Blessed John Duns Scotus, Franciscan Intellectual Tradition, Metaphysics, Philosophy, The Franciscans

Scotistic Essentialism & the Univocity of Being

– Scotistic Essentialism and the Univocity of Being –

scotistic-essentialism-and-univocity-of-being“Duns Scotus is what philosophers today would call a moderate realist – he believes that human concepts have real existence. Just as a road map relates to the road by a one to one correspondence, so too, there are links between our concepts and the world around us. This way of understanding the world is important, because it makes possible human thought, the capability of linking particularities (haecceitas) with a more general awareness of the world. It also makes it possible to move conclusions that deepen human understanding. When thinking about the world or about a set of ideas, humans connect what certain objects or ideas have in common because of the very fact of their existence; namely, their common ‘being-ness’ or ens commune.

Not only does reality share in being, but it also is created in an essential order. Everything in the universe connects to everything else in either a prior or posterior relationship. God as the First Principle is prior to all others and posterior to none. But this reality does not hinder the loving bond between God and creatures and especially humans. The very fact that God, humans and other creatures of creation are intimately linked at the level of being enables relationships to come about and to thrive. This common factor of ‘being-ness,’ found in all that exists, is what Scotus called the univocity of being (univocus: uni = one + voc or vox = voice). Because of the univocity of being we can speak about God, recognize God’s activity in ordinary life experiences and communicate our understandings of the world to others. Because of the univocity of being, scientific and other methods of study and learning about our world can be created and utilized.”

– Dawn M. Nothwehr O.S.F., The Franciscan View of the Human Person – 


– Lucas G. Westman


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