Volume 17, Issue 1, 2020
Claus A. Andersen
Scotist Metaphysics in Mid-Sixteenth Century Padua Giacomino Malafossa from Barge’s A Question on the Subject of Metaphysics
For more than four decades around the middle of the sixteenth century, Giacomino Malafossa from Barge († 1563) held the Scotist chair of metaphysics at the University of Padua. In his A Question on the Subject of Metaphysics, in Which Is Included the Question, Whether Metaphysics Is a Science, he developed a remarkable stance on the subject matter of metaphysics. Metaphysics has two objects: being qua being and God. However, only when it deals with the latter object can it be said to be a science in a strict sense. The reason is that the strict Aristotelian notion of science presupposes that the object of any science has demonstrable properties, which is the case with God, but not with being as being. Although being qua being does have certain properties, namely the transcendentals, these cannot be truly demonstrated. Malafossa’s Quaestio bears witness both to the clash between Averroism and Scotism at the Italian Renaissance universities and to the complexity of the Scotist tradition itself. This introductory article highlights Malafossa’s sources and traces the critical reception of his views among later Scotist authors.