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John Duns Scotus-




John Duns Scotus






Allan B. Wolter, O.EM.

Oleg V. Bychkov
Copyright 2004
The Franciscan Institute
St. Bonaventure University
St. Bonaventure, NY

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted
in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,
without permission in writing from the publisher.

Library of Congress Control Number:


ISBN: 1-57659-193-X

Printed in the United States of America

BookMasters, Inc.
Ashland, Ohio
Publisher's Foreword

The present translation combines the efforts of two

generations, two traditions, and two approaches to
the scholarly study of medieval texts. The life-long
expertise of Fr. Allan Wolter, an outstanding Scotus
scholar, is supplemented by the philological and
hermeneutic approach of the younger generation of
philologists. We believe that this collaboration con
tributes to the furtherance of Scotus studies.

This publication can be utilized as a tool both for schol

ars and for general readers interested in Duns Scotus,
medieval philosophy, and medieval theology. It
offers an accessible format in the English translation
and leaves the more technical aspects of textual re
search to forthcoming critical editions.

We are proud to present this volume as a complement

to the works in the Philosophical Writings of Blessed
John Duns Scotus series previously published by The
Franciscan Institute.

Margaret Carney, OSF, STD

Director, The Franciscan Institute
April, 2004

Index Generalis
Quaestio 1: Utrum Deus sub propria ratione deitatis
possit esse per se subiectum alicuius
scientiae 1
Quaestio 2: Utrum veritates per se scibiles de Deo
sub ratione deitatis possint sciri ab
intellectu viatoris 52
Quaestio 3: Utrum ex puris naturalibus possimus
scire omnes veritates scibiles de Deo 74

Distinctio 1
Pars I
Quaestio unica: Utrum per se obiectum fruitionis sit
ultimus finis 89

Pars II
Quaestio 1: Utrum fine ultimo apprehenso necesse
sit frui voluntatem 94
Quaestio 2: Utrum frui sit idem delectationi vel
dilectioni 104

Pars III
Quaestio 1: Utrum Deus fruatur 110
Quaestio 2: Utrum viator fruatur 111
Quaestio 3: Utrum peccator fruatur 111

Distinctio 2
Pars I
Quaestio 1: Utrum sit aliquod ens primum
simpliciter 115
Quaestio 2: Utrum primitas possit competere entibus
alterius rationis 116
Quaestio 3: Utrum sit aliquod ens simpliciter et actu
infinitum 1 16

Question One: Can God be the per se subject of some
science under the proper aspect of 1
Question Two: Can truths that are knowable per se
of God as deity be known by the
intellect of the pilgrim? 52
Question Three: Can we know all the truths
knowable about God from what is
purely natural? 74

Distinction 1

Sole Question: Is the ultimate end the per se object
of fruition? 89

Part II
Question One: Must the will necessarily enjoy the
ultimate end once it is apprehended? 94
Question Two: Is fruition the same as enjoyment or
love? 104

Part III
Question One: Has God fruition? 110
Question Two: Does the pilgrim in this life have
fruition? 111
Question Three: Does the sinner have fruition? 111

Distinction 2
Question One: Is there some being that is first in an
unqualified sense? 115
Question Two: Can such primacy pertain to different
sorts of being? 1 16
Question Three: Is there some being that is simply
and actually infinite? 116

Pars II
Quaestio unica: De unitate Dei 141

Pars III
Quaestio 1: Utrum personae divinae repugnet
quaecumque productio intrinseca realis 148
Quaestio 2: Utrum in natura divina possint esse
plures productiones intrinsecae 160
Quaestio 3: Utrum in Deo possint esse plures
productiones intrinsecae eiusdem
rationis 174
Quaestio 4: Utrum sint tantum tres personae in
natura divina 178

Distinctio 3
Quaestio 1: Utrum Deus sit naturaliter cognoscibilis
ab intellectu viatoris 187
Quaestio 2: Utrum Deum esse sit per se notum 200
Quaestio 3: Utrum vestigium Trinitatis sit in
qualibet creatura 204
Quaestio 4: Utrum memoria habeat speciem
intelligibilem distinctam 207
Quaestio 5: Utrum memoria conservet speciem
cessante actu intelligendi 221
Quaestio 6: Utrum in intellectu nostro sit aliqua
notitia actualiter genita 233
Quaestio 7: Utrum in mente sit imago Trinitatis 243

Distinctio 4
Quaestio 1: Utrum Deus genuit alium Deum 249
Quaestio 2: Utrum Deus est Pater et Filius et
Spiritus Sanctus 256

Part II
Sole Question: Is there numerically but one first
being? 141

Part III
Question One: Is any intrinsic real production
repugnant to the divine persons? 148
Question Two: Can there be several intrinsic
productions in the divine nature? 160
Question Three: Could there be more than one
internal production of the same sort
in God? 174
Question Four: Can there be but three persons in the
divine? 178

Distinction 3
Question One: Is God naturally knowable by the
intellect of a pilgrim? 187
Question Two: Is God's existence known per se? 200
Question Three: Is there a vestige of the Trinity in
every creature? 204
Question Four: Does memory have a distinct
intelligible species? 207
Question Five: Does the intellective memory
conserve the species when the act of
understanding ceases? 221
Question Six: Is there some actually generated
knowledge in our intellect? 233
Question Seven: Is there an image of the Trinity in
the mind? 243

Distinction 4
Question One: Has God generated another God? 249
Question Two: Is this true, "God is Father and Son
and Holy Spirit"? 256

Distinctio 5
Pars I
Quaestio 1: Utrum essentia divina generet vel
generetur 260
Quaestio 2: Utrum essentia sit communicata vel
communicans 269

Pars II
Quaestio unica: Utrum Filius in divinis sit genitus
de substantia Patris 270

Pars III
Quaestio unica: Utrum relatio sit actus essentiae
divinae 287

Distinctio 6
Quaestio 1: Utrum Pater genuerit Filium voluntate 294
Quaestio 2: Utrum Pater volens genuerit Filium 298
Quaestio 3: Utrum Pater genuerit Filium necessitate 303

Distinctio 7
Quaestio 1: Utrum principium producendi in divinis
sit relatio vel essentia, sive absolutum
aliquid vel relativum 306
Quaestio 2: Utrum Filius in divinis posset generare 318
Quaestio 3: Utrum generatio divina sit univoca vel
aequivoca 326

Distinctio 8
Pars I 331

Distinction 5

Question One: Might the divine essence procreate or
be procreated? 260
Question Two: Is the essence communicated or
communicating? 269

Part II
Sole Question: Is the divine Son begotten from the
substance of the Father? 270

Part III
Sole Question: Is the relation an act of the divine
essence? 287

Distinction 6
Question One: Has the Father begotten the Son by
his will? 294
Question Two: Has the Father willingly procreated
the Son? 298
Question Three: Has the Father procreated the Son
by necessity? 303

Distinction 7
Question One: Is the principle of producing in the
divine a relation or the essence, or is
something absolute or relative? 306
Question Two: Could the Son in the divine
procreate? 318
Question Three: Is divine procreation a univocal or
an equivocal production? 326

Distinction 8
Part I 331

Pars II
Quaestio 1: Utrum Deus sit mutabilis 332
Quaestio 2: Utrum Deus sit summe et perfecte
simplex 333
Quaestio 3: Utrum quodlibet aliud a Deo sit
simpliciter mutabile 341
Quaestio 4: Utrum simplicitas divina consistit ex hoc
quod Deus est quidquid habet 361
Quaestio 5: Utrum simplicitati divinae repugnet
quod aliquid dictum de eo formaliter sit
in genere praedicabili 364

Distinctio 9
Quaestio unica: Utrum generatio Filii in divinis sit
aeterna 381

Distinctio 10
Quaestio 1: Utrum voluntas divina possit esse
principium per se communicandi
essentiam divinam 385
Quaestio 2: Utrum voluntas possit esse principium
necessario producendi 395
Quaestio 3: Utrum necessitas et libertas compatia-
ntur se respectu eiusdem productionis 400
Quaestio 4: Utrum voluntas sit formale principium
producendi Spiritum Sanctum 404

Distinctio 11
Quaestio 1: Utrum Spiritus Sanctus procedat a Patre
et Filio 407
Quaestio 2: Utrum Spiritus Sanctus, si non procede-
ret a Filio, posset realiter distingui ab eo 412

Distinctio 12
Quaestio 1: Utrum Pater et Filius spirent Spiritum
Sanctum in quantum unum sunt 422
Quaestio 2: Utrum Pater et Filius sint duo spiratores 428
Quaestio 3: Utrum Pater et Filius spirent
uniformiter Spiritum Sanctum 432

Part II
Question One: Is God mutable? 332
Question Two: Is God supremely and perfectly simple? 333
Question Three: Is everything except God simply
mutable? 341
Question Four: Does divine simplicity consist in this
that God is whatever he has? 361
Question Five: Is it repugnant to divine simplicity
that something that is formally said
of him be in a predicable genus? 364

Distinction 9
Sole Question: Is the generation of the Son eternal in
the divine? 381

Distinction 10
Question One: Could the divine will be a per se
principle of communicating the divine
essence? 385
Question Two: Could the will be a necessary
principle of producing? 395
Question Three: Are necessity and liberty compatible
as regards the same production? 400
Question Four: Is the will a formal principle of
producing the Holy Spirit? 404

Distinction 11
Question One: Does the Holy Spirit proceed from the
Father and the Son? 407
Question Two: If the Holy Spirit did not proceed
from the Son, could he be really
distinguished from him? 412

Distinction 12
Question One: Do the Father and Son spirate the
Holy Spirit insofar as they are one? 422
Question Two: Are the Father and Son two spirators? 428
Question Three: Do the Father and Son spirate the
Holy Spirit uniformly? 432

Distinctio 13
Quaestio unica: Utrum processio Spiritus Sancti sit
generatio 437

Distinctiones 14-15
Quaestio 1: Utrum omnes personae divinae mittant
Filium et Spiritum Sanctum 450
Quaestio 2: Utrum quaelibet persona mittatur 451

Distinctio 16
Quaestio unica: Utrum Spiritui Sancto conveniat
missio visibilis 457

Distinctio 17
Pars I
Quaestio 1: Utrum in anima viatoris necesse sit
ponere caritatem creatam formaliter
inhaerentem 460
Quaestio 2: Utrum habens caritatem creatam sit
formaliter acceptatus Deo tanquam
dignus vita aeterna 474

Pars II
Quaestio 1: Utrum in augmentatione caritatis tota
caritas praeexsistens corrumpatur 481
Quaestio 2: Utrum illud positivum praeexsistens et
manens sit tota essentia caritatis
augmentatae 490
Quaestio 3: Utrum caritas augeatur per
extractionem partis novae de potentia ad
actum 501
Quaestio 4: Utrum augmentum caritatis fiat per
appositionem in essentia caritatis ad
gradum caritatis praeexsistentem 506
Quaestio 5: Utrum caritas possit diminui 515

Distinction 13
Sole Question: Is the procession of the Holy Spirit a
generation? 437

Distinctions 14-15
Question One: Do all the divine persons send the Son
and the Holy Spirit? 450
Question Two: Is any person whatsoever sent? 451

Distinction 16
Sole Question: Does a visible mission pertain to the
Holy Spirit? 457

Distinction 17

Question One: Is it necessary to posit created charity
formally inhering in the soul of the
pilgrim? 460
Question Two: Is the one who has created charity
formally accepted by God as worthy of
eternal life? 474

Part II
Question One: Is the whole of the preexisting charity
corrupted when charity is increased? 481
Question Two: Is that positive preexisting and
remaining thing the entire essence of
the augmented charity? 490
Question Three: Is charity increased by a new part
being drawn forth from potency to
act? 501
Question Four: Does the augmentation of charity
occur in the essence through the
addition of charity to the degree of
preexisting charity? 506
Question Five: Can charity be diminished? 515

Distinctio 18
Quaestio unica: Utrum donum dicat proprietatem
personalem Spiritus Sancti 525

Distinctio 19
Pars I
Quaestio 1: Utrum personae divinae sint aequales
secundum magnitudinem 534
Quaestio 2: Utrum aequalitas divinarum persona-
rum praecise attendatur penes magnitu
dinem, potentiam, et aeternitatem 535
Quaestio 3: Utrum in divinis personis relatio
aequalitatis distinguatur a relatione
similitudinis et identitatis 535

Pars II
Quaestio 1: Utrum personae divinae sint in se
invicem per circumincessionem 547
Quaestio 2: Utrum in Deo sit aliqua ratio totalitatis
vel maioritatis 558

Distinctio 20
Quaestio 1: Utrum personae divinae sint aequales in
potentia 570
Quaestio 2: Utrum potentia generandi Filium per se
pertineat ad omnipotentiam 571

Distinctio 21
Quaestio unica: Utrum solus Pater sit Deus 584

Distinction 18
Sole Question: Is the gift the personal property of the
Holy Spirit? 525

Distinction 19

Question One: Are the divine persons equal in
magnitude? 534
Question Two: Is the equality of the divine persons
taken into account precisely through
the notions magnitude, power and
eternity? 535
Question Three: In the divine persons is the relation
of equality distinguished from the
relation of likeness and identity*? 535

Part II
Question One: Are the divine persons themselves in
one another through cirumincession? 547
Question Two: In God is there some aspect of
wholeness or superiority? 558

Distinction 20
Question One: Are the divine persons equal in
power? 570
Question Two: Does the power of generating the Son
per se pertain to omnipotence? 571

Distinction 21
Sole Question: Is only the Father God? 584


The textual tradition1

John Major's (1469-1550) account of Scotus' career indicates that

"when he was no more than a boy, but had been already grounded
in grammar, he was taken by two Scottish Minorite friars to
Oxford ... at Oxford he made such progress that he left behind
him for the admiration of after ages a monumental work upon the
Metaphysics and four books of the Sentences. These writings are
commonly called the English or Oxford work. When he was
afterwards summoned by the Minorites of Paris to that city, he
produced another set of lectures on the Sentences more
compendious than the first edition and at the same time more
useful."2 These Oxford and Paris lectures were later printed in
Luke Wadding's Opera omnia of Duns Scotus. Carl Balic's studies
with the Scotistic Commission have proved that what Wadding
published as "Paris report" on Book I is actually the work of
William of Alnwick, Scotus' secretary, known as the Additiones
Magnae. These seem to be an attempt to update the Ordinatio
Scotus began at Oxford in 1300 with what he taught somewhat
differently at Paris before his exile in the June of 1303. When
Scotus returned to Paris in the spring of 1304 he began a second
series of lectures on the Sentences. The results of these two sets of
lectures are recorded in Reportatio I-A, also known as the "great,"
or as the "examined Paris lectures." The Reportatio I-A is
contained in five manuscripts.3 One (V) is the fourteenth-century

1The most exhaustive discussion of the textual tradition of Scotus'

Reportatumes can be found in: B. Hechich, // problema delle "Reportationes" nell
'eredita' dottrinale del B. Giovanni Duns Scoto, OFM (Rome: Antonianum, pro
manuscripto, 1995).
*A History of Greater Britain as well England as Scotland compiled from the
Ancient authorities by John Major, by name indeed a Scot, but by profession a
Theologian, ed. and trans. A. Constable (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press,
1892), 206-7.
:,Concise descriptions of the MSS tradition of Reportatio I-A can also be
found in: A. Wolter, M. McCord Adams, "Duns Scotus' Parisian Proof for the
Existence of God," Franciscan Studies 42 (1982): 249-50; T.B. Noone, "Scotus on
Divine Ideas: Rep. Paris. I-A, d. 36," Medioevo 24 (1998): 391-2; J R. Soder.
Kontingenz und Wissen. Die Lehre von den futura contingentia bei Johannes

John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

manuscript from the Staatsbibliothek of Vienna Gat. 1453, ff. lra-

125va), chronologically the earliest witness.4 On folio 125va we
read: Explicit Reportatio super primum Sententiarum, sub
magistro Ioanne Scoto, et examinata cum eodem venerando
doctore ("Here ends the report [of the Commentary] on the first
[book] of the Sentences, [produced] under Master John [Duns]
Scotus and examined with the same venerable Doctor"). Frequent
interpolations in this MS, especially in the Prologue, occasionally
introduced by vel or vel sic, indicate that it combines two
alternate reports of the original Paris lectures. The fact that
most, if not all, interpolations in V are identical in wording to the
corresponding passages in the Additiones Magnae raises further
questions: first, as to the second source used to produce V, and
second, as to the meaning of the phrase "examined." Thus some
scholars openly claim that "examined" "must be uderstood in the
sense that this MS has been corrected after the text of the
Additiones Magnae, and not by Scotus himself,"5 while other
scholars "cannot give a certain answer" regarding either the
meaning of "examined" (e.g., does it mean "examined by a
follower of Scotus against another report"?) or the origin of the
interpolations.6 We made a decision to remove all interpolations
contained in V from the main text, but to retain them in the
footnotes (indicating their correspondence to the Additiones
Magnae),1 given the potential historical importance of the
"examined" version. The second (R) is also a fourteenth-century
MS from the Vatican Library (Borgh. lat. 325, f. lra-92vb).8 The
third manuscript (T) is from Turin (univers. K II 26, ff. 1ra-

Duns Scotus, Beitrdge zur Geschichte der Philosophie und Theologie des
Mittelalters, n.s. 49 (Minister: Aschendorff, 1999), 217ff, etc.
4See description in: Ioannes Duns Scotus, Opera omnia, ed. C. Balid, vol. 1
(Civitas Vaticana: Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis, 1950), 123*-6*.
r,V. Richter, Studien zum literarischen Werk von Johannes Duns Scotus,
Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften. Veroffentlichungen der Kommission fiir
die Herausgabe ungedruckter Texte aus der mittelalterlichen Geisteswelt 14
(Miinchen: Verlag der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1988), 42.
6Barnabas Hechich, private correspondence.
7 I.e., to the text reproduced in vol. 22 of the Vives edition of Duns Scotus;
see Bibliography.
"See description in: A. Maier, "Codices Burghesiani Bibliothecae Vaticanae,"
Studi e Testi 170 (1952): 370-1.


112rb), listed by G. Pasini as fourteenth-century9 and dated as

either fourteenth- or fifteenth-century by G. Mazzatinti.10 The
fourth and fifth manuscripts are from Oxford. One is from Merton
College (cod. 59, ff. 1r-192v), completed by John Reynbold in
1453, as indicated in the explicit.11 The other is from Balliol
College (cod. 205, ff. 1r-185v), also copied by Reynbold and
finished July 16th, 1463.12 Though some portions of the Ordinatio
I indicate that Scotus used the Reportatio I-A in composing it
(e.g., Dist. 4), in many respects this report seems to reflect a later
and more expanded development of the subjects treated compared
to the Ordinatio I (e.g., Dist. 26) or Lectura I. In any case, it
deserves special study as an original primary source of Scotistic

Recreating and interpreting the text

The text of the Reportatio I-A presents a unique editorial and

hermeneutic problem. The usual (stemmatic) method of recon
structing a text that exists in several discrepant versions by
consistently applying the genealogical criterion of belonging to a
certain family works well when the textual tradition is subject to
certain statistical principles, as is the case, e.g., with texts blindly
copied by scribes. In the case of the five MSS of the Reportatio I-
A, however, every scholar who attempted to edit various parts of
the text admits that it is virtually impossible to develop a stemma
out of the five witnesses that are all imprefect. Except for the two
copied by Reynbold no one MS resembles another. Sometimes all
disagree with each other, and only loosely and partially fit into
"families." This often forces the editors to use the sense and
contents of the arguments in selecting a reading.13 In fact, what

'Codices manuscripti Bibliothecae Regit Taurinensis Athenaei: Pars altera

(Taurini: ex Typographia Regia, 1749), 52.
}0Inventari dei manoscritti delle biblioteche d'Italia, vol. 28 (Firenze: Leo S.
Obchki, 1922), 148.
1 1 It is described by F.M. Powicke in The Medieval Books of Merton College
(Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1931), 210-1.
1'Its description is given by R.A.B. Mynors in Catalogue of the Manuscripts
of Balliol College, Oxford (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1963), 200.
13Cf, e.g., K. Rodler's ("Der Prolog der Reportata Parisiensia der Johannes
Duns Scotus" [PhD thesis, Universitat Innsbruck, 1991], 45-58, 65) attempts to

John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

we have here, in addition to the scarcity of MSS, is a text that

was obviously used for school purposes, i.e., understood by the
people who copied it, and often subjected to intelligent correction
that could make good sense. The impossibility of applying con
sistently a "scientific" method suggests the only viable solution: to
recreate the text intelligently, or "hermeneutically," which means
that reading and understanding the textin this case demanded
by the task of translationalso becomes the governing principle
of recreating the original.
Contemporary studies of the process of interpretation, in
fact, suggest that such an approach, implicitly or explicitly,
governs any process of recovering a traditional text for our
contemporaries.i4 In describing such interpretive reading, accor
ding to Gadamer, the model of a dialogue or conversation becomes
very productive. A traditional text also puts a question to the
interpreter (TM 369), just as the interpreter puts a question to
the text. The text becomes, as it were, another person or a
partner in a living conversation. As a result of such a dialogue,
the "fusion of the horizons of understanding" is achieved (TM
378): in the process of understanding, the interpreter bends the
text, and the text, in return, bends the interpreter, until, just as
in a conversation, a common ground is achieved. Although the
process of interaction with a medieval Latin text happens at
many levels, the main principle of such "dialogical" interpretation
of texts is simply to let this dialogue happen, unfold, and guide
the interpreter (TM 464). The only "rule" of true interpretation is
to listen to the text and follow what consistently follows from it
(ibid.). In other words, textual interpretation is not a "scientific"
method, but a creative ingenuous process (TM474).
For the above reasons, in order to finalize the Latin text
for the current translation project, the authors chose an approach
that is more in line with Gadamer's hermeneutics. The recreation
of the text happened simultaneously with its translation and

develop certain editorial strategies, Soder's (op. cit., 220) reflections on the
difficulties of selecting one MS as the main source and of constructing a stemma,
and Noone's observations to the same effect (op. cit., 392-4).
ME.g., see: H.-G. Gadamer, Truth and Method, trans. J. Weinsheimer and
D.G. Marshall (New York: Continuum, 1999). This translation will be further
referred to as TM.


understanding, in the process of a constant interaction or

dialogue between the rough draft of the Latin text and the
emerging meaning in the English in the minds of the translators.
In all cases of textual discrepancies or difficulties with the
meaning in the translation all five original versions of the text
were reexamined. The final selection of variants for the Latin text
was ultimately based not on a strict adherence to the tradition of
a certain manuscript family, but on the criterion of clarity and
transparency for contemporary reading and interpretation. A
number of factors were involved in each decision, ranging from
purely philological issues to the general knowledge of Duns
Scotus' thought from other works.15
In sum, using the process of recovering the contemporary
meaning of the text through translation to adjust the original
Latin text, assumed for the present project, does the following. It
creates a particular reconstruction of the text that represents the
thought process of the editor/translator trying to make sense out
of the text, rather than a product of a "scientific" method. Such
hermeneutically created text, in fact, is more of a commentary
on a medieval text that exists in multiple versions, except in
this case it is the English translation, rather than scholarly

">Even apart from contemporary theories of interpretation, if one reflects on

the standard format of the critical edition, one would notice that, no matter what
sort of "scientific" mentality stands behind producing such a text, its intended
purpose is hermeneutic, and not at all incompatible with the approach used by
the authors for the present text. Indeed, if one is hoping to create a version of the
text that is absolutely correct and should not be changed for the purpose of
translation and understanding, one wonders why we should have a critical
edition at all. Truthfully recording all textual variants, together with a version
that the editors think is their best reconstruction of the text, cannot serve any
purpose other than providing potential readers/interpreters with an opportunity
to make their own recreation of the text if they were to question the editors'
version. Thus, even when an intelligent reader or translator interprets a text
edited critically, he/she never follows exactly the version provided by the editors,
but checks the variants and, when in difficulty, chooses the readings that seem to
make better sense, which is the intended purpose of the apparatus. Therefore, in
any cane a translator will start with reconstructing, out of the variants, the
version that makes the best sense, and only then proceed to translation. In this
respect, an intelligent translation based on using a critical edition with the text
derived by a stemmatic method would be no different from the one based on a
"hermeneutic" method that involves a simultaneous recreation of the most
transparent original text from several versions.

John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

comments, that explains the reason for the choice of variants.

Ultimately, in the case when a stemmatic reconstruction is close
to impossible, the main principles of this approach are hardly
more questionable than those of the stemmatic method.
The interpretive process of translating and recreating the
text of the Reportatio I-A have shown, e.g., that the best reading
is sometimes provided by only one MS out of the five; moreover,
that the best reading can come from the Vienna MS, which
confirms its status as a valuable witness, as noted by several
scholars,16 despite its general imperfection.17
Finally, we must acknowledge that we are greatly
indebted to Girard Etzkorn for cooperation in analyzing the five
manuscripts of the Reportatio I-A. We would also like to thank
Barnabas Hechich, President of the Scotistic Commission, for
providing the paragraph numbers to the Latin text (assumed for
this edition/translation) that are currently being used in referring
to Reportatio I-A in the Vatican edition of Scotus' Opera omnia.

Allan B. Wolter, Oleg V. Bychkov

",Cf. Wolter and McCord Adams (op. cit., 250) who defend the value of V;
also cf. Soder (op. cit., p. 220) who agrees that V sometimes yields good readings.
,7Cf. note to Dist. 20, n. 27 (English). Another clear example is in Dist. 21, n.
22: adiectivum habet suum modum significandi a substantivo, where the correct
reading suum (this is clear from the context) is given only by V (other MSS give

Symbols and abbreviations

[] in the English text, indicates editorial

additions that are not expressly in the
indirect quotations; emphasized terms
Add. M. Additiones Magnae (see Introduction)
AL Aristoteles Latinus
AMPh Ancient and Medieval Philosophy
AviL Avicenna Latinus
BGPTM Beitrage zur Geschichte der Philosophie
und Theologie Mittelalters
CCAA Corpus Commentariorum Averrois in
CCCM Corpus Christianorum. Continuatio me-
CCSL Corpus Christianorum. Series Latina
CSEL Corpus scriptorum ecclesiasticorum La-
CPMA Corpus Philosophorum Medii Aevi
OPh Opera philosophica
PG Patrologia Graeca
PhB Les Philosophes Belges
PL Patrologia Latina
TPMA Textes philosophiques du moyen age


Additiones Magnae, see Ioannes Duns Scotus. Opera omnia.

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S. Anselmus Cantuariensis. Opera omnia. Ed. F.S. Schmitt.
Edinburgh: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1946.
Aristotelis opera cum Averrois commentariis. Venetiis: apud
Iunctas, 1562-1574.
Averroes. De substantia orbis. Ed. A. Hyman, Corpus Philoso-
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. Commentarium magnum in Aristotelis De anima libros.
Ed. F.S. Crawford, Corpus Commentariorum Averrois in
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demy of America, 1953.
Avicenna. Opera philosophica. Venetiis, 1509.
. Liber De anima seu Sextus De naturalibus. Ed. S. Van
Riet, Avicenna Latinus. Louvain, Leiden: Editions
orientalistes, E.J. Brill, 1968.
. Liber de philosophia prima sive scientia divina. Ed. S.
Van Riet, Avicenna Latinus. Louvain, Leiden: E. Peeters,
E.J. Brill, 1977, 1980.
Bonaventura. Opera omnia. Ed. PP. Collegii a S. Bonaventura.
Quaracchi: Typographia Collegii S. Bonaventurae, 1882-.
Busard, H.L.L., ed. The First Latin Translation of Euclid's
Elements commonly ascribed to Adelard of Bath, Studies
and Texts 64. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval
Studies, 1983.
Corpus iuris canonici. Ed. A. Friedberg. Lipsiae: Bernard
Tauchnitz, 1979-81.
Denzinger, H., ed. Enchiridion symbolorum. Barcinone, Friburgi
Brisg., Romae: Herder, 1957.
Godefridus de Fontibus. Quodlibeta. Ed. J. Hoffmans et al., Les
Philosophes Belges. Louvain: Editions de Hnstitut
Superieur de Philosophie, 1904-1937.

Gualterus Burleigh. De puritate artis logicae, Franciscan Institute
Publications, Text Series 9. St. Bonaventure, NY: The
Franciscan Institute, 1955.
Hamesse, J., ed. Les Auctoritates Aristotelis: un florilege medieval,
Philosophes Medievaux 17. Louvain: Publications univer-
sitaires, 1974.
Henricus de Gandavo. Summa quaestionum ordinarium. 2 vols.
Parisiis: I. Badius Ascensius, 1520.
. Quodlibeta. Ed. R. Macken, Opera omnia. Ancient and
Medieval Philosophy 5-. Leuven, Leiden: Leuven Univer
sity Press, E.J. Brill, 1979-.
. Quodlibeta. Paris: I. Badius Ascensius, 1518.
Ioannes Duns Scotus. Opera omnia. Parisiis: L. Vives, 1891-1895.
. Opera omnia. Ed. C. Balic. Civitas Vaticana: Typis
Polyglottis Vaticanis, 1950-.
John Duns Scotus. God and Creatures. The Quodlibetal Ques
tions. Trans. A.B. Wolter and F. Alluntis. Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 1975.
he Liber de causis. Ed. A. Pattin. Louvain: Editions du "Tijdschrift
voor filosofie," 1966.
Liber Sex Principiorum. Ed. L. Minio-Paluello, Aristoteles Latinus
1.7. Bruges, Paris: Desclee de Brouwer, 1966.
Petrus I. Olivi. "Quaestio de Trinitate." In Der Liber Propugnato-
rius des Thomas Anglicus und die Lehrunterschiede
zwischen Thomas von Aquin und Duns Scotus. II Teil: Die
trinitarischen Lehrdifferenzen. Zweiter Band: Angang,
Texte, ed. M. Schmaus, Beitrage zur Geschichte der
Philosophie und Theologie Mittelalters 29, no. 2. 143*-
228*. Munster i. W.: Aschendorff, 1930.
Petrus Lombardus. Sententiae in IV libris distinctae. 2 vols,
Spicilegium Bonaventurianum 4-5. Grottaferrata, Roma:
Collegium S. Bonaventurae, 1971, 1981.
Porphyrius. Isagoge seu Liber de praedicabilibus. Ed. L. Minio-
Paluello and B.G. Dod, Aristoteles Latinus 1.6. Bruges,
Paris: Desclee de Brouwer, 1966.
Priscianus. Institutiones grammatical Ed. A. Krehl. Lipsiae:
Libraria Weidmannia, 1820.
Richard de Saint-Victor. De Trinitate. Ed. J. Ribaillier, Textes
philosophiques du moyen age 6. Paris: J. Vrin, 1958.
Richardus de Mediavilla. Super quattuor libros Sententiarum.
Vol. 1. Brixiae: Vincentius Sabbius, 1591.

Thomas Aquinas. Opera omnia. Parmae: typis Petri Fiaccadori,
. Opera omnia. Romae: Typographia Polyglotta, 1882-.
Thomas de Sutton. "Quodlibet IV, q. 1-4." In Der Liber Propugna-
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zwischen Thomas von Aquin und Duns Scotus. II Teil: Die
trinitarischen Lehrdifferenzen. Zweiter Band: Angang,
Texte, ed. M. Schmaus, Beitrge zur Geschichte der
Philosophie und Theologie Mittelalters 29, no. 2. 58*-85*.
Mnster i. W.: Aschendorff, 1930.
Wolter, A. The Transcendentals and Their Function in the
Metaphysics of Duns Scotus. St. Bonaventure, NY:
Franciscan Institute, 1946.
, McCord Adams, M. "Duns Scotus' Parisian Proof for the
Existence of God." Franciscan Studies 42 (1982): 248-321.
, O'Neill, B. John Duns Scotus, Mary's Architect. Quincy,
IL: Franciscan Press, 1993.

