Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Descriptio Sepulcri Duns Scoti

From the introductory material in Ioannis Duns Scoti subtilis ac celeberrimi doctoris In universam Aristot. Logicam. (ed. Venice, 1583)

"Ipsum sepulcrum elevatum est fere ad altitudinem palmae, in chori conventus minorum con. Coloniensis medio sub campana, ex cupro, et aere fusum, in medio ipsius aerei sepulchri est imago ipsius Scoti, supra quam tres collocati sunt franciscanae religionis summi pontifices, Alexander videlicet quintus, Nicolaus quartus, Sixtus quartus et duo cardinales, scilicet D. Bonaventura et illustrissimus Bertrandus, cum insignibus eorum. Ab utroque latere horum imagines sitae sunt; nec non et discipulorum Scoti, ut pote Alexandri Alensis, Alexandri Alexandrini, Rogerii Baconis *[damage] Guilhelmi Varronis, Alvari Pelagii Hyspani, *[damage] Lyrani sub pedibus vero ipsius imaginis haec visa sunt carmina.

Ante oculos saxum doctorem deprimit ingens,
Cuius ad interitum sacra Minerva gemit.
Siste gradum, lector, fulvo dabis oscula saxo;
Corpus Ioannis haec tenet urna Scoti:
Anno milleno ter CCC cum adderet octo,
Postremum clausit letho agitante diem.

Et in vicino lapide in pavimento ecclesiae excusum est

Obiit Frater Ioannes Duns Scotus
Sacrae Theologiae Doctor
Subtilis nominatus
Anno 1308."

Here is what the tomb looks like today:

And another view:

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Thomas of Sutton on the Real Distinction

One of the difficulties that arises when discussing Scotus' formal distinction is just what kind of distinction it is supposed to be. Is it midway between a distinction of reason and a real distinction, or a version of a real distinction? This is complicated by some terminological differences between Scotus' Oxford and Parisian accounts. A necessary first step is figuring out what a real distinction is. Big surprise, there is no standard scholastic account of what a real distinction is. Nothing explicit in Aquinas, save for the bit in De ente et essentia that to conceive of an essence apart from an existence is sufficient for their being really distinct in reality. Giles of Rome works this into a theory in which a real distinction obtains between entities that are separable (more on this later). Thomas of Sutton (died after 1319), whose texts I give below, thought that a real distinction was one that existed subjectively in the thing under consideration apart from the consideration of an intellect. This probably reflects the context of his Quodlibeta, which contain a great deal of polemic against Henry of Ghent; the passage at the end of the post is from a discussion of the distinction of divine attributes, an area of dispute that really exploded after Henry's Quodlibet V q. 1, disputed in 1280. Scotus employs both senses of the real distinction (the Aegidian and the Suttonian) in the Ordinatio, though only the Suttonian makes an appearance in his discussion of the formal distinction of divine attributes. Anyway, here is the beginnings of a list:

1. Distinctio ex natura rei (everyone, including Aquinas and Scotus, use this one without defining it)
2. Distinctio realiter:
a. separability criterion (Giles of Rome)
b. in subject prior to intellective operations (Thomas of Sutton)

Note that this is just from the Aquinas' followers, Dominican and Augustinian. I'll post more later on the Franciscans.

Thomas de Suttona, Quodlibet III q. 1 (ed. Schmaus 342):

"Unde haec est differentia inter distinctionem realem et distinctionem secundum rationem quod illa, quae distinguuntur realiter, habent in se subiective suam realem distinctionem, sicut patet de albedine et dulcedine in lacte. Sed illa, quae distinguuntur secundum rationem in aliqua re, non habent in illa re tamquam in subiecto suam distinctionem secundum rationem, sed solum tamquam in obiecto. Illa autem distinctio secundum rationem est in intellectu distinguente ut in subiecto et per comparationem ad intellectum, in quo est distinctio realis. Sed distinctio secundum rationem dicitur per comparationem ad obiectum, circa quod ratiocinatur."


