Sunday, December 9, 2007

What Can Men Do Against Such Reckless Hate?

"And this aspect of modern realism (its ability to discard God when describing the real) owes its origin to developments in theology at the end of the thirteenth century, when those who attempted to argue for knowledge of God did so by attempting to discern the nature of God from the nature of the ontic world. This 'natural theology' was, in effect, first constituted by Duns Scotus who, when wishing to give to human cognition the possiblility of knowing God, elevated a neutral account of being above the distinction between the Creator and his creatures, allowing both God and finite beings to share in this being in due proportion, since for Scotus rationality required that the same substance be shared by both God and his creatures if each were to know the other."

-Philip Blond, Radical Orthodoxy, 232-33.

"...whereas voluntarist or secular justice is based upon the private appropriation of property, theological justice is grounded in assimilation to that body of Christ which one imbibes..."

-Milbank, Pickstock, Ward, "Introduction" in Radical Orthodoxy, 15.

“Two theses will be argued in this section. The first is that for Scotus there is no real distinction in a creature, nor in God. That much is incontrovertible, but this is extended to suggest that there is in effect, for Scotus, no real distinction between God and creatures. So the second thesis is that there is, then, effectively for Scotus, only a formal distinction between God and creatures. We can think a difference, so there is one, but this difference is but a formality.”

-Conor Cunningham, Geneology of Nihilism, 27.

"Genealogy of Nihilism rereads Wesern history in the light of nihilistic logic, which pervades two millennia of Western thought and is coming to fruition in our present age in a virulently dangerous manner. From Parmenides to Alain Badiou, via Plotinus, Avicenna, Duns Scotus, Ockham, Descartes, Spinoza, Kant, nothingness can be witnessed in development, with devastating consequences for the way we live. As a dualistic logic, nihilism has come to ground existence not in life but in the absences beyond it. We who are, are no longer the living, but rather the living dead; in the death-wielding modern approach to knowledge, we are all reduced to cadavers.”

-Conor Cunningam, ibid., flyleaf.

“The outcome of the univocal thesis of Scotus was a twofold abandonment and scission of the inter-relation of God and creation. The univocal thesis allowed the world to abandon God, as one could now wholly dispense with God by explaining the world in terms of this higher ground whatever it might be.”

-Phillip Blond, Radical Orthodoxy, 221.

“This elevation of worldly univocal being above the distinction between God and his creatures marks the time when theology itself became idolatrous. For Scotus disregarded what Aquinas had already warned him against – that nothing can be predicated univocally of God and other things. [...] For theology, therefore, the very possibility of any secular realism derives from the Scotist belief that the ground of both God and created objects is the same.”

-ibid. 233.

“For Scotus...the possibility of divine intervention, compatible with his notion that actuality can always and unpredictably be superseded by any imaginable possibility, forces him to distrust the traditional more ontological account of truth.”

-Catherine Pickstock, After Writing, 130.

-“In the case the case of God, univocity of Being and the formal distinction apply also to His attributes, in such a way that God can possess formally distinct – rather than really identical (and distinguished only from our perspective) – attributes without losing anything of His simplicity, which is grounded in the indeterminacy of Being and the supremacy of divine will which unites the attributes as its own virtual powers.”

- Catherine Pickstock, After Writing, 125.
"In the wake of the axis fashioned, however unconsciously, by Henry of Ghent, Scotus and Ockham, that which exists was taken outside the divine essence. Consequently, that which was expelled became nothing, a nothing that allowed the invention of a priori realms, and tales of things called logical possibilities (a Scotist fantasy). It also generated a virulent synchronic contingency that led to a de-existentialised existence, as it became first essentialised, and then factualised. This in turn facilitated a methodological lateralisation, as non-existence settled alongside existence. What we find is that this expulsion of that which exists outside the divine essence permitted the emptying of existence of any inherent or, in a sense, 'natural' theology.
-Conor Cunningham, Genealogy of Nihilism, 171
"In the end, it becomes illogical, both in philosophy and theology, to uphold the 'postmodern' against the 'modern' Scotus. In other words, if one cannot countenance Scotist ontotheology, one must also question a 'pure' philosophy concerned with a non-divine being, since this is ultimately grounded in univocity and the refusal of analogy."
-Catherine Pickstock, "Postmodern Scholasticism: Critique of Postmodern Univocity," 8.
"French historians waver between a reading of Scotus as surrendering Catholicism's mystical heart and as inaugurating a Pascalian charity."


