there is some common concept that embraces everything other than nothingness.

D25: if the notion of nothingness is adequate to the notion of non-being.

D26: if every non-being can said to be nothing.

D27: if there is some common attribute for everything that is separate from the notion of nothing.

D28: if there is some formality (ratio) more common than the formality of univocal being.

D29: if everything separate from the notion of nothing is contained under equivocal being.

D30: if being taken equivocally is the subject of that principle ‘affirmation or negation of whatever being’.

D31: if being univocally taken can be the subject in that principle.

D32: if that principle has some subject that is adequate and common to itself.

D33: what is that common subject that can be attributed to such a principle?

D34: if intelligibility can be an attribute of everything of which this principle is verified.

D35: if intelligibility is distinct from its subject from the nature of the thing.

D36: if that attribute, intelligibility, is absolute or relative.

D37:  if that principle ‘affirmation of whatever’ etc. can have place in that subject, nor does it prescind from this attribute of intelligibility.

D38: if that metaphysical principle is verified of beings of reason.

D39: if the predicate of that principle is ‘to be or not to be’.

D40: concerning the division of being. This difficultas is subdivided into fifteen conclusiones:

            DC 1: the division of being into being in the soul and being outside the soul is not a division of univocals but rather equivocals.

            DC 2: just as entity is said equivocally and univocally, so also is reality.

            DC 3: the same is true of the other attributes of being.

            DC 4: the division of being into substance and accidents is not quidditative.

            DC 5: division is of a common notion of something divided into quidditative and non-quidditative.

            DC 6: division of being into act and potency is not quidditative.

            DC 7: division of being into the finite and infinite is not quidditative.

            DC 8:  the same is true of the division of being through the contingent and the necessary.

            DC 9: the same is true of the division of being through the existing and non-existing.

            DC 10: the same is true of the division of being through the real and the non-real, with the latter taken as in objective potency.

            DC 11: the division of being into the simple and the complex is not quidditative.

            DC 12: the division of being into the absolute and relative is quidditative.

            DC 13: only that (i.e. DC 12) division of being is quidditative.

            DC 14: that (DC 12) is the first division of being.

            DC 15: being cannot be divided immediately into the ten categories.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

The Poetics of the Equivocity of Being

 Here are some poetical remarks on the equivocity of being by William Desmond. Enjoy!

Desmond, Being and the Between, 87

The war of philosophers against unintelligibility has made them generally hostile to the equivocal. This is manifest in the oscillation with the univocal we examined in the last chapter. It is no less true that this war is never finished, and many victories turn out pyrrhic, indeed brief lulls before the hydra of the equivocal sprouts another head to replace the one just chopped. The equivocal is a hydra that cannot be completely killed by univocity; for to kill its many heads demands many hands, and univocity has only one hand at a time. Indeed, I think equivocity is not to be killed but charmed from being a mythic monster into a fabling of the plurivocity of being. We must come to terms with the beautfy of the beast. Logical murder, murder repeated methodically, will not do.