Volume 91, Issue 3, July 2014
John Duns Scotus and the Ontology of Mixture
This paper presents Duns Scotus’s theory of mixture in the context of medieval discussions over Aristotle’s theory of mixed bodies. It revisits the accounts of mixture given by Avicenna, Averroes, and Thomas Aquinas, before presenting Scotus’s account as a reaction to Averroes. It argues that Duns Scotus rejected the Aristotelian theory of mixture altogether and that his account went contrary to the entire Latin tradition. Scotus denies that mixts arise out of the four classical elements and he maintains that both the elemental forms and the elemental qualities are lost in the mixture. Consequently, he denies the distinction between the process of mixture and that of substantial change through generation and corruption. The reassessment of Scotus’s account modifies the current historical representation of this discussion, inherited from Anneliese Maier.