Scott Williams said...

Are you just trying to make us all frustrated and angry by such arrogant and ignorant claims?

I think perhaps my 'favorite' is Blond's claim that Scotus does not think anything is really distinct. This is a lie. Scotus thinks all sorts of things are really distinct, say for example, relations and their subjects are really distinct (i.e. separable; subjects can gain and lose relations) from one another. And perhaps in response Blond would say that Scotus inaugurates the view that creatures don't have to be creatures b/c they can lose their 'being created' relation to God. But if Mr. Blond would only read Ord. 1.1.4-5 he'd see that Scotus actually addresses the unique status of 'being created' vs. 'being double the size of x'. And Scotus denies that 'being created' is a relation really distinct from the creature.

Stop with the RO stuff- I'm gonna have a stroke in reading through a mountain of ingenious ignorance.

Michael Sullivan said...

Yes, I think Faber is just trying to make us all frustrated and angry. Faber, I agree that it might be time to lay off the RO stuff for while.

But my favorite was Cunningham. a virulent synchronic contingency that led to a de-existentialised existence, as it became first essentialised, and then factualised What the hell is that supposed to mean? This in turn facilitated a methodological lateralisation, as non-existence settled alongside existence. Garsh golly, them shore is a lotta big wards, it must mean somethin important.

As was said about Derrida in another context, this isn't even wrong. It's just gibberish.

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

It's like John Cage music: you have to appreciate it for its constantly evoking effects you think it is supposed to, but then veering off into some other motif, so the whole is a bizarrely intriguing jumble.

M. Anderson said...

a virulent synchronic contingency that led to a de-existentialised existence, as it became first essentialised, and then factualised. This in turn facilitated a methodological lateralisation, as non-existence settled alongside existence.

This claim isn't gibberish. Let me do some translation:

Synchronic contingency is bad. It leads to essentialism, and that's so modernist. But Scotus does something worse - he intends that his philosophy actually talks about the factual world! Finally, Scotus thinks that reality is complicated enough to talk about things in two ways next to each other: things as existing, and as they could possibly not exist. But our side doesn't believe in such silly nonsense; we're neo-Platonists with thin veneers of Augustine and Aquinas, and we like emanation better.

See? Perfect sense.

Lee Faber said...

Actually I've moved beyond anger, to laughter.

But, perhaps because of this semester of Derrida, I can see a kind of sense in what they're saying. Or at least, I see the features of scotus that they have read about in Thomist scholarship that they are reacting against.

Cunningham is interesting because he appears to be the only one who reads Scotus historical-critical scholarship. So I can often tell what he is saying, even that synchronic contingency passage is close to reality.

The "lateralisation" would be the Scotus' claim that at time t1 both the thing willed and its opposite are possible.

unfortunately, Cunningham endorses thomistic historiography and the RO genealogy in which scotus leads to bad things, so his often almost right interpretations are vitiated by insane conclusions drawn from them. But he is aware that he is doing so; he explicitly says that he is working in the thomistic historiographical tradition of opposing anlaogy to univocity, and won't call it into question.

If you've noticed, I post on what i'm reading at the moment. the RO section of my paper will probably be done in a day or two, then it will be off to scotus on the eucharist, or sacramental efficiency.

Anonymous said...

Please check out this reference which (among other things) describes the origins and consequences of the totally godless power and control seeking perceptual strait-jacket in which we are now ALL trapped--NO exceptions, including those who presume to be religious.

A perceptual strait-jacket which has created the situation described in this reference.

Plus related references on the origins of the situation described in the above reference.