Quaestio 1
Utrum Deus sub propria ratione deitatis
possit esse per se subiectum alicuius scientiae]

1 Circa prologum libri Sententiarum primo quaeritur utrum

Deus sub propria ratione Deitatis possit esse per se subiectum
alicuius scientiae.
Videtur quod non:
Omne scibile de quocumque subiecto habet conceptum per
se alium a conceptu subiecti; sed nihil cognoscibile de Deo habet
conceptum per se alium a conceptu Dei; ergo etc.
2 Probatio maioris: idem per se conceptus non scitur de seipso,
VII Metaphysicae, cap. ultimo:1 "Propter quid ipsum est ipsum
nihil est quaerere". Similiter, V libro, cap. de 'per se':2 "Hominis
multae sunt causae, sed quare homo est homo non est alia causa".
Et IX Metaphysicae cap. ultimo,3 quod circa simplicia non
contingit decipi, quia aut totaliter ignorantur aut totaliter
cognoscuntur. Et I Posteriorum:4 'Conclusio per se scibilis est vera
per se secundo modo, et in isto secundo modo est alius conceptus
subiecti et praedicati'.
3 Probatio minoris: Si essent duo conceptus, aut correspon-
deret eis in re aliud et aliud, aut omnino idem. Non aliud propter
simplicitatem divinam. Nec omnino idem. Quia una res non
potest habere nisi unum conceptum adaequatum, ergo alii
conceptui nihil in re correspondebit, et tunc erit superfluus et

1 Aristot., Metaph. VII (Z), c. 17 (1041a 14-5). Scotus' numbering comes from
the Latin Corpus of Aristotle where Bk. a is numbered as II, Bk. B as III, etc.
* Ibid., V (A), c. 18 (1022a 33-5).
:1 Ibid., IX (6), c. 10 (10516 17-26).
4 Aristot., Anal. Post. I, c. 4 (73a 37-736 2); Les Auctoritates Aristotelis (ed. J.
Hamesse, 314): "Per se secundo sunt quaecumque insunt ipsis quae in ratione
insunt, ut propria passio per se est in subjecto".

Question One
Can God be the per se subject of some science under the
proper aspect of deity?

1 In regard to the prologue of the Book of the Sentences first it

is asked whether God under the proper characteristic of deity
could be the subject of some science.
It seems not:
Every thing*1 scientifically knowable2 about any subject has
a per se concept other than that of the subject. Nothing knowable
about God has a concept intrinsically other than a concept of God,
therefore, etc.
2 Proof of the major: what is intrinsically the same concept is
not known scientifically3 about itself. According to [Aristotle's]
Metaphysics, VII, last chapter: "To ask why a thing is itself is a
meaningless question." Similarly in Bk. V, in the chapter on 'what
is per se': "There are many causes of man, but there is no other
cause why man is man." And in Bk. IX of the Metaphysics, the
last chapter: "One cannot be deceived about simple things,
because either one is totally ignorant of them, or they are known
completely." And in the Posterior Analytics I: A conclusion able to
be known scientifically per se is true in the second mode* of per se
predication,* and in this second mode the concept of the subject is
other than the concept of the predicate.
3 Proof of the minor: If there were two concepts, either what
would correspond to them in reality would be different or would
be entirely identical. But because of the divine simplicity they
could not be different things, nor entirely the same. For one thing
can have but one adequate concept. Therefore to other concept
nothing will correspond in reality, and then it would be
superfluous and in vain.

1 Terms marked with an asterisk appear in the Glossary at the end of the
* The Latin term scire has a technical meaning and we use the expression
'scientifically known' to distinguish it from opinion or a true conclusion deduced
from contingent premises that are statements of existential facts.
1 That is. deduced syllogistically from some other concept by means of a
common middle term.

2 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

4 Item, omne scibile de aliquo subiecto scitur per medium

quod notius inest subiecto primo quam ipsum scitum. Nihil sic
potest nosci de Deo, igitur etc. Probatio maioris. Quia conclusio
scita est mediata et scitur per principium immediatum. Probatio
minoris. Augustinus, VIII De Trinitate, cap. 3:5 "Quidquid
intelligibile est atque incommutabile, non est aliud alio verius",
igitur nec aliud alio notius.
5 Item, de subiecto demonstrationis oportet scire quid est, I
Posteriorum. 6 Sed Deus non habet quid est, quia nec definitionem,
secundum Avicennam, VIII Metaphysicae, cap. 2. 7
6 Contra:
Augustinus, VIII De Civitate Dei, cap. l:8 "Theologia est
sermo vel ratio de Deo".

[I. Ad quaestionem]

7 Ad solutionem huius quaestionis quattuor sunt videnda.

Primo, quae sit ratio scientiae. Secundo, quae sit ratio primi
subiecti scientiae. Tertio, an Deus possit concipi sub rationibus
pluribus distinctis a ratione essentiae. Quarto, an inter illas
rationes sub quibus potest concipi sit aliquis ordo, et quis. Et
tandem ex his quaestio exsolvetur.

[Articulus 1
Quid sit ratio scientiae]

8 De primo, non extendendo scientiam ad fidem, quomodo

loquitur Augustinus, XV De Trinitate, cap. 22:9 "Absit ut scire nos
negemus quae testimonio didicimus aliorum", etc. nec
restringendo scientiam prout distinguitur contra sapientiam

5 August., De Trin. VIII, c. 1, n. 2 (CCSL 50, 269; PL 42, 947).

6 Aristot., Anal. Post. I, c. 1 (71a 11-6); Les Auctoritates Aristotelis (ed. J.
Hamesse, 311): "Unde iterum habemus quod in qualibet scientia oportet
praesupponere subjectum esse et quid significet ipsum".
7 Avicenna, Metaph. VIII, c. 4 (AviL, 402-3): "Primus igitur non habet
quiditatem, sed super habentia quiditates fluit esse ab eo...; primus igitur non
habet genus. Et ideo non habet differentiam..., ideo non habet definitionem"
8 August., De civ. Dei VIII. c. 1 (CCSL 47, 216-7; PL 41, 225)
!l August., De Trin. XV, c. 12, n. 21 (CCSL 50A. 493; PL 42, 1075).
Prologue, Question One 2

4 Also, every thing known scientifically about some subject is

known by means of some middle term present in that first subject
that is better known than what is deduced by means of it. But
nothing can be known in this way about God, therefore, etc. Proof
of the major: a conclusion known scientifically is mediated
knowledge deduced from something known immediately. Proof of
the minor: Augustine in Bk. VIII of The Trinity, chapter 3: "With
regard to whatever is intelligible and unchangeable, no one thing
is more true than another"; therefore neither is one more
knowable than another.
5 Also, as regards the subject of a demonstration it is
necessary to know what it is, according to Bk. I of the Posterior
Analytics. But God does not have quiddity,* nor does he have a
definition, according to Avicenna (Metaphysics VIII, chapter 2).

6 To the contrary:
Augustine in The City of God, VIII, chapter 1: 'Theology is
discursive knowledge or talk about God.'

To the Question

7 There are four items to be investigated to solve this

question. First, what is meant by 'science'? Secondly, what does
'the first subject of a science' mean? Third, can God be conceived
under several distinct characteristics that are distinct from the
notion of his essence? Fourth, does any order exist among such
characteristics, under which he could be conceived, and if so what
is it? And then from the answer to these the question will be

Article One
What is meant by science?

8 About the first, not extending the meaning of science to

include what is known by faith (as Augustine does in Bk. XIV of
The Trinity, chapter 22: "Far be it from us to deny that we know
scientifically what we learn from the testimony of others," etc.),
nor restricting the meaning of 'science' to exclude what is known
3 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

quomodo Augustinus distinguit, XII De Trinitate, cap. 36, 10 quod

"ad sapientiam pertinet rerum aeternarum cognitio intellectualis,
ad scientiam vero rerum temporalium cognitio rationalis",
medio igitur modo accipiendo scientiam prout definitur 'scire' I
Posteriorum,u dico quod scientia est cognitio certa veri necessarii
quod natum est habere evidentiam ab alio necessario prius
evidente applicato ad ipsum per discursum syllogisticum.
9 Prima condicio, scilicet quod scientia sit cognitio certa
excludens omnem deceptionem, opinionem et dubitationem,
convenit omni virtuti intellectuali. Quia omnis virtus
intellectualis est perfectio intellectus disponens ipsum ad
perfectam operationem, et perfecta operatio intellectualis est
cognitio veri. Ideo omnis virtus intellectualis est habitus quo
determinate verum dicimus, quo et deficiente verum perfecte non
cognoscimus. Propter quod opinio et suspicio quibus potest
subesse falsum non sunt virtutes intellectuales.
10 Secunda condicio, scilicet quod sit veri necessarii, sequitur
ex prima. Quia si scientia esset veri contingentis, posset sibi
subesse falsum propter mutationem obiecti, sicut contingit circa
obiectum opinionis. Scientia autem est necessarius habitus
essentialiter cognitivus veri. Ergo necessario includit essentialiter
non tantum relationem communem habitus ad obiectum sed
specialem, scilicet conformitatis ad ipsum obiectum. Nunc autem,
si ipsum obiectum non esset verum necessarium, posset habitus
idem manens quandoque conformari illi obiecto et quandoque non
propter mutationem illius obiecti, et tunc posset esse quandoque
verus, quandoque falsus. Et hoc est quod dicit Philosophus VII
Metaphysicae,12 quod corruptibilium non est demonstratio. Quia
sicut non contingit quandoque scientiam quandoque esse
ignorantiam, ita nec demonstrationem esse non demonstra-
tionem. Contingeret autem utrumque si esset non necessarii sed

"l August., De Trin. XII, c. 15, n. 25 (CCSL 50, 379; PL 42, 1012).
11 Aristot., Anal. Post. I, c. 2 (716 9-22).
1* Aristot., Metaph. VII (Z), c. 15 (10396 31- 1040a 5).
Prologue, Question One 3

as wisdom (distinguishing, as Augustine does in Bk. XII, chapter

36 of The Trinity: "that to wisdom belongs the intellectual
cognition of eternal things, but to science the reasonable cognition
of temporal things"), but understanding 'science' in an
intermediate fashion, according to how 'to know scientifically'
[scire] is defined in Bk. I of the Posterior Analytics, I say that
science is the certain cognition of a necessary truth that is suited
by nature* to be made evident from another necessary truth
that has been earlier made evidentby way of syllogistic
9 The first condition, namely that this science is certain
cognition, excluding all deception, opinion and doubting, is
something that pertains to every intellectual cognitive power. For
every such cognitive power is a perfection of the intellect,
disposing it to a perfect operation, and a perfect intellectual
operation is knowing what is true. Therefore every intellectual
cognitive power is a habit* by which we say decisively what is
true, and by its deficiency we do not know perfectly what is true.
That is why opinion, and suspicion, both of which can be about
what is false, are not intellectual virtues.
10 The second condition, namely that it be cognition of a
necessary truth, follows from the first. For if a science were about
a contingent truth, it could fall under what is false by reason of a
change of object, just as it happens with the object of opinion. But
science is essentially a cognitive habit of a necessary truth.
Therefore, it necessarily includes essentially not only the common
relationship of a habit to its object, but a special relation, namely
of conformity to the object itself. But now, if the object itself were
not a necessary truth, the habit could, while remaining the same,
be at times conformed to that object and at other times not
conformed because of a change in that object, and then it could be
at times true, and at other times false. And that is what the
Philosopher expresses in Bk. VII of the Metaphysics, that there is
no demonstration of perishable things. For just as [knowledge]
does not happen to be at times science and at times ignorance, so
neither can demonstration not be demonstration. But both of
these could happen if they were not about what is necessary but
1 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

11 Istae igitur duae condiciones communes sunt non tantum

scientiae sed et sapientiae et intellectui, et conveniunt istis
habitibus ex per se rationibus obiectorum quibus necessario
12 Tertia condicio est propria, distinguens scientiam ab
intellectu principiorum quia intellectus est veri habentis
evidentiam ex terminis, I Posteriorum:i3 "Principia cognoscimus
inquantum terminos cognoscimus". Scientia est veri habentis
evidentiam ex principiis.
13 Quarta condicio, scilicet quod notitia evidentiae posterioris
sit causata a priore per discursum syllogisticum, est
imperfectionis, nec est de per se ratione scientiae secundum se
sed tantum scientiae imperfectae, et non convenit scientiae nisi in
illo intellectu cui convenit discurrere et procedere a noto ad
14 Ex hoc sequitur corollarium quod de nullo potest aliquid
sciri nisi de quo possunt plures conceptus haberi, unus
quiditativus et alii quasi denominativi secundum ordinem
quemdam habentes ipsum quiditativum conceptum. Unde tres
primae condiciones consequuntur scientiam per se ratione
subiecti vel obiecti de quo natae sunt esse veritates necessariae
per se scibiles in evidentia ordinatae. Quarta non est ex ratione
obiecti sed ex comparatione ad intellectum talem vel talem quem

[Articulus 2
Quid sit ratio primi subiecti scientiae
1. Solutio]
15 Quantum ad secundum articulum dico quod illud est per se
primum obiectum alicuius scientiae quod continet virtualiter
notitiam omnium veritatum illius scientiae.
16 Quod probo: quia in essentialiter ordinatis necesse est stare
ad aliquod simpliciter primum. Sed cognoscibilia alicuius
scientiae habent ordinem essentialem inter se in cognoscibilitate,
quia conclusiones cognoscuntur ex principiis et principia tandem,

i:l Aristot, Anal. Post. I. c. 3 (726 20-5); Les Auctoritates Aristotelis (ed. J.
Hamesse, 313): "Principia cognoscimus in quantum terminos cognovimus"
Prologue, Question One 4

11 These two conditions are common not only to science but

also to 'wisdom' and 'intellectual understanding of principles,*'
and they pertain to these habits because of the nature of their
objects to which they are necessarily conformed.
12 The third condition is proper, distinguishing science from
understanding of principles,' for the latter is knowledge of a true
statement based on the immediate evidence of its terms.
According to Posterior Analytics I: "We know principles in so far
as we know their terms." Science however is about a truth
deriving its evidence from principles.
13 The fourth condition, namely that it is subsequent
knowledge derived by syllogistic inference from earlier
knowledge, is a matter of imperfection, nor is it characteristic of
scientific* knowledge per se, but only of imperfect science, and it
does not pertain to science except in as much as this exists in an
intellect that moves discursively and proceeds from what is
known to what is unknown.
14 And from this a corollary follows that scientific knowledge
can only be about something of which there can be several
concepts, one of which is quidditative* and the others are quasi-
derivative, according to the certain order they have to the
quidditative concept itself. Hence, the first three conditions apply
to science per se by reason of its subject or object about which
necessary truths, well ordered in evidence, are suited by nature to
be scientifically knowable per se. The fourth condition is not by
reason of the object, but arises from its relationship to such and
such an intellect, which it perfects.

Article Two
What does the first object of a science mean?

15 As for the second article, I say that the per se primary object
of any science is that which contains virtually* the knowledge of
all the truths of that science.
16 I prove this. For in essentially ordered things it is necessary
to start with something that is simply first. But those things that
are able to be known in any science have an essential* order
5 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

si sint immediata, cognoscuntur ex terminis, sicut dictum est.

Terminus etiam praedicatus principii cognoscitur ex ratione
subiecti, quia principia communiter sunt per se secundo modo,
ergo subiectum cadit in definitione praedicati, VII Metaphy-
sicae.u In isto igitur ordine tandem est devenire ad aliquod
subiectum simplex quod est subiectum principii vel principiorum.
Ex cuius notitia cognoscuntur omnia pertinentia ad essentiam et
ipsum non cognoscitur ex aliis. Istud igitur recte dicitur scientiae
primum subiectum, quia primo continet in se virtualiter notitiam
pertinentium ad scientiam.
17 Additur autem 'primo' continere, quia, sicut illud quod non
dependet ab alio sed alia ab ipso, est primum, ita illud dicitur
primo continere quod non dependet ab aliis in continendo nec per
rationem alicuius alterius continet, hoc est, si per impossible
circumscripto omni alio in ratione obiecti maneret conceptus eius,
adhuc in ratione obiecti contineret illas veritates. Sicut verbi
gratia: isosceles continet virtualiter omnes conclusiones quas
continet triangulus quia continet rationem trianguli. Sed non
continet primo quia non per propriam rationem et specificam
isoscelis sed per rationem trianguli.

[2. Instantiae contra solutionem]

18 [Prima instantia] Contra ista obicituri5 sic: sicut se habet

primum obiectum potentiae ad potentiam, ita primum obiectum
habitus se habet ad habitum. Sed primum obiectum potentiae per

HAristot., Metaph. VII (Z), c. 5 (10306 14-27).

i5 Thomas Aquinas, STh I, q. 1, a. 7; Henricus Gand., Summa a. 19. q. 1 (I,
115C); a. 6, q. 3 ad 2 (ibid., 461).
Prologue, Question One 5

among themselves as to how they are able to be known, because

conclusions are known from principles and principles in turn, if
they are immediate, are known from their terms, as has been
said. Also the predicate term of a principle is known by reason of
the subject, because principles are generally couched in the
second mode of per se predication; therefore the subject enters
into the definition of the predicate [by way of an addition],4
according to Bk. VII of the Metaphysics. Following this order one
eventually arrives at some simple subject, which is the subject of
a principle or principles. From the notion of this subject all that
pertains to the essence is known and the notion of the subject
itself is not known from anything else. This therefore is rightly
called the first or primary subject; it contains virtually in itself
the knowledge that pertains to the science.
17 Added, however, is the stipulation that the first object
primarily' contains. For just as that which does not depend upon
another, while other things depend upon it, is first, so that 'what
is said to contain primarily' is not dependent on others for what it
contains, nor does it contain through a notion of something else;
that is, to assume the impossible, if every thing other than what
the object means were excluded, its concept would still remain,
and in that notion 'of the object would still be contained those
truths [that comprise the science]. For example, an isosceles
contains virtually all the conclusions that triangle contains, since
it includes the notion of 'triangle.' But it does not contain these
conclusions primarily, because it does not do so because of its
specific characteristic of being isosceles, but rather by reason of
being a triangle.

Two objections to this explanation of the object

18 [First objection] Against the above this sort of objection is

raised. Just as the first object of a faculty is related to that
faculty, so the first object of a habit is related to habit. But the

4 The phrase in brackets needs to be added, to distinguish the second from

the first mode of per se predication. The first mode applies to the genus and
specific difference, which enter directly into the definition and not by way of an
added property [sicut additum).
6 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

se est commune ad omnia per se obiecta. Igitur similiter primum

obiectum habitus est aliquid commune ad omnia quae per se
respicit ille habitus et non aliquid virtualiter unum continens
omnia. Confirmatur hoc. Quia alioquin non inveniretur
adaequatio in obiecto, quae tamen requiritur in primo obiecto
cuiuscumque, sive potentiae sive habitus.
19 Item,16 communiter in scientiis assignatur pro primo obiecto
aliquod commune ad illa ad quae se extendit scientia, sicut in
metaphysica ens, in scientia naturali corpus vel ens mobile, in
geometria magnitudo, et sic de aliis, igitur etc.
20 [Secunda instantia] Secunda instantia17 est talis. Illud quod
continet virtualiter aliquam notitiam intellectus, non habet esse
in intellectu, sed potius in virtute fantastica. Obiectum scibile
habet esse in intellectu tantum quia est universale, et universale
non est in re extra nec in sensu, quia nihil habet ibi esse nisi sub
ratione singularis; igitur etc. Maior probatur. Quia quod
continet virtualiter notitiam intellectus est motivum intellectus
ad illam. Sed motivum est distinctum subiecto a mobili.18 Ergo, ut
est continens, non habet esse in intellectu,19 et habet esse in
nobis, quia intelligimus cum volumus, II De Anima,20 ergo
praecise habet esse in virtute fantastica.

10 Thomas Aquinas, Metaph. IV, lect. 1 (ed. Parmen. XX. 312a6); In librum
Bocthii De Trin. q. 5, a. 4 ad 6 (ed. Parmen. XVII, 389a).
" Godefridus de Font., Quodl. V, q. 10 (PhB III, 39-40).
1H Add. et nihil in intellectu potest distingui subiecto ab intellectu MB.
" V addit (cf. Add M ): [n. 21] Vel sic. Secunda instantia talis est: omnis actus
et habitus intellectualis virtualiter continetur praecise in aliquo quod est in
virtute phantastica; non ergo obiectum intelligibile continet virtualiter habitum
scientiae. Consequentia probatur, quia obiectum intelligibile, sub ratione per se
intelligibilis. non habet esse in virtute phantastica, quia nihil habet ibi esse nisi
sub ratione singularis; obiectum intelligibile est per se universale. Antecedens
probatur. quia movens subiecto distinguitur a moto, nihil autem in parte
intellectiva potest subiecto distingui ab intellectu; illud autem quod virtualiter
continet actum vel habitum intellectus, movet intellectum ad illum actum vel
habitum; ergo quod virtualiter continet habitum intellectus. non habet esse per
se in parte intellectiva.
*l Aristot., De anima II, c. 5 (4176 21-4).
Prologue, Question One 6

first object of a faculty per se is common to all of its per se objects.

Therefore, similarly the first object of a habit is something
common to all, which that habit regards per se, and not some one
thing that virtually contains all. This is confirmed, because
otherwise no adequacy would be found in the object; but this is
required in the first object of anything, be it a faculty or a habit.
19 Also, generally in the sciences as a first object something is
assigned that is common to those things to which the science
extends, such as 'being' in metaphysics, 'body' or 'mobile being' in
physics, or 'magnitude' in geometry, and so in all the other
sciences; therefore etc.

20 [Second objection] A second objection is of this sort. What

contains some knowledge of the intellect virtually has no being in
the intellect, but rather in the faculty of imagination; a
scientifically knowable object has being in the intellect only
because it is universal, and a universal has no existence outside
in reality, nor does it exist in any sense faculty; nothing has
existence there except under the aspect of a singular; therefore
etc. The major is proved. For what contains knowledge of the
intellect virtually is what moves the intellect to know it.5 But
what moves is a subject distinct from what it is able to move.
What contains in this way, then, has no being in the intellect,6
and it has being in us, because 'we think when we want to,'
according to Bk. II of the De anima. Hence, it has being in the
faculty of the imagination.

' What moves the intellect according to the objector's theory of knowledge is
the sensible phantasm in the imagination when illumined by the agent intellect.
' V adds (cf. Add. M.): [n. 21] Or, it could be worded this way. The second
objection is such: every intellectual act or habit is contained virtually in
something that is in the faculty of the imagination; therefore, the intelligible
object [in the intellect] does not contain virtually the habit of science. The
implication is proved, because the intelligibile object, under the notion of the per
se intelligible, has no being in the faculty of the imagination, because nothing has
being there, except under the aspect of singularity; an intelligible object is
essentially a universal. The antecedent is proved, because the mover is a
distinct subject from that of the moved, but nothing in the intellective part can be
a distinct subject from that of the intellect. But that, which virtually contains the
act or habit of the intellect, moves the intellect to that act or habit; therefore,
that which virtually contains the habit of the intellect has no existence
essentially in the intellective part.
7 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

22 Illa autem propositio "Motivum et motum sunt distincta

subiecto", quamvis sit principium, tamen contra negantes proba-
tnr2i per rationem ducentem ad impossibile. Quia si negetur, pari
ratione dicetur quod in quolibet movens potest esse idem subiecto
cum moto, tunc lignum calefaciet se per aliquid quod est
subiective in illo, licet ad calefactionem illam requirantur multa
alia sicut causae sine quibus non.

[3. Responsio ad instantias

a. Ad primam instantiam]

23 Ad primam instantiam22 respondeo. Concedo quod primum

obiectum est adaequatum illi potentiae vel habitui cuius est
primum obiectum. Et haec ratio primitatis accipitur a Philosopho
I Posteriorum23 ubi vult quod praedicatum universale primo inest
illi subiecto, et vocat ibi universale Philosophus passionem
adaequatam ipsi subiecto. Hoc autem est commune tam obiecto
potentiae quam habitus, quod scilicet ipsum habet rationem
terminantis rationem utriusque. Sed aliud est speciale de obiecto
potentiae, quia obiectum potentiae, licet sit quandoque movens
potentiam, non tamen necessario virtualiter continet in se
perfectionem potentiae, obiectum autem scentiae ponitur ex dictis
virtualiter continere in se perfectionem illius habitus. Obiectum
autem scientiae proprie est mensura, ex V Metaphysicae, cap. de
"ad aliquid",24 non sic autem potentiae obiectum respectu eius.
24 Ad propositum: igitur quandocumque illud quod per se
convenit obiecto potentiae vel habitus, ut movere vel terminare
vel mensurare, convenit cuilibet per se obiecto per rationem
propriam, tunc non potest aliquod eorum esse aliquod unum
obiectum adaequatum illi potentiae et habitui, sed aliquod
commune cuius ratio salvatur in omnibus illis quae per se movent
vel terminant.

Godefridus de Font., Quodl. VI, q. 7 (PhB III, 155-6, 158); IX, q. 19 (PhB
IV, 272-3).
11 Cf. supra n. 18.
2:i Aristot. Anal. Post. I, c. 4 (736 26-33).
** Aristot., Metaph. V (A), c. 15 (10206 30-1).
Prologue, Question One 7

22 As for the proposition, however, "The mover and the moved

are distinct as to subject" is a principle; nevertheless, for the sake
of those who might deny it, this proof from impossibility is
adduced. For if one denies the principle, by the same token one
can say that anything that moves can be in the same subject as
what is moved. And then wood can be heated through something
it contains subjectively in itself, although heating requires many
other causes as necessary conditions.

Reply to the objections

To the first objection

23 To the first instance [in n. 18] I reply. I concede that the

first object is adequate for that faculty or habit for which it is a
first object. And such understanding of first' is taken from Bk. I
of the Philosopher's Posterior Analytics, where he insists that it is
the universal predicate that is primarily in that subject, and he
declares here that a universal is an attribute adequate for this
subject. But this is something common to both the object of a
faculty and that of a habit, namely that it has the characteristic of
completing the notion of both. But there is something else that is
specific to the object of a faculty, because the object of a faculty,
though it sometimes moves the faculty, does not contain virtually
in itself the perfection of that faculty. But the object of a science,
from what has been said, is posited as virtually containing in
itself the perfection of that habit. The object of a science, however,
is properly a measure, according to Bk. V of the Metaphysics, in
the chapter on relatives.* But this is not the relationship that
exists between a faculty and its object.
24 As for my proposal, then: whenever what pertains per se to
the object of the potency* or habitsuch as to move, or complete,
or measurepertains to any per se object whatsoever by reason
of what it properly is, then none of these [objects] can be some
single object that is adequate to that potency or habit. Rather [the
adequate object] will be some common characteristic that is
preserved in every one of those things, which per se either move
or complete.
8 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

25 Ad primum25 ergo respondeo quod dupliciter potest intelligi

potentiam vel habitum se habere ad multa per se obiecta
Uno modo, quod quodlibet eorum per rationem suam
formalem natum est respici a potentia tali vel habitu, et ibi
nullum eorum unum est primum obiectum potentiae, quia nec
adaequatum, eo quod nec ratio alicuius unius illorum salvatur in
quolibet quod per se respicitur a tali potentia vel habitu, et per
consequens nihil est adaequatum nisi commune omnibus illis
obiectis per se. Ita est de visu respectu omnium coloratorum.
Quia licet unus color sit perfectior aliis, puta albedo, tamen
nigredo per suam propriam naturam obicitur potentiae visivae et
non tantum virtute albi.
26 Alio modo potentia vel habitus indifferenter respicit plura
per se obiecta hoc modo quod unum praecise per rationem suam
respicitur et alia non nisi ex consequenti virtute primi. Et illud
primum inter per se obiecta est simpliciter adaequatum potentiae
et habitui et ideo simpliciter obiectum eius primum. Hoc modo est
de intellectu divino. Quia licet per se intelligat omnia intel-
ligibilia, tamen a nullo movetur ad actum intelligendi nisi a
primo obiecto suo. Nullum etiam obiectum secundarium primo
determinat per rationem propriam actum ipsius, sed tantum ex
consequenti virtute illius primi. Et ideo illud primum obiectum
per se adaequatum intellectui non est aliquod commune omnibus
per se intelligibilibus, sed aliquod primum intelligibile per se
continens omnia.
27 Ad propositum. Deus sub ratione Deitatis est primum in
entitate, ergo et in cognoscibilitate, ergo per rationem eius
possunt alia cognosci in alia scientia, ergo ipse potest esse
subiectum primum istius scientiae.
28 Praeterea, de Deo possunt cognosci aliqua propria sibi, ergo
illa cognoscibilia possunt pertinere ad aliquam scientiam. Illa
habebit aliquod subiectum primum, non aliud quam Deum sub
propria ratione. Quia quod est cognoscibile simpliciter perfectius
primo subiecto alicuius scientiae, non potest in illa scientia
cognosci quantum ad propria sibi. Sed Deus sub ratione Deitatis

Cf. supra n. 18.

Prologue, Question One 8

25 I reply, then, to the first [n. 18] that one can understand in
a twofold way that a faculty or habit relates indifferently to many
things that are objects per se:
In one way, each of these by reason of its formal* notion is
naturally suited to regard such a faculty or habit, but no one of
them is their primary or adequate object, for its nature is not
something shared by everything related per se to such a faculty or
habit. As a consequence, nothing is adequate unless it is a
common characteristic of all of those objects per se. This is so
regarding vision as regards all colored things. For although one
color is more perfect than another, for example whiteness,
nevertheless blackness by its own proper nature is an object of
vision and it is not so by reason of being white.
26 In another way a potency or habit regards indifferently
several things as per se objects so that only one is regarded as
[first] object precisely by reason of what it is, whereas the other
things are only so because they follow in virtue of the first. And
that first among per se objects is simply adequate to the potency
and habit, and therefore it is simply its first object in an
unqualified sense. Such is the case with the divine intellect. For
although it understands per se all that is intelligible, nevertheless
it is not moved to an act of understanding by anything other than
by its first object. Also no secondary object through its proper
notion primarily determines an act of his, but rather by following
in virtue of that first, and therefore that first per se adequate
object is not something common to all per se intelligibles, but
some first intelligible that contains all per se.
27 To what we propose: God under the aspect of deity is first in
entity, therefore also first in his ability to be known. Therefore
under this characteristic of his the other things can be known in
another science; therefore he himself can be the first subject of
this science.
28 Furthermore, some properties about God can be known;
therefore these can pertain to some science. That science will
have some first subject, which is not other than God under a
proper concept. For what is simply more perfect than the primary
subject of a science cannot be known in that science in a proper
fashion. But God under the aspect of his deity is knowable in a
9 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

est cognoscibile simpliciter perfectius quocumque alio subiecto.

Ergo propria de ipso non possunt cognosci in scientia habente
aliud subiectum primum.
29 Praeterea tertio arguitur sic. Sex videntur esse condiciones
subiecti primi alicuius scientiae. Prima, quod ab ipso
determinetur et specificetur scientia sicut potentia per suum
primum obiectum. Secunda, quod ab ipso scientia habeat
dignitatem suam. Tertia, quod de ipso dicantur alia considerata
in scientia, sicut in propositione praedicatum dicitur de subiecto.
Quarta, quod ipsum sit primum quod ocurrit intellectui in illa
scientia et alia sub ratione eius. Quinta, quod ipsum possit esse
subiectum principiorum scientiae. Sexta, quod eius passiones et
proprietates considerentur in scientia. Sed Deus potest habere
omnes istas condiciones respectu alicuius scientiae, puta
theologiae, ergo etc.
30 Quod autem scientia ista sit de Deo sub ratione Deitatis
probatur. Primo, quia sub ista ratione et non alia continentur
infra eius ambitum omnia cognoscibilia de Deo. Secundo, quia
scientia divina est de ipso sub ista ratione, et quaelibet alia
scientia de Deo est participatio scientiae divinae et imitatur eam.
Tertio, quia sub ista sola ratione est subiectum primum obiectum
principiorum scientiae talis. Quarto, quia sub sola ista ratione est
obiectum scientiae beatorum. Quinto, quia transcendit omnes
scientias philosophicas. Ponitur autem ab aliis26 quod sub ista
ratione sit obiectum primum scientiae divinae, quia ista
transcendit omnem scientiam creaturae.
31 Ad propositum. Obiectum habitus habet continere vir-
tualiter aliquo modo ipsum habitum et etiam esse mensuram
eius, ex V Metaphysicae, cap. de "ad aliquid".27 Et istae
condiciones sunt propriae obiecto primo habitus, nec conveniunt
proprie obiecto primo potentiae, quia obiectum potentiae habet sic
quandoque movere potentiam, non tamen continet virtualiter
potentiam. Habet etiam obiectum habitus terminare actum eius,
et hoc est commune obiecto habitus et obiecto potentiae. Ergo si
aliquis habitus respiceret aliqua plura per se obiecta quorum

M Thomas Aquinas, STh I, q. 1, a. 5 et 7.

27 Aristot, Metaph. V (A), c. 15 (10206 30. 1021a 30-10216 1).
Prologue, Question One 9

simply more perfect way than in virtue of any other subject

whatsoever. Therefore his properties cannot be known in a
science having anything other [than deity] as its first subject.
29 Furthermore, it is argued in this way. There are six
conditions of a first subject of some science. First, that from it the
science is first determined and specified as a potency is [specified]
through its first object. Second, a science derives its dignity
through it. Third, other things considered in that science are said
of it, in the way the predicate is affirmed of the subject in a
proposition. Fourth, that it is the first thing in that science that
occurs to the intellect and other things come to mind in virtue of
what it means. Fifth, that it can be the subject of the principles of
the science. Sixth, that its proper attributes and properties are
considered in the science. But God can have all these conditions
with respect to some science, for instance, theology; therefore etc.
30 Proof that there can be a science of God under the aspect of
deity. First, because under this notion and no other are contained
within its scope all the things that can be known about God.
Secondly, because the divine science is about him under this
aspect and every other science about God is a participation in the
divine science and patterned after it. Third, because under this
notion alone is the first subject the object of the principles of such
a science. Fourth, because under this aspect alone is [God] an
object of the science of the beatified. Fifth, because it transcends
all the philosophical sciences. Others, however, maintain that it is
the first object of the divine science under this notion [of deity],
because by this it transcends every science about creatures.
31 As for my proposal: the object of a habit in some fashion has
to contain virtually the habit itself and also to be its measure,
according to the chapter on relatives in Bk. 5 of the Metaphysics.
And these conditions are proper to the first object of the habit,
though they do not pertain to the proper object of a potency,
because the object of the potency has thus at times to move the
potency, not however virtually to contain the potency. The object
of a habit also has to be the term of its act, and this is something
that the object of a habit has in common with the object of a
potency. Therefore, if some habit would regard as per se objects
several things of which each by reason of its proper notion would
10 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

quodlibet per rationem propriam contineret illum habitum

virtualiter et esset mensura eius et primo terminaret actum illius
habitus, obiectum adaequatum esset commune ad omnia alia per
se obiecta. Sed si inter illa multa ad quae se extendit habitus sit
aliquod unum quod solum virtualiter continet habitum et sit
mensura eius et primo terminans actum eius, illud poneretur
obiectum habitus adaequatum. Ita est in scientiis. Nam non
quodlibet quod consideratur in scientia est virtualiter continens
ipsam vel mensura eius vel primo terminans sed aliquod unum ad
cuius rationem stat ultimate resolutio omnium principiorum et
conclusionum, sicut dictum est. Patet ergo quod simpliciter
primum subiectum scientiae est tale virtualiter continens, ut
dictum est, non commune ad omnia considerata in scientia.
32 Per hoc patet ad confirmationem.28 Quia utrobique
assignatur adaequatio in primo obiecto respectu illius cuius est
primum obiectum. Sed quaedam potentiae indifferenter
respiciunt plura per se obiecta ita quod nullum per rationem
alterius. Et ideo alicui potentiae numquam potest adaequari
obiectum nisi sit commune per praedicationem omnibus per se
obiectis. Habitui autem scientiae semper adaequatur aliquid
commune secundum virtualitatem ad omnia, non secundum
33 Ad secundum:29 scientiae unius secundum genus est unum
primum obiectum secundum genus. Sed a multis obiectis
differentibus specie, quorum quodlibet est primum obiectum
respectu unius scientiae secundum speciem, potest abstrahi tale
unum commune obiectum, et sic illae scientiae habent unitatem
generis, et ideo pertinent ad unam scientiam secundum genus.
Ita in tali scientia secundum genus una assignatur unum
subiectum commune illis subiectis. Sed cuiuslibet scientiae unius
secundum speciem, quamvis multa distincta secundum speciem
consideret, tamen eius30 obiectum primum est unum secundum
speciem, in quo virtualiter omnia continentur.
34 Aliter et melius potest dici quod in obiecto communi quod
communiter assignatur in scientiis est una ratio primi obiecti

28 Cf. supra n. 18.

28 Cf. supra n. 19.
10 Eius: melius omitte.
Prologue, Question One 10

contain the habit virtually and would be what measures it and

what serves as the primary end or perfection of the act of the habit,
its adequate object would be common to all other per se objects. But
if among these many things to which the habit extends there is
some one object that alone virtually contains the habit and is its
measure and primarily is the term of its act, then that is the
adequate object of the habit. It is this way in the sciences. For not
everything considered therein virtually contains the science or is
its measure or functions as its end. But there is some one concept
on which the resolution of all the principles and conclusions
ultimately rests, as has been said. It is clear therefore that what
is simply the first subject of the science is such [an object] that
contains virtually [all that is knowable], as has been said, and not
something common to all things considered in that science.
32 And this evidently answers the confirmation [of the
objection in n. 18]. For in both [a potency and a habit] their first
object is assigned adequacy with respect to that of which it is the
first object. But certain potencies regard indifferently several per
se objects in such a way that none of them is through the concept
of another. And therefore to some potency never can there be an
adequate object unless it is commonly predicated of all its per se
objects. But to the habit of a science there is always something
that is common to all according to virtuality, but not by reason of
common predication.
33 To the second argument [in n. 19]: a science generically one
has one first generic object. But from many specifically different
objects, of which each is a first object of a science specifically one,
it is possible to abstract one such common object, and thus all
those sciences have a generic unity, and therefore they pertain to
one generic science. And thus in such a generic science there is
assigned one subject common to those [specific] subjects. But any
science that is specifically one, although it considers many
specifically distinct things,7 nevertheless has its first object that
is one according to species and that virtually contains all.
34 Otherwise and better, one could say that in the common
object that is customarily assigned in sciences, there is one notion

7 For example, theology as a divine science with deity as its first object is
specifically one, even though it treats of specifically different secondary objects,
namely all the different species that make up God's creation.
11 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

quae est adaequata in terminando, et hoc sive in terminando per

se et primo sive in terminando per se et non primo. Deficit tamen
ratio mensurandi et continendi. Et ideo, licet tale obiectum
commune secundum aliquid posset dici communiter primum
obiectum, hoc tamen imperfecte est respectu istius primi obiecti
quod habet rationem assignatam, quia illud est adaequatum in
mensurando et continendo et etiam in terminando primo. Vel sic:
ubi assignatur subiectum commune, vel est primum subiectum
unius scientiae tantum secundum genus et ideo abstractum ab
obiectis specialibus multarum scientiarum secundum speciem, vel
si assignatur tale obiectum vel subiectum respectu scientiae
unius secundum speciem, imperfecte est primum quia unam
condicionem habet, scilicet adaequare in terminando, et in
duabus aliis deficit.

[b. Ad secundam instantiam]

35 Ad secundam instantiam:3i de phantasmatibus aliqui32

concedunt antecedens et negant consequentiam. Et ad
probationem consequentiae videtur posse responderi distinguen-
do de esse in subiective et obiective. Secundo modo minor vera et
primo modo maior vera.

ii Cf. supra n. 20.

" Henricus Gand., Quodl. IV, q. 8 (f. 970-98P); V, q. 14 (f. 1760-1770, R).
Prologue, Question One 11

of a first object that is adequate in functioning as an end,

terminating either per se and primarily, or at least per se though
not primarily. But it is deficient in measuring and in containing.
And therefore such an object that is common according to
something, could commonly be called a first object, although it is
imperfectly such compared to a first object that has [this] notion
assigned because it is adequate in measuring and in containing as
well as in functioning as an end. Or to put it another way: where
a common subject is assigned, either it is a first subject of one
generic science and therefore is something abstracted from the
special objects of many sciences, each of which is one according to
species, or if such an object or subject is assigned with respect to a
science that is specifically one, it is imperfectly first, because it
has one condition, namely, adequacy in functioning as an end,8
and in two other ways it is deficient.

To the second objection

35 [An inadequate solution to the second objection] As for the

second objection [n. 20]: about phantasms*9 some concede the
antecedent and deny the implication.*10 As for the proof given for
the implication it seems that one could reply by distinguishing
between being in a subjective and objective way. In the second
way the minor11 is true and in the first way the major12 is true.

H God in knowing his deity knows all that is knowable. Deity therefore
virtually contains all that is knowable.
9 See the footnote to n. 20.
1u The unexpressed implication is: "If the phantasm that moves the intellect
as object is in the imagination, then the object that contains intellectual
knowledge virtually is not in the intellect as such." Godfrey concedes its
antecedent, since the phantasm or sensible image exists subjectively as an
accidental quality in the imagination, a corporeal or organic faculty. But he
denies the implication because, when illumined by the agent intellect, the
substantial nature of what exists as singular in the phantasm becomes
intelligible, and as an intelligible species impressed subjectively on the possible
intellect as an accidental quality, it reduces this non-organic cognitive potency to
act, and becomes what the intellect actually knows objectively.
1 1 Cf. the minor in n. 20: "A scientifically knowable object does have being in
the intellect." viz. objective being, for whatever is intelligible, since it is divested
of singularity, is at least potentially universal, and universals have no extra-
mental existence nor do they exist in any sense faculty.
11 Cf. the major and its proof in n. 20. What contains intellectual knowledge
virtually is the phantasm if illumined by the agent intellect. As a sense image the
12 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

36 Sed licet haec distinctio sit bona, non tamen evadit

difficultatem quia nihil potest esse in intellectu obiective nisi vel
obiciatur intellectui praesentialiter in seipso vel in aliquo
repraesentativo eius realiter exsistente. Nunc autem obiectum
scibile non oportet primo modo obici ad hoc ut praeintelligatur,
quia de non ente est sic scientia; ergo oportet quod obiciatur in
aliquo repraesentativo. Et tunc de illo arguitur. Si illud est
subiective in intellectu et movet intellectum ad notitiam obiecti
quod repraesentat, igitur movens et motum non sunt distincta
subiecto. Si illud non est subiective in intellectu et est in nobis,
quia intelligimus cum volumus, igitur est in parte sensitiva.
Igitur nihil realiter exsistens continet virtualiter aliquam
notitiam intellectus nostri nisi aliqua specifica forma sensata, non
igitur obiectum intelligibile quia, ut argutum est prius, obiectum
intelligibile est universale et universale non habet esse nisi in
Prologue, Question One 12

36 But although this is a good distinction, it does not avoid the

difficulty, because nothing can be in the intellect objectively
unless it is presented to the intellect objectively in itself13 or in
something that represents it that really exists.14 Now an object
that can be scientifically known,15 however, does not need to be
objectively presented in the first way in order for it to be
understood beforehand, because there is science in this way about
non-being. 16 Hence it is only necessary that it be representatively
presented as an object. And then one could argue: if that is
subjectively in the intellect and moves the intellect to the
knowledge of the object that it represents, then moving and
moved are not distinct as to their subject. If that is not in the
intellect subjectively and it is in us because we understand what
we want to, therefore it is in the sensitive part. Therefore nothing
really existing contains virtually some of our intellectual
knowledge unless it be something perceived by the senses. Hence
it is not an intelligible object, because as was argued earlier, an
intelligible object is a universal and a universal does not have
being except in the intellect.

phantasm exists as an accidental quality in the imagination and as such is

singular and neither subjectively nor objectively in the intellect.
11 Scotus has in mind here intuitive knowledge in which the intellect knows
something immediately as existentially present here and now. He believes we
have such knowledge with respect to our own actions in the present life; only
when the intellect is apart from the body it is capable of having such knowledge
of other things as well. The intelligible species, however, is not the phantasm, but
is a distinct accidental quality impressed on the possible intellect. Agent and
possible intellect as non-organic or incorporeal faculties, are only formally, not
really distinct from the spiritual or intellective soul.
14 Scotus has in mind here abstractive knowledge, in which an intelligible
species exists subjectively in the intellect as a real accident that is in the first
species of a quality according to Aristotle. Henry of Ghent does not admit the
existence of intelligible species, but Godfrey of Fontaines does, and it is he whom
Scotus has in mind here. But Godfrey insists on the real subjective distinction
between what moves and is moved, whereas Scotus denies this. Intellectual
cognition in us is an example of self-movement. The intelligible species, once
received in the possible intellect, moves the intellect to actual cognition. Cf. his
Questions on the Metaphysics of Aristotle, IX, q. 14, n. 17-20, 61.
Scientific knowledge, as a demonstrated conclusion, is a form of abstract
16 Being' or 'thing' [ens] has the meaning of a real, extra-mental thing, when
not qualified as an ens rationis.
13 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

37 Hic dicit quidam33 sic quod species intelligibilis nec

virtualiter nec formaliter potest movere intellectum ad aliquam
notitiam, species autem sensibilis potest movere, et cum hoc stat
quod obiectum intelligatur sub ratione universalis.
38 Primum probatur sic:34 quod idem non potest movere se. Et
est una praecipua eius ratio. Quia movens est in actu tale quale
motum est in potentia. Et idem non potest simul esse in actu et in
potentia quia hoc est principium metaphysicum notum ex
repugnantia istorum principiorum generalium, et si negetur
alicubi, pari ratione negetur ubique.35 Ista eadem ratio concludit
quod movens et motum non possunt esse idem subiecto. Quia si
sic, licet alterum esset appropriate ratio agendi et alterum
patiendi, tamen totum ut totum ageret et pateretur quia agere et
pati est totius, et sic totum esset in actu et totum in potentia.
39 Secundum etiam declaratur: quia phantasma est suffi-
cienter distinctum subiecto ab intellectu ut possit ipsum movere,
quod sic ostenditur; quia anima36 potest considerari secundum
rationem essentiae, et sic ubique est in corpore; alio modo
secundum rationem potentiae, et tunc si organicae est in
determinata parte corporis; si non organicae qualis est
intellectus, est in nulla parte corporis. Sicut ergo potentia
exsistens in una parte corporis potest esse principium movendi
aliam in alia parte corporis, sic illud quod est in determinata
parte corporis potest esse principium movendi intellectum, qui
sub ratione potentiae non est in aliqua parte corporis.

: Godefridus de Font., Quodl. VI, q. 7 (PhB III, 172); Quodl. V, q. 10 (PhB

III, 36-7); Quodl. VIII, q. 2 (PhB IV, 30).
11 Cf. Thomas Aquinas, Metaph. V, lect. 14 (ed. Parmen. XX, 412a).
m Godefridus de Font., Quodl. VI, q. 7 (PhB III, 170).
> Godefridus de Font., Quodl. VI, q. 7 (PhB III, 171-2).
Prologue, Question One 13

37 [Godfrey of Fontaines's solution to the second objection]

Here a certain [teacher] puts it thus: an intelligible* species
neither virtually nor formally* can move the intellect to some
knowledge; but a sensible species can move it, and when this
takes place the object is understood as a universal.
38 It is proved first in this way: the same thing cannot move
itself. And there is one principal reason why this is so. For the
moving thing is in act whereas the thing moved is in potency. And
one and the same thing cannot be simultaneously in act and in
potency, for this is a metaphysical principle known from the
incompatibility of those general principles,i7 and if it is anywhere
denied, by the same token it must always be denied.i8 This same
reason implies that what is moving and what is moved cannot
have the identical subject. Because if such were the case,
although one thing could appropriately be the reason for acting
and another the reason for being acted upon, nevertheless it is
the whole qua whole that is either acting or being acted upon. For
to act and to be acted upon pertains to the whole, and thus the
whole is either in act or the whole is in potency.
39 There is a second way to explain this, for the sense image is
sufficiently distinct from the intellect as regards its subject so
that it could move the intellect; it is shown in this fashion. For the
soul can be considered by reason of its essence and in this way it
is everywhere in the body. It can also be understood by reason of
a faculty or potency it has, and then if this potency is organic, it is
in a definite part of the body, and if not organic such as the
intellect, it is in no part of the body. Therefore just as a potency
existing in one part of the body can be a principle for moving
another in a different part of the body, so that which is in a
definite part of the body can be a principle for moving the
intellect which is not in any part of the body.

i7 Namely, the opposition of act and potency, which are more general
18 According to Scotus (Metaph. IX, q. 14, n. 98 [OPh 4, 663]), Godfrey makes
this observation; cf. Godfrey's Quodl. VI, q. 7 (PhB III, 170).
14 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

40 Tertium declarator sic:37 quia haec est natura intellectus

agentis, quod cum tactu spirituali et virtuali luminis sui contingit
phantasma solum quantum ad illud quod pertinet ad quiditatem
eius. Et econverso haec est natura obiecti singularis quod sit
praecise tactum secundum suam quiditatem. Et quiditas, ut sic
attingitur praeter accidentia designantia, habeat rationem
universalis et apprehenditur ab intellectu possibili.
41 Contra ista tria:38
Et primo contra illud quod solum phantasma movet
intellectum nostrum arguo sic: accidens et subiectum sunt
indistincta subiecto, ergo cuicumque subiectum est idem, et
accidens erit idem illi. Anima autem intellectiva est eadem
subiecto virtuti phantasticae, ergo et intellectus est idem illi, ergo
et phantasmati quod est in ista virtute. Quod autem dicunt quod
intellectus in nulla parte corporis est, verum est determinate, sed
in qualibet est realiter et indistincte. Unde sicut si esset in solo
organo phantasiae esset indistinctum subiecto illi potentiae, ita
cum sit in alia potentia nec tamen minus vere est in ista, nec
minus est idem subiecto isti.
42 Praeterea, causa aequivoca principalis et totalis est
perfectior effectu. Igitur phantasma erit perfectius quocumque
actu alio qui potest haberi in mente. Quia phantasma secundum
istum movet intellectum ad notitiam obiecti quod repraesentat.

i7 Godefridus de Font., Quodl. V, q. 10 (PhB III, 38-9).

:lH Cf. supra n. 38-40.
Prologue, Question One 14

40 There is a third way of explaining this, for this is the nature

of an agent* intellect. When by its spiritual touch and virtual
light it contacts the sense image, it reveals only what pertains to
its quiddity. And conversely such is the nature of a singular object
that only its quiddity is reached. And the quiddity, in as much as
it is reached apart from the accidents representing it, has the
aspect of a universal, and is apprehended by the possible*
41 [Scotus's Refutation of Godfrey] Against these three
arguments [n. 38-40].
And primarily against that assertion that only the
phantasm moves the intellect, I argue in this way [First]: accident
and subject are indistinct as to their subject, therefore
whatsoever has the same subject, will also have the same
accident. But the intellective soul as to its subject is the same as
the imaginative power, and therefore the intellect is the same
thing as it [i.e., the imagination]; therefore is the same thing as
the phantasm which resides in this power.19 But they say that the
intellect is in no part of the body, which is true as to its not being
limited. Rather it is in every part really and without distinction.
Now just as if it were solely in the organ of the imagination, [and
in this case] were indistinct from this power as to its subject, in
the same way, when it is in another power, it would be no less
truly in this [power], nor would it be less identical with it as to its
42 [Second] Furthermore, an equivocal* cause that is the
principal and total cause is more perfect than its effect.20
Therefore the imagination will be more perfect than any other
act21 that can be had in the mind. It is because the imagination,
according to this [teacher], moves the intellect to a knowledge of

19 Scot us believes the spiritual soul is one simple spiritual substance; its
powers or faculties are only formally, not really distinct from it, though their
respective acts of intellection and sense perceptions are really distinct accidents.
But since accidents reside in the soul as modes of being, one and the same real
thing is both mover and moved.
20 A univocal cause is like its effect, an equivocal cause is not. but it cannot
be less perfect if it is the total or principal cause.
11 According to Godfrey, the intellect is purely passive in knowing, and its
information is the effect of the phantasm or sense image moving it as an
equivocal [or unlike] cause.
15 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

Et secundum hoc sequitur quod felicitas non erit actus perfectis-

simus, quod est contra philosophos,39 nec excedemus bruta
secundum mentem, quod est contra Augustinum.40
43 Quod si dicatur intellectum agentem esse principale agens
respectu aliorum actuum in mente, hoc negat ista opinio41 quia
intellectus agens est indistinctus subiecto a possibili. Unde
secundum eos non agit in possibilem secundum rationem causae
efficientis sed solum formaliter, non effective.
44 Quod si dicatur quod intellectus agens est circa
phantasmata, contra hoc est V et X Quodlibet42 ubi dicit quod
intellectus agens nihil imprimit in phantasmata.
45 Contra eos etiam est tertia ratio de voluntate ubi dicit iste
doctor43 quod totus processus in actibus humanis est mere per
modum naturae, ita quod nihil est in potestate hominis non magis
quam actus bruti est in potestate bruti. Sed de hoc alias.44
46 Quarto arguitur contra istos quod non requiritur habitus
intellectualis sed tantum habitus phantasticus, quia nihil in
passo est causa quare agentia ordinate agunt.
47 Quoad aliud quod dicunt phantasmata in virtute intellectus
agentis repraesentare universale. Contra. Intellectus agens, cum
sit potentia animae nostrae, est potentia signata, et per
consequens eius actio.

M Cf. Aristot., Eth. Nic. X, c. 7 (1 177a12-1 1776); c. 8 (11786 7-32, 1179a 22-
32); Avicenna, Metaph. IX, c. 7 (AviL, 507-9).
40 August., De Trin. XV, c. 1, n. 1 (CCSL 50A, 460; PL 42, 1057).
41 Godefridus de Font., Quodl. VI, q. 7 (PhB III, 172); q. 15 (ibid., 252); VIII,
q. 2 (PhB IV, 32).
42 Godefridus de Font., Quodl. V, q. 10 (PhB III, 36): "Actio intellectus
agentis per se sit in ipsum intellectum possibilem, non in phantasmata".
1:1 Godefridus de Font.. Quodl. VI, q. 7, 8, 10, 11, 12 (PhB III, 170-1, 175-6,
207-8, 221. 230, 237); VIII, q. 16 (PhB IV, 159, 161, 167, 169, 172-4).
u V addit: Tunc nihil esset imputabile vel praemiabile, sicut nec casus
lapidis deorsum, quia natura non assuefit in oppositum.
Prologue, Question One 15

the object that it represents. And according to this [opinion], it

follows that happiness*22 will not be the most perfect act, which is
contrary to the philosophers, nor would we be better than the
brute animal, which contradicts Augustine.
43 If one counters that the agent* intellect would be the
principal agent with respect to all the second acts* in the mind,
this opinion denies this, because the agent intellect is not a
distinct subject from the possible intellect. Hence according to
those [like Godfrey who hold this view], the agent intellect does
not act on the possible intellect under the aspect of an efficient
cause, but only formally, not effectively.
44 If one says that the agent intellect has to do with sense
images, this is contrary to [Godfrey's] V and X Quodlibet, where
he says that the agent intellect impresses nothing upon the sense
images. >
45 [Third] Against these [arguments of Godfrey] also is the
argument about the will* where this doctor says that the whole
process in human acts is merely acting after the manner of
nature [i.e. not freely], so that nothing is in the power of man any
more than the act of a brute animal is in the power of the brute.
But of this I say more elsewhere.23
46 Fourth it is argued against these men that [they believe] an
intellectual habit is not required, but only one in the imagination,
since [according to their theory of a purely passive possible
intellect] there is no reason in the patient* receiving the action
why agents [should] act in an orderly way.24
47 Another point, they say that in virtue of the agent intellect
sense images represent the universal. On the contrary, since the
agent intellect is a power of the soul it is a designated potency,
and as a consequence so too is its action.

a According to Aristotle, philosophy is born of wonder as to the cause of

things, and knowledge of the causes which is science brings happiness to the man
as a rational animal, by satiating his thirst for knowledge.
n V adds: Then nothing would be imputable or meritorious, just as in the
case of a stone falling, because nature does not allow the opposite.
2* That is, they deny that sense objects act exclusively on sense faculties and
only intellectual or intelligible objects act on the intellect.
16 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

48 Quoad aliud quod negat speciem intelligibilem. Contra.

Quia sic negatur memoria in mente,45 quod est contra
Augustinum XII De Trinitate, cap. 846 et XV, cap. 10.47 Item,
secundum hoc videtur quod anima per nihil intrinsecum potest
habere novam intellectionem vel volitionem, quia quodlibet tale
est indistinctum subjecto ab ipsa;48 et nihil, secundum istum,49
potest esse movens et motum idem, nec actu et potentia.
49 Si dicas quod praecipui philosophi non poterunt hoc videre.
Contra. Quia vel est falsum quod credimus de eis ex dictis
ipsorum, vel principium quod iste ponit erit falsum, scilicet quod
impossibile est idem esse movens et motum.
50 Quod si dicas obiectum movisse eos ad peccatum vel
errorem, ergo non fuit in potestate eorum sic moveri, sicut nec in
potestate eorum quod obiectum sic moveret. Item, obiectum in se
exsistens non movit, ergo ut relucens in divina essentia. Et per
consequens fuit causa erroris vel peccati.
51 Dico ad istam secundam instantiam50 quod aliquid exsistens
in intellectu, sive subiective ut species intelligibilis vel habitus,
sive obiective ut illud quod relucet intelligibiliter in intelligentia,
continet virtualiter notitiam intellectus. Quod horum verius alias
de hoc.

4r> V addit (cf. Add. M.): et per consequens imago, quia sic secundum eos
in mente non est proles a parente, id est verbum a memoria fecunda. quam
dico intellectum, scilicet informatum specie intelligibili...
August., De Trin. XII, c. 2, n. 2 (CCSL 50, 356-7; PL 42, 999).
47 August., De Trin. XV, c. 10, n. 19 (CCSL 50A, 486; PL 42, 1071). Add. Et
sic destrueretur totus liber Augustini propter auctoritates Averrois MBR.
1H V addit (cf. Add. M.): Si a Deo, ergo Deus causavit actum volitionis quo
angelus malus peccavit; nec ab objecto, quia si dicas obiectum movisse eos ad
peccatum vel erectionem, ergo non fuit in potestate eorum sic moveri; etc. Et
similiter obiectum volitionis eorum et intellectionis eorum potest esse Deus, et sic
ut principalius agens Deus moveret ad actum malum. .
Godefridus de Font., Quodl. VI, q. 7 (PhB III, 168-9).
50 Cf. supra n. 20-21.
Prologue, Question One 16

48 As for their denial of any intelligible species,25 quite the

contrary is the case. For in this way they deny there is any
memory* in the mind,26 which is against what Augustine says in
The Trinity, Bk. XII, chapter 8 and Bk. XV, chapter 10. Also
according to this view it seems that the soul by reason of nothing
it possesses intrinsically can have any new intellectual knowledge
or volition. For nothing of this sort is distinct from the soul itself
qua subject.27 And nothing, according to him [i.e., Godfrey], can
be both moving and moved, or both in act and in potency.
49 If you say that the prominent philosophers could not have
detected this, quite the contrary. For either what we believe of
them on the basis of what they said is false, or the principle that
this [doctor] posits will be false, namely, that it is impossible for
the same thing to move and to be moved.
50 For if you say that the object has moved these [philosophers]
to sin or err, [I say] it was not in their power to be moved in this
fashion, just as it is not possible for the object to move them in
this way. Also the object existing in itself does not move, therefore
as illumined in the divine essence [it moves], and as a
consequence it was the cause of error or sin.
51 [Scotus's own solution to the second objection in n. 20-21] I
say to this second objection that something existing in the
intellect, whether it be subjectively as an intelligible species or
habit, or objectively as that which shines intelligibly in the
understanding, does contain virtually the knowledge of the
intellect. Even more obvious truths about this are treated

-5 Henry of Ghent denies the existence of an intelligible species; Godfrey

only denies that it plays any active role in producing intellection; by informing
the possible intellect it reduces this passive potency to actual knowledge as a
26 V adds (cf. Add. M.): and as a consequence, [they deny that] there is any
image, because in this way, according to them, in the mind there is no offspring
from the parent, that is, the word from the fecund memory, which I call the
intellect, namely, as informed by the intelligible species...
27 V adds (cf. Add. A/.): If [moved] by God, therefore God has caused the act
of volition whereby the bad angel has sinned; [however,] not by the object,
because if you say that the object has moved them to sin or rebel, then it was not
in their power to be moved in this way; etc. And similarly the object of their
volition and intellection can be God, and in this way, as the more principal agent,
God would move [them] to [commit] an evil act.
17 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

52 Tunc ad propositum "Movens et motum" etc., nego istam.

Immo doctor ille5i quem iste in pluribus sequitur, negat eam in
multis, tum quia ponit52 speciem intellectualem et per eam
tamquam per principium activum ponit intellectum reduci ad
actum intelligendi, tum quia ponit53 voluntatem movere
intellectum et econverso, diversimode tamen, tum quia ponit54
essentiam angeli movere intellectum suum, etc.
53 Ad probationem55 ergo dico quod si illud esset concessum de
actu et potentia, scilicet quod idem non potest esse in actu et
potentia, concluderet propositum de eodem simplici; non tamen
concluderet de eodem secundum subiectum quod est unum et
idem per accidens, et hoc ratione alterius et alterius quae essent
in illo eodem subiecto. Et sic non sequitur quod idem sit in
potentia et in actu nisi idem per accidens, et hoc ratione alterius
et alterius.
54 Et cum dicit "Totum per se agit" etc., respondeo: hoc debet
intelligi de toto includente suppositum et rationem formalem
agendi, non autem de toto includente duo aliqua in supposito
quorum unum est immediate subiectum alterius. Nam in talibus
possibile est quod unum nihil faciat ad actionem et reliquum nihil
faciat ad passionem. Exemplum: Calidum calefacit et frigescit
aliquando coniunctum cum alio.56

5i I.e., Thomas Aquinas.

52 Thomas Aquinas, STh I, q. 85, a. 2.
Ibid., q. 82, a. 4.
M Ibid., q. 56, a. 1.
55 Cf. supra n. 38.
56 V addit (cf. Add. M.): Quantum autem ad actionem calefaciendi nihil facit
superficies; quantum ergo ad passionem frigoris, nihil facit calor. Sic est in
proposito, nam cum dico 'Socrates habens potentiam intellectivam informatam
specie intelligit', dico formaliter duo tota. Unum totum est 'Socrates habens
intellectum', quia, secundum eos, intellectus est accidens superadditum essentiae
animae. Cum dico 'illud suppositum habens speciem intelligibilem', dico aliud
totum. Nunc autem licet intellectus, qui secundum eos est pure in potentia
passiva, nihil facit ad actionem intelligendi, sed tantum ad receptionem, species
vero intelligibilis, cum sit formalis ratio eliciendi actum intelligendi, facit quidem
ad actionem, sed non ad receptionem. Arguas ergo sic: 'Socrates intelligens agit
actum intelligendi per speciem intelligibilem et recepit actum intelligendi per
potentiam intellectivam'. Ergo hoc totum agit per unum et recipit per aliud.
Conclude ergo 'idem per accidens agit et patitur'.
Prologue, Question One 17

52 As to what is proposed about [it being distinct subjects that

are] 'moving and moved' etc., I deny this. Indeed that doctor28
whom this one follows in several things, denies it in many cases,
(1) because he posits an intellectual species and through it as
through an active principle he says that the intellect is reduced to
the act of understanding, and (2) because he posits that the
intellect moves the will, and vice versa, but in different ways; and
(3) because he asserts the essence of the angel moves its intellect,
53 As for the proof [in n. 38], therefore, I say that if that were
conceded about act and potency,29 namely that the same thing
cannot be in act and in potency, one would conclude his proposal
[held only] about one and the same simple thing; it would not
hold good about something that is only incidentally one and the
same subject, and that only by reason of two different accidental
entities that are in that same subject. And thus it does not follow
that the same thing is both in potency and in act by reason of
what is two different [accidents].30
54 And when [in n. 38] he says "the whole thing acts per se,"
etc. I reply: This must be understood about the whole including
the individual supposit* as well as the formal reason by which it
acts.3i But it is not so about a whole that includes two things in
the same individual supposit of which one is immediately subject
to the other. For in things of this sort it is possible that one
contributes nothing to the action and the other nothing to what
can be acted upon, for example, what is hot heats as well as cools
when it is in something else.32

*8 Thomas Aquinas.
29 Scotus could concede the general principle that act and potency are
opposed, and would conclude further that one and the same simple entity cannot
itself be both actualized and yet only exist potentially. But Godfrey is arguing
further that one and the same subject cannot be moving itself being the cause of
the accidents it produces in itself.
i0 Scotus argues that the intellectual soul or an angel can be both the agent
and the recipient of its thoughts and volitions, since thinking and willing are
accidental qualities of a spiritual substance or intellectual being.
3i Scotus is distinguishing here between the principium quod* that is, the
person or thing that acts, and the principium quo* that is, the potency or power
by reason of which it acts.
3* Vadds (cf. Add. M.): As to the action of heating, however, the surface does
nothing, as to the receptivity of cold, the heat does nothing. And so it is in the
18 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

[Articulus 3
An Deus possit concipi sub rationibus pluribus distinctis
a ratione essentiae]

55 Circa tertium articulum sciendum quod in uno commu-

niter concordant doctores,57 scilicet quod intellectus viatoris non
movetur ad concipiendum Deum nisi ex creaturis. Nunc autem
perfectiones quae non includunt limitationem vel defectum quae
in creaturis sunt dispersae et distinctae, in Deo sunt unitae
propter eius simplicitatem, quae etiam in creaturis sunt im-
perfectae quia participatae, in Deo sunt simpliciter et perfectae et
illimitatae propter eius infinitatem. Ergo istae perfectiones in
creaturis, tam imperfectae quam perfectae, diversimode reprae-
sentant illas perfectiones unitas in Deo. Et sicut repraesentant,
ita movent intellectum nostrum ad cognitionem illarum. Ergo
intellectus viatoris qui non potest illas unite concipere ut sunt in
se, movetur ad formandos conceptus distinctos de illis,
proportionales conceptibus istarum perfectionum quae sunt in
creaturis. Quibus tamen conceptibus pluribus formatis
multipliciter et imperfecte concipit illud perfectum unum et
perfectiones unitas in ipso. Et sic intellectus viatoris potest
habere de Deo conceptum aliquem quiditativum et alios quasi
passionum, iuxta illud Augustini, XV De Trinitate, cap. 8 et 5:58
"Si dicitur aeternus, vivus, sapiens, potens, iustus, bonus, beatus,
spiritus etc., horum omnium novissimum quod posui quasi

57 Cf. Thomas Aquinas, STh I, q. 12, a. 4; Henricus Gand., QuodI. V, q. 1 (f.

150v-154r); Godefridus de Font, Quodl. VII, q. 1 (PhB III, 267).
August., De Trin. XV, c. 5, n. 8 (CCSL 50A, -170; PL 42, 1062).
Prologue, Question One 18

Article Three
Can God be conceived under the notions distinct from that
of the essence?

