John Duns Scotus Criticism - Essay

David Burr (essay date 1972)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Burr, David. “Scotus and Transubstantiation.” Medieval Studies 34 (1972): 336-60.

[In the following essay, Burr studies the reasoning and conclusions of Scotus on the subject of the Transubstantiation of Christ, comparing his arguments with those of St. Thomas Aquinas and subsequent Scotist theologians.]

John Duns Scotus remains somewhat of an enigma to the average student of intellectual history. Since the so-called “Thomistic synthesis” is usually accepted by the non-specialist as the quintessence of medieval religious thought, Scotus is relegated to a rather shadowy existence as the “other great medieval theologian,” without any clear notion of...

(The entire section is 12149 words.)

William A. Frank (essay date 1982)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Frank, William A. “Duns Scotus's Concept of Willing Freely: What Divine Freedom beyond Choice Teaches Us.” Franciscan Studies 42, no. 20 (1982): 68-89.

[In the following essay, Frank analyzes the conjunction of freedom and necessity in Scotus's understanding of divine will.]

The claim that God enjoys a volition that is simultaneously free and necessary challenges the standard meaning of willing freely that is anchored in the condition of a choice between alternatives.1 It has been claimed before that Duns Scotus' assertion of the compatibility of freedom and necessity in volition proves critical to a proper understanding of his voluntarism....

(The entire section is 9190 words.)

William Lane Craig (essay date 1987)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Craig, William Lane. “John Duns Scotus on God's Foreknowledge and Future Contingents.” Franciscan Studies 47, no. 25 (1987): 98-122.

[In the following essay, Craig explicates Scotus's view of the infallibility of divine foreknowledge, together with his proposition that such foreknowledge does not imply total determinism or a lack of future contingency.]

John Duns Scotus's best treatment of God's foreknowledge and future contingents is found in distinctions 38.2-39 of book one of his Opus Oxoniense, or Ordinatio, in which he discusses whether God has determinate, certain and infallible, immutable, and necessary cognition of existents and...

(The entire section is 9724 words.)

Stephen D. Dumont (essay date July 1989)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Dumont, Stephen D. “Theology as a Science and Duns Scotus's Distinction between Intuitive and Abstractive Cognition.” Speculum 64, no. 3 (July 1989): 579-99.

[In the following essay, Dumont probes the distinction between two types of thought—intuitive and abstractive cognition—within Scotus's definition of theology as a true science rather than simply the product of faith and beatific vision.]

By all accounts one of the most influential philosophical contributions of Duns Scotus is his distinction between intuitive cognition, in which a thing is known as present and existing, and abstractive cognition, which abstracts from actual presence and...

(The entire section is 9203 words.)

Stephen D. Dumont (essay date summer 1992)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Dumont, Stephen D. “The Propositio Famosa Scoti: Duns Scotus and Ockham on the Possibility of a Science of Theology.” Dialogue 31, no. 3 (summer 1992): 415-29.

[In the following essay, Dumont considers Scotus's contention that theology is a science in a verifiable, Aristotelian sense, and contrasts this view with William of Ockham's repudiation of Scotus's argument.]

Duns Scotus's famous proposition was first attacked in a short polemical treatise attributed to Thomas of Sutton.1 By the time of Ockham, the proposition was known as the propositio famosa, so called by Walter Chatton,2 Ockham's colleague at Oxford and...

(The entire section is 7489 words.)

Allan B. Wolter (essay date winter 1993)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Wolter, Allan B. “Reflections on the Life and Works of Scotus.” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 67, no. 1 (winter 1993): 1-36.

[In the following essay, Wolter recounts the twentieth-century editorial history of Scotus's collected works.]

Scotus's early death left all his major works in an unfinished state. But so great was his fame and following that his disciples made every effort to put his writings before the public, particularly the two most important works on which his fame as a theologian has largely depended, one is his monumental commentary on the four books of the Sentences, the other his magisterial Quodlibet. The former...

(The entire section is 11080 words.)

Allan B. Wolter (essay date winter 1993)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Wolter, Allan B. “Scotus on the Divine Origin of Possibility.” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 67, no. 1 (winter 1993): 95-107.

[In the following essay, Wolter illuminates a principal element of Scotus's mature metaphysical theory regarding divine knowledge of the potential and the actual.]

The Questions on Aristotle's Metaphysics, in the opinion of the Scotistic Commission is a work Duns Scotus composed early in his academic career. Portions of what he wrote there are more fully developed in his Oxford Lectura.1 According to the editors working on a critical edition at the work at the Franciscan Institute of St....

(The entire section is 5660 words.)

Mary Elizabeth Ingham (essay date winter 1993)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Ingham, Mary Elizabeth. “Scotus and the Moral Order.” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 67, no. 1 (winter 1993): 127-50.

[In the following essay, Ingham evaluates Scotus as a moral philosopher and assesses his discussion of the moral life.]

Twenty years ago, scholarship on Scotist thought centered upon the question: Is Scotus a voluntarist? Thanks to the serious research advanced by notable scholars,1 this question no longer preoccupies us. Scotus's “voluntarism,” if the term must be used, is not the radical advocacy of an indetermined will, but the reasoned presentation of a view of reality in which selfless love for the good, and...

(The entire section is 11759 words.)

John Boler (essay date January 1994)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Boler, John. “An Image for the Unity of Will in Duns Scotus.” Journal of the History of Philosophy 32, no. 1 (January 1994): 23-44.

[In the following essay, Boler concentrates on Scotus's moral theory of dual affectiones (basic inclinations toward happiness and justice) and the relationship of this duality to the philosopher's understanding of the underlying unity of will.]

Scotus adopts from Anselm the terminology of two “affections of will.”1 The affectio commodi and the affectio justitiae2 are basic wants or inclinations in rational agents, postulated to explain (a) severally, the various wants such agents...

(The entire section is 12777 words.)

Richard Cross (essay date April 1997)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Cross, Richard. “Duns Scotus on Goodness, Justice, and What God Can Do.” Journal of Theological Studies. n.s. 48, no. 1 (April 1997): 48-76.

[In the following essay, Cross analyzes and rejects Scotus's assertion “that God has libertarian freedom with regard to all his actions,” contending that such a claim creates an ethical contradiction between God's contingent action and the premise that God always acts in accordance with right reason.]

The claim that God is omnipotent is not exactly the same as the claim that God can bring about any (broadly) logically possible state of affairs: i.e., any state of affairs all of the descriptions of which are...

(The entire section is 13755 words.)