Duns Scotus, John [addendum] - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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The Common Nature and Universals

Scotus is one of the most important writers on the question of universals. D. M. Armstrong explicitly notes Scotus as taking a position on universals different from that of modern writers such as Armstrong himself. For in modern theories of universals, a universal is numerically one in all of its exemplifications. The ancient and medieval tradition, springing in various ways from Aristotle, Alexander of Aphrodisias, and the Neoplatonists, denies this claim about universals, and Scotus provides the fullest development and explication of the ancient tradition on this question.

The Islamic philosopher Avicenna provided the clearest distillation of the ancient tradition available to the medieval West. Avicenna, echoing a common earlier distinction, distinguished a kind-nature as such from the nature existing as a concept in the mind and the same nature existing in particulars. The kind-nature as such is the content of...

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This section contains 1,724 words
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Duns Scotus, John [addendum] from Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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