55 Regarding the third article there is one common point on

which all the teachers agree. The intellect of the pilgrim* in this
life is moved to conceive God only by way of creatures. Now
however the perfections that include neither limitation nor defect
in creatures are dispersed and distinct, but in God they are
united because of his simplicity. Also in creatures these
perfections are imperfect because they are participated; in God
they are simply perfect and unlimited because of his infinity.
Therefore, these perfections in creatures, both imperfect and
perfect, in different ways represent those perfections united in
God. And as they represent, so do they move our intellect to know
about them. Therefore the intellect of the pilgrim who cannot
conceive of these in the united way that they exist in themselves
is moved to form distinct concepts of these perfections that are
proportional to the concepts of those perfections as they exist in
creatures. But by means of these several concepts, formed in
various ways and imperfectly, [the intellect of the pilgrim]
conceives that 'perfect one' and the perfections united in Him.
And in this fashion the intellect of the pilgrim can have about
God some concept expressing just what he is and other concepts
about his quasi-attributes, according to what Augustine says in
Bk. XV of The Trinity, chapter 5: "If one says eternal, living,
knowing, potent, just, good, happy, a spirit, etc., of all of these

case at hand, for when I say: 'Socrates having an intellective potency informed by
an intelligible species understands' I am speaking formally about two wholes.
One whole is 'Socrates having an intellect,' becauseaccording to theseintellect
is an accident added over and above the essence of the soul. When I say 'that
supposit having an intelligible species,' I am speaking of another whole. But now,
on the one hand, the intellect, which according to those is a purely passive
potency, does nothing to produce the action of understanding, but only receives it.
On the other hand, the intelligible species, since it is the formal reason of
eliciting the act of understanding, contributes indeed to the action, but not to its
reception. You may argue, therefore, in this way 'Socrates understanding
produces the act of understanding through the intelligible species and receives
the act of understanding through the intellective potency.' Therefore, this whole
acts through one and receives through another Conclude therefore: 'What is
accidentally the same acts and receives.'
19 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

videtur significare substantiam, cetera vero substantiae quali-

tates". Unde dicit Damascenus, cap. 4:59 "Si bonum, si iustum, et
si quid aliud dixeris, non naturam dices Dei sed quae circa

[1. An ipse Deus possit se et suas perfectiones

cognoscere sub distinctis rationibus]

56 Sed ultra illud verum quod dictum est de intellectu

viatoris inquirunt aliqui60 si Deus possit concipi sub distinctis
rationibus a quocumque intellectu, etiam divino. Et qualiter est
istud oportet videre propter quaestionem propositam, quia
quaestio non quaerit comparando Deum ad intellectum viatoris
sed absolute si Deus ex parte sui sit tale cognoscibile de quo
possit esse scientia in intellectu proportionato.

[2. Opinio Godefridi]

57 Hic sunt plures positiones, modo non repetam nisi unam. De

aliis autem dicetur ubi quaestio de hoc tractabitur, scilicet d. 3,
q. 1. Dicitur sic a quodam doctore61 quod intellectus divinus uno
simplici conceptu potest apprehendere actualiter et distincte
quaecumque intellectus viatoris potest apprehendere de eodem
pluribus actibus et distinctis. Cum ergo intellectus viatoris
secundum praedicta ex perfectionibus creaturarum concipiat
essentiam divinam sub alia et alia ratione huius perfectionis et
illius, non videtur rationabile quin intellectus divinus circa essen
tiam suam apprehendat distinctionem huiusmodi perfectionum.

Damasc., De fide orthod. c. 4 [I, c. 4] (ed. Buytaert, 21; PG 94, 800).

o Henricus Gand., Quodl. V, q. 1 (f. 150vB-C).
1 Cf. Godefridus de Font., Quodl VII, q. 1 (PhB III, 267).
Prologue, Question One 19

only the last [viz. spirit] which I have mentioned seems to signify
his substance. The rest however are qualities of that substance."
Hence, as Damascene says in chapter 4: "If one has said he is
good, just, and anything else, one does not say anything about the
nature of God, but rather about those things that refer to his

Could God know himself and his perfections

under distinct notions?

56 But what is more, besides this truth about the intellect of

the pilgrim some others33 ask if God can be conceived under
distinct notions by any intellect whatsoever, also by the divine
intellect. And it is necessary to investigate in what way this
[would be], because of the question proposed. For the question
does not ask about God as related to the intellect of the pilgrim,
but absolutely [it asks] if God on his part is such an object as can
be known in a science that is in some proportionate intellect.

The opinion of Godfrey of Fontaines vs. that of

Henry of Ghent

57 Here there are several opinions, which I will not repeat,

except for one. About the others, however something will be said
where a question about this is treated, namely34 in distinction
three, question 1. It is stated here by a certain doctor that what
the divine intellect by one simple concept can apprehend actually
and distinctly, the intellect of the pilgrim can apprehend by
several distinct acts. Therefore, when the intellect of the pilgrim,
according to what was said earlier, from the perfections of
creatures conceives the divine essence under this or that different
notion of this or that perfection, it does not seem reasonable
without the divine intellect apprehending any distinction of such
perfections as regards its essence. Now he postulates that it is

11 Godfrey of Fontaines indicates that few doctors are concerned with how
God views his own attributes: Henry of Ghent, however, is an exception. Scotus
summarizes here Godfrey's critique of Henry.
H Only the Balliol manuscript 205 includes this reference, cf. f. 3v.
20 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

Modo ponit talem positionem quod impossibile est quemcumque

intellectum, divinum vel alium, concipere essentiam simplicem
sub istis rationibus distinctis nisi comparet ipsam ad aliqua
plura, vel econverso, nisi comparet plura ad ipsam. Ad hoc habet
duas rationes et unam auctoritatem et aliqua exempla.
58 Ratio sua fundamentalis est talis.62 Ab uno simplici uno
modo se habente secundum rem et conceptionem non possunt
sumi distinctiones. Essentia divina, ut secundum se consideratur
praeter respectum ad alia, est simplex omnino in se indistincta re
et ratione, ergo etc. Probatio maioris. Quia sic tunc ab uno
simplici eodem modo se habente secundum rem et conceptionem
sumeretur unitas et diversitas. Probatio minoris. Idem omnino
simplex apprehensum secundum se absque habitudine ad aliud
non potest apprehendi nisi secundum unam et simplicem
59 Responsionem unam quae posset dari ad istam rationem
excludit, quae talis est.63 Conceditur quod illa essentia
apprehensa omnino secundum se, absque omni alia habitudine
tam ad intra quam ad extra, non potest apprehendi nisi
secundum unam rationem. Hoc autem modo apprehenditur
essentia in prima apprehensione, ad quam movet intellectum
ante omnem negotiationem. Sed circa essentiam sic apprehensam
secundum se et sub una ratione tantum, intellectus postea
negotians comparat ipsam sub una ratione ad seipsam sub alia
ratione; et sic circa essentiam est differentia rationum mutuo sese
respicientium absque omni comparatione ad extra. Sic autem
considerare sub istis rationibus possibile est intellectui, quia istae
rationes sunt virtualiter in obiecto, et ideo per intellectum
possunt actualiter explicari.64

1 Godefridus de Font., Quodl. VII, q. 1 (PhB III, 270).

3 Cf. Henricus Gand., Quodl. V, q. 1 (f. 152vS). Godefridus hanc respon
sionem citat (ed. cit. , p. 268-9).
m Godefridus de Font.. Quodl. VII, q. 1 (PhB III, 271).
Prologue, Question One 20

impossible for any intellect, divine or otherwise, to conceive a

simple essence under these distinct aspects unless one compares
it to several other things, or conversely unless several things are
compared to it. He has two arguments to prove this, one
authority, and some examples.
58 His basic reason is this. From one simple thing, having
conceptually and in reality but one way of being, no distinctions
can be drawn. The divine essence, considered in itself apart from
any relationship to something else is entirely simple in itself,
having no distinction in itself either really or conceptually;
therefore etc. Proof of the major: for in this way, then, from one
way of being that is really and conceptually simple, one could
draw unity and diversity.35 Proof of the minor. One and the same
completely simple thing apprehended simply in itself without any
relationship to another can only be apprehended in one simple
59 He excludes one response that [Henry] could raise against
his argument, which is this. One could concede that this essence,
apprehended exclusively in itself without any relationship either
within or without, can only be conceived of in one way. In this
way, however, the essence is grasped in the first act of
apprehension to which the intellect is moved prior to any
negotiation. But after thus apprehending the essence itself under
one notion, the intellect busies itself comparing one aspect of the
essence with another aspect, and thus apart from any outside
comparison there is a difference of mutually related aspects. But
to thus consider [the essence] under these various aspects is
something the intellect can do, because these characteristics are
virtually in the object and therefore they can be explicated
actually by the intellect.

v' Henry tries to draw both unity and diversity from God's simple essence,
which Godfrey considers absurd. See John Wippel, The Metaphysical Though of
Godfrey of Fontaines (Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America
Press. 1981), 118-20.
21 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

[3. Reprobatio opinionis Godefridi a Scoto]

60 Contra istam responsionem arguo sic. "Quaecumque

apprehenduntur seu comparantur ut quaedam differentia sese
respicientia ... prius in sua differentia exsistere supponuntur".65
Intellectus negotians, per te, apprehendit circa essentiam istas
rationes ut distinctas mutuo sese respicientes. Ergo ante
apprehensionem actualem in ipsa essentia sunt actualiter ut
distincta, et ut sic movebunt intellectum ad concipiendum et
comparandum ipsa ut distincta. Ista conclusio est impossibilis
quod ipsa distincta sunt in essentia divina ante omnem
negotiationem intellectus et etiam quod ipsa moveant intellectum
divinum ad concipiendum seipsa66 sub tali distinctione, ergo
aliqua praemissarum est impossibilis. Non maior, sed minor quae
accipitur a respondente. Probatio maioris. Quaecumque per
intellectum comparantur ut differentia, ipso actu comparandi non
constituuntur ut differentia sicut nec constituuntur in esse
secundum quod habent istam differentiam, immo comparationem
ipsam necessario praecedit esse tale et differentia talis ipsorum.
61 Hoc ulterius probatur per simile in rebus. Quando enim res
naturae absolutae comparantur ad invicem, supponuntur habere
esse distinctum reale. Ergo cum entia rationis mutuo
comparantur, supponuntur habere esse distinctum secundum

[4. Quod Deus non cognoscit se et suas perfectiones sub

distinctis rationibus]

62 Pro ista opinione est alia ratio communis et antiqua talis.

Cuicumque distinctioni rationis in aliquo correspondet distinctio
realis in aliis; illa distinctio rationis sumitur per comparationem
ad illa distincta realiter.67 Istud probatur per simile de dextro et

* Godefridus de Font., Quodl. VII, q. 1 (PhB III, 271).

66 Seipsa: vide notam ad Dist. 13, q. un., n. 4.
07 Godefridus de Font., Quodl. VII, q. 1 (PhB III, 264); ibid., 271-2.
Prologue, Question One 21

Scotus's argument against the opinion of Godfrey

60 Against this explanation I argue in this way. "Before any

different mutual relations can be apprehended or compared [to
one another] ... they must first be assumed to exist as different."
The negotiating intellect, according to you, apprehends those
mutually related aspects of the essence as distinct; therefore, in
the essence itself before actual apprehension they are actually
distinct, and as such move the intellect to a conception and
comparison of them as distinct. But this conclusion is impossible,
[if one states] that these things are distinct in the divine essence
before any negotiation of the intellect, and also that they move
the divine intellect to conceive them under such a distinction.
Therefore one of the premises is impossible. Not the major,36
therefore the minor which was accepted by the respondent.37
Proof of the major. Whatever the intellect compares as different
cannot be constituted as different by the act of comparison itself;
nor are they constituted in being in virtue of having this
difference. Indeed, their being such' and 'being so different' must
necessarily precede this sort of comparison.
61 This is proved further by an analogy based on things, for
when things of an absolute nature are compared to one another,
they are presupposed to have distinct sorts of real being. Hence
when conceptual things are compared to one another, they are
presupposed to be conceptually distinct.

That God does not know himself and his perfections under
distinct notions

62 For this opinion there is another old and common argument.

To whatever conceptual distinction is in anything, there
corresponds a real distinction in something else. A conceptual
distinction is modeled upon some real distinction that
corresponds to it. This is proved by an argument from analogy

*' That is, something must exist as such before it can be apprehended as
37 Henry, the respondent, would accept Godfrey's minor premise; hence it
needs no proof.
22 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

sinistro in columna et in animali, et de ratione principii et finis in

puncto respectu diversarum linearum. Nunc autem istae perfec
tions distinguuntur in Deo secundum rationem, et correspondent
eis in creatura alia distincta realiter. Ergo ista distinctio rationis
in Deo sumetur in quocumque intellectu per comparationem ad
ista distincta in re.
63 Pro isto est auctoritas Averrois XII Metaphysicae68 ubi dicit:
"Quando fuerit considerata dispositio et dispositum in
immaterialibus etc., tunc reducuntur ad unam intentionem
communem omnino, et nullus modus erit quo praedicatum
distinguitur a subiecto et disposito extra intellectum. Sed nullam
differentiam intelligit intellectus inter ea nisi secundum quod
recipit dispositum et dispositionem ut duo quorum proportio est
ad invicem sicut est proportio praedicati ad subiectum in rebus
compositis". Videtur plane intentio sua quod intellectus non
distinguit ista nisi concipiendo secundum proportionem ad
distincta realiter.
64 Istud confirmatur per exempla. Primum exemplum est quod
supposita unitate formae speciei secundum rem intellectus non
distinguit rationem generis et differentiae quae sunt diversae
rationes nisi comparet ea ad aliqua realiter differentia et
secundum quemdam ordinem illi unicae rei convenientia.69
65 Secundum exemplum est: Ratio boni et veri non distin-
guerentur nisi intelligere et velle distinguerentur et essent circa
aliquod idem obiectum alicubi actus realiter diversi et ad invicem
66 Tertium exemplum est: Essentia divina non conciperetur ab
intellectu divino sub ratione diversarum idearum circumscripta
omnimoda comparatione ad diversas essentias creaturarum
realiter distinctas. 7i

lIH Averroes, Metaph. XII, com 39 (ed. luntina VIII, 323ra). Scotus hunc
textum secundum Godefridum de Font, citat, cf. Quodl. VII, q. 1 (PhB III, 276).
fl Godefridus de Font,, Quodl. VII, q. 1 (PhB III, 271-2).
Ibid., 272.
" Ibid.
Prologue, Question One 22

about the right and left side in a column or an animal, or about

the beginning and end point with respect to different lines.38 Now
these perfections in God are distinguished conceptually, however,
real distinctions correspond to them in creatures. Therefore this
conceptual distinction in God is modeled in any intellect upon
what is distinct in reality.
63 For this there is the authority of Averroes in Bk. XII of the
Metaphysics where he says: "When the disposed and its
disposition in immaterial things may have been considered, etc.,
then they are reduced to one intellectual conception [intentio]
absolutely, and in no way will the predicate be distinguished from
the subject and the disposed, except in the intellect. But among
such [immaterial things] the intellect conceives no difference,
except between the disposed and its disposition as two, whose
relationship to one another resembles that of the predicate with
respect to the subject in composite things." His intention seems
clear. The intellect only distinguishes these [immaterial] things
by conceiving them analogically in comparison to things really
64 This is confirmed by examples.
The first example is that, given a unity of form in a real
species, the intellect distinguishes genus and difference as diverse
notions only when these are compared to some things where they
really differ and are arranged in a certain order suited to [bring
out their conceptual difference in] that single thing.
65 The second example is: the notions of the good and of the
true would not be distinguished if 'to understand' and 'to will'
were not distinguished, and were not somewhere, as regards
some same object, really distinct acts ordered to one another.
66 The third example is: the divine intellect does not conceive
the divine essence under the aspect of diverse ideas apart from
comparing it with creatures' diverse essences that are really

:w It is Henry of Ghent who refers to this analogy of the column and end
point frequently in Quodl. V, q. 1 rather than Godfrey in the Quodl. VII, q. 1
where he deals expressly with how the attributes are distinguished or in Quodl.
XIV, q. 5 (PhB V, 428) or Quodl. XV, q. 3 (PhB XIV, 18-9) where he refers in
passing to this distinction in God.
23 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

[5. Instantiae contra opinionem Godefridi]

67 Rationes alias factas contra istam opinionem repetit iste

doctor et nititur respondere. Sed hic non replico nisi duas.72
68 Prima ratio est ista.73 Distinctio secundum rationem
intellectus et voluntatis est fundamentum distinctionis ema-
nationum. Filius enim non procederet nascendo tamquam verbum
et Spiritus Sanctus non spiraretur liberaliter tamquam amor nisi
praesupponeretur distinctio intellectus et voluntatis tamquam
principiorum producendi. Nunc autem distinctio emanationum et
personarum non praesupponit aliquam comparationem ad
creaturas, ergo etc.
69 Secunda ratio est ista.74 Perfectum simpliciter et princi-
paliter habet quidquid sibi convenit secundum quod est
simpliciter perfectum. Hoc probatur. Quia imperfecta dependent
a perfecto, sed non econverso. Nunc autem habere intellectum et
voluntatem et huiusmodi competit simpliciter perfecto ut
simpliciter perfectum est. Ergo ista habet independenter et per
consequens absque comparatione ad extra. Quia si in habendo
ista formaliter necessario compararetur ad extra, videretur in
habendo ista dependere ad extra sicut relativum a correlativo, et
non esset mere absolutum, immo ab eo dependeret sicut
econverso quia correlativa aeque mutuo dependent.
70 Ad primam75 istarum respondet76 sic quod circumscripta
habitudine ad extra illud quod habet rationem principiandi
emanationes personales non apprehenditur sub istis diversis
rationibus intellectus et voluntatis sed solum sub ratione
essentiae divinae ut ei coniungitur respectus realis. Sed quia ipsis
emanationibus secundum quamdam proportionem respondent

73 Henricus Gand., Quodl. V, q, 1 (f. 152rP).
M Henricus Gand., Quodl. V, q. 1 (f. 152rO).
7r> Cf. supra n. 68.
Godefridus de Font., Quodl. VII, q. 1 (PhB III, 274).
Prologue, Question One 23

Objections to the opinion of Godfrey

67 This doctor repeats other arguments [of Henry] that militate

against this opinion39 and struggles to reply to them, but I will
cite only two.
68 The first is this: a conceptual distinction of the intellect and
will is the foundation of the distinction of emanations.40 For the
Son would not proceed by being born as the Word,* and the Holy
Spirit proceed freely as love, unless a distinction between the
intellect and will as principles of production* were presupposed.
But this distinction of the emanations and persons* does not
presuppose any comparison to creatures, therefore, etc.
69 The second argument is this: What is simply and primarily
perfect has whatever is needed for it to be perfect in an
unqualified sense. There is a proof for this. For imperfect things
depend upon the perfect, and not vice versa; now to have intellect,
and will, and other attributes of this sort pertains to what is
simply perfect as such. Therefore what is perfect possesses these
independently and hence apart from any comparison to what is
outside of it. For if in having these, the perfect would need to be
compared to something outside of it, the perfect would seem to
depend on what is outside, the way one relative depends upon a
another, and would cease to be purely absolute. Indeed it would
depend upon the other and vice versa, since correlatives are
equally dependent upon one another.
70 To the first of these [objections, n. 68] he responds in this
fashion. Apart from all relationships to what is outside it, that
principle from which these personal emanations stem is not
apprehended under these diverse aspects of intellect and will, but
solely under the aspect of the divine essence insofar as a real
relationship is joined to it. But because some emanations in
creatures correspond to these emanations analogically, for
example, to the emanation of the Son corresponds the production

!9 Godfrey cites and answers six objections raised by Henry of Ghent in

Quodl. V. q. 1, of which Scotus cites two.
40 'Emanation' is a theologically nuanced term used by trinitarians to
express how really distinct persons originate in such a way that they continue to
share in common one and the same individual divine nature and thus do not
compromise the Christo-Judaic monotheistic idea that God is one.
24 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

aliquae emanationes in creaturis, puta emanationi Filii productio

verbi in intellectu nostro et productioni Spiritus Sancti productio
amoris in voluntate nostra, ideo Deus apprehendens essentiam
suam ut est ratio principiandi ipsas emanationes in habitudine ad
diversa principia istarum emanationum in creatura, concipit
istam essentiam sub istis rationibus principiandi intellectus et
71 Quae autem sit ista proportio? Explicat alibi77 quod pro
ductioni naturae et verbi non necessario est alia productio
praesupposita, productioni autem amoris necessario est alia
praesupposita. Filius producitur productione prima, et ideo modo
simili modo productionis naturae et verbi. Spiritus Sanctus
producitur necessario alia productione praesupposita, et ideo
modo simili modo productionis amoris et voluntatis.
72 Quod autem intellectus et voluntas non praesupponantur
distincta secundum rationem ipsis emanationibus, hoc probat
dupliciter. Primo sic.78 Verbum est expressivum omnium quae in
essentia quasi involute continentur. Ergo in Verbo iam producto
intelligit Deus quaecumque distincto intellectu intelligit. Non
ergo potest aliqua actualis distinctio accipi in intellectu divino
quodammodo praecedens productionem Verbi. Antecedens
confirmatur per Augustinum, VI De Trinitate, cap. 2779 ubi dicit
quod 'Verbum est ars Patris plena omni ratione viventium'.
73 Secundo arguitur sic.80 Distinctio secundum rationem non
potest esse nisi per aliquem actum intelligendi. Primus autem
actus intelligendi in Deo est principium emanationis Verbi.
Supposita proprietate relativa, cum Verbum producatur
naturaliter et actu naturali ipsius intellectus, ergo nullo actu
quasi praecedente potest haberi aliqua distinctio rationis ad
74 Ad secundam rationem81 respondet82 quod quodlibet istorum
quantum ad perfectionem realem quam importat est in Deo sine

Godefridus de Font.. Quodl. VII, q. 5 (PhB III, 298).

Godefridus de Font., Quodl. VII, q. 1 (Prffe III, 274-5).
August., De Trin. VI, c. 10, n. 11 (CCSL 50, 241; PL 42, 931).
m Godefridus de Font. (PhB III, 275).
81 Cf. supra n. 69.
H2 Godefridus de Font. (PhB III, 275-6).
Prologue, Question One 24

of the word in our intellect and to the production of the Holy

Spirit the production of love in our will, therefore God
apprehending his essence as a principle producing these
emanations in relationship to the diverse principles from which
such emanations stem in creatures, conceives this essence under
these principles of producing intellect and will.
71 But what is this analogy? He explains elsewhere that a
production of nature and the production of the Word does not
necessarily presuppose any other production, but for love to be
produced, a prior production is necessarily presupposed. The Son
is produced by the first kind of production, and therefore a
production of nature and that of the Word proceed in a similar
manner. The production of the Holy Spirit necessarily
presupposes a prior production [namely, of the Son], and
therefore proceeds in a similar fashion to the way love is
produced and a production of the will occurs.
72 He gives two reasons why these emanations do not
presuppose the intellect and will as conceptually distinct.
Such is his first proof: The Word is expressive of all that is
contained in the essence in a quasi-involute way, so that in the
Word already produced God understands whatever he under
stands by distinct intellection; therefore no actual distinction can
be found in the divine intellect that in any way precedes the
production of the Word. The antecedent is confirmed through
Augustine in chapter 27 of Bk. VI of The Trinity where he says
that the 'Word is the art of the Father full of every living* idea.'
73 Second, he argues in this way. A conceptual distinction can
only come to be through some act of understanding. But the first
act of understanding in God is the principle of the emanation of
the Word. Given a relative property, since the Word may be
produced naturally41 and by a natural* act of the intellect itself,
therefore there is no quasi-prior act that could give rise to any
conceptual distinction internally.
74 To the second argument [n. 69] he responds that each of
these [attributes] so far as any real perfection it imports is
concerned, does exist in God apart from any comparison to what
is outside and thus independently. But if the essence is

41 Naturally, i.e. by a necessary rather than by a free or voluntary action.

25 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I -A

comparatione ad extra et sic independenter. Sed apprehendendo

sic essentiam non apprehendetur sub distinctis rationibus, sed
omnes quae possunt distingui per comparationem ad extra
apprehenduntur tunc ut unitae et indistinctae sub una simplici
ratione infinitatis essentiae divinae.
75 Contra primam83 responsionem arguitur sic. Primo,
quidquid unius rationis exsistens potest esse 'principium quo'
producendi plura supposita in una natura, ipsum non deter-
minatur ex se in ratione principii ad determinatam pluralitatem
producendorum. Ista propositio patet tam in causa aequivoca
quam univoca potente in plura vel simul vel successive. Nunc
autem, per te, essentia omnino unius rationis exsistens antequam
comparetur ad alia extrinseca est principium producendi plura
supposita in natura eadem divina. Ergo ipsa in illo priori non
determinatur ex se ad certam pluralitatem suppositorum
producendorum. Ergo non repugnat sibi, quantum est ex se, esse
'principium quo' producendi plura supposita quam duo. Et si
possibile, ergo necessarium, ergo necesse est plures personas esse
quam tres in divinis.
76 Hic diceretur quod quamvis non repugnat sibi ex se, tamen
repugnat sibi ex relationibus sine quibus non est principium quo.
Non enim potest fundare nisi determinatas relationes producendi
determinatas personas quia istae relationes sunt alterius rationis
et aliquid unum potest determinari ex se ad aliquam pluralitatem
diversorum secundum rationem. Et ideo, licet ex se non
determinetur, tamen determinatur per relationem.
77 Aliter diceretur quod maior est vera quando 'principium quo'
se habet ad productiones plures unius rationis. Quando autem
productiones plures sunt alterius rationis licet producta sint
unius rationis, non habet veritatem, quia ad illas productiones

83 Cf. supra n. 70.

Prologue, Question One 25

apprehended in this way, it is not perceived under conceptually

distinct notions. Rather all that can be distinguished through
comparison to what is outside is perceived, united and indistinct,
under one simple notion of the divine essence's infinity.
75 [Objections to Godfrey's solution] It is argued thus against
these arguments. Against the first, [n. 70] in this way: any
existing single thing that can be the principle* whereby several
individual subjects are actualized in one nature, is not the sort of
agent that of itself is restricted to producing any definite number
of things. This proposition is evident as regards an equivocal or
uruvocal* cause with power to produce more than one effect
either successively or all at once. But now, according to you,
before being compared to anything beyond itself, the divine
essence, existing exclusively as one simple sort of thing, is a
principle of producing several individual subjects in the same
divine nature. Therefore, initially that essence itself is not limited
to producing only a certain number of subjects. So far as itself is
concerned, therefore, nothing prevents it from being a principle
that produces more than two subjects. And if this is possible, it is
also necessary; hence there must be more than three persons in
what is divine.
76 [Three possible objections] Here it could be objected that
although this is not something repugnant to essence considered
simply in itself nevertheless it is repugnant to it by reason of the
relationships without which it is not a principle whereby
[something is produced]. For [the essence] can be the basis for
only a limited number of relations that produce a limited number
of persons, since these relations are of different sorts, and
something that is simply one can itself be restricted to some
plurality that is conceptually diverse. And therefore, although it
is not of itself delimited, it is still limited through a relation.
77 Or one could object in another way that the major42 is true
when a 'principle whereby' has to do with several productions of
the same kind. But when the several productions are of different
kinds, although their products* are of one kind, the major is not

42 Cf. n. 75: "Any existing single thing that can be the principle whereby
several individual subjects are actualized in one nature, is not the sort of agent
that of itself is restricted to producing any definite number of things."
26 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

alterius rationis in determinata pluralitate potest aliquid unum

determinari ex se, et ulterius mediantibus illis ad producta quia
productum non potest produci nisi productione.
78 Diceretur adhuc tertio modo quod personae sunt formaliter
alterius rationis. Quia licet habeant essentiam unius rationis,
tamen constituuntur formaliter relationibus quae sunt alterius
79 Sic ergo istae tres responsiones quaerunt quomodo essentia
quae est unius rationis possit determinari ad plura alterius
rationis. Una84 enim responsio dicit ista plura esse relationes in
producentibus. Alia85 dicit ista plura esse ipsas productiones.
Tertia86 dicit ista plura esse relationes personarum productarum.
Quod autem supponitur idem omnino determinari ad certam
pluralitatem eorum quae sunt alterius rationis patet, si oportet
omnem pluralitatem reducere ad unitatem et ab illo uno non sunt
primo infinita.
80 Contra primam responsionem.87 Accipiendo rem strictissime
in divinis prout res relativa dividitur a re absoluta, relationes in
producentibus non sunt realiter distinctae a productionibus
activis, ut suppono ad praesens. Ergo dicere essentiam
determinari ad tot productiones activas per tot relationes alterius
rationis est dicere idem realiter determinare aliquid ad seipsum.
Nec per istas productiones activas determinatur ad tot
productiones passivas quia correlativa sunt omni modo simul
natura88 et per consequens unum non determinat fundamentum
ad reliquum. Praeterea, prima ratio quare aliquid potest
producere est quia habet principium quo productionis. Non enim

B4 Cf. supra n. 76.

Hr> Cf. supra n. 77.
w Cf. supra n. 78.
H7 Cf. supra n. 76.
m Aristot., Praed. c. 7 (76 15).
Prologue, Question One 26

true, because some one of these could be limited of itself to these

productions of different sorts in a limited plurality, and further,
by means of these [be limited] as to [their] products, for a product
cannot be produced without a production.
78 One could still object, thirdly, that the persons are formally
of different sorts, for although they have one sort of essence,
nevertheless they are formally constituted by different sorts of
79 Thus these three responses are seeking to explain how one
simple sort of essence can be limited to producing several things
of different sorts. For one response [n. 76] says that these several
things are relational ways of producing. The other [n. 77] says
these several things are the productions themselves. The third [n.
78] says these several things are the relations of the persons
produced. It is evident, however, that they all presuppose that
something entirely the same is limited to just certain different
sorts of production, if all plurality has to be reduced to one unified
source and its products are not infinite.
80 [Scotus's reply to the objections] Against the first response
[n. 76]. By accepting 'thing' most strictly in the divine so that a
relative thing is set apart from an absolute thing,43 relations in
producing [agents] are not really distinct from active productions,
as I assume for the present. Therefore to say the essence is
restricted to as many active productions as there are different
kinds of relations is to say that the same thing really delimits
something with respect to itself. Nor through these active
productions is it limited to as many passive productions. For
correlatives are in every way simultaneous by nature and as a
consequence one does not determine the foundation for the rest.
Furthermore, the first reason why something can produce is
because it has a principle whereby it can produce. For it is not a

" This is Boethius's definition of 'thing' [res]. He restricts that term

exclusively to substance, quantity,* and quality (the first three of Aristotle's
categories* which are non-relatives); cf. Scotus's Quodl. Q. 3 where he explains
the various equivocal meanings of 'thing': "'Thing' taken in this ... sense,
therefore, means something absolute in contrast to a circumstance or mode which
expresses a way in which one thing is related to another" (n. 3:12, John Duns
Scotus, God and Creatures. The Quodlibetal Questions [Princeton: Princeton
University Press, 1975], 62).
27 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

ipsum principium quod tribuit illam virtutem principio quo, sed

econverso. Ergo quod habens principium quod non possit nisi in
determinatas productiones oportet rationem invenire in principio
quo. Unde est simpliciter possibilitas ad hanc quae est possibilis,
et est simpliciter impossibilitas ad illam quae est omnino
impossibilis. Ergo cum relatio activa nullo modo sit principium
quo nec determinativum eius ut est principium quo, sequitur
quod per rationem relationis nullo modo habebitur per se ratio
possibilitatis ad tertiam personam, nec per se ratio impossibili-
tatis ad quartam personam.
81 Contra secundam89 responsionem sic. Productio non videtur
esse alterius rationis nisi habeat principium alterius rationis vel
terminum formalem quia haec videntur distinguere productiones
formaliter. Nunc autem, per te, principium quo est omnino unius
rationis et terminus formalis similiter, ergo etc.
82 Contra tertiam responsionem90 posset dici quod igneitas ista
per se est determinata ad plures ignes, quia illi ignes quantum ad
proprietates individuales sunt omnino alterius rationis, alia in
numero, licet natura ignis sit in eis unius rationis, et ibi ultima

*) Cf. supra n. 77.

