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John Duns Scotus (Philosopher, Theologian, Franciscan Monk) ca 1266 – 1308


John Duns Scotus Demographics:
  • Name - John Duns Scotus
  • Other Names - Doctor Subtilis
  • Born - ca 1266 (Duns, Berwickshire, Scotland)
  • Died - ? December 8, 1308 (Cologne)
  • Burial Place - Church of the Franciscans, Cologne.
  • Occupation - Member of the Franciscan Order, philosopher & theologian.
John Duns Scotus Early Life & Education:
  • Little is known for certain of Scotus' life.
  • Probably born ~1266; birthplace possibly at Duns, in Berwickshire, Scotland.
  • Ordained as a priest in Northampton, England (1291).
  • A Merton College (Oxford) note (Codex 66) documents that Scotus "flourished at Cambridge, Oxford and Paris."
John Duns Scotus Later Life:
  • He was the mentor to William of Ockham.
  • Lectured at the University of Paris in Autumn of 1302.
  • Scotus was expelled from the University of Paris for siding with Pope Boniface VIII in his feud with Philip the Fair of France regarding the taxation of church property.
  • He returned to the University of Paris in 1304 to continue lecturing.
  • He later moved to the Franciscan studium at Cologne (? October 1307), where he died the next year.
  • The Scotus sarcophagus (Church of the Franciscans, Cologne) bears the Latin inscription:
  • Scotia me genuit. Anglia me suscepit. Gallia me docuit. Colonia me tenet.
  • Translation. "Scotland brought me forth. England sustained me. France taught me. Cologne holds me."
John Duns Scotus Other Facts:
  • Founder of Scotism, a special form of Scholasticism.
  • Known also as "Doctor Subtilis" on account of the subtle distinctions & nuances of his thinking.
  • The term dunce (via Dunse) comes from descriptions, by detractors, of Duns Scotus and his followers - meaning incapable of scholarship.
Duns Scotus & Religion:
  • He had considerable influence over prevailing Roman Catholic thought.
  • Duns Scotus believed that the truths of faith could not be comprehended through the use of reason.
  • From this belief Duns Scotus considered that philosophy should not be a servant to theology, but act independently.
  • Scotus developed a complex argument for the existence of God.
  • He was also an adherent of, and argued for, the Immaculate conception of Mary.
John Duns Scotus Works:
  • Only four works have been identified as authentic:
  • Commentaries on Porphyry's Isagoge, on Aristotle's Categories, On Interpretation (in two different versions), and on Sophistical Refutations.
  • These works are known as the parva logicalia.
  • Historians date these works to around 1295, when he was working in Oxford.

Posted by ALCHEssMIST.
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