Whence this is the difference between a real distinction and a distinction according to reason: that those things, which are really distinguished, have subjectively in themselves their own real distinction, just as is clear regarding whiteness and sweetness in milk. But those things, which are distinguished according to reason in some thing, do not have in that thing just as in a subject their own distinction according to reason, but only as in an object. That distinction according to reason is in the intellect distinguishing as in a subject and by comparison to the intellect, in which there is a real distinction. But a distinction according to reason is said by comparison to an object around which reasons.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Scotus and Spinoza

Take a look here for two posts from nearly a year ago comparing Scotus with Spinoza. There is also some Deleuze on Scotus, which saves me the trouble of posting on it myself. Also, he quotes a whole chapter from Ariew's book on Descartes and the last scholastics.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Scotist Commission link

Not sure how I missed this, but here is the link to the Commissio Scotistica's webpage. From what I can gather, vol. 12 is coming out soon.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Francis of Meyronnes on Intelligible Being

Franciscus Mayronis, Quodlibet q.14/2 (Venezia 1520), ff. 260r-v

"Secunda questio est utrum producat beatissima trinitas creaturas in esse secundum quid antequam producat eas in esse reali simpliciter.
Et videtur quod non...
Circa istam questionem est preintelligendum quod doctor subtilis ponit duplicem productionem creaturarum a deo. Unam que est per modum voluntatis qua producit creaturas in esse reali et illa est ex tempore. Alia est qua producit eas per intellectum suum in quodam esse intelligibili, intelligendo ipsas ab eterno. Et de illo secundo modo est difficultas presens. Circa quam ocurrunt quatuor puncta inquirenda.
Quorum primum est si divinus intellectus producit quidditates creabilium per suum actum intelligendi ab eterno in esse essentie.
Secundum est si producit tales quidditates in esse intelligibili.
Tertium est si producit tales quidditates in esse intellecto.
Quartum est si per talem actum producit eas in esse existentie.

Quantum ad primum... Ideo dico quod divinus intellectus per suum actum intelligendi non dat esse quidditativum creaturis de quo hic loquimur; sed illud esse quidditativum abstrahit ab omni intellectione et comparatione quacumque quia per se notum est lapidem esse lapidem et tamen non est per se notum lapidem intelligi a deo; sed forte demonstrabile et ideo sicut per se nota in essse quidditativo preveniunt demonstrabilia ita illud esse hanc operationem... Sed oritur difficultas quid intelligimus per illud esse quidditativum; dicitur autem quod esse abstractum quod non est fabricatum ab animo nec est in rerum natura sicut dicit quoddam quod equinitas est tantum equinitas; nec universalis nec particularis.

Circa secundum punctum videndum est si divinus intellectus producit quidditates illas in esse intelligibili... Ideo dico quod ante concipimus quidditates esse a deo intelligibiles quam actualiter intelligantur quia illud quod convenit alicui per se et ex sua ratione formali convenit ei antequam illa que insunt ab extrinseco. Intelligibilitas autem sicut et veritas est passio demonstrabilis ex ratione formali subiecti et quod sit intellecta inest ei ab extrinseco scilicet a divino intellectu actualiter intelligente. Sed oritur difficultas quod diciter illud esse intelligibile in obiecto. Dicatur autem quod est respectus fundamentalis consequens quidditatem obiecti in habitudine ad divinum intellectum sicut mobilitas consequitur quidditatem mobilis in habitudine ad movens.

Circa tertium punctum ingreditum est si divinus intellectus producit illas quidditates in esse intellecto.... Ideo dico quod quidditates creabilium producuntur in esse cognito a divino intellectu ab eterno, sicut divinus intellectus ab eterno tales quidditates cognovit quia omne quod accipit esse aliquod post non esse videtur esse productum in illo esse; sed quidditates tales, cum sint intellecte postquam sunt intelligibiles, accipiunt tale esse in secundo signo post non esse in primo, ergo in tali esse videntur esse producte.... Sed oritur difficultas quid intelligitur per illud esse cognitum. Dicitur autem quod esse intellectum a divino intellectu dicit in quidditate cognita respectum rationes ad eius actum intelligendi derelictum ab ipso actu sicut esse productum realiter dicit respectum realem.