90 Cf. supra n. 78.
Prologue, Question One 27

'principle which' that gives power to a 'principle whereby,' but

rather the converse is true. Therefore it is necessary to find a
'principle whereby' a 'principle which' can have only limited
productions. Hence there exists an unqualified possibility to
[produce] what is possible, and an unqualified inability to do what
is completely impossible. Since an active relationship is in no way
a 'principle whereby' nor restrictive of such, it follows
consequently that a conceptual relationship in no way explains
per se why a third person is possible or why a fourth person is
81 Against the second response [n. 77] in this way. Production
does not seem to be of another sort unless there is another sort of
principle or formal term, since these seem to be what
distinguishes productions formally. Now, according to you,
however, there is just one sort of principle, and similarly [one]
formal term; therefore etc. 45
82 Against the third response [n. 78] one could say that this
fire-nature per se is delimited to several fires,46 since these fires
as to their individual properties are of completely different sorts,
numerically diverse, although the fire-nature in them is of one
kind.47 And there the ultimate constitutives in their individual

44 Since the divine persons are formally constituted by opposed

relationships, namely, the generator vs. the generated, and the active spiration
(by Father and Son) vs. passive spiration (the Holy Spirit), there is only one
simple absolute entity in God, namely the divine nature or essence which all of
the divine persons share in common. Scotus is arguing that if the divine essence
is both the principle which produces the persons and that whereby they are
produced, something intrinsic to the divine nature itself must explain why more
than one supposit or person exists, and why only a definite number of persons is
44 If the divine persons are essentially relatives or constituted as pure
relationships, they cannot function as different sorts of principles, and hence do
not explain why the divine essence has two formally distinct types of productions,
one of which presupposes the other.
4,' Scotus's argument from absurdity here is somewhat involved. To claim the
divine essence is limited of itself (per se) to just three really distinct persons,
because each is a different sort of person, though they all have or share the same
essential nature, is as absurd as saying that such is the nature of fire that only a
few individual fires are possible, since each instance is at least individually
47 Scotus presupposes his audience is familiar with his own theory of
haecceity* or individuation, as well as acquainted with Avicenna's observation
28 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

constitutiva in esse individuali sunt primo diversa sicut hic, et ita

immo magis hic ubi est una natura in distinctis personaliter
quam ibi ubi est natura in distinctis individualiter.
Prologue, Question One 28

being48 are primarily diverse,49 as is the case here,50 and so even

more so here,51 where there is one nature in things distinct

that 'quiddity is only quiddity.' Since it is neither one nor many, it has no definite
number. "Hence that equinity is only equinity, for of itself it is neither many nor
one" (Unde ipsa equinitas non est aliquid nisi equinitas tantum, ipsa enim ex se
nec est multa nec unum, Metaph. V, c. 1 [AviL, 228]). Instead of Avicenna's
'equinity' which designates the quiddity or essence of a horse, Scotus uses
'igneity' which is his name for the common nature of fire. Each individual fire, of
course, has its own distinguishing properties, the most basic of which is its
numerical difference or distinct singularity. To that extent each individual's 'this-
ness' (haecceitas from haec = this) is entirely of another sort (omnino alterius
iH In the case of two formally identical kinds of fires, the individuating
difference of each twin case is as constitutive of that individual instance as a
specific difference is constitutive of a species or class of identical individuals. In
Aristotelian terminology a difference logically contracts extension of some
broader or more universal notion.
*'J Individuating differences cannot be duplicated or cloned. Each is radically
diverse as to its absolute entity or being, having nothing in common with another
haecceity except the logical way it relates to the respective quiddity or specific
nature, making one this and not that. This raises a question: in what sense can
an haecceity be known as such? As Blane O'Neill and Allan Wolter have noted
elsewhere (see John Duns Scotus, Mary's Architect [Quincy, IL: Franciscan Press,
1993], 28-9), if by "known" we mean "conceptualized," we cannot know any
haecceity as such. "...For all our intellectual concepts are universal, whereas any
given individuating difference is what philosophers call the individual's 'bare
particularity.' Where other individuals are concerned, we know them to be
different, and distinguish one from another, not in terms of their individuating
haecceity, but in terms of what descriptive properties they may have that others
do not. But if haecceity is something positive, it should be knowable to God, at
least, who created it. And there is one instance where each one of us is aware of
individuality, namely, the introspective recognition of our self. T or 'Me' are
proper names we give that self. 'My' is the adjectival word that joins to that bare,
particular, subject-self, whatever I know or can conceive about it. Any true
statement I make about myself, such as 'I exist..' 'I doubt...,' 'I feel...,' or the like,
implies as a pre-condition for its verity, an intuive awareness of my individuality,
my bare particularity. I recognize its identity from day to day. I may lose sight of
it in my absorption in what is about me, for I am object oriented, concerned with
my surroundings. I may blank it from conciousness completely when I fall asleep.
But on awaking I find it has returned, the same T remembered from the time
before I fell asleep, the same T that yesterday was me. All else 'about me' may
have changed, be it the ambient world, or what I see, feel, or introspect about my
self. But my individuality remains undivided in itself, distinct from everything
other than itself. It is that to which the terms T and 'Me' refer."
'>" That is, in the case of the divine persons who are primarily diverse in
reality because of the polar opposition of their constitutive relationships.
*l In a singular created thing, the unique individuating property is
something absolute and is related to the specific nature of that thing, as act is
29 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

83 Item secundo sic. Si a est idem b omnino re et ratione,

quidquid convenit a convenit b et econverso, oppositum enim
includit contradictionem. Sed ante omnem respectum essentiae
ad extra intellectus et voluntas sunt omnino idem re et ratione,
per te, ergo in illo priori quidquid convenit uni, et alteri. Sed in
illo priori producuntur personae, per te. Ergo in ista productione
ita est voluntas principium gignendi verbum sicut memoria, et ita
memoria principium spirandi spiritum sanctum sicut voluntas.
Ergo prima persona producta ex productione sua reali non est
proprie verbum quia ratio verbi includit notitiam expressam per
actum memoriae. Unde Augustinus, XV De Trinitate, cap. 36,91
dicit quod "verbum nostrum de nostra scientia nascitur
quemadmodum illud de scientia Patris natum est". Nec ipsa ex

91 August., De Trin. XV, c. 15, n. 24 (CCSL 50A, 497; PL 42, 1077); cf. ibid., c.
14 (CCSL 50A, 496; PL 42, 1076-7).
Prologue, Question One 29

personally, than there, where there is one nature in things

distinct individually.52
83 Also secondly in this way.53 If a is entirely the same as b
both really and conceptually, whatever pertains to a pertains to b
and vice versa. For the opposite includes a contradiction.54 But
before every relationship of the essence to what is outside it,
intellect and will are entirely the same in reality and
conceptually, according to you,55 therefore in that prior situation
whatever pertains to one pertains to the other. But in that prior
state the persons are produced, according to you. Therefore, in
this production the will is as much a principle of generating the
Word as is the memory,56 and so the memory is as much a
principle of spirating* the Holy Spirit, as is the will. Therefore
the first person produced by his real production is not properly
the Word, because the notion of a word includes knowledge
expressed by an act of the memory.57 Hence Augustine in Bk. XV
of The Trinity, chapter 36 says: "Our word is born from our
knowledge just as that Word was born from the knowledge of the

related to potency. Unlike the specific difference that contracts the generic
nature, the individuating difference contracts the specifically differentiated
nature to just this single instance as an individual. But the unique properties
that really differentiate or individuate the divine persons are pure relationships,
and even more diverse and difficult to understand than Scotus's absolute
differences or haecceities. Rather than actualizing a potentially universal nature
as a really distinct absolute, constituting deity as a 'this,' they share in the same
absolute fully actualized and individuated divine nature, that is already pure act,
according to scholastic theology.
''1 The divine nature according to Scotus has no individuating difference for
it is not potentially universal like fire or equinity, but essentially singular (haec
M Namely, in answer to the third response in n. 78.
If they are really and conceptually the same, then (a = b), and if they are
not really or not conceptually the same, then (a * b). The second statement
contradicts the first and is its direct opposite.
M "You" refers to Godfrey, who holds these particular views.
56 According to St. Augustine, it is the Father's intellectual memory that
alone begets the Son, or speaks the Word, and the mutual love of Father and Son
that resides in the will that breathes (spirare) the Holy Spirit (spiratus = breath).
See The Trinity XV, ch. 17, n. 29 (CCSL 50A, 503; PL 42, 1081). See also ibid., ch.
23. n. 43 (CCSL 50A, 520-1; PL 42, 1090).
" Cf. Augustine, The Trinity XV, ch. 21, n. 40 (CCSL 50A, 518; PL 42, 1088);
ibid., ch. 22, n. 42 (CCSL 50A, 519; PL 42, 1089); ibid., ch. 23, n. 42 (CCSL 50A,
520-1; PL 42. 1090).
30 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

productione sua reali magis est imago quam Spiritus Sanctus

quia secundum omnes Spiritus Sanctus aeque est similis Patri
sicut Filius et quoad hoc non minus imago. Sed non procedit ut
similis quia non ut notitia a notitia sed ut amor a voluntate.
Similiter Spiritus Sanctus ex processione sua reali non magis erit
donum quam Filius quia ratio doni non competit sibi nisi propter
liberalitatem vel libertatem in suo principio producendi. Et, sicut
iam illatum est, non magis est voluntas principium producendi
ipsum quam memoria ipsa.
84 Ista quae illata sunt videntur contra sanctos esse et
inconvenientia. Unde Augustinus, V De Trinitate, cap. 30,92
assignans primam distinctionem inter Filium et Spiritum
Sanctum quare Spiritus Sanctus non sit Filius dicit quod Spiritus
Sanctus exiit non quomodo natus sed quodmodo datus. Et
Richardus, III De Trinitate,93 diffuse tractat quomodo plenitudo
sapientiae potest esse in una persona, non autem plenitudo
caritatis. Et ideo secunda persona quae producitur per actum
intellectus vel sapientiae producitur ab una, tertia persona quae
producitur per actum voluntatis et caritatis producitur a duabus.
85 Item tertio sic. Productiones Filii et Spiritus Sancti iam
positae in esse non habent discerni in libertate quia et in
creaturis actus voluntarius iam elicitus est quaedam qualitas
naturalis in voluntate sicut intellectio in intellectu. Sed
differentia libertatis quae est hic et ibi est in principiis istorum
actuum. Ergo si est aliqua distinctio in hoc quod Spiritus Sanctus

32 August., De Trin. V, c. 14, n. 15 (CCSL 50, 222; PL 42, 921).

m Richardus de S. Victore, De Trin. III, c. 16 (ed. J. Ribaillier, TPMA VI,
151-2; PL 196, 925-6).
Prologue, Question One 30

Father." Nor is that which comes from its real production the
Image58 any more than the Holy Spirit, because according to all,
the Holy Spirit is equally similar to the Father as is the Son, and
according to this [opinion] no less an image. But he does not
proceed as similar, because he does not do so as knowledge from
knowledge, but as love from the will. Similarly the Holy Spirit by
his real procession* is no more a 'gift'59 than the Son, because the
notion of 'gift' only pertains to something because of the liberality
or freedom in its principle of production. And, as already has been
inferred, the will is no more a principle of producing it [i.e., the
Holy Spirit] than is the memory itself.
84 These conclusions militate against what Saints60 say and
are unfitting. Hence Augustine in Bk. V of The Trinity, chapter
30, pointing out the first distinction between the Son and the
Holy Spirit, explains why the Holy Spirit is not a son, saying:
"The Holy Spirit comes forth not as something born, but rather as
something given." And Richard of St. Victor in Bk. IIl of The
Trinity treats at length how the fullness of wisdom can be in one
person, but not the fullness of love. And therefore the second
person that is produced by an act of intellect or of wisdom is
produced from one person; the third, which is produced by an act
of the will and out of love, is produced by two persons.
85 Also, thirdly, in this way.61 The productions of the Son and
the Holy Spirit, once given existence, lack any distinction based
on freedom,62 since in creatures as well the voluntary act, once
elicited,63 is a certain quality,* as natural in the will as
intellection in the intellect.64 The difference of liberty which is
here65 and is there,66 is to be found in the principles [or source] of

r* Cf. Augustine, The Trinity VI, ch. 10, n. 11 (CCSL 50, 241; PL 42, 931).
59 Cf. Augustine, The Trinity XV, ch. 18, n. 32 (CCSL 50A, 508; PL 42, 1083).
60 That is the Fathers of the Church.
',1 Against the third response in n. 78.
M That is, that one production is natural, the other production is voluntary
and involves liberty.
1,1 See second note to n. 86 below.
M In creatures both acts in so far as they are accidental qualities that perfect
the intellect and the will represent natural perfections.
w Here, i.e., in the intellectual and voluntary acts of creatures.
'* There, i.e., in the production of the Word by the Father's memory and that
of the Holy Spirit by the love of Father and Son.
31 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I -A

libere spiratur et Filius non libere sed naturaliter, oportet hanc

differentiam in principio producendi per se ponere hic et ibi.
Igitur non est idem omni modo indistinctum. Nec valet ista ratio
discerni per relationes quia utrobique relatio aeque naturaliter
respicit relationem oppositam.
86 Rationes94 quibus probat quod distinctio rationis non potest
praecedere Verbi productionem non cogunt. Quod enim dicit95
quod quaecumque Deus intelligit intellectu distincto intelligit
Verbo iam producto videtur esse falsum quia Pater omnem
operationem et productionem secundum omnem modum sibi
possibilem habet a se ut prior est origine Filio, et hoc a se tam
obiective quam elicitive, ita quod sicut Filius non est Patri aliquo
modo principium eliciendi aliquem actum Patris, ita nec est sibi
ratio obiectiva necessario requisita ad aliquem actum eius. Pater
enim tam obiectum quam principium elicitivum omnis operationis

94 Cf. supra n. 72-73.

95 Cf. supra n. 72.
Prologue, Question One 31

these acts. Therefore, if there is some distinction in the fact that

the Holy Spirit is spirated freely and the Son is not produced
freely but naturally, this difference lies per se in the principle
producing, both here and there. Consequently it67 is not just one
and the same indistinct thing.68 Neither are 'relations' a valid
reason for discernment, because in both cases the relationship is
equally a natural thing with respect to its opposite relationship.69
86 The arguments [in n. 72-73] used to prove that a conceptual
distinction cannot precede the production of the Word are not
cogent. For that, which states [n. 72] that "in the Word already
produced God understands whatever he understands by a distinct
intellection," seems to be false. For, as prior in origin* to the Son,
the Father of himself has every operation and production in every
way it is possible for him to have these. And this he possesses of
himself both objectively and elicitively,70 so that just as the Son is
not in some way a principle the Father requires to elicit an act, so
neither is the Son an objective reason necessarily required for
some act of the Father. For the Father as an elicitive principle
possesses, in himself and of himself, each of his own operations.
Hence if it is possible for the Father to know distinctly these
ideas,*71 or to know his essence under these aspects, 72 then such

K' That is, the principle or divine essence that produces these two distinct
m Scotus argues to a formal distinction or non-identity between the divine
intellect and will.
In other words, correlatives are necessarily, not freely or contingently,
70 Webster's dictionary recognizes only the verb form elicit (which means to
draw forth, educe or evoke). For the sake of convenience, in paragraph 85 the
past tense of the verb is used, and here two other grammatical forms, one
adverbial, elicitively (where it has the contextual meaning of "having the ability
or power to elicit an act, an action, an operation or a production") and the
adjectival form elicitive (able to elicit). The meaning of these terms should be
clear to the reader, as they correspond to the two analogous grammatical forms of
evoke in current usage, viz. evocatively and evocative.
" Cf. supra, n. 72 where Godfrey argues: "The Word is expressive of all that
is contained in the essence in a quasi-involute way." This includes God's
archetypal ideas of creatures, as Godfrey's reference to Augustine proves, viz.
The Word is the art of the Father full of every living idea."
72 Godfrey admits this possibility, implicitly at least, since he does not claim
that the production of the Word makes it possible; rather he claims this
production of the Word actualizes this possiblity, something Scotus denies, since
32 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

suae habet in se et a se. Ergo si possibile est Patrem nosse

distincte istas rationes sive essentiam sub istis, sic distincte nosse
necessario sibi competit prout est prior origine Filio.
87 Confirmatur hoc per Augustinum, XV De Trinitate, cap.
15:96 'Quaelibet persona sibi meminit, sibi intelligit, sibi diligit'.
Et sicut infert quod si Filius intelligeret Patri, tunc Pater esset
sapiens non de seipso sed de Filio, ita sequitur quod si Pater non
habet in se obiectum omne intellectionis suae de se, non est
sapiens de se sed de Filio quia esse sapientem includit habere in
se obiectum sapientiae. Item cap. 15:97 "Novit omnia Deus
Pater in seipso, novit et in Filio in seipso tamquam seipsum".
Ergo cum ut prior origine Filio novit seipsum, ut sic prior novit
omnia in seipso.
88 Ad rationem eius primam98 pro hac conclusione quod
verbum est expressivum distincte eorum quae quasi involute in
essentia continentur. Et si hoc esset verum, tamen non sequitur
nullam esse intellectionem distinctam ante verbum productum
quia non solum a Patre in se est essentia sed etiam intelligentia
et aeque distinctiva omnium sicut est intelligentia Verbi, immo

H' August., De Trin. XV, c. 7, n. 12 (CCSL 50A, 476-7; PL 42, 1066).

August., De Trin. XV, c. 14, n. 23 (CCSL 50A. 496: PL 42, 1077).
!l8 Cf. supra n. 72.
Prologue, Question One 32

distinct knowing necessarily pertains to him insofar as he is prior

in origin to the Son.
87 This is confirmed by Augustine in Bk. XV of The Trinity,
chapter 15:73 'Each person remembers for himself, and
understands for himself, and loves for himself.' And just as he
infers that if the Son understood for the Father, then the Father
would not be wise of himself but by reason of the Son. Thus it
would follow that if the Father did not have in himself, and of
himself, every object of his understanding, then he would not be
wise by reason of himself but by reason of his Son.74 For to be wise
includes having in oneself the object of one's wisdom. Also in
chapter 15: "God, the Father, in himself, knows all; and he knows
[all things that are] in his Son, but in himself as himself."
Therefore, since he, as prior in origin to the Son, knows himself,
therefore as prior in this way, he knows all things in himself.
88 As for his first argument [n. 72] for this conclusion that the
Word is expressing distinctly those things which the essence
contains in a quasi-involute way,even if this were true, it would
not follow that there is nothing distinctly understood before the
Word is produced. For it is not only the essence in him that is
from75 the Father, but also the understandingmoreover, the one
that distinguishes everything as well as the understanding of the
Word. Moreover, it is because [something] is distinct in the
understanding of the Father that it is distinctively communicated

Augustine himself makes this abundantly clear again and again in Bk. XV,
chapter 7 of The Trinity, to which Scotus refers in the following paragraph.
n Augustine, The Trinity, XV, ch. 7, n. 12 (CCSL 50A, 476-7; PL 42, 1066).
Scotus summarizes the substance of this long section in the remark that follows
in single quotes. The three key ideas Augustine considers here are memory
(attributed to the Father), understanding (attributed to the Son) and love
(attributed to the Holy Spirit); but lest this attribution be misunderstood and
taken exclusively, consider this remark of Augustine (ibid.): "As the Father
remembers himself and the Son, not by the memory of the Son, but by his own, so
too the Son remembers himself and the Father not by the memory of the Father
but by his own."
74Ci. Augustine, ibid. (CCSL 50A, 475-6; PL 42, 1065).
75 The MSS have "a Patre" (from the Father) as does Alnwick's Additiones
tnugnae. but Henry of Harclay has "in Patre" (in the Father) which is implied,
since he cannot communicate these to the Son unless he has them in himself. See
Summa Fratris Henrici secundum Lecturam Scoti Parisiensem (ed. Klaus
33 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

quia distincte sunt in intelligentia patris, ideo sic distincte

communicantur Filio (Mt. 11:[27]): "Omnia mihi tradita sunt a
Patre meo".
89 Quod autem addunt de Augustino quod est ars Patris,
respondeo: sic est ars sicut sapientia Patris. Qualiter autem
intelligendum sit quod sit sapientia Patris Augustinus exponit
VII De Trinitate, cap. 10:" "Ita dicitur Filius sapientia Patris
quomodo dicitur lumen patris, id est quemadmodum lumen de
lumine et utrumque unum lumen, sic sapientia de sapientia et
utraque una sapientia intelligatur". Non est ergo "ars Patris
plena rationum", quasi istae rationes distinctae non sunt in
intelligentia Patris ut Patris, sed ista competunt Filio per
appropriationem propter hoc quod ex vi productionis suae est
notitia declarativa eorum quae habitualiter continentur in
memoria paterna. Intelligentia autem Patris non habet sic
rationem producti, licet ipsa ut improducta distincte in se habeat
rationes omnium cognoscendorum.
90 Ad secundam rationem.i00 Illud quod accipit, quod primus
actus intelligendi in divinis est principium producendi verbum,
est falsum dupliciter. Primo, quia nullus actus proprie est
principium producendi verbum. Secundo, quia non primus actus
intelligendi. Probatio primi. Quia aut ipse intelligit actum
intelligendi esse principium quo producendi verbum, aut
principium quasi actum principiativum sive productivum. Sive

39 August., De Trin. VII, c. 1, n. 2 (CCSL 50, 249; PL 42, 936).

ioo Cf. supra n. 73.
Prologue, Question One 33

to the Son. Matthew 11: "Everything has been given over to me by

my Father."76
89 But to what they77 add about Augustine,78 that "[the Word]79
is the art of the Father," I respond. He is art in the way that he is
the wisdom of the Father. How one must understand that he is
the wisdom of the Father, however, Augustine explains in Bk. VII
of The Trinity, chapter 10: "The Son is said to be the wisdom of
the Father in the way he is said to be the light of the Father, that
is, 'light from light, and both are one light.' And so wisdom from
wisdom is to be understood as one wisdom." Hence [the Word] is
not the "art of the Father filled with ideas" as if these distinct
ideas are not in the intelligence of the Father as Father. Rather
these pertain to the Son by appropriation,* for this reason: by
virtue of his production this is knowledge that declares what is
habitually contained in the paternal memory. But the
understanding of the Father does not have in this way the formal
aspect of something produced,80 although as not-produced it has
distinctly in itself the ideas of all to be known.
90 To the second argument [n. 73]: its assumption that the first
act of understanding in the divine is a principle of producing the
Word, is doubly false. First, because the principle producing the
Word is not an act, properly speaking.81 Secondly, because it is
not the first act of understanding. Proof of the first.82 For either
he83 thinks the act of understanding is a 'principle whereby' the
Word is produced, or a principle as a quasi-principiative* or
productive act. Whether it be the first or second way, since every

7,; Mt. 11:27.

77 Godfrey and those who accept his opinion.
7H Cf. above, n. 72, and second note to n. 72 (Latin).
79 Cf. first note to n. 72 above (Latin). In this passage Godfrey uses the
expression "the Word is the art of the Father full of all living [reasons]."
H The Latin reads: "Intelligentia autem Patris non habet sic rationem
producti." This seems to refer to the fact that the Father's distinct understanding
of things is not something produced by begetting the Son, and to that extent is
H1 Understanding, of any sort, is considered to be an act of knowing or of
speaking the Word. The divine intellect is the principle whereby God
understands. According to the scholastics it is an active potency; the same is true
of the Father's memory which is the principle of producing or speaking the Word.
M That is, the act of understanding is not itself a productive principle.
m Godfrey of Fontaines.
34 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

primo modo sive secundo, cum omne intelligere sit ipsius

intelligentiae, secundum Augustinum, XIV De Trinitate, cap.
15:101 'Dico intelligentiam qua intelligimus', producere autem
verbum et habere principium formale producendi non convenit
intelligentiae sed memoriae, ergo neutro modo est aliquis actus
intelligendi principium. Hoc autem amplius patebit infra ubi
declarabitur quod dicere non est aliquod intelligere, nec etiam
intellectio aliqua est formalis ratio exprimendi verbum.
Secundum patet ex dictis. Quia actum producendi Verbum
praecedit origine intellectio distincta Patris ut Patris.
91 Cum arguit quod naturaliter producitur per actum
intellectus, ergo primo actu intelligendi, non sequitur quia
quorumcumque actuum intellectus est principium, omnium
eorum est principium per modum naturae. Vel potest dici quod
licet iste sit primus actus intellectus productivus, non tamen
primus actus intelligendi, ut est in Patre.
92 Contra responsionem ad secundam.102 Cum dicit quod illud
quod importatur perfectionis per ista est in Deo absque
comparatione ad extra, quaero an illud quod importatur
formaliter per rationem intellectus et illud quod formaliter
importatur per rationem voluntatis sit in Deo absque omni tali
comparatione. Si non, ergo intellectus secundum rationem suam
formalem non est perfectio simpliciter, nec voluntas nec aliquid
aliorum, et sequitur quod non sit nisi unica perfectio simpliciter,

"ll August., De Trin. XIV, c. 7, n. 10 (CCSL 50A, 435; PL 42, 1044).

102 Cf. supra n. 69, 74.
Prologue, Question One 34

act of thinking pertains to the understanding, according to

Augustine, Bk. XIV of The Trinity, chapter 15 ("I call
understanding' that whereby we are perceiving intellectually"),
but to produce the Word and to have a formal principle of
producing is not something that pertains to understanding but to
memory;84 therefore in neither way is some act of understanding
a principle. This will be made clearer later, where it will be shown
that 'to say' is not the same as 'to understand,' nor is the formal
principle for speaking* the word some intellection.85 The second86
is evident from what has been said. Because the distinct
intellection of the Father as Father precedes in origin the act of
producing the Word.
91 For when he argues that [the Word] is produced naturally
by an act of the intellect, and hence, by the first act of
understanding, this does not follow. For the principle of any act of
the intellect whatsoever, is the sort of principle that acts in the
way nature does.87 Or it could be said that although this is the
first productive act of the intellect, nevertheless it is not the first
act of understanding that is in the Father.
92 Against the response to the second, [n. 69 and 74] when it is
said that 'whatever there is about these88 that implies perfection,
exists in God apart from any comparison to what is outside,' I ask:
Is what the concept of intellect formally imports and that which
the notion of will formally imports something that exists in God
prior to any such comparison? If not, then 'intellect' according to
its formal meaning is not a pure* perfection, nor is 'will' or any of
the other [attributes]. And it follows that there is but one sole

H1 Cf. De Trin. XV, ch. 23, n. 43, where Augustine points out that memory
pertains to the Father, understanding to the Son and love to the Holy Spirit.
Understanding is formed from the memory; "it is a word spoken from the heart
that belongs to no language." Cf. above note four to n. 83.
85 See below, Dist. 27, p. II, q. 1, n. 59fT.
w' Namely, the second reason why Godfrey's assumption is false is that the
production of the Word is not the Father's first act of understanding.
Scotus holds that there are two basic ways a principle can act, either
necessarily as nature or freely as will. A natural principle does not presuppose
any other and acts immediately, whereas a voluntary act presupposes a prior act
on the part of the agent, namely, knowledge. Godfrey, recall, stresses that the
logical distinction between intellect and will in God is that the second principle
presupposes the first.
M Namely, intellect and will in God.
35 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

sola scilicet essentia divina. Probatio consequentiae. Quia

simpliciter perfectum non est tale formaliter sed tantum
virtualiter, et ipsum est simpliciter quodlibet quod est melius
ipsum quam non ipsum. Ergo simpliciter melius est esse non
intelligentem formaliter quam intelligentem. Sequitur ergo quod
esse intelligentem formaliter non sit perfectio simpliciter, et sic
de aliis. Consequens est falsum et contra Anselmum, Monologion
15 103 UDi ponit regulam de his quae concedenda sunt proprie de
Deo, quod illud removendum est ab ipso quidquid non menus est
ipsum quam non ipsum. Cuiusmodi sunt plura, secundum eum
ibidem, et Augustinum, XV De Trinitate, cap. 5:104 'Viventia non
viventibus etc. praeferenda iudicamus, ac per hoc, quoniam in
rebus creatis creatorem sine dubitatione praeponimus, oportet
eum et summe vivere et intelligere et esse spiritum
potentissimum, iustissimum', etc. Si concedatur quod intellectus
secundum suam rationem formalem est in Deo absque
comparatione ad extra et voluntas similiter secundum suam
rationem formalem, cum intellectus sit tantum formaliter
intellectus et voluntas formaliter tantum voluntas, sicut dicit
Avicenna, V Metaphysicae,105 "humanitas est tantum humanitas",
sequitur tunc quod absque comparatione ad extra est aliqua
distinctio eorum.
93 Et confirmatur istud. Quia licet aliqua virtualiter contenta
in aliquo non distinguantur quia potentia non distinguit, tamen si
sint in eo formaliter et actualiter, cum actus separet et distinguat,
VII Metaphysicae,106 habebunt aliquam distinctionem. Quod si
aliam ulteriorem habeant ex collatione intellectus ad extra, de
ista non curo. Sufficit quod non sint omnino indistincta re et
ratione absque comparatione ad extra.

10:1 Anselmus, Monologion c. 15 (ed. F.S. Schmitt I, 28; PL 158, 163).

1 August., De Trin. XV, c. 4, n. 6 (CCSL 50A, 467-8; PL 42, 1061).
"1r, Avicenna, Metaph. V, c. 1 (AviL, 228).
106 Aristot., Metaph. VII (Z), c. 13 (1039a 7).
Prologue, Question One 35

pure perfection, namely, the divine essence. Proof of the

implication. For what is simply perfect is not such89 formally but
only virtually, and that is simply whatever it is better to be than
not to be. Therefore it is simply better not to be formally
intelligent than intelligent. It follows, therefore, that to be
formally intelligent is not a pure perfection, and the same with
the other [attributes]. The consequent is false and against what
Anselm says in the Monologion, ch. 15, where he sets down the
rule about these [perfections] which must be conceded to be
properly in God. For whatever is not simply 'better to have than
not to have' must be removed from him. Several things are of this
sort according to him, in the same work, and according to
Augustine, Bk. XV of The Trinity, chapter 5: "Living, rather than
not living, etc. we judge must be preferred, and because we
without doubt prefer the Creator to created things, he must in the
highest sense live and understand, and be the most powerful
spirit, and most just, etc." If one concedes that the intellect
according to its formal notion is in God apart from any
comparison to what is outside, and likewise the will according to
its formal notion, since intellect is only formally intellect and will
only formally will, as, according to Avicenna, Metaphysics, Bk.
V,90 "humanity is only humanity," it follows then that without any
external comparison there is some distinction between them.
93 And this is confirmed, because although some things
virtually contained in something are not distinguished, for
potency9i does not distinguish, nevertheless if these are formally
and actually in it, since acts are separated and distinguished
according to Bk. VII of the Metaphysics, they have some
distinction. And I am not concerned whether in addition there is
another distinction based upon the intellect by comparing them to
what is outside. It suffices that they are not entirely indistinct in
reality and conceptually without comparing them to what is

8!l Namely, intelligent, endowed with free will,* wise, etc.

