Duns Scotus on the Origin of the Possibles in the Divine Intellect
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In Stephen F. Brown, Thomas Dewender & Theo Kobusch (eds.), Philosophical Debates at Paris in the Early Fourteenth Century. Brill (2009)
Would there be possibles if God did not exist? The interpretative impasse on this point has been mainly due to the failure to recognize an ambiguity in Scotus’s terminology. “Possibilia” are (1) the eidetic natures of things or (2) the possibility for a creature to exist. In this paper I argue that Scotus denies that God is responsible for giving things the possibility of existence. In this sense, possibles do not depend on God. Yet I also argue that according to Scotus, only God can originate the eidetic natures of creatures, i.e., the natures of which possibility is predicated. If God did not exist, there would be no possibles, because there would be no eidetic natures and thus no subjects of which possibility could be affirmed. What leads Scotus to this view are not so much considerations pertaining to modal logic but rather epistemological concerns.
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Cal Ledsham (2010). Love, Power and Consistency: Scotus' Doctrines of God's Power, Contingent Creation, Induction and Natural Law. Sophia 49 (4):557-575.
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