Combining Philosophers

Ideas for George Engelbretsen, R Kaplan / E Kaplan and John Duns Scotus

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6 ideas

7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 3. Being / a. Nature of Being
The concept of being has only one meaning, whether talking of universals or of God [Duns Scotus, by Dumont]
     Full Idea: Duns Scotus was the first scholastic to hold that the concept of being and other transcendentals were univocal, not only in application to substance and accidents, but even to God and creatures.
     From: report of John Duns Scotus (works [1301]) by Stephen D. Dumont - Duns Scotus p.205
     A reaction: So either it exists or it doesn't. No nonsense about 'subsisting'. Russell flirted with subsistence, but Quine agrees with Duns Scotus (and so do I).
Being (not sensation or God) is the primary object of the intellect [Duns Scotus, by Dumont]
     Full Idea: Duns Scotus said the primary object of the created intellect was being, rejecting Aquinas's Aristotelian view that it was limited to the quiddity of the sense particular, and Henry of Ghent's Augustinian view that it was God.
     From: report of John Duns Scotus (works [1301]) by Stephen D. Dumont - Duns Scotus p.205
     A reaction: I suppose the 'primary object of the intellect' is the rationalist/empiricism disagreement. So (roughly) Aquinas was an empiricist, Duns Scotus was a rationalist, and Augustine was a transcendentalist? Augustine sounds like Spinoza.
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 6. Criterion for Existence
Are things distinct if they are both separate, or if only one of them can be separate? [Duns Scotus, by Pasnau]
     Full Idea: Later standard theories said that a real distinction obtains between two things that can each exist without the other. For Scotus a real distinction requires only that one of the pair be able to exist without the other.
     From: report of John Duns Scotus (In Metaphysics [1304], V.5-6 n91) by Robert Pasnau - Metaphysical Themes 1274-1671 12.5
     A reaction: His example is the similarity relation, which is independent of the whiteness on which it is based (since the other thing can become non-white).
Existence and nonexistence are characteristics of the world, not of objects [Engelbretsen]
     Full Idea: Existence and nonexistence are not primarily properties of individual objects (dogs, unicorns), but of totalities. To say that some object exists is just to say that it is a constituent of the world, which is a characteristic of the world, not the object.
     From: George Engelbretsen (Trees, Terms and Truth [2005], 4)
     A reaction: This has important implications for the problem of truthmakers for negative existential statements (like 'there are no unicorns'). It is obviously a relative of Armstrong's totality facts that do the job. Not sure about 'a characteristic of'.
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 7. Facts / a. Facts
Facts are not in the world - they are properties of the world [Engelbretsen]
     Full Idea: Facts must be viewed as properties of the world - not as things in the world.
     From: George Engelbretsen (Trees, Terms and Truth [2005], 4)
     A reaction: Not sure I'm happy with either of these. Do animals grasp facts? If not, are they (as Strawson said) just the truths expressed by true sentences? That is not a clear idea either, given that facts are not the sentences themselves. Facts overlap.
7. Existence / E. Categories / 4. Category Realism
Individuals are arranged in inclusion categories that match our semantics [Engelbretsen]
     Full Idea: The natural categories of individuals are arranged in a hierarchy of inclusion relations that is isomorphic with the linguistic semantic structure.
     From: George Engelbretsen (Trees, Terms and Truth [2005], 5)
     A reaction: This is the conclusion of a summary of modern Term Logic. The claim is that Sommers discerned this structure in our semantics (via the study of 'terms'), and was pleasantly surprised to find that it matched a plausible structure of natural categories.