Wednesday, June 6, 2012

MacIntyre on Scotus

Our recent debate with Mark Wauk reminded me of the authority that Alasdair MacIntyre enjoys in certain circles.  I recently came across a discussion on Scotus in MacIntyre's Three Rival Versions of Moral Inquiry. I did look in several of his other famous books but did not notice anything on Scotus (there is a chapter in his universities book).  Since Wauk emphasized authority, this first post on MacIntyre will look at his sources.  Now, a caveat:  these are the Gifford lectures, so the sources will be light (note, however, that Broadie's Gifford lectures, The Shadow of Scotus, was replete with bibliography and lengthy latin quotations).

Chapter 4 is on Augustinianism, though not Scotus specifically.  But since MacIntyre reads Scotus as completely motivated by Augustinian concerns it is fair to count up his authorities for this chapter as well as the Scotus chapter. Here I mention only secondary literature, not the primary literature/names he alludes to in abundance. Also, I'm a bit cramped spacewise, so I'm not going to type out the Latin, French, and German titles.

Berkeley (an Augustine scholar)
Chenu, Theology of the Twelfth century.
Beryl Smalley, The Study of the Bible in the Middle Ages
Stephen C. Ferruolo, The Origins of the University
Umberto Eco, Semiotics and the Philosophy of Language
Nietzsche, Der antichrist
T.J. Clarke, The Background and Implications of Duns Scotus' Theory of knowing in the Beatific vision (phd. diss.)
A. Landgraf, Introduction to the theological literature of the early scholastics
De Lubac, Medieval Exegesis
A Collection of essays on the seven liberal arts in the Middle Ages
Baldwin, The Scholastic Culture of the Middle Ages 1000-1300
Leclerc, Love of learning and desire for God
A collection of essays on reform and renewal in the twelfth century
de Ghellinck, The theological movement of the twelfth century.

These are all general studies. There is nothing here that would allow one to distinguish between Bonaventure's "Augustinianism" vs. his "Aristotelianism" or how it differs from those attitudes to isms found in Olivi or Peckham.

Ch. V: Aristotle and/or/against Augustine: Rival Traditions of Enquiry

van Steenberghen, Aristotle in the West
Mandonnet, Siger de Brabant (no scholar now follows Mandonnet...)
van Steenberghen, Thomas Aquinas and the radical Aristotelianism
Donald Davidson, Truth and Interpretation
Feyerabend, Against Method

Some talk of the Averroists, mention of Bonaventure.  The actual medieval scholarship cited here is quite old. I would say that though some scholars do still work on the averroists, no one is painting with broad brush-strokes anymore.

Ch. VII: In the Aftermath of Defeated Tradition

This is the Scotus chapter. I will report any references to Scotus' own works.

Opus Oxoniense IV,43,ii (on the resurrection)
John Boler, on 'abstractive and intuitive cognition' in the Cambridge History of Later Medieval Philosophy (quotes a passage about Aquinas)
Aquinas, Com. on Boethius' De trinitate
(there is also a mini review of the Cambridge History of Later Medieval Philosophy)
Ockham, Expositio on Aristotle's Physics.
Boyle, the Setting of the Summa Theologiae of Thomas Aquinas
Roensch, Early Thomistic School
Ockham, commentary on II Sent.
John D. Caputo, The Mystical Element in Heidegger's thought (quote is about Meister Eckhart)
Huizinga, The Waning of the Middle Ages

So there you have it. A chapter that trashes Scotus on a variety of topics cites him only on one topic. No actual scholars of Scotus are cited. Boler might count; he has written on the topic of the will in Scotus and it seemed decent enough. But here he is cited regarding Aquinas. In this chapter, then, Scotus is just lumped in with Ockham and late medieval decline.


Estase said...

Umberto Eco as an authority on Scotus? Really?

Credo In Unum Deum said...

That's hilarious.

Asello Guzman said...

I'm confused by the way you selected which notes to type out. You did not include French, German, or Latin titles -- what if those contain sufficient information to demonstrate what MacIntyre is trying to prove? Also, why not mention primary literature? It seems that you're stacking the deck against him.

Do you use the same method with ch. V? or is it 5? This post could be useful if it were a bit clearer.

Lee Faber said...

The title's are there, I just translated them into english rather than include the special formatting required for foreign language titles. There is no missing info. And I hardly find it useful to count how many times he mentions Boethius' name or Augustine's or whatever. He rarely cites them directly (when he does its on the order of 'Aquinas, quinque viae, ST Ia.' etc.) and obviously he is just building his discourse on the secondary sources.

The point is against authoritarians like Mark Wauk who do not cite primary sources but rely solely on the authority of thomist authors like Macintyre. He claimed I wasn't dealing with his auctoritates, so here I deal with one of them, demonstrating that he is relying on outdated scholarship and does not bother to give any evidence for his interpretations of Scotus. I will look at those interpretations in a future post.

If you're confused by 5/V...

Asello Guzman said...

Thanks for the clarification. I'll send a link to this post to those who I think may be interested parties.