Sunday, July 6, 2014

New Books on the Horizon

Here are three new books on Scotus that will be out later this year:

Richard Cross, Duns Scotus's Theory of Cognition

  • Original work on a great medieval philosopher
  • Presents Scotus's work within its historical and intellectual context
Richard Cross provides the first complete and detailed account of Duns Scotus's theory of cognition, tracing the processes involved in cognition from sensation, through intuition and abstraction, to conceptual thought. He provides an analysis of the ontological status of the various mental items (acts and dispositions) involved in cognition, and a new account of Scotus on nature of conceptual content. Cross goes on to offer a novel, reductionist, interpretation of Scotus's view of the ontological status of representational content, as well as new accounts of Scotus's opinions on intuitive cognition, intelligible species, and the varieties of consciousness. Scotus was a perceptive but highly critical reader of his intellectual forebears, and this volume places his thought clearly within the context of thirteenth-century reflections on cognitive psychology, influenced as they were by Aristotle, Augustine, and Avicenna. As far as possible, Duns Scotus's Theory of Cognition traces developments in Scotus's thought during the ten or so highly productive years that formed the bulk of his intellectual life.
Readership: Scholars and advanced students in history of philosophy.

Thomas Ward, John Duns Scotus on Parts, Wholes, and Hylomorphism

In John Duns Scotus on Parts, Wholes, and Hylomorphism, Thomas M. Ward examines Scotus's arguments for his distinctive version of hylomorphism, the view that at least some material objects are composites of matter and form. It considers Scotus's reasons for adopting hylomorphism, and his accounts of how matter and form compose a substance, how extended parts, such as the organs of an organism, compose a substance, and how other sorts of things, such as the four chemical elements (earth, air, fire, and water) and all the things in the world, fail to compose a substance. It highlights the extent to which Scotus draws on his metaphysics of essential order to explain why some things can compose substance and why others cannot. Throughout the book, contemporary versions of hylomorphism are discussed in ways that both illumine Scotus's own views and suggest ways to advance contemporary debates.

Daniel P. Horan, OFM, Postmodernity and Univocity: A Critical Account of Radical Orthodoxy and John Duns Scotus

Nearly twenty-five years ago, John Milbank inaugurated Radical Orthodoxy, one of the most significant and influential theological movements of the last two decades. In Milbank’s Theology and Social Theory, he constructed a sweeping theological genealogy of the origins of modernity and the emergence of the secular, counterposed by a robust retrieval of traditional orthodoxy as the critical philosophical and theological mode of being in the postmodern world. That genealogy turns upon a critical point—the work of John Duns Scotus as the starting point of modernity and progenitor of a raft of philosophical and theological ills that have prevailed since. Milbank’s account has been disseminated proliferously through Radical Orthodoxy and even beyond and is largely uncontested in contemporary theology.

The present volume conducts a comprehensive examination and critical analysis of Radical Orthodoxy’s use and interpretation of John Duns Scotus. Daniel P. Horan, O.F.M. offers a substantial challenge to the narrative of Radical Orthodoxy’s idiosyncratic take on Scotus and his role in ushering in the philosophical age of the modern. This volume not only corrects the received account of Scotus but opens a constructive way forward toward a positive assessment and appropriation of Scotus’s work for contemporary theology.


Daniel said...

I was already aware of the Cross (I hope it will be better than his introduction) but the Ward is news to me and highly interesting news at that. There is to be a large volume out from OUA in August, Aquinas's Ontology of the Material World by Jeffrey Brower, which bills itself as a comprehensive contemporary account of Thomas' variation of Hylemorphism, so at the risk of stirring up old further controversy it will be interesting to compare the two.

Re Postmodernity and Univocity, whilst something like this has needed to be written for a while there’s something rather depressing about treating such things with more seriousness than their worth – it’s like hearing about yet another volume written ‘against the New Atheists’. RO’s ‘Scotus caused the death of philosophical theology with his doctrine of Univocity’ will become like Gilson’s ‘Su├írez’ introduced the poison of Essentialism into European philosophy’ (though it’s hard to imagine anyone could be as irritating as Gilson).

James A. Given said...

If the category is 'writers defending Duns Scotus' use of the term univocity, and Duns' relevance to the (post)-modern debate on philosophical theology, has anyone read the recent essay and book by Guus Labooy? He argues that Duns might have been more important to Heidegger's phenomenology had Heidegger understood Duns correctly.

Lee Faber said...

Thanks James, I was unaware of it. The only categories are 'new' and 'scotus'. If there were an ethics book on the horizon I would post that too, the same is
true even for a thomist book that would take scotus seriously, ie evaluated arguments rather than constructed narratives