In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

SCOTUS AND OCKHAM ON THE UNIVOCAL CONCEPT OF BEING Both Duns Scotus and William of Ockham held that the concept of being is univocal to God and creatures. They thus distinguished themselves from philosophers like Thomas Aquinas and Henry of Ghent who held that the concept of being may be applied only analogically to God and creatures. Scotus and Ockham also claimed that all created things fall under the univocal concept of being. For Ockham, this meant that 'being' may be predicated in quid of all created things. Scotus, however, stated that 'being' is predicated in quid of only the infinite being (God) and the ten categories of finite beings.1 He claimed that the ultimate differences and the attributes of being do not have 'being' predicated in quid of them.2 1 There is a difficulty in properly expressing what Scotus means by "predicating being in quid." Scotus apparently views being as some real, metaphysical constituent of things. Ockham, however, understands being to be a concept. We thus can formulate Ockham's position in the formal mode, i.e. " 'being' is predicated in quid," without fear of misrepresenting his position. Scotus' position, however, is not adequately oaptured by the formal mode since, on Scotus' view, there is a material predication involved when being is predicated in quid of something ; that is, something more than a concept—a real metaphysical entity—is predicated of something. In this paper, I shall use the formal mode to express both Scotus' and Ockham's positions. I shall, however, assume that the reader will understand that the formulation of Scotus' position in the formal mode will be shorthand for the more correct formulation in the material mode. 1 would also like to acknowledge that, in addition to the references I cite in the footnotes, I have benefitted from the following works: Barth, Timotheus ?., "Being, Univocity, and Analogy According to Duns Scotus" in Ryan, editor. Studies in Philosophy and the History of Philosophy, V. 3, Washington, D.C, 1965; Menges, Matthew, The Concept of Univocity Regarding the Predication ofGod and Creature according to William Ockham, St. Bonaventure, Franciscan Institute, 1952; Shircel, Cyril Louis, The Univocity of the Concept of Being in the Philosophy ofJohn Duns Scotus, Washington, D.C, Catholic University of America Press, 1942. 2 Allan Wolter in The Transcendentals and Their Function in the Metaphysics of Duns Scotus, The Franoiscan Institute, St. Bonaventure, N.Y., 1946, p. 79 defines in quid predication in this way: "To predicate in quid means to predicate ??6DOUGLAS C. LANGSTON Nevertheless, they fall under the univocal concept of being because they are always found in things to which 'being' is predicated in quid. Ockham, in formulating his doctrine of the univocal concept of being, argued against Scotus' position that 'being' is not predicated in quid of either the ultimate differences or the attributes of being. His argument took two forms. He first tried to argue that Scotus' position about the ultimate differences and the attributes of being is inconsistent with other facets of the Scotistic system. These arguments occur early in Ordinatio I, d. 2, q. 9 ("Whether Being is Univocal to God and Creatures") in the section entitled "Defects of Scotus' Opinion." He next tried to argue that, given his own position on the question, there are obvious failings in Scotus' position. These remarks are found in the section of Ordinatio I, d. 2, q. 9 entitled "To the Arguments of Scotus." I shall devote my attention to the first set of arguments against Scotus' position. I hope to show that in this section of Ordinatio I, d. 2, q. 9 Ockham has not demonstrated inconsistencies in Scotus' system by providing Scotus with responses to these objections. The fact that I think that Ockham's arguments do not show inconsistencies in Scotus' position should not be taken as an endorsement on my part of Scotus' views. In fact, I think that Ockham does provide a very good argument against Scotus' position although it does not occur in the "Defects of Scotus' Opinion" section nor do I think that Ockham is right in judging that this argument is similar to an argument Scotus advances. My chief aim in...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 105-129
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.