90 See second note to n. 82.
9i That is, what is only potentially two is not distinguished.
92 Scotus considers them to be formally non-identical a parte rei.
36 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

94 Item, ista comparatio ad extra quae est relatio rationis non

facit per se unum conceptum cum ipsa essentia divina quia etiam
relatio realis, de qua magis videretur, non facit per se conceptum
unum cum fundamento. Ergo si totum istud "essentia sub
relatione rationis" dicit per se scibile de Deo, non erit per se
scibile nisi ratione alterius partis, non ratione essentiae, quia
omnino idem conceptus non scitur per se de seipso. Ergo tantum
scietur de Deo ratione relationis rationis. Sed ista non est
perfectio simpliciter quia ista est simul natura cum termino. Ergo
nulla perfectio simpliciter de Deo scietur.
95 Item tertio sic. Comparari ad extra convenit intellectui ut
est intellectus formaliter, et non ut est indistinctus re et ratione
ab essentia, quia tunc essentia compararetur ad extra. Ergo
impossibile est per actum comparandi haberi formalem rationem
intellectus ut intellectus. Consequentia patet quia ratio formalis
potentiae non habetur per actum eius sed econverso magis.
Prologue, Question One 36

94 Also, this comparison to what is outside, which is a

conceptual relation, does not result in a concept that is one per se
with the divine essence itself. For even a real relation,* of which
more might be expected, does not make for a concept that is per
se one with its foundation. Therefore if this whole 'the essence
conceived of as related' stands for 'scientifically knowable of God
per se,' it will only be per se knowable by reason of the other
term, not by reason of the essence; for one concept that is entirely
the same is not known per se scientifically of itself. Therefore,
scientific knowledge about God is only possible by reason of a
conceptual relation. But a conceptual relation is not a pure
perfection because it is simultaneous by nature with its term.
Therefore no pure perfection will be scientifically known of God.
95 Also thirdly in this way. To be compared to what is outside
is something that pertains to the intellect qua formally intellect,
and not qua really and conceptually indistinct from the essence,
for then it would be the essence that is compared to what is
outside. Therefore it is impossible for the act of comparing to
produce a formal notion of intellect qua intellect [as Godfrey
maintains].93 The implication is evident, because the formal
notion of what is possible [potentia] is not obtained from its
actualization, but rather the converse.94

Cf. above n. 92: "Whatever there is about intellect and will that implies
perfection exists in God apart from any comparison to what is outside." Scotus
argues that this contradicts Godfrey's basic thesis in n. 57, viz. "What the divine
intellect by one simple concept can apprehend actually and distinctly, the
intellect of the pilgrim can conceive by several distinct acts," but only when the
essence is compared to what is outside. For "he postulates that it is impossible for
any intellect divine or otherwise to conceive a simple essence under these distinct
aspects unless it compares it to several other things, or conversely unless several
other things are compared to it" (n. 57). But the act of comparison itself does not
cause what is simply perfection about intelligence, but not about animality, to
exist in God unless the divine essence as such includes intelligence as such but
not animality. Yet God himself perceives actually and distinctly, by his one
simple concept of the essence, intelligence apart from animality; yet both these
are virtually there in the sense that God can create these perfections, but only
intelligence and not animality is there formally
'M That is to say, the idea of what can be or what is possible is not derived
from the fact that it actually exists.
37 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

96 Ad rationes quas adducunt pro se, respondeo quod non

cogunt. Ad primam.107 Cum dicit, improbando rationem datam
ubi est tota vis responsionis, quod comparata per intellectum ut
distincta non supponuntur distinctionem habere, haec propositio
est falsa. Probatio. Possibile est intellectum per aliquem actum
comparare aliquid ad aliud primo, intelligendo sic, quod nec ista
prius sint comparata ex natura rei nec per actum priorem
intellectus. Et primum patet quia alioquin nulla possent
comparari per intellectum nisi habentia comparationem realem.
Et secundum patet quia alioquin ante omnem actum intellectus
comparandi praecederet alius, et sic in infinitum. Sed ante illam
comparationem primam non supponitur in comparatis relatio
rationis quia tunc ista non esset prima comparatio eorum
secundum rationem. Ista autem comparatio eorum est secundum
istam relationem rationis. Ergo aliqua comparatio aliquorum ut
mutuo se respicientium secundum habitudinem rationis non
praesupponit in comparatis aliquam relationem rationis quia
omnis differentia rationis proprie loquendo est secundum
relationes rationis. Intellectus non potest causare in rebus
differentias secundum absoluta sed tantum secundum relationes
quas causat in obiecto per actum considerandi.
97 Probationem suam de relativis108 realiter duco ad oppositum
sic. Relationes reales oppositae vel relativa ut relativa non prius
habent differentiam realem quam comparentur ut mutuo se
respicientia realiter quia ipsa comparatio realis eorum est ipsa
realis differentia eorum. Ergo a simili relationes rationis
oppositae vel relativa ut relativa non prius habent differentiam
rationis quam comparentur mutuo secundum rationem. Patet
igitur quod non valet eius probatio de rebus absolutis quia res
absolutae non includunt de se respectum, et ideo possunt habere
differentiam priorem comparatione ipsorum. Sed alia entia

107 Cf. supra n. 60-61.

1oH Cf. supra n. 60.
Prologue, Question One 37

% To the arguments that are adduced for this [opinion]95 I

reply: they are not cogent.
To the first, [n. 60-61] When it is said, in refutation of the
argument given where it is the total force of the response, that
things compared through the intellect as distinct are not
supposed to have a distinction, this proposition is false. Proof.
It is possible for the intellect through some act to compare one
thing to another thing primarily, by understanding it in such a
way that these are neither compared beforehand from the nature
of a thing nor through a prior act of the intellect. The first is
evident, because otherwise the intellect could only compare
things where a real comparison could be made. And the second is
evident because otherwise before every act of the intellect in
comparing there would be another act that would have preceded
it, and so ad infinitum. But before that first comparison a
conceptual relationship in the things compared is not assumed,
for then this would not be the first comparison of them
conceptually. But this is a comparison of them according to this
conceptual relationship. Therefore some comparison of some
things as mutually related conceptually does not presuppose some
conceptual relationship in the things compared, because every
conceptual difference properly speaking is according to
relationships that are conceptual. The intellect cannot cause in
things absolute differences but only relational ones which it
causes in the object through the act of considering.
97 His proof about real relatives [n. 60] I turn against him in
this way. Real relations that are opposed or relatives qua
relatives do not first have a real difference before they are
compared as mutually regarding one another really, because the
real comparison of them itself is that real difference itself that
they have. Therefore in like manner conceptual relations that are
opposed or related things as related do not first have a conceptual
difference before they are mutually compared conceptually. It is
evident therefore that his proof of absolute things is not valid,
because absolute things do not include of themselves a
relationship, and therefore they can have a difference prior to a

95 These arguments of Godfrey are those directed against Henry of Ghent's

38 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

rationis inquantum talia entia rationis includunt respectum

rationis, et ideo differentia prima eorum ut sic est comparatio
eorum secundum rationem.
98 Et propterea illa propositio de absolutis rebus109 uni-
versaliter accepta est falsa. Quia licet in multis distinctio
absoluta praecedat relationem realem, non tamen in omnibus
quia non in personis, secundum ipsum et secundum alios
communiter, quia ibi prima differentia est secundum relationes.
Si autem hoc est possibile quod aliqua differentia relativorum sit
prima per relationes reales absque omni distinctione priore,
multo magis est hoc possibile secundum relationes rationis sive in
relativis secundum rationem quorum omnis differentia est
secundum relationem.
99 Item, si maior ista quae iam improbata est110 esset vera,
adhuc non sequitur conclusio. Quia si ista comparatio esset actus
reflexivus secundum relationes rationis prius causatas in obiecto,
possent istae relationes in essentia esse per actum alium rationis
priorem, et tunc non sequitur quod essent in essentia ex natura
100 Quod etiam addit,111 quod illa sic exsistentia in intellectu
divino moverent intellectum divinum ad comparandum se, falsum
est quia nec relationes reales quae sunt in essentia ex natura rei
movent intellectum divinum ad cognoscendum se, sed sola
essentia divina movet intellectum divinum ad quaecumque
101 Ad secundam rationem112 quae communis est quaero, aut
aliqua est distinctio rationis in eadem re cui non concordet
distinctio realis in aliis, aut non. Si non, ergo maior illa absolute
infert istam quod omnis differentia rationis sumitur per
comparationem ad distincta re, et tunc patet quod in maiore
petitur conclusio et est neganda a negante conclusionem. Si sic,
ergo idem potest concipi sub distincta ratione absque omni
comparatione ad plura.

109 Cf. supra n. 61.

110 Cf. supra n. 97.
1 1 1 Cf. supra n. 60.
112 Cf. supra n. 62.
Prologue, Question One 38

comparison of them. But other conceptual things as such include

a conceptual relationship, and therefore the first difference they
have as such is a conceptual comparison of them.
98 Therefore that proposition about absolute things [n. 61]
universally taken is false. Because although in many things an
absolute distinction precedes a real relation, it is not true in all
things because it is not true of [the divine] persons, according to
him and according to others generally, because there the first
difference is according to relations.96 If however it is possible that
some difference of real relatives is first without any prior
distinction, all the more is it possible for this to be the case with
conceptual relatives where every difference is relational.
99 Also if this major which already was disproved [n. 97] were
true, the conclusion would not follow. For if this comparison were
a reflexive act about conceptual relations first caused in the
object, these relations in the essence could be through a prior
conceptual act, and then it would not follow that they are in the
essence from the nature* of the thing.
100 What is also added, [n. 60] that 'these things existing in this
way in the divine intellect would move the divine intellect to
comparison of itself,' is false because neither real relations in the
essence by their real nature move the divine intellect to know
themselves, for only the divine essence moves the divine intellect
to whatever can be known.
101 To the second reason which is commonly held, [n.67] I ask:
either there is some conceptual distinction in the same thing to
which there does not correspond a real distinction in anything
else, or this is not the case. If it is not, then this major absolutely
implies this 'every conceptual distinction is drawn from a
comparison to a really distinct thing,' and then it is evident that
the conclusion is begged in the major and it must be denied by
denying the conclusion. If it is so [viz. that no real distinction
corresponds to the conceptual distinction], therefore the same
thing can be conceived under conceptually distinct aspects
without any comparison to any more things.

% This represents Scotus's own revised view of how the divine persons are
39 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

102 Item, ad hoc quod obiectum concipiatur sub aliqua ratione

quae non dicit respectum ad aliud non oportet obiectum ipsum
comparari ad aliud. Sed non omnis relatio rationis dicit
respectum obiecti ad aliud extra quia tunc nulla posset esse
distinctio rationis nisi inter distincta realiter, et per consequens
relatio identitatis non esset relatio rationis, ergo etc. Maior patet
quia obiectum cum intellectu sufficit ad omnem conceptum qui
non est comparativus eius ad aliquid extra. Ista ergo ratio
evidentiam habet de intellectu nostro qui non concipit rationes
distinctas in Deo nisi ex distinctis rebus in creaturis, sed non
habet evidentiam de illo intellectu qui potest intelligere obiectum
in se et ex plenitudine virtualitatis eius cognoscere omnes
rationes eius circa ipsum.
103 Ad auctoritatem Averrois responsionem quaere alibi.113
104 Ad exempla quae adducit pro se.114 Ad illud de genere et
differentia ubi natura speciei est simplex, illud simpliciter
manifeste concludit oppositum. Si aliquis esset intellectus qui
cognosceret quiditatem speciei non ex posterioribus, iste
intellectus cognosceret rationem generis et differentiae quae
pertinent ad quiditatem speciei absque omni comparatione ad alia
posteriora quae secundum ordinem conveniunt illi naturae tali;
nam talis intellectus non dependet a posterioribus in cognoscendo
priora. Licet ergo intellectus noster ex quibusdam accidentibus
ordinate convenientibus ipsi speciei concipiat rationem generis et
differentiae, tamen prima distinctio rationis inter conceptum
generis et differentiae non est per comparationem ad illa
posteriora, sicut nec prima cognitio quod quid est est per
comparationem ad accidentia. Istud etiam exemplum nimis
extendit differentiam rationis. Quia ratio generis et differentiae,
licet non distinguantur re in natura simplici, tamen non

Cf. supra n. 63.

Cf. supra n. 64.
Prologue, Question One 39

102 Also, in order that the object may be conceived under some
aspect which does not assert a relationship to another, it is not
necessary for the object to be compared to another. Not every
conceptual relation, however, implies a relationship of the object
to another outside thing, for then there could only be a conceptual
distinction between things that are really distinct. And
consequently, the relationship of identity* would not be a
conceptual relation, therefore etc. The major is evident, because
the object with the intellect suffices for every concept which is not
based on a comparison of the object to something outside of it.
Therefore this argument has its evidential force regarding our
intellect which does not conceive distinct notions in God except
based on things distinct in creatures, but it has no evidential
force whatsoever regarding that intellect which can know the
object in itself, and from the fullness of what it virtually contains
can know everything about it.
103 To the authority of Averroes look for the reply elsewhere,
[n. 63]
104 To the examples which he adduces for it. [n. 64]
To that about the genus and difference where the nature of
the species is simple, it obviously implies the very opposite. If
there would be some intellect that knew the quiddity of the
species not a posteriori* this intellect would know the idea of the
genus and of the difference which pertain to the quiddity of the
species without any comparison to other posterior things which
fall under such a nature in an orderly way. For such an intellect
would not depend upon what is posterior to know what is prior.
Therefore, although our intellect conceives the notion of the
genus and of the species from certain accidents that appertain in
an orderly way to that species itself, nevertheless the first
conceptual distinction between genus and difference is not
through a comparison to these posterior things, just as the first
knowledge of 'what a thing is' is not based on a comparison to
accidents. Also that example extends the idea of a conceptual
distinction too far. For the notions of genus and difference,
although they are not distinguished in reality where a nature is
simple, at the same time are not distinguished precisely by the
mind, that is by conceptual relationships through which they are
40 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

distinguuntur praecise ratione, hoc est relationibus rationis

quibus comparantur ad invicem, quae distinctio proprie dicitur
differentia rationis.
105 Ad aliud exemplum de vero et bono.115 Secundum illam
acceptionem eius verum dicit rationem manifestativi sui ad
intellectum, bonum autem dicit rationem allectivi affectus ad
seipsum. Istae ergo rationes, si distinguerentur per com-
parationem ad extrinseca, distinguerentur primo per respectum
ad intellectum et voluntatem quia illa primo respiciunt. Sed
secundum multos nusquam est differentia intellectus et
voluntatis realis, aut saltem si in creaturis est, in Deo non est, et
ibi essent istae relationes vel rationes obiective. Quia si
intellectus et voluntas distinguuntur, tamen istae rationes sunt
priores naturaliter rationibus intellectus et voluntatis, et
intellectui qui non accipit cognitionem a posterioribus essent istae
rationes prius notae.
106 Ad tertium exemplum de ideis116 patet quod non est ad
propositum quia nec ratio unius ideae potest intelligi sine
respectu ad extra. Quod ergo rationes distinctarum idearum non
possent accipi sine respectu ad extra non est propter
distinctionem rationum sed quia quaelibet idea dicit respectum
ad extra. Per oppositum est hic ubi nulla una ratio dicit
respectum ad extra, et ideo prima distinctio illorum potest haberi
sine tali respectu.
107 Quantum igitur ad istum articulum concedo quod absque
omni comparatione essentiae divinae ad extra potest in Deo
haberi non tantum conceptus quiditativus sive essentiae sub
ratione essentiae, verum etiam alii quasi denominativi, non
tantum personalium et notionalium sed etiam omnium
perfectionum simpliciter. Quarum conceptus distincti non

11r' Cf. supra n. 65.

1 1 Cf. supra n. 66.
Prologue, Question One 40

compared to one another, which is what a conceptual distinction

is properly said to be.
105 To the other example about the true and the good. [n. 65]
According to what he conceives true to be, it expresses the idea of
manifesting itself to the intellect. But the good implies an
enticing affection for itself. These notions therefore, if they were
distinguished by reason of a comparison to something extrinsic,
would be distinguished primarily by a relationship to the intellect
and will, since they regard these primarily. But according to
many nowhere is the difference between intellect and will a real
distinction, or at least if there is such in creatures, there is no
such difference in God, which is where these relations or notions97
would be objectively. And if the intellect and will are
distinguished, nevertheless these notions [viz. true and good] are
naturally prior to the concepts of intellect and will, and to an
intellect which does not get its knowledge from what is posterior,
these notions would be known beforehand.98
106 Regarding the third example about the ideas [n. 66] it is
evident that it is not relevant to what is proposed, for the very
notion of an idea cannot be understood apart from a relationship
to something outside. Therefore the reason why distinct ideas
could not be without their relationship to something outside is not
because of a conceptual distinction, but because each idea asserts
a relationship to something outside. But the opposite occurs here
where there is nothing implying a relationship to what is outside
and therefore the first distinction of these can be had without
such a relationship.
107 [Scotus's personal view] Therefore so far as this [third]
article is concerned,99 I concede that without comparing the
divine essence in God to anything outside one can have not only a
quidditative concept of the essence qua essence, but also other
quasi-derivative concepts: not only of the personal and notional,*
but also of all pure or unqualified perfections. For these distinct
concepts, no intellectual knowledge comparing something to what

97 Namely, of true and good.

nH This could refer to God, the blessed in heaven or angels.
99 Namely, can God be conceived under several distinct notions distinct from
notion of his essence.
41 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

requirunt aliquod intellectum per comparationem ad extra, immo

conceptus includens respectum ad extra non est per se conceptus
perfectionis simpliciter.

[Articulus 4
Quis ordo sit inter illas rationes]

108 Quantum ad quartum articulum principalem dicitur quod

scientia habens Deum pro primo obiecto est scientia specialis et
per consequens habebit subiectum speciale et sub ratione speciali.
Haec autem ratio ponitur ista, scilicet ut est principium nostrae
reparationis et consummatio nostrae glorificationis.117 Pro hac
opinione ponitur ratio talis. Sub illa ratione aliquid est subiectum
in scientia sub qua ratione principaliter intenditur eius cognitio
in illa scientia. Sed ratio praedicta, scilicet ut principium nostrae
reparationis et consummatio nostrae glorificationis, est
huiusmodi, ergo etc.
109 Cum hac opinione concordat illa quae dicit quod Deus sub
ratione boni est primum subiectum in scientia ista.118
Quod sic probatur. Ratio boni est ratio nobilissima. Quia
ratio boni est ratio finis, et ratio finis est ratio nobilissima. Quia
secundum Avicennam VI Metaphysicae:119 'Si de singulis causis
esset scientia, illa de causa finali esset principalior'. Multis aliis
modis possent assignari rationes sub quibus poneretur Deus
primum subiectum ad probandum Deum esse primum subiectum.
110 Contra omnes istas opiniones duplex est via, una probando
istam affirmativam quod Deus sub ratione Deitatis est primum
subiectum huius scientiae, alia probando istam negativam quod
Deus non est subiectum sub aliis rationibus quae assignantur.
111 Primum probatur tripliciter.
Primo sic. Sub illa ratione Deus est subiectum primum
scientiae primae sub qua primo continet virtualiter omnes
veritates scibiles de Deo. Sed huiusmodi est ratio essentiae

117 Cf. Hugo de S. Victore, De sacramentis christianae fidei, prol., c. 2 (PL

176, 183).
liH Henricus Gand., Quodl. I, q. 1 (f. 1A); Summa a. 22, q. 4 (I, f. 133R).
llD Avicenna, Metaph. VI, c. 5 (AviL, 348). Avicenna citatur secundum
Guillelmum de Ware. Sent., prol., q. 5 in corp. (Cod. Florent. nat. A42, f. 5vab).
Prologue, Question One 41

is outside is required. Indeed a concept that includes a

relationship to what is outside is not the per se concept of a pure
or unqualified perfection.i00

Article Four
What order exists among such concepts?

108 [The opinion of others] As for the fourth main article somei0i
say that the science which has God as its first object is a special
science and hence has a special subject treated under a special
aspect. They propose as subject 'God as the source of our
reparation and the fulfillment of our glorification.' The reason
given for this opinion is that the subject of a science must be
something that primarily inspires one to know about it. But such
is aforesaid reason, namely, the source of our reparation and the
fulfillment of our glorification; therefore etc.
109 In agreement with this opinion is the view that God under
the aspect of the good is the first subject in this science. Proof
that this is so: the notion of the good is the most noble conception.
For the notion of the good is the notion of our raison d'etre, and
that is the noblest conception of all. For according to Avicenna in
Bk. VI of his Metaphysics, 'If there were a science that dealt with
single causes, that about the final cause would be the best.' In
many other ways reasons could be given proving that God under
other aspects should be considered as first subject.
1 10 [Refutation of the opinion of others] There is a double way to
refute all of these opinions: one by proving the affirmative
statement "God under the aspect of deity is the first subject of
this science"; the other by proving this negative statement "God is
not the subject under any of the other aspects adduced."
111 [The positive proof] The first [i.e. the affirmative way] is
proved in triple way.
First in this way. God is the first subject of the first science
under that aspect the notion of which primarily contains virtually

i00 All the perfections of the divine essence are pure or unqualified and exist
there in an infinite degree.
i0i In the Prologue to the Ordinatio (ed. Vat. I, 92-3) Scotus cites a number
of specific cases.
42 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

divinae sive Deitatis, ergo etc. Maior patet ex dictis in secundo

articulo.120 Minor patet et probatur sic. Qualis ordo realis esset
inter aliqua si essent distincta realiter, talis est ordo eorum
secundum rationem, ubi sunt distincta secundum rationem.121
Ista probatur. Quia ordo distinctorum secundum rationem non
concluditur nisi ex ordine qui natus esset competere illis
secundum rem si essent distincta realiter. Nunc autem si
intrinseca essent distincta realiter ab essentia divina, omnino
primum esset ipsa divina essentia et reliqua omnia quasi
passiones et accidentia ipsius essentiae. Ergo si est ibi distinctio
rationis, omnino primum erit ipsa essentia sub ratione essentiae.
112 Secundo sic. Cognitio quod quid est est omnino prima, ex
VII Metaphysicae.122 Et sicut absolute cognitio quid est est prior
omni cognitione aliorum, ita in eodem cognitio 'quid est eiusdem'
est cognitio eius prima et omnino perfectissima. Ergo illa est
maxime virtualiter contentiva omnium cognoscibilium de illo
cuius est. Consequentia patet quia continere virtualiter omnia
cognoscibilia convenit perfectiori cognoscibili.
113 Tertio sic. Sub eadem ratione Deus est primum obiectum
intellectus sui et primae scientiae possibilis haberi de ipso. Est
autem primum obiectum intellectus sui sub ratione essentiae,
ergo etc. Maior probatur. Quia est primum obiectum intellectus
sui sub ratione illa sub qua continet virtualiter cognitionem
omnium cognoscibilium de ipso, ideo movet intellectum suum ad
rationem omnium cognoscibilium in illa scientia. Sub illa autem
ratione sub qua continet omnia est primum obiectum primae

l*l Cf. supra n. 15-17.

121 V addit (cf. Add. M.): ubi esse reale tollatur praecise propter esse
diminutum prioris, ut si illud quod est prius habeat esse secundum rationem. Sic
autem non est in proposito, quia essentia divina non habet esse diminutum.
Aristot.. Metaph. VII (Z), c. 1 (1028a 36-6 2).
Prologue, Question One 42

all the truths that can be scientifically known about God; but the
notion of the divine essence or deity is just this sort of thing;
therefore, etc. The major is evident from what was said in the
second article, [n. 15-17] The minor is evident and is proved in
this way. The type of real order that obtains between things that
are really distinct is the sort of conceptual order that obtains
between these things when they are conceptually distinct.i02 This
is proved: for the order of things conceptually distinct is only
inferred from the order they would be suited by nature to have as
real things if they were really distinct. But now if all that is
intrinsic to divine essence were really distinct from the essence,
the first among them would be the divine essence itself and all
the rest would be quasi-proper attributes and quasi-accidents of
the essence. Therefore, if there is a conceptual distinction there,
what would be absolutely the first is the divine essence itself qua
112 Second in this way: Cognition of 'what a thing is' is
absolutely first, according to Bk. VII of the Metaphysics. And just
as the knowledge of 'what it is' is absolutely prior to the
knowledge of anything else, so in the same thing knowledge of
what it is in its sameness is the primary and the most perfect
knowledge. Most of all, therefore, it is what virtually contains all
that is able to be known about it. The implication is evident
because to contain virtually all that is able to be known pertains
to what is more perfectly knowable.
113 Third, in this way: under the same notion God is the first
object of his own intellect and of the first science that one can
have of him; but he is the first object of his intellect under the
notion of essence; therefore etc. The major is proved, for he is the
first object of bis intellect under that notion under which he
virtually contains all that is able to be known about him. Hence
he [as the first object] moves his intellect to the notion of all that
is able to be known in that science. For it is under that notion
under which he contains all that he is the first object of the

102 V adds (cf. Add. M.): where real being would be removed precisely on
account of the diminution* of prior being, as when that which is prior receives
conceptual being. But this is not so in the case at hand, for the divine essence has
no diminution of being.
43 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

scientiae de ipso. Minor, quamvis possit probari per hoc quod

intellectus divinus intuitive cognoscit et per consequens sub
ratione aliqua quae est in re ex natura rei, tamen supponatur
usque ad tractatum de scientia Dei inferius, distinctione 36 et 35.
114 Ad negativam illam123 quod Deus non sit subiectum in hac
scientia secundum rationes alias quae assignantur arguo
tripliciter. Primo sic. Ratio sub qua aliquid est primum obiectum
in aliqua scientia excedit in perfectione cognoscibilitatis omnia
cognoscibilia in illa scientia. Ratio autem glorificatoris vel
reparatoris vel boni vel cuiuscumque talis non est huiusmodi,
ergo etc. Maior patet. Quia sicut primum obiectum habet primo
continere omnia quae continentur in scientia, ita ratio primi
subiecti debet esse prima ratio continendi et per consequens
perfectior in cognoscibilitate. Minor probatur. Quia relatio
rationis non potest esse perfectior in cognoscibilitate quocumque
ente reali quia nec in entitate est perfectior. Probatur etiam de
bono et aliis rationibus quia quacumque illarum est alia ratio
cognoscibilis perfectior, puta ratio divinae essentiae.
115 Secundo sic. Nihil sub ratione contracta potest esse primum
subiectum primae scientiae possibilis haberi de ipso. Omnes istae
rationes quae assignantur sunt rationes contrahentes ipsum
Deum, ergo etc. Maior probatur ex I Metaphysicae.124 Omni
scientia consideranti aliquid sub ratione contracta est alia prior
considerans illud sub ratione absoluta certior quam sit illa. Quia
sicut dicitur ibi: "Quae est ex paucioribus, certior est ea quae est
ex additione, ut arithmetica geometria".
116 Tertio sic. Nihil potest esse primum subiectum primae
scientiae de ipso sub aliqua ratione quae non facit aliquid unum
per se cum ipso. Sed huiusmodi sunt omnes rationes quae

12:1 Cf. supra n. 110.

Aristot., Metaph. I (A), c. 2 (982a 26-8).
Prologue, Question One 43

primary science about himself. The minoralthough it could be

proved from the fact that the divine intellect knows intuitively*
and therefore it knows [something] under some really existing
characteristic that stems from the nature of the thingis put off
for treatment later in the tract about God's science in distinction
35 and 36.
114 [The negative proof] As for the negative proof, [n. 110] that
God is not a subject in this science under any of the other aspects
adduced, I argue in a threefold way. First in this way. The notion
under which something is a first object in any science exceeds, in
the perfection of what is able to be known, all other things that
are knowable in that science; but the notion of 'the one who
glorifies,' or 'makes reparation,' or of 'the benevolent,' or any
other such thing is not of this sort; therefore, etc. The major is
evident, for just as the first object has the primary function of
containing all that can be contained in the science, so the notion
of the first subject must be the first reason why it contains what
it does, and consequently is more perfect as to what can be
known. The minor is proved, because a conceptual relation cannot
be more perfect as to what is knowable than any real being,
because it is not more perfect in entity. There is also proof that
the good or other notions [are not the subject of this divine
science] because whatever they may be, there is some notion that
is cognitively more perfect, namely, the notion of the divine
115 Second, in this way. No restricted notion can be the primary
subject of the first science that one can have about him; but all
these other notions that are assigned are restricted notions about
what God himself is; therefore etc. The major is proved from Bk. I
of the Metaphysics. For every science that considers a thing under
a restricted notion there is another prior sciencemore certain
than the first onethat considers it under some unrestricted
notion. For just as it is said there, "what is based on fewer
principles, is more certain than what is based on additional
principles, e.g. arithmetic [is more exact] than geometry."
1 16 Thirdly in this way: Nothing can be the first subject of the
first science about God under some notion that expresses
something that is not one per se with him; but such are all the
44 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

assignantur aliae a ratione Deitatis, ergo etc. Minor patet. Quia

quaelibet talis ratio, si esset realiter distincta, esset realiter
accidens illi cui assignatur prima ratio. Probatio maioris. Aut illa
ratio contingenter inest ipsi subiecto, aut necessario. Si
contingenter, ergo non est ratio aliquid sciendi de subiecto quia
ipsa non est necessario cognoscenda de subiecto. Si necessario,
ergo ipsa est cognoscibilis de subiecto per rationem subiecti, et ita
non est prima ratio virtualiter cognoscendi omnia alia de
subiecto, nec per consequens est prima ratio subiecti in scientia.
117 Quantum igitur ad istum articulumi25 dico quod ordo est
inter rationes sub quibus Deus est conceptibilis, ita quod ratio
essentiae est omnino prima et aliae sequentes rationes sunt
priores aut posteriores secundum quod huic rationi sunt
propinquiores vel ab ipsa remotiores. Qualiter autem iste ordo
propinquitatis sit possibilis patet ex prima rationei26 quae supra
fuit posita contra istam positionem in qua dicebatur quod
quemcumque ordinem realem haberent aliqua distincta realiter,
similem ordinem secundum rationem habent ubi sunt distincta
tantum secundum rationem. Nunc autem, si realiter essent
distincta personalia ab essentialibus, et essentialia inter se
haberent ordinem in consequendo ipsam essentiam, ergo si sint
distincta ratione, habent talem ordinem secundum rationem.
118 Minor probatur. Primo, comparando essentialia sive
perfectiones simpliciter inter se. Si realiter distinguerentur
natura immaterialis perfecta et intellectus perfectus et illud per
quod intellectus habet obiectum proportionatum sibi praesens et
ipse actus intelligendi, et ultra etiam esset alius actus circa
obiectum primarium et alius actus circa obiecta secundaria
virtualiter contenta in obiecto primario, esset inter ista talis ordo
realis quod essentia immaterialis perfecta esset prior realiter

i45 Cf. supra n. 7.

Cf. supra n. 62, 111.
Prologue, Question One 44

assigned notions other than that of deity; therefore etc. The minor
is evident, for each such notion, if it were really distinct, would be
really an accident of what is assigned as the primary notion.
Proof of the major. Either the other notion is contingently in the
subject itself, or it is there necessarily. If contingently, therefore
it is not the notion that could be known scientifically of the
subject, because it is not known necessarily of the subject. If it is
necessarily in God, therefore it is knowable of the subject by
reason of what the subject means, and thus is not the first notion
of virtually knowing everything else about the subject, and
consequently is not a notion that is the first subject of the science.
117 [How the concepts of God are ordered] As for this article [n.
7] I say that there is an order among notions under which God is
conceivable, such that the notion of the essence is absolutely first
and the rest that follow are either prior or posterior to one
another depending upon whether they are closer to this notion or
more remote from it. But just how this order of propinquity is
possible is evident from the first argument [n. 62, 111] that was
proposed against this position where it was said that whatever
real order things would have that are really distinct, a similar
conceptual order would they have where they are only
conceptually distinct. Now, however, if the personal
characteristics were really distinct from those that are essential,
and the essential attributes would have an order as they follow
from the essence itself, then if these characteristics are
conceptually distinct, they have this conceptual order.
118 The minor is proved,i03 first by comparing essentials or pure
perfections among themselves. Let us suppose that the perfect
immaterial nature, the perfect intellect, that through which the
intellect has a proportionate object present to itself, and the act of
understanding itself were really distinguished. And, besides
these, suppose that there were one act about the primary object
and another about the secondary objects that are virtually
contained in the primary object. Then the following real order
would obtain among them: the perfect immaterial essence would

i03 The minor, viz. "now however, if the personal chacteristics were really
distinct from those that are essential, and the essential attributes would have an
order as they follow from the essence itself."
45 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

intellectu perfecto, et intellectus perfectus prior realiter illa

ratione repraesentante obiectum, et ratio ista repraesentans prior
actu intelligendi obiectum, et actus intelligent obiectum
primarium prior realiter actu intelligendi obiectum secundarium.
Et ista propositio esset propter quid: "Habens naturam
immaterialem perfectam habet intellectualitatem perfectam", et
haec esset propter quid: "Intellectuale perfectum potest habere
rationem sibi repraesentantem perfecte obiectum proportiona-
tum", et iterum haec esset propter quid: "Intellectus perfectus
habens obiectum sibi proportionatum perfecte praesens intelligit
nisi impediatur", et haec propter quid: "Intellectus intelligens
obiectum primarium potest intelligere obiectum secundarium
virtualiter contentum in primo", ita quod ex quibuscumque
duabus propositionibus praedictis posset fieri demonstratio
propter quid ad concludendum extremum de extremo.127
120 Consimiliter etiam potest argui ex parte obiectorum quae
respiciunt intellectum et voluntatem, quia est ens immateriale
perfectum, ideo natum est esse obiectum intellectus proportionati
et ulterius movere ipsum ad actum circa ipsum, et ulterius, quia
ad actum circa ipsum, ideo ad actum circa obiectum secundarium
quod virtualiter continetur in ipso.

