Durand of St.-Pourçain's Theory of Modes

Journal of the History of Philosophy 60 (2):203-226 (2022)
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Early modern philosophers, such as Descartes and Spinoza, appeal to a theory of modes in their metaphysics. Recent commentators have argued that such a theory of modes has Francesco Suárez as its primary source. In this paper, I explore one explicit source for Suárez’s view: Durand of St.-Pourçain, an early fourteenth-century philosopher. My aim will be mainly expository: I will put forward Durand’s theory of modes, thus correcting the persistent belief that there was no well-defined theory of modes prior to Suárez. First, I will sketch out the historical and theological context in which Durand developed his theory, briefly canvassing some of the items that he treats as modes as well. Second, I will go over the distinctive features that Durand thinks modes have. Finally, I will close with some reflection on why we should countenance modes in our ontology. Along the way, I will correct a few misconceptions about Durand’s theory of modes.

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Peter Hartman
Loyola University, Chicago

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