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Duns Scotus, Metaphysician

by William Frank

Publication Year: 1995

Long recognized as one of the greatest medieval philosophical theologians, John Duns Scotus made his most innovative theoretical contributions in the area of metaphysics. A careful and detailed study of his argument for the existence of God and the theory of knowledge that makes this possible provides the most direct access to his basic ideas. Unlike the Five Ways of Thomas Aquinas or Anselm's famous Proslogion argument, Scotus's proof is of another order of complexity and amounts to a little "summa" of his metaphysics. Among those theologians to accept Aristotle's scientific theory, Scotus is perhaps the first to realize fully its negative consequences if the philosophical doctrines of divine illumination and the analogical concept of being interact. His treatment of the God-question is distinguished for its deliberatively holistic approach to what was conventionally a series of unrelated topics.

Published by: Purdue University Press

Series: History of Philosophy


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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. vii-ix

In this book we present John Duns Scotus's metaphysical treatment of God. As a philosopher, Scotus was above all a metaphysician, and his metaphysics was ordered finally toward the rational knowledge of the first being. Since the purpose of this series in the history of philosophy is to present...

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1. Life and Works

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pp. 1-16

In the Conventual Franciscan Church in Cologne, the ornate catafalque containing the mortal remains of John Duns Scotus bears the inscription "Scotia me genuit, Anglia me suscepit, Gallia me docuit, Colonia me tenet." Taken from the opening lines of a poem honoring this philosopher and theologian...

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2. The Nature of Metaphysics

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pp. 18-39

If all men by nature desire to know, then they desire most of all the greatest knowledge or science. So the Philosopher argues in chap. 2 of the first book of this work [Metaphysics]. And he immediately indicates what the greatest science is, namely, that science which is about those things that are most knowable. ...

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3. Parisian Proof for the Existence of God

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pp. 40-107

Regarding the existence of God, I propose three questions. First, in the world of beings, is there some being that is first in an unqualified sense? Second, could several different sorts of being possess such primacy? Third, is some being actually infinite in an unqualified sense? ...

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4. Three Questions about Knowledge

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pp. 108-183

I say to begin with, therefore, that it is naturally possible to have not only a concept in which God is known incidentally, for example, in some attribute, but also some concept in which he is conceived per se and quidditatively. I prove this, because in conceiving "wise," we conceive a property...

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5. Two Metaphysical Questions

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pp. 184-208

As was stated in the solution to the first question on this matter [of individuation], nature is prior naturally to "this nature," and the unity proper—which follows on nature qua nature—is prior naturally to its unity qua this nature. And it is under this prior aspect that there is a metaphysical consideration...

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 209-218


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pp. 219-224

E-ISBN-13: 9781612490441
E-ISBN-10: 1612490441
Print-ISBN-13: 9781557530721
Print-ISBN-10: 1557530726

Page Count: 220
Publication Year: 1995

Series Title: History of Philosophy
Series Editor Byline: Adriaan Peperzak See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 655537898
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Duns Scotus, Metaphysician

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Subject Headings

  • Knowledge, Theory of.
  • Duns Scotus, John, ca. 1266-1308.
  • Metaphysics.
  • God (Christianity) -- History of doctrines -- Middle Ages, 600-1500.
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