127 V addit (cf. Add. M.): Consimiliter de natura et voluntate et de actu

volendi primarium obiectum et secundarium. [n. 119] Consimiliter, licet non sit
ita manifestum, potest argui de quibuscumque aliis intrinsecis ipsi Deo, puta si
distinguerentur realiter infinitas, simplicitas, immutabilitas, aeternitas, sive
necessitas essendi. Videtur enim infinitas omnino prima, et quae dicit modum
essentiae, quemadmodum et in creaturis nec sic se habet finitas sicut aliqua
passio addita essentiae, sed dicit gradum intrinsecum vel limitationem naturae
in se. Aliter enim intrinseca est naturae humanae finitas vel limitatio quam
sapientia, immo videtur aliter quam intellectus et voluntas, quia non est
intelligibile aliquid habere aliquam entitatem quin statim illa intrinsece vel sit
finita vel infinita. Hanc infinitatem videtur sequi ordine reali simplicitas, quia
quodlibet quod est infinitum est incomponibile alteri. Hanc simiplicitatem videtur
sequi immutabilitas, quia quod simplex est caret motu, vel corrumpi non potest.
Et ex hac videtur sequi necessitas essendi sive aeternitas, quia excludit omnem
potentialitatem vel possibilitatem.
Prologue, Question One 45

be really prior to the perfect intellect, and the perfect intellect

really prior to the representation of its object, and this
representation would be [really] prior to the act of understanding
the object, and the act of understanding the primary object would
be really prior to the act of understanding the secondary object.
And this would be a statement of the reasoned* fact: "One having
a perfect immaterial nature has perfect intellectuality." And this
would be a reasoned fact: "what is perfectly intellectual can have
a notion that represents perfectly an object proportionate to
itself." And again this would be a reasoned fact: "A perfect
intellect having an object proportionate to itself perfectly present
understands unless impeded." And this is a reasoned fact: "An
intellect understanding a primary object can understand a
secondary object virtually contained in the primary object," so
that from any two of the aforesaid propositions there could be a
demonstration* of the reasoned fact to conclude one term from
120 Similarly one could argue on the part of objects that relate
to the intellect and the will. Because [God] is perfect immaterial
being, therefore something suited by nature to be an object of a
proportioned intellect and what is more, to move that intellect to
an act about itself, and further because this is an act about itself,
therefore it can move the intellect to an act about a secondary
object virtually contained in it.

t04 V adds (Cf. Add. Af.): We could argue in a similar way about nature and
will, and about the act of willing the primary and the secondary object, [n. 119]
Similarly, although it is not so manifest, one could argue about whatever other
characteristics intrinsic to Godfor example, infinity, simplicity, immutability,
eternity, or the necessity* of beingwhether they are really distinguished. For it
seems that infinity is undoubtedly primary, and infinity is an [intrinsic] mode of
essence; in the same way, finitude in creatures is not like some attribute added to
the essence, but is an intrinsic grade or limitation of nature in itself. For the
finitude or limitation of human nature is intrinsic in another way than wisdom,
indeed, it is [intrinsic] in another way than the intellect and will, because it is not
thinkable that something should have some entity without it being at once
intrinsically either finite or infinite. This infinity seems to be followed by
simplicity in the real order, because whatever is infinite is incompatible with
another. This simplicity seems to be followed by immutability, because what is
simple cannot be moved or corrupted. And from immutability the necessity of
being, or eternity, seems to follow, because it excludes all potentiality or
46 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

121 Secundo propositum potest declarari de ordine perfectionum

simpliciter ad actus notionales et proprietates personales. Si ita
different realiter memoria perfecta quae scilicet includit
intellectum et obiectum sibi praesens actus intellectus vel
intelligentiae, et actus exprimendi notitiam declarativam istius
obiecti qui est dicere, et ipsa notitia producta per actum dicendi,
quae dicitur verbum, esset ibi simpliciter ordo realis quod
memoria in actu perfecto esset ibi primum, dicere secundum,
verbum tertium. Et quia memoria est perfecta, ideo est dictiva, et
quia dictiva, ideo verbum producitur.
122 Consimiliter arguitur de voluntate et de spiratione et de
termino spirationis, comparando etiam terminos productionum.
Igitur perfectiones simpliciter praecedunt actus notionales, et ipsi
actus terminos notionalium ad invicem. Quia actus intellectus est
praevius actui voluntatis, ideo dictio est prior spiratione, et ultra,
ideo verbo dicto communicatur principium spirandi in ratione
principii. Nam ut communicatur verbo per generationem non
praeintelligitur habere verbum adaequatum.
123 Ulterius etiam, quia producta ista distincta sunt simpliciter
idem uni et eidem naturae, ideo est inter ista perfecta identitas.
Propter idem etiam quia habent eandem magnitudinem illius
naturae, puta infinitatem, ideo est inter illa perfecta aequalitas.
Prologue, Question One 46

121 [Essential and Personal Properties] Secondly one can

declare the proposal about the order of simple or unqualified
perfections regarding notional acts and personal properties. If
these differed really: perfect memory,105 which includes the
intellect and the object of the intellectual act presenting itself,
and the act of expressing the declarative* knowledge of this object
which is to speak, and that knowledge produced by the act of
speaking, which is called the Word, there would be there the
simply real order: the memory in a perfect act would be there
first, and to speak second, and the Word third. And because the
memory is perfect therefore it is speaking and because it is
speaking, the Word is produced.
122 Similarly one could argue about the will and about
spiration* and the term of spiration, by comparing also the terms
of producing. Therefore the pure perfections precede the notional
acts and these acts, in their turn, precede the notional terms.
Because the act of the intellect is prior to that of the will,
therefore speaking [the Word] is prior to spirating [the Holy
Spirit] and furthermore, for this reason to the spoken Word the
principle of spirating is communicated in its role as a principle.
For as it is communicated to the Word by generation,* it is not
presupposed to have an adequate word.106
123 [How properties are demonstrated of God] Also further,
because these distinct products107 are simply the same as to their
one and the same nature, therefore there is among them a perfect
identity. Moreover, for the same reason, because they have the
same magnitude* as that nature, such as infinity, there is perfect

"l'' The perfect memory of the Father is what generates the Son or speaks
the Word. Cf. above, n. 83, note four.
10l: Scotus seems to be arguing here that the Father possessed the principle
of spiration by reason of what he is and not because he has spoken the Word.
Possessing the principle himself he can share it with the Word he is generating
by speaking. Although spiration presupposed the generation of the Word, since
the Word shares with the Father active spiration. the communication of active
spiration by generation does not presuppose having an adequate Word, since
having an adequate Word is only presupposed for exercising the principle of
active spiration to produce the Holy Spirit.
107 Product refers to the three divine persons and active spiration (see
Glossary, under "productions"). These are all constituted by their opposite
relationships and not by something absolute. What they have as absolute is the
identical one divine nature and hence they are all one God.
47 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

Quia etiam habent proprietates illius naturae easdem, ideo est

inter ista perfecta similitudo. Et quarto est ordo notionalium ad
relationes communes. Et sic patet quod semper per priora
tamquam per causas propter quid possent sciri posteriora. Igitur
est huiusmodi ordo eorum secundum rationem qualis esset si
realiter, ut dictum est, essent inter se distincta.
124 Item, hic secundo arguitur sic. In demonstrationibus quia et
propter quid de eodem videtur esse ordo contrarius. Nam in
demonstratione quia prius concluduntur quae sunt propinquiora
effectui a quo arguitur, ista autem videntur esse remotiora a
causa per se. Econverso autem in demonstratione simpliciter et
propter quid prius concluduntur illa quae sunt propinquiora ipsi
causae, et ultimo concluditur de effectu remoto. Igitur si aliqua
conveniunt alicui causae quae statim possunt concludi ex
effectibus et alia quae non possunt, ista non videntur habere
eundem ordinem nec aeque immediatum ad talem causam. Nunc
autem possunt concludi de eorum effectibus aliqua, sicut patet
XII Metaphysicaei28 et patebit inferius in multis quaestionibus de
Deo, aliqua autem non possunt concludi ex effectibus, sicut
veritates mere theologicae. Igitur et haec et illa secundum
ordinem mere insunt Deo.
125 Et confirmatur ista ratio. Quia non aeque immediate et
absque omni ordine insunt ista alicui subiecto, quae nota sunt de
ipso etiam imperfecte et confuse concepto; et illa quae non
possunt esse nota de ipso nisi concepto eo sub ratione propria
essentiae suae. Aliqua sunt cognoscibilia de Deo confuse cognito
vel concepto sicut potest cognosci ex creaturis, alia non possunt de
Deo cognosci nisi eo distincte cognito sub ratione essentiae
huiusmodi et sub ratione propriae essentiae, igitur etc.

m E.g., Aristot, Metaph. XII (A), c. 7 (1073a 3-12); cf. ibid., c. 8-10.
Prologue, Question One 47

equality among them. Also because they have the same properties
of that nature, there is a perfect likeness among them. And fourth
there is the order of the notionalsi08 in respect to the common
relations.* And thus it is evident that always through the prior as
through causes of the reasoned fact what is posterior can be
known scientifically. Therefore there is such a conceptual order
among them as there would be a real order if they were really
distinct from one another, as was said.
124 Also here secondly it is argued this way. In demonstrations*
of the simple* fact and the reasoned fact about the same thing
there is an inverse order. For in demonstrations of the simple fact
one infers first those things that are closer to the effect from
which one argues; these, however, seem to be more remote from
the cause itself. Conversely however in a demonstration that is
unqualified and of the reasoned fact, those things are first
inferred which are closer to the cause itself, and lastly inferred
are the remote effects. Therefore, if there pertains to some cause
something that can be inferred immediately from its effect,
whereas another thing cannot be immediately inferred, these two
do not seem to have the same order nor are they equally
immediate to such a cause. Now however some things can be
concluded [about it] from the effects, as is evident from Bk. XII of
the Metaphysics and will be made evident in many questions
about God,i09 but some cannot be inferred from the effects, such
as truths which are exclusively theological. Therefore both sorts
are merely present in God only according to the order.
125 This argument is confirmed, because [the two types of
things] are not equally immediately and without any order
present to some subject: those which are known of it even when it
is conceived imperfectly and in a confused* way; and those which
cannot be known of it except if it is conceived under the proper
concept of its essence. Some things are knowable about God in a
confused way, as it is possible to know from creatures, other
[things] can only be known about God distinctly* under the

i08 The notionals (see Glossary) are proper relations, not common to all three
persons; the latter presuppose the former.
i09 See, e.g., the proofs for the existence and nature of God in Ordinatio I,
dist. 2, q 1 & 3; De primo principio, ch. 3-4.
48 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I -A

126 Sed contra ista arguitur. Videtur enim quod ista secunda
ratio129 et prima130 concludunt duo opposita. Nam in prima
deductum est quod essentialia sunt priora personalibus, ista
autem secunda ratio videtur concludere oppositum. Nam per
demonstrationem quia non cognoscimus de Deo notionalia,
cognoscimus tamen essentialia. Essentialia autem cognoscimus
de Deo confuse concepto,131 personalia autem non cognoscimus de
Deo nisi distincte concepto.132 Illud autem est immediatius
causae, quod non potest cognosci per demonstrationem quia,133
quam illud quod potest. Similiter illud videtur prius in Deo quod
competit primo huic essentiae, ut est haec, quam quod competit ei
secundum aliquem conceptum imperfectum.
127 Pro conclusione autem primae rationis134 videtur esse quod
perfectio simpliciter praecedit naturaliter illud quod non est
perfectio simpliciter. Sed proprietates illae sunt perfectiones
simpliciter, unde et quaelibet potest esse formaliter infinita.
Notionalia autem non sunt perfectiones simpliciter quia tunc
quodlibet eorum esset in qualibet persona. Nullum enim eorum,
scilicet notionalium, potest esse formaliter infinitum, ut
probabitur infra.135
128 Modo sic. Illud videtur immediatius naturae divinae quod
consequitur eam secundum se et per consequens ut est in
quolibet, etiam ut abstrahit a qualibet proprietate incom-
mununicabili, quam illud quod convenit ei praecise in uno ut
coniungitur determinatae proprietati incommunicabili. Primo
modo se habent perfectiones essentiales, secundo modo notiones
et proprietates personales.
129 Pro conclusione secundae rationis136 videtur istud, quod
supposita prius sunt in natura quam proprietates. Unde omnino
et immediate videtur se habere natura ad supposita quorum est
quiditas, et quasi accidentaliter se videtur habere natura ad

im Cf. supra n. 123-124.

130 Cf. supra n. 121-122.
l31 Cf. supra n. 125.
i-u Cf. supra n. 125.
131 Cf. supra n. 124.
134 Cf. supra n. 121-122.
13r' Cf. infra Dist. 2, q. 3; Dist. 31, q. 1-3.
13 Cf. supra n. 123.
Prologue, Question One 48

notion of such an essence and under the notion of the essence

proper; therefore, etc.
126 [Some clarifications] But it is argued against this, for it
seems that this second reason [n. 123-124] and the first reason [n.
121-122] arrive at two opposite conclusions. For in the first it is
deduced that essentials are prior to personals, whereas the
second argument seems to conclude to the opposite. For through a
demonstration of simple fact we do not know the notionals about
God, nevertheless we know about the essentials. But the
essentials about God are conceived confusedly; [n. 125] the
personals however are not known of God except as distinctly
conceived, [n. 125] But what cannot be known through a
demonstration of the simple fact [n. 124] is more immediate to the
cause, than what can be known in this way. Similarly what seems
prior in God is that which pertains first to this essence qua this
rather than what pertains to it according to some imperfect
127 But from the conclusion of the first argument [n. 121-122] it
seems that a pure perfection naturally precedes what is not a
pure perfection. But those properties are pure perfections, hence
each can be formally infinite; the distinguishing marks [of a
divine person] however are not pure perfections, because then
each of them would exist in each person; for none of these
distinguishing marks can be formally infinite, as will be proved
later on.
128 Or in this way: what follows the divine nature according to
what it is in itself and consequently as it is in anythingalso as it
abstracts from every incommunicable* propertyseems more
immediate to it, than what is suited to it precisely in one [person]
where it is joined with a limited incommunicable property. The
essential perfections exist in the first way, the distinguishing
characteristics and personal properties [of a divine person] in the
second way.
129 From the conclusion of the second argument [n. 123] it
seems that the supposits [i.e. the persons] are prior in nature
than the properties [of the nature]. Hence it seems the nature is
entirely and immediately related to the supposits whose quiddity
it is, and the nature is quasi-accidentally related to the properties
49 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

proprietates tamquam ad quaedam quasi alterius generis. Patet

etiam in creaturis quod prius dictum est, quia species essentialius
respicit individuum quam propriam passionem.

[Solutio propria Scoti]

130 Ad quaestionem patet ex dictis ex quibus potest formari

talis ratio: Illud sub ratione essentiae potest esse primum
obiectum alicuius scientiae cuius essentia est ratio prima
virtualiter continendi veritates necessarias habentes evidentiam
ordinatam. Sed Deus est huiusmodi obiectum, ergo etc. Maior est
patens ex declaratis in secundo et tertio articulo. Minor autem
patet ex dictis in tertio et quarto articulo.

[Ad argumenta principalia]

131 Ad primam rationem principalem137 quando dicitur "Omne

scibile de quocumque subiecto habet per se conceptum alium a
conceptu subiecti" concedo istam maiorem quae declarata est in
corollario primi articuli. Nego autem minorem quae dicit quod
nihil cognoscibile de Deo habet conceptum alium per se a
conceptu Dei.
132 Ad probationem eius dico quod illis pluribus conceptibus
potest correspondere una res extra quae potest in se virtualiter
continere tales plures conceptus et per consequens de ipsa per
intellectum possunt actualiter explicari.
133 Et cum ulterius dicitur138 quod una res habet unum
conceptum adaequatum, concedo unum conceptum quiditativum
qui est eius omnino, id est secundum se. Sed praeter hoc potest
virtualiter continere conceptus plures quasi denominativos, sicut
ipsa essentia ex natura rei virtualiter contineret plures vel
multas proprietates consequentes ipsam si possent distingui
realiter ab ipsa. Igitur essentia ita potest virtualiter continere
plures conceptus quasi conceptus denominativos qui possunt ab
intellectu distingui a conceptu quiditativo, et hoc est praecipue si

Cf. supra n. 1.
13H Cf. supra n. 3.
Prologue, Question One 49

as to things of a quasi-different kind. What was said earlier is

also evident in creatures, because the species regards the
individual more essentially than it regards its proper attribute.

Scotus's final answer to the Question

130 To the question it is evident from what has been said that
one could formulate an argument of this sort. That whose essence
is the first characteristic that virtually contains necessary truths
having an ordered evidence under the aspect of essence can be
the first object of some science. But God is such an object,
therefore etc. The major is evident from what was declared in the
second and third article. The Minor is clear from what was said in
the third and fourth articles.

Reply to the Initial Arguments

131 To the first initial argument [n. 1] when it is said

"everything knowable of any subject has a per se concept other
than the concept of the subject." I concede this major, which is
stated in the corollary to the first article. But I deny the minor
which says that nothing knowable about God has a concept other
per se than a concept of God.
132 To the proof for this I say that those several concepts can
correspond to one thing extra-mentally which can in itself
virtually contain several concepts of this sort and consequently
the intellect can actually spread them out and relate them to the
133 And when it is said further [n. 3] that one thing has one
adequate concept, I concede that one concept is quidditative
which expresses what it is absolutely, as it is in itself. But besides
this a thing can virtually contain several concepts that are. as it
were, derivative, just as the essence itself by its nature as a real
thing could virtually contain several or many properties that
follow from it, if they could be distinguished really from it.
Therefore the essence in this fashion can virtually contain several
concepts that are, as it were, derivative, which can be
distinguished from the quidditative concept by the intellect. And
50 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

illi conceptus sint tantum distincti secundum relationem rationis

mutuo se respicientes, sicut tactum est in tertio articulo.139
134 Forte posset poni aliqua distinctio maior istorum
conceptuum quam per relationes rationis mutuas, et adhuc
possunt virtualiter contineri in illa essentia et per intellectum
actualiter explicari. Sed de hoc alias dicetur in quaestione de
attributis. Si dicatur quod tunc illi conceptus erunt ficticii et vani,
respondeo quod non sequitur quia omnibus illis conceptibus
correspondet unum obiectum reale et quod in omnibus illis
concipitur, licet sub alia et alia ratione. Nec istae rationes vel
conceptus sunt vani quia continentur in illa divina essentia sub
ipsis. Vel si illi conceptus non distinguantur praecise per
relationes rationis, tunc in omnibus illis concipitur unum
obiectum quasi materiale, sed simul correspondent distincta
obiecta formalia per se terminantia ipsos. Quae tamen obiecta
formalia virtualiter continentur in illo quasi materiali extra.
135 Ad secundam rationem140 quando dicitur "Omne scibile de
aliquo subiecto scitur per medium quod notius inest subiecto
primo quam ipsum scitum", concedo istam maiorem. Et quando
additur in minori quod nihil potest sic cognosci de Deo, nego quia
in quarto articulo oppositum eius declaratur ubi ostensum est
qualiter illa quae conveniunt essentiae divinae habent ordinem
inter se et etiam in conveniendo ipsi essentiae.141 Nec est minus
scientia propter quid suo modo ex ordine istorum secundum
rationem quam esset si essent distincta realiter et haberent
ordinem realem, ut frequenter dictum est, quia scientia propter
quid magis respicit ordinem cognoscibilium in cognoscibilitate
quam in esse et exsistentia extra.

m Cf. supra n. 86-87, 107.

140 Cf. supra n. 4.
141 Cf. supra n. 117ss.
Prologue, Question One 50

this is especially the case if those concepts are only distinct as

conceptual relations that are correlatives, as was treated in the
third article, [n. 86-87, 107]
134 Perhaps some greater distinction could be made about those
concepts than the one of conceptual correlative notions, and yet
they could be contained virtually in that essence and be actually
explained by the intellect. But more about this will be said in the
question about the attributes.110 If it be said that then these
concepts would be fictitious and vain, I reply that this does not
follow, because to all of these concepts there corresponds one real
object, and that in all of these it is conceived, although under one
or another aspect. Nor are these notions or concepts vain, because
they are contained in that divine essence under these [different
aspects]. Or if these concepts are not distinguished precisely by
conceptual relations, then in all of them one quasi material object
is conceived of, but at the same time distinct formal objects
corresponds to them per se as their referents. But these formal
objects are virtually contained in that quasi material object
outside the mind.
135 To the .second argument, [n. 4] when it says "Every thing
scientifically knowable about any subject is known scientifically
by means of some middle term present in that first subject that is
more knowable than what is known scientifically." I concede this
major. And when it is added in the minor that nothing can be
known in this way about God, I deny this, for in the fourth article
the opposite is made clear where it is shown in what manner
these things that pertain to the divine essence have an order
among themselves, as well as in the way they pertain to the
essence itself, [n. 117ff] Nor is the science to any lesser degree a
knowledge of the reasoned fact because it stems from a
conceptual order they have, than it would be if they were really
distinct and had a real order, as was frequently stated. For a
science of the reasoned fact refers more to the order in which they
can be known than to how they are in their being and extra-
mental existence.

1,0 Scotus alludes here to the formal distinction a parte rei that exists,
among other things, between the attributes of God
51 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I -A

136 Ad auctoritatem Augustini142 quando dicit quod "quidquid

intelligibile est atque incommutabile, non est aliud alio verius",
dico quod vult ibi quod tres personae non sunt verius quam una,
et ex hoc infert quod non aliquid magis vel verius est. Et hoc
verum est loquendo de maioritate reali. Tamen in duabus
personis potest intellectus habere plures rationes considerabiles
quam in una persona, et per consequens plures conceptus
formales, licet non realiter plures realitate absoluta, sed bene
plures realitate relativa, et multo plures secundum relationem
rationis, quia proprietas personalis est formaliter intellectualis.
Loquitur ergo de veritate reali quae proportionatur entitati rei
extra, non autem de veritate quae competit alicui secundum esse
rationis sive secundum esse quod habet in intellectu.
137 Ad tertiam rationem143 quando dicitur quod de subiecto
demonstrationis oportet scire quid est, dico quod quid est
limitatum, quale exprimitur per definitionem, non est ipsius Dei,
quia nihil est in ipso limitans vel determinans ipsum esse. Et hoc
modo Avicenna negaret a Deo quid est. Tamen generaliter
loquendo prout quiditas convertitur cum essentia, verissime
quiditas est in Deo sicut essentia, sicut patet ex Augustino, VII
De Trinitate, cap. 32:144 "Essentia vere et proprie dicitur ita ut
solum Deum dici essentiam oporteat. "
138 Quamvis autem de subiecto scientiae philosophicae
aliquotiens praecognoscatur quid est primo modo, scilicet
expressibile per definitionem quale est in creaturis, tamen hoc
non est simpliciter semper necessarium. Quia si ens ponatur
primum subiectum in aliqua scientia, puta in metaphysica, ipsum
tamen ens non habet tale quid. Sed sufficit ad hoc quod aliquid sit
subiectum in aliqua scientia, sive philosophica sive theologica
sicut est in proposito, quod essentia subiecti de se sit ratio
cognoscendi omnia alia de Deo.

142 Cf. supra n. 4.

143 Cf. supra n. 5.
144 August., De Trin. VII, c. 5, n. 10 (CCSL 50, 261; PL 42, 942).
Prologue, Question One 51

136 To the authority of Augustine [n. 4] when he says that "in

regard to whatever is intelligible and also unchangeable, one
thing is no less true than another," I say that he intended there to
indicate that three persons are not more true than one, and from
this he infers that no one thing is greater or more true. And this
is true, speaking of 'being greater' or 'more' really. But in two
persons the intellect can have more formal aspects it is able to
consider than in one person, and as a consequence more formal
concepts, although they are not really more numerous by virtue of
any absolute reality, but rather by virtue of [some] relative
reality, and much more numerous by virtue of conceptual
relations, because the personal property is formally intellectual.
Therefore it is spoken of a real truth that corresponds to extra-
mental entities, not about the truth which pertains to something
according to a conceptual notion or according to the being it has
in the intellect.
137 To the third argument, [n. 5] when it is said that about the
subject of a demonstration one must know what it is, I say that
the 'what it is' in a limited sense, as what is expressed through
the definition, does not pertain to God in himself, because nothing
in him limits or defines his being. And in this way Avicenna
would deny that God has a quiddity. Nevertheless speaking
generally in so far as quiddity is convertible with essence, it is
true that there is a quiddity in God just as there is an essence, as
is clear from Augustine in Bk. VII of The Trinity, chapter 32:iii
"Essence is what he is truly and properly called, so that only God
should be called essence."
138 Although in a philosophical science it is sometimes known
what the subject is in the first mode* [of per se predication],
namely what is expressible in a definition as is the case with
creatures, however this is simply not always necessary. Because if
'being' [ens] is posited as the first subject in some science, for
instance, metaphysics, 'being' has no such quiddity. It suffices,
however, for something to be a subject of some sciencewhether
philosophical or theological, as is the case in our proposalthat
the essence of the subject of itself be a reason for knowing all
other things about God.

iii Augustine, The Trinity VII, ch. 5 (PL 42, 942).

52 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

[Quaestio 2
Utrum veritates per se scibiles de Deo sub ratione deitatis
possint sciri ab intellectu viatoris]

Secundo quaeritur utrum veritates per se scibiles de Deo sub

ratione Deitatis possint sciri ab intellectu viatoris.
139 Quod sic. 1 Ad Cor. 12 Apostolus distinguit donum scientiae
contra donum fidei et alia dona quae ibi enumerantur. Sed qui
habet donum scientiae de divinis ut distinguitur contra donum
fidei scit veritates per se scibiles de Deo sub ratione Deitatis.
Quomodo est possibile viatorem habere donum scientiae ut
distinguitur contra fidem, ergo etc. Minor probatur per
Augustinum, XIV De Trinitate, cap. 4:145 ubi dicit Apostolum
appropriate fuisse locutum de scientia ut distinguitur contra
140 Item secundo sic. Scientia est habitus simpliciter perfectior
quocumque habitu cognitivo qui non est scientia, et hoc prout
includit, communiter loquendo de ea, habitum sapientiae. Ergo si
viator non posset habere scientiam de Deo sub ratione Deitatis,
haberet respectu Deitatis aliquem habitum imperfectiorem ipsa
scientia. Quod est falsum, cum sit perfectio portionis superioris,
secundum Augustinum XII De Trinitate,146 quia est circa divina,
ergo etc.
141 Item tertio sic. Lumen naturale sufficit ad habendum
scientiam naturaliter acquisitam de obiecto naturali. Ergo cum
lumen supernaturale non sit imperfectius lumine naturali, poterit
intellectus viatoris in lumine supernaturali habere scientiam de
obiecto supernaturali, ergo etc.
142 Item, ubi est notitia cum certitudine, ibi est maior ratio
scientiae quia certitudo est per se condicio scientiae. Ergo illa
notitia quae est magis certa, magis habet rationem scientiae. Sed
minus contingit aliquem theologum dubitare de aliqua veritate
sibi revelata a Deo quam de veritate apprehensa lumine naturali,
quia ibi contingit intellectum falli iudicando de re apprehensa in
lumine naturali, ergo etc.

145 August., De Trin. XIV, c. 1, n. 3 (CCSL 50A, 423; PL 42, 1037).

""! August., De Trin. XII, c. 7, n. 10 (CCSL 50, 364-5; PL 42, 1003).
Prologue, Question Two 52

Question Two
Can truths that are knowable per se of God as deity be
known by the intellect of the pilgrim?

Secondly it is asked whether truths knowable per se of God under

the aspect of deity can be known by the intellect of one in this life.
139 That they can: In the first epistle to the Corinthiansii2 the
Apostle distinguishes the gift of science from the gift of faith and
other gifts which he acknowledges; but who has the gift of divine
science, as this is distinguished from the gift of faith, knows
truths that are knowable per se of God under the aspect of deity;
therefore it is possible for the pilgrim* to have the gift of science
as distinguished from faith. The minor is proved from Augustine,
The Trinity Bk. XIV, ch. 4 where he says the Apostle appro
priately has been speaking of science as distinguished from faith.
140 Also secondly in this way. Scientific knowledge is a habit
that is simply more perfect than any other cognitive habit that is
not science, and this insofar as this term, commonly speaking,
includes the habit of wisdom. Therefore, if the pilgrim could not
have scientific knowledge of God under the aspect of deity, what
he knew of God as deity would be through a habit less perfect
than this science. This is false, since it is the perfection of the
superior portion [of the mind], according to Augustine in The
Trinity Bk. XII, because it is about the divine; therefore etc.
141 Also, thirdly in this fashion. The natural light [of reason]
suffices to have naturally acquired knowledge of natural objects.
Therefore, since the supernatural light is not less perfect than
natural light, the intellect of the pilgrim enlightened by the
supernatural light could have knowledge of a supernatural object;
therefore etc.
142 Also, where there is knowledge with certainty, there is more
reason for it being called science, because certitude is a condition
for it being science. Therefore, it is the knowledge that is most
certain that has a greater reason for it being called science. But it
is less fitting for a theologian to doubt about some truth revealed
to him by God than to doubt about a truth apprehended by the

I Cor. 12:8.
53 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

143 Sed contra. Apostolus 2 Ad Cor. 5: "Dum sumus in corpore,

peregrinamur a domino. Per fidem enim ambulamus et non per
speciem". Glossa:147 "Modo tantum per fidem illuminamur, non
per speciem".
144 Item, impossibile est ex principiis opinatis sequi nisi
conclusionem opinatam, ergo nec ex principiis creditis nisi fidem
vel conclusionem creditam, quia conclusionis certitudo non
excedit certitudinem principiorum, cum eius certitudo sit mediata
ex principiis.

[Opinio Thomae]

145 Hic dicunt quidam148 quod de Deo sub ratione Deitatis

potest a nobis haberi scientia, subalternata tamen scientiae
beatorum. Et ideo non oportet quod principia huius scientiae
sciantur in hac scientia, sed tantum credantur in hac scientia et
sciantur in scientia beatorum.
146 Haec opinio innititur et rationi et uni auctoritati:
Prima ratio est ista. Scientia subalternata inquantum talis
est scientia, sed inquantum subalternata supponit sua principia
in superiori scientia manifesta et declarata et sibi credita. Ergo
non est contra rationem scientiae quod principia sua sibi sint
tantum credita.
147 Item, perspectiva inquantum talis est scientia, et per
spective inquantum talis est sciens. Sed inquantum talis non est
geometer quia supponit principia sua quae in geometria sunt
demonstrata. Ergo potest quis esse perspectivus, licet non sciens
sua principia per demonstrationem.
148 Item per auctoritatem Philosophi VI Ethicorum, cap. 4149 ubi
Philosophus vult quod ad scientiam habendam sufficit quod
principia sint aliqualiter nota. Ubi etiam dicit Commentator quod
principia fiunt nobis nota per inductionem. Ergo non oportet ad
habendam scientiam de aliquo, necessario scire principia per

H7 Petrus Lombardus, Collectanea in epistulas Pauli (PL 192, 39).

148 Thomas Aquinas, STh. I, q. 2, a. 2 resp.
149 Aristot., Eth. Nic. VI, c. 6 (11406 34-5).
Prologue, Question Two 53

natural light of the mind, since there the intellect can be deceived
about something grasped by its natural light; therefore etc.
143 But to the contrary: the Apostle in the Second Letter to the
Corinthians 5:ii3 "We know that while we dwell in the body we
are away from the Lord. We walk by faith, not by sight." Glossa:
"Now, however, we are illumined by faith, not by sight."
144 Also it is impossible that from premises based on opinion
any conclusion should follow, other than opinion; therefore
neither can anything other than faith or some conclusion based
on it follow from premises that are believed, because the certitude
of the conclusion does not exceed that begged from premises.

