Henry of Ghent and John Duns Scotus on the Formal Distinction

March 31, 2007

I’m currently writing on Henry of Ghent and soon I’m going to start looking at Scotus’s interpretation of him, so I found the following quote very interesting:

“If I am not mistaken, the precise difference between Scotus and Henry boils down to this. If you grant their common scholastic assumption that our concepts and reality are somehow isomorphic, then the mere possibility of conceiving one property without the other requires some actual nonidentity or distinction of properties a parte rei logically prior to and as a condition for our thinking of one apart from the other. (Recall in this connection what Wittgenstein says in Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus 2.012-2.0121). One can of course deny the isomorphism as Ockham does, but if you concede it as Aquinas and henry do, it seems difficult to escape Scotus’s conclusion.”

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Why Thomas Says Grace is an Accident/Habitus?

March 28, 2007

[This was a response I made in the excellent thread of conversation going on in the thread about Augustine’s understanding of Justification. It actually moves over into Thomas, and so strays off topic slightly. However, this same worry has reappeared a few times in conversations I’ve had through the years, so I thought I would address it here for the inquiring minds.]

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Boethius’ Consolation Part VI, Whether All Things Seek the Good?

March 26, 2007

The end of Prose X of Book III contains the most thorough presentation thus far of Boethius’s claim that all things seek the good, which is to say that all things really seek God. But a contemporary reader might have some worries at this point because there are at least two serious objections to Boethius’s point.

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More on Augustine’s Doctrine of Justification

March 25, 2007

Over at Pontifications there was a great article on Augustine’s doctrine of justification in comparison with Luther from sometime last year. The author is Dr. Phillip Cary who also has a book on Augustine with Oxford that looks very interesting.  Posted for your reading pleasure.


St. Augustine’s View of Justification

March 19, 2007

St. Augustine is claimed by protestants as a sort of proto-reformer to add a degree of legitimacy in their claim against the Roman magisterium and the council of Trent about justification and whether it comes sola fide.

But is that view really accurate?

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Boethius’s Consolation Part IV, Whether Perfect Happiness Exists?

March 19, 2007

That all things seek the good is a key component of the Philosophy’s therapy for Boethius. There are partial goods one can attain, riches, fame, power and so forth, but this are all transitory and are as liable to make one unhappy as happy. The good itself should bring perfect, self-sufficient happiness to the one who possesses it. But does this kind of perfect happiness actually exist?

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Boethius Part IV, Book II, poem VIII

March 12, 2007

The eighth poem of Book II of the Consolation announces a turn in the work. Up until this point, Philosophy has been engaging Boethius in way that is imprecise, but rhetorically effective by speaking about Fortune and her wheel. The rhetoric was effective there, presumably because the image of Fortune as the cruelly indifferent, “blind power” disposing human affairs would seem very appropriate to the morose Boethius.

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