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8/15/2015 6:36 pm  #1

RG Session 1 - Duns Scotus introductory texts

Hello everyone,
We have decided to devote the first session of the Reading Group to Duns Scotus, a philosopher more often than not treated primarily as a rival to Thomas. Far from being a mere ‘rival’, an opponent to be dealt with then forgotten about as some of the Neo-Thomists very foolishly thought, Scotus presented many valuable criticisms of, and insights into, not only into the Angelic Doctor’s system but also the entire Aristotelian tradition on which it is based. Beyond the merely intra-scholastic achievements Scotus' work on the Problem of Universals, the nature of possibility and necessity, philosophy of mind, causation and philosophy of language has had an immense influence on the development of subsequent thought. Without Scotus there would have been no Leibniz, no Pearce, no Brentano and no Plantinga; in short the history of philosophy would have been greatly impoverished.
The session will run roughly from today until the 15th of October, and will feature three texts to be read and commented on in any order one should care to. Each of these texts can be found online for free or for a minimal sum. They are as follows:
Duns Scotus: The Basic Principles of His Philosophy by Efrem Bettoni
This title is a full length introduction to Scotus’ philosophy as a whole including ethics and epistemology. Bettoni’s book is essentially a Neo-Scholastic manual but for Scotism instead of Thomism – for those who nurse fond memories of the old manuals it’s worth it for that alone. For those who don’t and are just coming to Scotus for the first time it offers a highly acessable, pleasant initiation into Scotist thought. The volume text can be downloaded from Scribd for $9.99, the price of a month’s membership which will also get one access to a host of other interesting philosophical E-books. A little judicious Googling will show free download options as well. Alternatively drop me a PM and I’ll see what I can do.
‘Duns Scotus’ Metaphysics’- Peter King
This is a decent length introductory essay on Scotus’ metaphysics. It covers all the main areas – the transcendentals, logical and real potency, the analysis of per say and per acccidens causal series (those seeking to better understand Thomas’ Cosmological Arguments must read this), Scotus' own theistic proof et cetera et cetera. King pulls no punches in the opening sections but it’s worth sticking with for the great rewards at the end.

‘Duns Scotus on Natural Theology’– James Ross and Todd Bates
This essay focuses on Scotus' views on Natural Theology and his own ‘Modal’ Proof for God’s existence. Said proof was neglected in the centuries following the demise of Scholastic thought but has recently seen something of a comeback in the advent of possible world metaphysics – Ross himself develops the argument in modern language in a number of his own writings on Philosophy of Religion. If one is coming to Scotus for the first time we recommend going for this essay last or at least after the King. The text linked to here is a draft form and thus a little messy, however if anyone wants a cleaned up pdf let me know.

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We hope this will be of interest to some of our regulars. Please feel free to contribute as much or as little as you wish – I’ll be posting my own thoughts though will save these towards the end of the session so as not to monopolise.



8/27/2015 10:19 am  #2

Re: RG Session 1 - Duns Scotus introductory texts

I'm just gonna put here that I spent 20 minutes typing up my thoughts on my phone and then accidentally hit 'back'.

I'll get back to this sometime though.

Noli turbare circulos meos.

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