ICS Calendar Title: Individuality in the Franciscan Thought of John Duns Scotus and William of Ockham

ICS Course Code: ICS 220404 W12

Instructor: Dr. Robert Sweetman  

Term and Year: Tuesdays, 9:30am-12:30pm, Winter 2012

Last Updated: January 9, 2012

Course Description

This seminar will examine the doctrine of individuality developed by the Franciscan thinkers John Duns Scotus and William of Ockham and the configuration of their thought as one or another form of metaphysical “individualism.”  It does so historically against the backdrop of both Franciscan spirituality and the contested “Aristotelianism” of their university environment.  The seminar is both an illustration of the value in and a critical reappraisal of a problem-historical analysis of philosophy that centres upon philosophical accounts of our daily experience of both universality in the world, i.e., the fact that creatures come to us in kinds, and individuality, i.e., the fact that it is individual creatures that come to us in kinds.  

Course Requirement

  1. Total in-class reading (c. 200 pages of required reading + 72 pages of Wolter commentary on Scotus highly recommended but not absolutely required = 272 pages); Per week in-class reading = 23-25 pages.
  2. Weekly formulation of two questions with reading context (passages in text that together give rise to the question in context of the reading as whole) and an account of the importance of the questions for the questioner—to be handed in weekly.
  3. Leadership of one seminar in the course of the term (primed by 4-6 page analysis of text as well as the requisite two questions).
  4. 4000-6000 word research paper on a topic mutually agreed to by senior and junior member (or other student member) alike.  
  5. Course paper = 60%; Weekly reading formal questions and legitimation/contextualization of the questions = 25%; Formal seminar =15%.

Required Readings

Regis J. Armstrong and Ignatius C. Brady, Francis and Clare: The Complete Works, Classics of Western Spirituality (New York—Mahwah N.J.: Paulist Press, 1982. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BX890 .F665 1982 ; Robarts Library: BX890 .F665 1982]

William B. Frank and Allan B. Wolters (ed.), Duns Scotus, Metaphysician, (West Lafeyette IN: Purdue University Press, 1995). [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: B765 .D74 F73 1995]

John Duns Scotus, Early Oxford Lecture on Individuation, ed. Allan B. Wolter OFM (St. Bonaventure NY: The Franciscan Institute, 2005). [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: B824 .D867 2005 ; Robarts Library: B824 .D867 2005]

William of Ockham, Ockham: Philosophical Writings, eds. Philotheus Boehner OFM and Steven F. Brown (Indianapolis IN: Hackett, 1990). [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: B765 .O32 E5 1990]

Recommended Readings

Adams, Marilyn McCord, William of Ockham. Notre Dame IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1987. [Robarts Library: B765 .O34 A62 1987]

Baudry, Leon, Guillaume d’Occam.  Sa vie, ses oeuvres, ses idées sociale et politiques.  Paris: J. Vrin, 1949. [St. Michael’s College Library: B765 .O34 B3 1949]

Baudry, Leon, Lexique philosophique de Guillaume d’Ockham.  Étude de notions fondamentales.  Paris: P. Lethielleux, 1958. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: B765 .O3 Z83]

Boehner, Philotheus.  Collected Articles on Ockham.  St. Bonaventure’s NY: Franciscan Institute, 1958. [Regis College Library: B765 .O34 B64 1958]

Bonansea, Bernadine M.  Man and His Approach to God in John Duns Scotus.  Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1983. [Robarts Library: B765 .D74 B57]

Copelston, Frederick, A History of Philosophy Volume II, Part II.  Garden City NY: Doubleday Image Books, 1962. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: B72 .C6 1962]

Copelston, Frederick, A History of Philosophy Volume III, Part I.  Garden City NY: Doubleday Image Books, 1963. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: B72 .C6 1962]

Cousins, Ewert.  “Francis of Assisi: Christian Mysticism at the Crossroads,” in Steven T. Katz, ed.  Mysticism and Religious Traditions.  New York: Oxford University Press, 1983:  163-190. [Robarts Library: BL625 .M894 1983]

Currey, Cecil B.  Reason and Revelation: John Duns Scotus on Natural Theology.  Chicago: Franciscan Herald, 1977.

