Tuesday, April 24, 2012

John Punch on the Eternal Being of Creatures

In my efforts to determine the influence, if any, of Peter Thomae's questions on intelligible being, I have begun leafing through the voluminous pages of the baroque Scotists.  In this post I am just going to list a series of conclusions that the Irishman Punch defends (for bio, see the 'Franciscan authors' website).

Ioannes Poncius, Cursus philosophiae, disp. 2 q. 5 (p. 902ff.)

'De esse creaturarum ab aeterno'

Conclusio I: Creatures have no real being simpliciter from eternity.

Conclusio II: All creatures have some being from eternity

This can scarcely be denied, because they were understood by God from eternity and they terminate the act of divine cognition; therefore they had some being according to which they terminate that cognition, whether they terminate it primarily or secondarily.

Conclusio III: That being which they had from eternity, for example a man, does not consist in extrinsic denomination taken from the omnipotence of God, nor in non-repugnance, nor in some ratio, whether real or rational or actual or aptitudinal.

This is of the Doctor [=Scotus] above, and commonly against some Thomists, who seem to say that that being is nothing other than possibile being and that that possible being comes about from  denomination taken from divine omnipotence.

Conclusio IV: That being, which creatures have from eternity, is diminished being, a quasi medium between being of reason and being simply real.

Conclusio V: That diminished being is not produced by the act of the divine intellect. [Both Petrus Thomae and William of Alnwick would agree with this].

This is against many Scotists and it seems to be against Scotus, above, but it is not, as will be proved.

It is proved first, because an object of speculative knowledge is not made by that [divine act] but rather is presupposed to it; but the knowledge, by which God knows creatures from eternity, is speculative; therefore it does not give that being to creatures according to which it knows them.

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