Circa quartum punctum videndum est si divinus intellectus per suum actum intelligendi producti quidditates in esse actualis existentie, ita quod producat ipsas existentias eternaliter in esse cognito sicut essentias ipsas.... ideo dico quod esse actualis existentie non fuit productum ab eterno in esse secundum quod tali quia per hoc quod creatura habet existentiam habet esse simpliciter et nulla creatura in esse tantum intellecto ab eterno habuit esse simpliciter. Sed remanet difficultas gravissima: qualiter deus preintellexit ab eterno existentias futuras creaturarum et non produxit eas in esse intellecto cum fuerunt ab eterno intellecte. Dicitur autem quod deus non precognovit existentias secundum proprium modum tamquam per se obiecta, sicut quidditates sed sicut per se obiectorum conditiones et non oportet produci in esse tali omne intellectum, sicut obiecti conditio. Istud tamen non sufficit quia si ideo producitur in tali esse quia cognoscitur eo modo quo intellligitur in tali esse producitur cum sit illo modo intellectum. Ideo dicitur quod deus non precognoscit quidditates ut iam existentes, sed ut futuras existentia autem ut futura non est existentia simpliciter; tunc enim simpliciter existeret futurum qualiter autem illa precognito fiat: habet declarari in primo."

Note that this is just the Quodlibet. For a FREE article on divine ideas in Francis' Conflatus, see the following link to an article by E. Bos, containing some remarks on Francis' view that Aristotle was the "pessimus metaphysicus": Here.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gueranger on the Immaculate Conception

From the Liturgical year, vol. 1 p. 403:

"But whilst thus mentioning the different nations which have been foremost in their zeal for this article of our holy faith, the Immaculate Conception, --it were unjust to pass over the immense share which the Seraphic Order, the Order of St. Francis of Assisi, has had in the earthly triumph of our Blessed Mother, the Queen of heaven and earth. As often as this feast comes round, is it not just that we should think with reverence and gratitude on him, who was the first theologian that showed how closely connected with the divine mystery of the Incarnation is this dogma of the Immaculate Conception? First, then, all honour to the name of the pious and learned John Duns Scotus! And when at length the great day of the Definition of the Immaculate Conception came, how justly merited was that grand audience, which the Vicar of Christ granted to the Franciscan Order, and with which closed the pageant of the glorious solemnity! Pius the Ninth received from the hands of the children of St. Francis a tribute of homage and thankfulness, which the Scotist School, after having fought four hundred years in defence of Mary's Immaculate Conception, now presented to the Pontiff."

Friday, December 4, 2009


From here on out, I will be adopting Dr. Feser's descriptive categories. In addition to everyone's favorite A-T (Aristotelian-Thomism), the putative perennial philosophy (never mind that the term was invented in the 16th century to designate pure pagan platonism) look for discussions of A-S (Aristotelian-Scotism), or perhaps it should be A-A-S (Aristotelian-Augustinian-Scotism), or, following Gilson, A-A-A-S (Aristotelian-Augustinian-Avicennian-Scotism). Maybe it would be simpler to stick to A-H-S (Aristotelian-Henrician-Scotism; after all, Henry of Ghent is target #1), and to stay away from A-S-S (Aristotelian-scholastic-Scotism). And for our bitterest foes, the "invincible" and "unconquered" school of the nominalists, expect A-O (Aristotelian-Ockhamism; hey, he wrote as many commentaries on Aristotle as did Aquinas!) or a safe N-A-D-S (Nominalist-Aristotelian-dialectical-scholastics).