Gilson, Etienne.  Jean Duns Scot: Introduction à ses positions fondamentales.  Paris: J. Vrin, 1952. [Robarts Library: B765 .D74 G5]

Gracia, Jorge J.E.  Introduction to the Problem of Individuation in the Early Middle Ages.  Munich: Philosophia Verlag, 1988. [Robarts Library: BD394 .G7 1984]

Gracia, Jorge J.E.  Individuation in Scholasticism: The Later Middle Ages and the Counter-Reformation, 1150-1650.  Albany NY: SUNY Press, 1994. [Robarts Library: BD394 .I53 1994]

Gratian de Paris.  I Know Christ.  St. Bonaventure’s, NY: The Franciscan Institute, 1957.

Mackey, Louis H.  “Singular and Universal: A Franciscan Perspective,”  Franciscan Studies  39 (1979): 130-164

Maurer, Armand.  The Philosophy of William of Ockham in the Light of Its Principles.  Toronto: PIMS Publications, 1999. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: B765 .O34 M386 1999]

Ryan, John K. and Bernadine M. Bonansea, eds.  John Duns Scotus, 1265-1965.  Washington D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1965. [St. Michael’s College Library: B21 .S78 v.3]

Vos Jaczn, Antonie et al. eds.  Contingency and Freedom: John Duns Scotus, Lectural I 39.  Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1994. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: B765 .D73 L4313 1994a]

Wolter, Allan B.  The Philosophical Theology of John Duns Scotus.  Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1990. [Robarts Library: BT40 .W64 1990]

Zuidema, S.U.  De philosophie van Occam in zijn Commentaar op de Sententiën.  Hilversum: Schipper, 1936. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: B765 .O3 Z8]

Course Syllabus and Starter Bibliography

I.  The Problem:

1. Individuality, Universality and Problemgeschichte in Vollenhovian Perspective—Lecture

2.  Individuality, Universality and Aristotelian Metaphysics—Lecture

3. Individuals and the Spirit of St. Francis—Reading—Francis of Assisi’s Canticle of Brother Sun; Bonaventure’s Sentences (selection); Peter John Olivi, Sentences (selection)

II.  Scotus:

 A. Scotus’ Metaphysical Context for Issues of Individuality and Universality

4. Scotus’ Life and Conception of Metaphysics—Duns Scotus: Metaphysician, 1-27

5. Nature of our Concept of God—Duns Scotus: Metaphysician, 108-133 (Wolter’s commentary = 134-183 also required)

6. The Ontology of Individuals and Universals—Duns Scotus: Metaphysician, 185-195 (Wolter’s commentary = 196-208 also required)

B. Scotus’ Conception of Individuation and Individuality

7. Individuality and Nature; Individuality and Perfection—Lectura II, d. 3, qq. 1-2, pp. 1-9

8. Individuality and Existence; Individuality and Quantity—Lectura II, d. 3, qq. 3-4, pp. 9-20

9. Individuality and Matter; Individuality and Entity—Lectura  II, d. 3, qq. 5-6, pp. 20-31

III. Ockham:

A. Ockham’s Life, Logic and Conception of Metaphysics

9. Ockham’s Life and Thematization of Science and Being, Essence and Existence—Ockham: Philosophical Writings, ix-xxiii, 2-16, 90-113

B. Ockham on Individuality and Universality

11. Ockham on Individuality and Individuals—Ockham: Philosophical Writings, 18-32

12. Ockham on Universality and Universals—Ockham: Philosophical Writings, 33-45

IV.  Franciscan Spirituality and the Philosophical Thematization of Individuality and Universality: A Concluding Appraisal

13. Concluding Discussion on Individuality, Universality and Christian Understanding: