Volume 17, Issue 1, 2020
Giacomino Malafossa from Barge
A Question on the Subject of Metaphysics in Which Is Included the Question Whether Metaphysics Is a Science
Giacomino Malafossa’s A Question on the Subject of Metaphysics, in Which Is Included the Question Whether Metaphysics Is a Science, from 1551 (first printed 1553) consists of two parts. In the first part, the author discusses various positions regarding the subject matter of metaphysics. In particular, he debates which conditions any scientific object must fulfill, the most important one being that an object of a science virtually contains all of its truths. Since being as being virtually contains whatever is considered in metaphysics, this is the adequate object of metaphysics. In the second part, the author addresses the problem that the transcendental properties of being are not truly demonstrable. This endangers the status of metaphysics as a science in the strict Aristotelian sense. The author discusses various Scotist solutions to this problem. His own solution is that metaphysics indeed is a science in the strict sense, but only when it considers God, not when it considers being as being, thus unwittingly challenging Duns Scotus’s own idea that metaphysics is a “transcending science” because of its consideration of being and its transcendental properties. Malafossa’s Quaestio is an important example of the metaphysical discourse at the University of Padua in the sixteenth century.