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Ascoli, Wylton, And Alnwick On Scotuss Formal Distinction: Taxonomy, Refinement, And Interaction

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Chapter Summary

Historians of philosophy as well as philosophers of a realist inclination have devoted considerable study to John Duns Scotus's formal distinction. This chapter examines three texts illustrating the understanding of the formal distinction in the theology faculty at Paris: James of Ascoli's Quodlibet q. 1, Thomas Wylton's Quodlibet q. 5, and William of Alnwick's Determinatio q. 14. The advantage of these texts is that two of them (Ascoli's Quodlibet q. 1 and Wylton's Quodlibet q. 5) were disputed in Paris within a decade of Scotus's death and the one that was not, Alnwick's Determinatio q. 14, makes Ascoli's text one of its chief objects of criticism. It traces out how early Scotists and non-Scotists conceive of the formal distinction, that is, whether it is in their eyes a subtype of real distinction or represents an intermediate distinction, and also how they characterize certain objections to the formal distinction.

Keywords: Determinatio; formal distinction; James of Ascoli; John Duns Scotus; Quodlibet; Scotists; Thomas Wylton; William of Alnwick



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