Sunday, January 23, 2011

Duns Scot on contingency

"I do not call everything contingent which is not necessary and which was not always in existence, but only that whose opposite could have occurred at the time that this actually occurred.  That is why I do not say that something is contingent but that something is caused contingently."

John Duns Scotus, Treatise on God as first principle 4.18, ed. and trans. Allan B. Wolter, as quoted by Alexander Broadie in his "Scotistic metaphysics and creation ex nihilo," Creation and the God of Abraham, ed. David B. Burrell, Carlo Gogliati, Janet M. Soskice, and William R. Stoeger (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2010), 59 (53-64), italics mine.
Not quite sure yet what I think of this, and especially in the light of the univocity that Broadie, an unabashed Scotist himself, everywhere quite cheerfully agrees is characteristic of his master.  What does this emphasis on free choice effect in this world?  (But then what do I know?)

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