Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Recent Work on Scotus

Two recent publications on Scotus have come to my attention, both written out of the continental perspective. The first is Cynthia Nielsen, Foucault, Douglass, Fanon, and Scotus in Dialogue: On Social Construction and Freedom.

From amazon:

Through examining Douglass's and Fanon's concrete experiences of oppression, Cynthia R. Nielsen demonstrates the empirical validity of Foucault's theoretical analyses concerning power, resistance, and subject-formation. Going beyond merely confirming Foucault's insights, Douglass and Fanon expand, strengthen, and offer correctives to the emancipatory dimensions of Foucault's project. Unlike Foucault, Douglass and Fanon were not hesitant to make transhistorical judgments condemning slavery and colonization. Foucault's reticence here signals a weakness in his account of human being. This weakness sets him at cross-purposes not only with Scotus, but also with Douglass and Fanon. Scotus's anthropology provides a basis for transhistorical moral critique; thus he is a valuable dialogue partner for those concerned about social justice and human flourishing.

The second is from the summer issue of the American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly. William E. Tullius, "Haecceitas as Value and as Moral Horizon - A Scotist Contribution to the Project of a Phenomenological Ethics."


This paper seeks to provide a phenomenological articulation of the Scotist notion of haecceitas, interpreting Scotus’s principle of individuation at once as an ontological as well as a moral principle. Growing out of certain suggestions made by James Hart in his Who One Is, this interpretation is meant to provide the phenomenological ethics of both Edmund Husserl and Max Scheler with a useful theoretical tool in the Scotist notion of haecceitas interpreted as a horizon of value in order more fully to develop the phenomenological idea of the ethical life as a task that specifically seeks to realize as its highest goal the vocation of the person to his or her ideal, true self. The main implication of Scotus’s thought, here, for phenomenology will be the ability to further delimit haecceitas as an objective moral principle that refutes the frequent charge of relativistic subjectivism in the phenomenological theory of ethics.

Also, an important recent article by Richard Cross, "Duns Scotus and Analogy: A Brief Note" in The Modern Schoolman 89 (2012).


Duns Scotus defends the view that we can speak univocally of God and creatures. When we do so, we use words in the same sense in the two cases. Scotus maintains that the concepts that these univocal words signify are themselves univocal: the same concept in the two cases. In this paper, I consider a related question: does Duns Scotus have the notion of analogous concepts—concepts whose relation to each other lies somewhere between the univocal and the equivocal? Using some neglected texts from Scotus’s attempt to refute Henry of Ghent’s rejection of univocity, I argue that he does, and that he uses his account of univocity to ground the relation of analogy between two concepts. According to Scotus, analogous concepts are compositional, and overlap at a univocal concept. 

From the same issue and journal as Richard Cross's article is Giorgio Pini,  "Scotus on Hell".


The existence of everlasting punishment has sometimes been thought to be incompatible with God’s goodness and omnipotence. John Duns Scotus focused on the key issue concerning everlasting punishment, i.e., the impossibility for the damned to repent of their evil deeds and so to obtain forgiveness. Scotus’s claim was that such an impossibility is not logical but nomological, i.e., it depends on the rules God established to govern the world, specifically on what I call ‘the rule of the permanence of the last volition.’ Scotus does not try to defend God’s decision to implement the rule of the permanence of the last volition. I suggest, however, that that decision can be taken as an indication of God’s preference for a world where this life is given unique value as the only test rational creatures have to prove themselves as moral agents.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hmm, one worry is how one could possibly have any Phenomenological warrant for postulating a haecceitas in the first place.