Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Scotus Quodlibet Translation

For a limited time, Allan Wolter's translation is available for free from Project Muse!

Sunday, June 21, 2020

What is reality?

Here are some remarks by Peter Thomae on the notion of reality. one should keep these definitions in mind when reading Scotist thought.

Petrus Thomae, Quaestiones de modis distinctionum q. 2 a. 1 (ed. forthcoming ca. 2030)

De tertio, scilicet quid sit realitas, dico duo:
Primum est quod realitas non dicit proprie rem, sed aliquid aliud ad rem pertinens. Hoc patet ex modo significandi, nam ab hoc quod ‘res’ derivatur ‘reale’, unde illud dicitur ‘reale’ quod est ad rem pertinens; sed ab hoc quod dicitur ‘reale’ derivatur ‘realitas’; realitas ergo proprie non dicit rem sed aliquid ad rem pertinens.
Secundum est descriptio quam pono de realitate, quae talis est: illud voco ‘realitatem’ quod est aliquid positivum in re ex natura rei, non contentum in alio | ut in pure passivo vel activo praecise vel sicut in superiori inferius sed actualiter et formaliter inexistens, ita quod ultimate abstractum nullum illorum a quo formaliter distinguitur includit impossibile est in actuali existentia ab illis separari per aliquam potentiam.


Concerning the third [section], namely, 'what is reality', I say two things"
First is that 'reality' does not mean properly 'thing', but something other pertaining to a thing. This is clear from the mode of understanding, for from this that 'real' is derived from 'thing', it is said that 'real' is that is pertaining ot a thing; but from 'real' is derived 'reality'; therefore, reality properly does not mean thing but something pertaining to a thing.
Second is the description which I posit of reality, which is thus: I call that [a] 'reality' which is something positive in a thing from the nature of a thing, not contained in anthoer as in the purely passive or purely active or as an inferior in a superior, but formally and actually existing-in, so that when it is ultimately abstracted it includes none of those from which it is formally distinguished [and] it is possible that it can be spearated from them in actual existence by some power.

Hmmm. well, it is based on two manuscripts. Good manuscripts, sure, but maybe something is missing. Commentary to come.

A Hegel-Scotus Connection?

Alas, bad scholarship has much in common, no matter the topic.

From an Essay by Walter Kaufmann:

One of the few things on which the analysts, pragmatists, and existentialists agree with the dialectical theologians is that Hegel is to be repudiated: their attitude toward Kant, Aristotle, Plato, and the other great philosophers is not at all unanimous even within each movement; but opposition to Hegel is part of the platform of all four, and of the Marxists, too. Oddly, the man whom all these movements take to be so crucially important is but little known to most of their adherents; very few indeed have read as many as two of the four books that Hegel published.
Hegel is known largely through secondary sources and a few incriminating slogans and generalizations. The resulting myth, however, lacked a comprehensive, documented statement till Karl Popper found a place for it in his widely discussed book, The Open Society and Its Enemies. After it had gone through three impressions in England, a revised one-volume edition was brought out in the United States in 1950, five years after its original appearance.


Furthermore, Popper has relied largely on Scribner’s Hegel Selections, a little anthology for students that contains not a single complete work. Like Gilson in The Unity of Philosophical Experience (p. 246), Popper takes over such a gross mistranslation as “the State is the march of God through the world,” although the original says merely that it is the way of God with the world that there should be the State, and even this sentence is lacking in the text published by Hegel and comes from one of the editor’s additions to the posthumous edition of The Philosophy of Right — and the editor admitted in his Preface that, though these additions were based on lecture notes, “the choice of words” was sometimes his rather than Hegel’s.


No conception is bandied about more unscrupulously in the history of ideas than “Influence.” Popper’s notion of it is so utterly unscientific that one should never guess that he has done important work on logic and on scientific method. At best, it is reducible to post hoc, ergo propter hoc. Thus he speaks of “the Hegelian Bergson” (p. 256 and n. 66) and assumes, without giving any evidence whatever, that Bergson, Smuts, Alexander, and Whitehead were all interested in Hegel, simply because they were “evolutionists” (p. 225 and n. 6).