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Studia Neoaristotelica

Volume 9, Issue 2, 2012

A Journal of Analytic Scholasticism

Lukáš Novák
Pages 185-203
DOI: 10.5840/studneoar2012928

Divine Ideas, Instants of Nature, and the Spectre of “verum esse secundum quid ” A Criticism of M. Renemann’s Interpretation of Scotus
A Journal of Analytic Scholasticism

The purpose of this review article is to offer a criticism of the interpretation of Duns Scotus’s conception of intelligible being that has been proposed by Michael Renemann in his book Gedanken als Wirkursachen. In the first place, the author shows that according to Scotus, for God “to produce a thing in intelligible being” and “to conceive a thing” amounts to altogether one and the same act. Esse intelligibile therefore does not have “priority of nature” with respect to “esse intellectum” or “esse repraesentatum”, contrary to Renemann’s interpretation. The distinction between Scotus’s second and third “instants of nature” consists in something else, then: the relation of reason, of which Scotus says that it is produced in the third instant, is not the relation of being actually conceived (first, because actual intellection comes already in the second instant, and second, because divine intellection, being the measure of the conceived objects, is not relative bud absolute) but it is a relation of comparison, viz. of an image to its exemplar. Next, the author shows how a misreading of two passages of Scotus’s Ordinatio misled both the Vatican editors and Renemann to create the chimaera of “verum esse secundum quid”. By way of a conclusion the author argues that Scotus’s doctrine of “esse intelligibile” does not make him any less a direct realist than Suárez, his position being quite plausible even from the point of view of common sense.

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