On Being and Cognition: Ordinatio 1.3

On Being and Cognition: Ordinatio 1.3

On Being and Cognition: Ordinatio 1.3

On Being and Cognition: Ordinatio 1.3

Synopsis

In On Being and Cognition, the first complete translation into English of a pivotal text in the history of philosophy and theology, Scotus addresses fundamental issues concerning the limits of human knowledge and the nature of cognition by developing his doctrine of the univocity of being, refuting skepticism and analyzing the way the intellect and the object cooperate in generating actual knowledge in the case of abstractive cognition. Throughout the work Scotus is in discussion with important theologians of his time, such as Thomas Aquinas, Henry of Ghent, and Godfrey of Fontaines. Anyone interested in the pertinent philosophical problems will find in this book the highly sophisticated and subtle answers of a giant in the history of thought.

Excerpt

While studying philosophy, a long time ago, I got an assignment for a paper on Scotus’s De primo principio, which I did not complete, as I decided to switch to a study of psychology instead. I do not regret the switch at all, but throughout my career there were at times those intrusive thoughts about a project once pursued but never completed. So when I retired I decided to revisit Scotus and, as Anthony Kenny so nicely put it, to “enter more fully into the intellectual world of a bygone area,” non propter opus sed propter scire at that. However, the First Principle was no longer the prime object of my concern. I was now more fascinated by the medieval “science of the soul,” a penchant gently nurtured by Paul Bakker. I started to read Scotus’s Questions on the De anima and Ordinatio 1.3, translating them to facilitate a more permanent understanding. As it happened, Fordham University Press became interested in the project. So here it is. It would not have been completed without the support and help from many people who generously spent a lot of time checking most of the translation or otherwise making useful suggestions. I am greatly indebted to Paul Bakker and Richard Cross for their invaluable support and indispensable help; to Gyula Klima for his confidence in the project; to Oleg Bychkov, Tim Noone, Giorgio Pini, Thomas Williams, Sander De Boer, and an anonymous reader of Fordham University Press for many constructive comments; and to the Center for the History of Philosophy and Science of the Radboud University for its hospitality and financial support. Needless to say, all remaining errors are mine. Finally, I thank Regina for her patience in bearing with me when I was once again lost in translation.

John van den Bercken . . .

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