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  • Current Periodical Articles*Philosophical Abstracts

Vol. 93, No. 4, Fall 2019

The Internal Unity of Natural Kinds: Assessing Oderberg's Neo-Scholastic Account, TRAVIS DUMSDAY

It is often assumed that the essence of a natural kind is complex, being such as to include (or to wholly consist of) multiple fundamental properties. For instance, perhaps the essence of the kind "electron" includes both negative charge and a precise rest mass, where neither of these is derivable from the other, nor derivable from some other foundational property. This assumption raises the so-called unity problem: how to explain what unifies or holds together these properties. One important answer is developed by David Oderberg. His model draws on insights from both analytic metaphysics and the scholastic tradition. The author provides a summary of Oderberg's solution to the unity problem and points to a potential worry it faces. He concludes by adverting to an alternative solution that would still fit within Oderberg's overall system.

Theology Complexity without Composition: Duns Scotus on Divine Simplicity, JEFF STEELE and THOMAS WILLIAMS

John Duns Scotus recognizes complexity in God both at the level of God's being and at the level of God's attributes. Using the formal distinction and the notion of unitive containment, he argues for real plurality in God, but in a way that permits him to affirm the doctrine of divine simplicity. The authors argues that his allegiance to the doctrine of divine simplicity is purely verbal, that he flatly denies traditional aspects of the doctrine as he had received it from Augustine, Anselm, and Aquinas, and that his denial of the doctrine allows him to escape certain counterintuitive consequences of the doctrine without falling afoul of the worries that motivated the doctrine in the first place. They note also an important consequence of Scotus's approach to simplicity for the correct interpretation of his view of the foundation of morality. [End Page 391]

The Analogy of Being in the Scotist Tradition, GARRET R. SMITH

It is widely believed today that John Duns Scotus's doctrine of the univocity of being ushered in various deleterious philosophical and theological consequences that resulted in the negative features of modernity. Included in this common opinion, but not examined, is the belief that by affirming univocity Scotus thereby also denied the analogy of being (analogia entis). The present essay challenges this belief by recovering Scotus's true position on analogy, namely, that it obtains in the order of the real, and that complex concepts of creatures are analogically related to complex concepts of God. Scotus's doctrine is then compared to the later Scotist tradition. The common opinion of the Scotist school from the fourteenth century onward followed Scotus's position on analogy and considerably expanded on his scattered remarks.

Edith Stein and the Ethics of Renewal: Contributions to a Steinian Account of the Moral Task, WILLIAM E. TULLIUS

While Edith Stein never developed an ethics of her own, her work is nonetheless suggestive of an "ethics of renewal," which appears in nuce in various moments of her corpus. First, in her phenomenological treatises, Stein analyzes the ethical development of personality in the unfolding of the personal "core" as responding to ever higher value domains. During the 1930s, this becomes a project of living out a moral vocation bestowed by God. In Endliches und ewiges Sein, the moral life becomes a work of renewal in connection with the Teresian metaphor of the interior castle. Morality, for Stein, emerges from out of an inner, personal work of the soul's conscious refurbishment according to its essential structure by coming to terms with the value-world and with God. This article develops Stein's account of the nature of the moral task as renewal and some implications for moral theory.

Descartes on the Highest Good: Concepts and Conceptions, FRANS SWENSSON

What is the highest good? In the ethics of René Descartes, we can distinguish at least seven different answers to this question: (a) God; (b) the sum of all the different goods that "we either possess . . . or have the power to acquire"; (c) free will; (d) virtue; (e) love of God; (f) wisdom; and...


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