The opinion of Aquinas

145 Here, certain ones say that about God under the aspect of
deity knowledge that is subordinate to the knowledge of the
blessed is possible for us. And therefore, it is not necessary that
the premises of this science be known in the science itself, but
only that they be believed in that science and in the science of the
blessed they are known.
146 This opinion is supported by reason and by one authority.
The first reason is this. A subordinate* science in so far as it is
subordinate is still science; but insofar as it is subordinated, it
finds its principles in a higher science where these are evident
and enunciated and which are here believed. Therefore, it is not
against the idea of science that its principles are only believed.
147 Also, optics insofar as it is such is a [subordinate] science,
and an optician insofar as he is such knows scientifically. But
insofar as he is such he is not a geometrician, because he
presupposes principles of geometry where they are demonstrated.
Therefore one can be an optician, although he does not know his
principles by way of demonstration.
148 Also through the authority of the Philosopher, Ethics VI, ch.
4 where the Philosopher means that to have science it suffices
that the principles are in some way known. Also where the
Commentator says that principles become known to us through

"3 2 Cor. 5:7-8.

54 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

149 Contra istam opinionem arguo sic. Iste doctor dicit in uno
loco quod scientia non stat cum fide respectu eiusdem obiecti ita
quod idem obiectum simul et semel non potest esse scitum et
creditum. Sed ista scientia ut subalternata scientiae beatorum
stat cum fide quia de suis principiis non habet nisi fidem. Ergo
non est scientia, quod est contra eum.
150 Item, de Deo non potest esse nisi unica scientia sub ratione
deitatis quae extendit se ad omnia per se scibilia de eo. Ergo nulla
potest esse scientia subalternata. Probatio antecedentis.
Quaecumque continentur virtualiter in aliquo subiecto, primo
pertinent ad illam scientiam quae considerat subiectum illud sub
illa ratione sub qua omnia illa virtualiter continentur. Sed omnia
per se cognoscibilia de Deo continentur in ipso virtualiter sub
ratione deitatis. Ergo de Deo sub illa ratione non est nisi ista
scientia unica. Sed constat quod theologia quam nos habemus non
est de Deo nisi sub ratione deitatis in se; ergo etc.
151 Item, scientia subalternans et subalternata non sunt primo
de eisdem veritatibus praecise nec conclusionibus scitis quia
conclusiones scientiae subalternantis sunt principia subalter-
natae. Sed theologia nostra est primo de eisdem de quibus est
scientia beatorum, licet forte non de omnibus illis. Sed hoc non
facit quod ei subalternetur. Si enim unus sciat decem libros
geometriae et alius quinque, non propter hoc scientia scientis
quinque subalternatur scientiae scientis decem. Similiter est in
proposito, ut quod Deus est trinus et unus, et aliis convenientibus
illi Deitati inquantum Deitas. Ergo haec scientia nostra non est
subalternata scentiae Dei et beatorum.
152 Item, scientia non dependet ab aliquo essentialiter ut a
causa nisi ab obiecto et ab intellectu, vel saltem ab illis quae
habent causalitatem respectu eius essentialiter. Sed notitia beati
quam habet de Deo trino et uno non est causa essentialiter
Prologue, Question Two 54

induction. Therefore, to have science it is not necessary to know

principles through demonstration.
149 Against this opinion I argue in this way. This doctor says in
one place that as regards the same object science does not coexist
with faith, so that the same object cannot be at one and the same
time both scientifically known and believed. But this science as
subordinated to the science of the blessed does coexist with faith,
because so far as its principles are concerned it is had only on
faith. Therefore, it is not sciencewhich goes against what he
150 Also about God there can only be a single science under the
aspect of deity, which extends itself to all that is per se knowable
about him. Therefore, there can be no subordinate science. Proof
of the antecedent. Whatever is contained virtually in any subject
pertains to that science that considers that subject under that
aspect under which all is virtually contained. But everything that
is knowable per se about God is contained virtually under the
aspect of deity. Therefore, about God under this notion [of deity]
there is only that one science. But it is clear that the theology we
have is about God only under the notion of deity in itself;
therefore, etc.
151 Also, the science above and the subordinated science are not
primarily about precisely the same truths and conclusions that
are known, because the conclusions of the higher science are the
principles of the subordinate science. But our theology is
primarily about the same things as is the science of the blessed,
although perhaps not about all of these truths. But this does not
make it subordinate to that blessed science. For if one knows ten
books of geometry and another knows five, this does not make the
science of five subordinate to that of ten. The case here is similar,
as for instance of God being one and being triune, and in other
things that concern this deity qua deity. Therefore, this science of
ours is not subordinate to the science of God and the blessed.
152 Also, one science does not depend essentially upon another
as its cause unless it depends upon it for its object and for its
understanding [of this object], or at least for those things exerting
a causal influence on it essentially. But the knowledge which the
blessed have about God as both triune and one is not essentially a
55 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

theologiae nostrae, quia nec potentia intellectiva nostra nec

obiectum cognitum a nobis. Non enim cognosco eius notitiam ut
cognoscam Deum esse trinum. Ergo notitia beati non est aliqua
causa scientiae nostrae de Deo. Et sic scientia nostra non
dependet a scientia beati ut subalternata a subalternanti, et per
consequens non dicitur aliquis scire theologiam quia principia
eius sunt scita a beato. Immo esset simile ac si diceretur "Scio
geometriam, quia credo te sciente geometriam habere geo-
153 Item, omnis habens scientiam subalternantem stante illa
potest habere scientiam subalternatam, et econverso, habens
subalternatam potest habere, stante illa, scientiam subal
ternantem. Sed habens scientiam beatorum ut visionem de Deo
non potest habere fidem de Deo nec theologiam nostram. Ergo
haec non subalternatur illi. Prima pars maioris probatur. Quia si
habet subalternantem, habet principia et propter quid scientiae
subalternatae tamquam conclusionum, ergo potest scire ista
propter quid. Secunda pars maioris probatur. Quia sciens
subalternatam scientiam potest naturaliter scire subalternantem,
quia principia subalternantis sunt priora. Et in intelligibilibus
priora et confusa sunt nobis notiora et prius nota: secundum
Avicennam, I Metaphysicae,150 ens est nobis primo notum. In
sensibilibus econverso quia ibi posteriora sunt nobis magis nota.
Ergo habens hanc scientiam subaltearnatam de intelligibili potest
naturaliter habere scientiam subalternantem tamquam priorem
naturaliter. Sed hoc falsum est quia tunc idem esset viator et
154 Ad rationem primam istius opinionis dico quod scientia
subalternata habet aliqua principia quia ex151 quibus habet
evidentiam per experientiam. Sicut probat perspectivus per
experientiam quia: "Angulus incidentiae et reflexionis sunt
aequales". Et in omnibus de quibus habemus scientiam per
experientiam primo cognoscimus quia quam propter quid. Unde

150 Cf. Avicenna, Metaph. I, c. 5 (AviL, 31-2); cf. Aristot., Physica I, c. 1 (184a
151 Melius lege: de quibus.
Prologue, Question Two 55

cause of our theology, because [their knowledge gives us] neither

our intellective power nor the object known to us. For I do not
rely on their knowledge in order to know God to be triune. Hence,
the knowledge of the blessed is not a cause of our science about
God. And thus our science does not depend upon the science of
the blessed as subordinate upon a superior science, and no one is
said to know theology because its principles are known
scientifically by the blessed. Indeed it would be similar if one
were to claim: "I know geometry because I believe that, by virtue
of you knowing geometry, I possess the science of geometry."
153 Also, everyone having the knowledge of the superior science
can know the subordinate science as well, and conversely, one
knowing the subordinate science can have one's knowledge of the
superior science. But one having the knowledge of the blessed as
a vision of God cannot have merely a knowledge of God by faith or
have our theology. Therefore, our theology is not subordinated to
that of the blessed. The first part of the major is proved. For if one
has the superior science, he has principles whereby he can reason
to the conclusions of the subordinate science, and therefore can
know these as reasoned facts. The second part of the major is
proved, because one knowing the subordinate science can
naturally know the superior science, for the principles of the
superior science are prior. And to us it is what is prior and
confused about intelligibles that is more knowable and first
known: according to Avicenna in Bk. I of his Metaphysics, we first
know 'being'. In sense perceptibles the converse is true, because
there the posterior are more known to us. Therefore one who has
the subordinate science about intelligibles can naturally have the
knowledge of the superior science as naturally prior. But this is
false because then the same one could be both a pilgrim and one
who has come to the end [of life's journey].
154 As for the first argument for this opinion I say that the
subordinate science has some principles as simply known [quia]
for which it has evidence from experience. In this way the
optician through experience proves the simple fact: "The angle of
incident and of reflection are equal." And in everything about
which we have experiential science we first know the simple fact
before we know the reasoned fact. Hence many principles are
56 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

multa principia sunt nota perspectivo, de quibus tamen nescit

propter quid. Sed si sciantur aliqua alia principia in subalternata
quae non sunt nota per sensum et experientiam, oportet quod
sciat ea reducere in principia scientiae subalternantis propter
quid et demonstrationem, aliter non erit scientia. Illa ergo
scientia quae tantum supponit aliqua principia nec propter quid
nec per experientiam cognoscit illa, non est scientia.
155 Per hoc ad rationem primam.152 Cum dicitur quod sub
alternata inquantum talis est scientia, verum est non quia
tantum credit sua principia, sed quia novit per experientiam vel
quia novit ea reducere ad priora propter quid et demonstrationem
in scientia superiori.
156 Ad secundam153 dico quod licet perspectiva inquantum talis
sit scientia, huic tamen non est scientia nisi cognoscat modo
Et quando dicit quod perspectivus inquantum talis potest
esse non geometer, dicendum quod si non esset geometer, non
esset perfectus perspectivus. Et ideo perfectus perspectivus est
simpliciter sciens, nec distinguitur essentialiter a geometro nisi
ex cognitione quia per sensum et experientiam. Si autem
cognoscit propter quid, est geometer.
157 Ad auctoritatem Philosophi154 dico quod principia dupliciter
possunt esse nota. Uno modo notitia confusa, ut si termini
confuse apprehendantur per sensum et experientiam, et hoc
sufficit ad scientiam terminorum in scientia qualibet speciali, ut
quod linea sit longitudo ignorando utrum quiditas eius sit
substantia, quantitas vel qualitas etc. Alio modo possunt cognosci
notitia distincta sciendo ad quod genus pertinet quiditas eorum,
cum definitiones terminorum distincte cognoscuntur ex evidentia
terminorum, et hoc contingit per scientiam metaphysicalem
dividendo et componendo. Et sic omnes scientiae possunt dici sibi

152 Cf. supra n. 146.

153 Cf. supra n. 147.
ir'4 Cf. supra n. 148.
Prologue, Question Two 56

known by the optician, about which he has no knowledge of why

they are so. But if there were some other principles in the
subordinate science, which are not known through sense
perception and experience, it would be necessary to know how
they go back to principles in the superior science where they are
known as reasoned facts by demonstration; otherwise it [the
subordinate] would not be a science. Therefore that 'science'
which only presupposes some principles, but knows them neither
as reasoned facts nor as facts known through experience, is not a
155 As for the first argument, [n. 146] then, when it is said that
the subordinate science as such is science, this is true not because
it takes its first principles on faith, but because it knows them
from experience or because it knows how they can in fact be
traced back to prior reasoned facts demonstrated in the superior
156 To the second [n. 147] I say that although optics as such is a
science, but to him it is only a science if he knows in the aforesaid
way. And when it is said that the optician as such does not have
to be a geometer, it must be said that if he were not a geometer,
he would not be a perfect optician. And therefore the perfect
optician is one who knows in an unqualified sense, nor is he
distinguished essentially from a geometer except by virtue of
having knowledge of the simple fact through sense perception and
experience. But if he knows this as reasoned fact, he is a
157 To the authority of the Philosopher, [n. 148] I say that
principles can be known in two ways. One is by confused
knowledge,* as when terms are apprehended through the senses
and experience, and this suffices for scientific knowledge of the
terms in any special science, as [in knowing] that a line has
length, while being ignorant of whether its quiddity is substance,
quanity or quality, etc. Another way principles can be known is by
distinct* knowledge, knowing to what category their quiddity
pertains, with definitions of terms known distinctly from the
evidence of the terms themselves, and this happens through the
science of metaphysics through division* and composition.* And
in this way all sciences can be called subordinate, namely to
57 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

subalternatae, scilicet metaphysicae. Et ideo habita scientia

metaphysicae perfectius cognoscuntur principia cuiuslibet scien-
tiae quam nata sint cognosci in illa scientia per principia propria.
Et per consequens perfectius habetur quaelibet alia scientia
habita metaphysica.

[Opinio Henrici]

158 Alia opinio est quod a viatore potest haberi scientia de

veritatibus per se scibilibus de Deo sub ratione deitatis, non
tamen in lumine fidei nec gloriae, sed quodam lumine medio.155
Ad hoc adducunt plures auctoritates, maxime tamen illam
Augustini, XIV De Trinitate, cap. 1:156 "Huic scientiae est
tribuendum quo fides saluberrima gignitur, defenditur, nutritur
et roboratur, qua non pollent fideles plurimi, licet ipsa fide
polleant quam plurimi. Aliud enim est scire quid homo credere
debeat, et aliud quemadmodum hoc ipsum opituletur et contra
impios defendatur".
159 Item, Richardus, De Trinitate, libro 4, cap. 4, 157 dicit quod
non solum per fidem, sed rationibus necessariis veritates de Deo,
ut unitas essentiae et trinitas personarum, promittit se
160 Item, Anselmus, Monologion, 13. cap.,158 dicit quod "duo
opuscula mea", scilicet Monologion et Proslogion, "ad hoc feci ut
certa ratione, non auctoritate, quae ad Deum pertinent mani-
festarem". Quaere in textu.
161 Pro hac opinione sunt duae rationes. Prima est ista.
Cuiuscumque necessarii terminos naturaliter apprehendimus, et
illud possumus naturaliter cognoscere. Sed omnium ne-
cessariorum revelatorum terminos naturaliter cognoscimus, ergo
etc. Probatio maioris. Illa necessaria aut sunt mediata aut
immediata. Si immediata, ergo cognoscuntur terminis cognitis. Si
mediata, ergo cum naturaliter possumus cognoscere extrema,

|r'r' Henricus Gand., Quodl. 12, q. 2 (f. 485r).

ir'0 August., De Trin. XIV, c. 1, n. 3 (CCSL 50A, 424; PL 42, 1037).
157 Richardus de S. Victore, De Trin. I, c. 4 (ed. J. Ribaillier, TPMA VI, 89;
PL 196, 892).
ir'H Anselmus, Epistola de Incarnatione Verbi, c. 6 (ed. F.S. Schmitt II, 20).
Prologue, Question Two 57

metaphysics. And therefore, given the science of metaphysics,

principles of any science whatsoever are known more perfectly
than they are suited by nature to be known in that science
through its own proper principles. And as a consequence, another
science is known more perfectly if one knows metaphysics.

The opinion of Henry of Ghent

158 Another opinion is that a pilgrim can have knowledge of

truths about God that are knowable per se under the aspect of
deity, not however in the light of faith nor of glory, but in a kind
of intermediate light. To this they adduce several authorities,
especially that of Augustine in The Trinity Bk. XIV, ch. 1: "To this
science must be attributed that whereby the most wholesome
faith is begotten, nourished, protected and strengthened. Not
many of the faithful are exceedingly strong in this science,
although very many are exceedingly strong in the faith itself. For
it is one thing to know what a man must believe ... and another
thing to know how this may help the [godly] and how to defend
against the godless."
159 Also, Richard of St. Victor, The Trinity Bk. I, ch. 4 says that
it is not only through faith, but by necessary reasons that he
promises to show truths about God, such as unity of essence and
trinity of persons.
160 Also, Anselm De Incarnatione ch. 13 says: "I have made my
two small treatises," namely the Monologion and Proslogion, "in
order that I might manifest those things which pertain to God,
not by authority, but by certain reason." Look in the text.*
161 For this opinion there are two arguments: The first is this. If
we naturally apprehend the terms of any necessary [proposition]
whatsoever, we can also naturally know the [proposition] itself;
but of all necessary revealed [truths] we naturally know the
terms; therefore etc. Proof of the major. Those necessary [truths]
are either mediate or immediate. If immediate, therefore they are
known once their terms are known. If they are mediate, therefore
when we can naturally know the extremes, we can know the
middle terms between them. By joining the middle term with the
extremes, one either has premises that are mediate or immediate.
58 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

possumus cognoscere media inter illa. Coniungendo medium cum

extremis, aut habentur praemissae mediatae aut immediatae. Si
immediatae, ut prius. Si mediatae, procedatur coniungendo
medium cum extremis quousque veniatur tandem ad necessaria
immediata, aut erit processus in infinitum. Minor patet. Quia
habens fidem et haereticus contradicens sibi non contradicunt
sibi invicem de nominibus tantum sed de conceptibus, sicut patet
de theologo et philosopho contradicentibus sibi de isto "Deus est
trinus". Ergo omnem conceptum quem habet unus habet alius,
aliter non disputarent.
162 Item, illud potest sciri a nobis esse possibile de quo scimus
et possumus scire quod ad ipsum non sequitur impossibile. Sed de
omni veritate per se scibili de Deo possumus scire quod ad ipsam
non sequitur impossibile. Quia ex quo huiusmodi complexio est
vera, omnis ratio in contrarium aut peccat in materia aut in
forma. Si in forma, possumus scire quo peccato quia certam artem
habemus de qualibet fallacia. Si in materia, ergo possumus scire
rationem non esse necessariam contra istam, ergo etc.
163 Confirmatur per dictum Philosophi III Metaphysicaei59
dicentis quod veritatis adeptio est solutio dubitatorum. Ergo cum
contingit nos solvere argumenta contra fidem, possibile est nos
scire ea quae per fidem creduntur.

[Argumenta Godefridi contra Henricum]

164 Sed contra hanc opinionem arguitur sic. Inconveniens est

habere habitus nobilissimos et latere nos, ex II Posteriorum.160 Et
haec propositio, licet non sit vera de habitibus infusis et
supernaturalibus quos per nullum actum in nobis experimur,
tamen vera est ut eam capit Philosophus contra Platonem, scilicet
de habitibus qui habent evidentiam ex praesentia obiecti. Unde
impossibile est aliquem habere habitum habentem evidentiam ex
obiecto praesente et quod lateat. Sed unumquemque theologum

1M Aristot., Metaph. III (B), c. 1 (995a 28-30).

Aristot., Anal. Post. II, c. 19 (996 25-30).
Prologue, Question Two 58

If immediate, then one may proceed as before. If they are

mediate, one may procede by joining the middle term with the
extremes until one finally comes to an immediate proposition, or
else there will be an infinite process. The minor is evident, for a
believer and a heretic contradicting him do not contradict one
another about names only, but about concepts, as is evident in the
case of the theologian and the philosopher contradicting one
another about this proposition: "God is triune." Therefore every
concept, which one has the other has as well, otherwise they
would not be disputing.
162 [Second] Also, we can only know something to be possible, if
we know and can know that something impossible doesn't follow
from it. But of all truth that is per se knowable of God we can
know that something impossible doesn't follow from it. For from
the fact that such a proposition is true, every argument to the
contrary either sins by reason of matter or of form. If it sins in
form, then we can know by what particular sin or error, because
we have a certain art whereby a fallacy can be revealed. If it sins
in matter, therefore we can know the argument is not necessarily
[valid] against this [true] statement, therefore, etc.
163 This is confirmed by the statement of the Philosopher in Bk.
III of the Metaphysics saying: "Obtaining the truth is the solution
of doubts." Therefore when it happens that we solve objections
against the faith, it is possible for us to know those truths, which
through faith are believed.

Arguments of Godfrey against Henry

164 But against this opinion it is argued in this fashion. "It is

incongruous to have the most noble habits and that they be
hidden from us," from Bk. II of the Posterior Analytics. And this
proposition, although it is not true of habits infused and
supernatural which we do not experience in ourselves through
any acts, nevertheless is true in the sense in which the
Philosopher makes use of it against Plato, namely about habits
which are evident from the presence of their object. Hence it is
impossible that the habit, of which there is evidence from the
presence of its object, be hidden from someone who has it. But no
59 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

latet se habere talem habitum de Deo in tali lumine quia non

potest exire in actum secundum huiusmodi habitum, ergo etc.
Minor probatur tam de actu intrinseco quam extrinseco. De
intrinseco, tum quia non potest aliquis viator huiusmodi principia
considerare clare in aliquo lumine alio a lumine fidei (hoc enim
quantumcumque magnus doctor confitetur in morte quod tantum
articulos fidei credit nec in alio lumine ea videt), tum quia omnis
sciens si reflectatur super suum actum scit se scire, et omnis
credens si reflectatur super actum credendi scit se credere. Sed
nullus scit se scire principia theologiae in tali lumine, ergo etc.
Hoc etiam patet de actu extrinseco. Quia nullus doctor
quantumcumque excellens confitetur se scire huiusmodi princi
pia, nec etiam potest alios docere ea, cum tamen scientis vel
sapientis signum sit posse docere, I Metaphysicae.161
165 Item, fides et scientia de eodem obiecto et in eodem
intellectu sibi repugnant quia aliter idem obiectum eidem
intellectui simul esset clarum et obscurum. Ergo cum fidelis
viator de huiusmodi principiis habeat fidem, nullo modo potest
habere scientiam.
166 Respondetur quod fides est habitus medius inter opinionem
et scientiam, et licet opinio contradicat scientiae, non tamen fides.
167 Contra: tantam impossibilitatem facit una contradictio sicut
multae. Opinio contradicit scientiae dupliciter, tum propter
formidinem, tum propter non evidentiam. Econtra scientia est
certa notitia et de obiecto evidente. Fides autem contradicit
scientiae unica contradictione, quia est cognitio non evidens et
scientia est evidens. Ergo fides et scientia ita sunt
incompossibiles respectu eiusdem obiecti sicut opinio et scientia,
licet non tantis contradictionibus.
168 Confirmatur: quia si aliquis philosophus sciens Deum esse
unum convertatur ad fidem et credat Deum esse unum, non
habebit scientiam de unitate quam prius habuit propter

Aristot., Metaph. I (A), c. 1 (9816 7).

Prologue, Question Two 59

theologian is aware of any such habit about God in an

[intermediate] light, because he is unable to perform any act
according to such a habit; therefore etc. The minor is proved
both about an intrinsic act and about an extrinsic one. About the
intrinsic act, both because no one in this life can consider clearly
such principles in any light other than the light of faith (for any
great doctor confesses on his deathbed that he only believes in the
articles of faith, but does not see them in any other light), and
also because everyone knowing, if he reflects upon his act knows
himself to know, and everyone believing if he reflects upon his act
of belief, knows himself to believe. But no one knows himself to
know principles of theology in such a light; therefore, etc. This
is also evident regarding the extrinsic act. For no doctor, no
matter how excellent confesses that he knows scientifically such
principles, nor can he also teach them, since it is a sign of the one
who knows and is wise that he can teach, according to Bk. I of the
165 Also faith and science about the same object and in the same
intellect are repugnant to one another, because otherwise the
same object would be both clear and obscure to the same intellect.
Therefore when a faithful pilgrim would have mere faith in such
principles, in no way could he have scientific knowledge of them.
166 It is objected in response that faith is an intermediary habit
between opinion and scientific knowledge, and although opinion
contradicts science, faith does not.
167 To the contrary: One contradiction creates as much
impossibility as many contradictions. Opinion contradicts science
in two ways, both because of the fear [of error] it produces as well
as its lack of evidence. Science, on the contrary, is certain
knowledge and is about an evident object. Faith, however,
contradicts science only in one way, because it is cognition that is
not evident whereas science is evident. Therefore faith and
science are thus incompatible with regard to the same object just
as opinion and science are, although there are not as many
contradictions [between them].
168 This is confirmed. For if some philosopher, knowing God is
one, is converted to the faith and believes God is one,ii4 he will

lH That is, one personally.

60 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

repugnantiam eius ad fidem circa idem obiectum. Vel si fidelis

factus habeat scientiam de unitate Dei, non habebit eiusdem
unitatis fidem propter repugnantiam.
169 Ideo sic arguentes concedunt quod theologia non est proprie
scientia. Non tamen per hoc, ut dicunt, derogatur habitui
theologiae. Quia secundum Philosophum, I Metaphysicae,162 una
scientia est nobilior altera, quia est de nobiliori subiecto, et quia
certior. Cum autem haec sit de Deo ut de nobilissimo subiecto, et
firmissimam adhaesionem habeat, ipsa erit nobilior habitus
quocumque alio, licet proprie non sit scientia sed persuasiones et
probabilitates ad firmiter credendum inducunt.

[Responsio Scoti ad rationes Godefridi contra Henricum]

170 Sed isti nimis vilificant theologos et theologiam. Quia si

aeque nobile obiectum habet theologia et fides, vetula habens
fidem ita firmiter adhaeret articulis fidei sicut theologus. Ergo
solum theologus habet opinionem ultra cognitionem vetulae, quod
est inconveniens. Similiter, quod aliquis doctor propter unam
auctoritatem Averrois in qua deridet christianos de secta eorum,
dimittat aliam opinionem quae innititur forte plus quam 30
auctoritatibus sanctorum, Augustini et aliorum, videtur magis
deridendus quam tenens opinionem priorem.163

162 Aristot., Afetaph. I (A), c. 2 (983a 1-8); Cf. Les Auctoritates Aristotelis (ed.
J. Hamesse, 117).
v addit (cf. Add. M.): Quod autem apostoli vel aliqui alii sancti habuerunt
perfectiorem cognitionem de essentia divina in articulis fidei, quam sit cognitio
fidei, videtur dicere Gregorius 18 Moralium, (Gregorius Magnus, Moralia in Iob
XVIII, c. 54, n. 89 [CCSL 143A, 952; PL 76, 95]) super illo verbo (Iob 28:21):
"Abscondita est", scilicet sapientia Dei, "ab oculis omnium viventium", ubi dicit
sic: "A quibusdam potest adhuc in hac corporali carne viventibus, sed tamen
inaestimabili virtute crescentibus, quodam contemplationis acumine, aeterna Dei
claritas videri. Hoc quoque a beati lob sententia non abhorret, qui ait: abscondita
est, etc., quoniam quilibet sapientiam, quae Deus est, videt, huic vitae funditus
moritur, ne in eius amore teneatur. Nullus quippe eam videt, qui adhuc
carnaliter vivit, quia nemo potest simul amplecti Deum et saeculum". Et post hoc
respondet ad illud quod dicitur Moysi (Ex. 33:20): "Non videbit me homo et vivet",
et ad illud Apostoli (lTim. 6:16): "Qui habitat lucem inaccessibilem, quam nullus
hominum videt, sed nec videre potest"; et ad illud Ioannis, I (Io. 1:18, Ho. 4:12):
"Deum nemo vidit". Exponit sic (ibid., n. 92 [CCSL 143A, 955; PL 76. 95]): "More
suo homines vocans omnes humana sapientes, et qui divina sapiunt super
Prologue, Question Two 60

not have scientific knowledge about such unity [of person] as he

had before, because of its repugnance to faith regarding the same
object. Or if, having become a believer, he were to have science
about God's unity, he would not have faith regarding such unity
because of the repugnance.
169 Also, arguing in this way they concede that theology is not
properly a science. Not however through this, as they say, is the
habit of theology demeaned. Because according to the Philo
sopher, (I Metaphysics): one science is nobler than another,
because it is about a more noble subject and because it is more
certain. But since this is about God as a most noble subject, and
one adheres to it most firmly as a certainty, it will be a habit
nobler than any other, although properly it is not a science, but
probable and persuasive reasons lead one to believe it firmly.

Scotus's reply to the arguments of Godfrey against Henry

170 But these vilify too much theologians and theology. For if
faith and theology have an equally noble object, an old woman
having faith adheres as firmly as a theologian to the articles of
faith. Therefore, all the theologian has in addition to the
knowledge of an old woman is an opinion, which is implausible.
Similarly, one doctor, because of one authoritative statement of
Averroes in which he derides Christians about their sect,
dismisses another opinion that is supported perhaps by more
than thirty authoritative statements of the saints including
Augustine and others. It seems he ought to be derided more than
one holding the former opinion.ii5

i i5 V adds (cf. Add. M.): But the apostles and some other saints had a more
perfect knowledge of the divine essence through the aricles of faith, than is a
knowledge of faith, as Gregory seems to say in his Book of Morals, Bk. 18 on
those words "It is hidden," namely the Wisdom of God, "from the eyes of all the
living." There he says: "By certain ones still living in this bodily flesh, but
nevertheless growing with inestimable virtue, by a certain sharpness of
contemplation, the eternal clarity of God can be seen. This does not disagree with
the words of blessed Job, who says: 'it is hidden,' etc., because whoever sees
wisdom, which is God, dies to this life completely, to avoid being trapped by his
love for it. For no one sees it, who still lives in the flesh, for no one can embrace
both God and the world at the same time." And after that he responds to that,
which is said to Moses: "No one sees me and still lives," and to that of the
61 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

171 Verumtamen, quidquid sit de veritate opinionis praedictae,

rationes suae non concludunt necessario. Prima non.164 Concedo
enim quod habens illum habitum experiatur se habere illum et
quod non lateat ipsum qualem habitum habeat, ut sancti patres
apostoli et prophetae et alii sancti qui fuerunt quasi montes in
ecclesia, qui si non fuissent, alii simplices exsistentes in vallibus
cito a fide cecidissent, secundum Augustinum. Unde tales
experiuntur se habere talem habitum tam considerando et
intelligendo se scire illo habitu quam etiam exterius confitendo,
non tamen docendo.
172 Et quod sit possibile declaratur sic. Philippo petenti a
domino quod ostenderet ei Patrem respondit: "Philippe, qui videt
me, videt et Patrem meum", et subiunxit medium demon-
strationis, "quia ego in Patre et Pater in me est". Quia enim ipse
et Pater unum sunt secundum essentiam ac per hoc unus in alio
per circumincessionem, ideo qui videt unam personam videt et
aliam. Christus ergo videns hanc veritatem in verbo docuit, sicut
docuisset Petrus si habuisset eam, proponendo terminos et
complexionem eius. Quod autem alius non docetur, hoc est
propter defectum luminis in intellectu eorum. Licet ergo aliquis
theologus in illo lumine sciat multas veritates per se scibiles de
Deo, non tamen potest eas alios docere propter defectum luminis
intellectus eorum.
173 Ad secundum165 dico quod fides et scientia respectu eius-
dem obiecti non repugnant. Nam aliquis potest esse credens
aliquem articulum per fidem, et post eundem articulum posset
scire per demonstrationem, quia fides non destruit scientiam nec

homines sunt". Verumtamen illud Gregorius prius dixit, asserendo quod (ibid., n.
88 [CCSL 143A, 951; PL 76, 92]) "quamdiu hic mortaliter vivitur, videri per
quasdam imagines Deus potest, sed per ipsam naturae speciem non potest, ut
anima, gratia Spiritus afflata, per figuras quasdam Deum videat, sed ad ipsam
vim eius essentiae non pertingat".
164 Cf. supra n. 164.
105 Cf. supra n. 165.
Prologue, Question Two 61

171 Nevertheless, whatever is to be said about the truth of the

aforesaid opinion, the reasons given are not necessarily
conclusive. The first is not. [n. 164] For I concede that one having
that habit may experience himself as having it and that it may
not be hidden to him, as [it was not hidden to] the holy apostolic
fathers and the prophets and other holy people that were like
mountains in the church, without whom other simple people
existing in the valleys would have quickly lost their faith,
according to Augustine. Hence such experience themselves to
have such a habit both by considering and understanding that
they know by that habit and also exteriorly professing it, not
however by teaching.
172 And that this is possible, one explains in this way. When
Philip asked the Lord to show him the Father, he replied: "Philip,
who sees me, sees also my Father" [John 14:9]. And adds the
means of showing it, "because I am in the Father and the Father
is in me." For, since he and the Father are one according to
essence and through this one in another through circumincession,
therefore whoever sees one person sees the other as well. Christ,
therefore, seeing this truth in the Word had taught, as Peter
would have taught if he had that truth, by proposing terms and
propositions. But that another failed- to be taught, is because of
the lack of light in his intelllect. Therefore, although some
theologian in that light might know many truths that are per se
knowable scientifically about God, he could not teach them to
others, because of the lack of the light in their intellect.
173 To the second, [n. 165] I say that faith and science with
respect to the same object are not repugnant. For someone
believing some article of faith can afterwards know the same
article scientifically through demonstration, because, insofar as

Apostle: "Who dwells in unapproachable light, and whom no human being has
seen or can see": and to that of John 1: "No one has ever seen God." He explains
in the following way: "He is accustomed to call human all who are wise regarding
the human things, and super-human those who are wise regarding the divine."
However, Gregory has said that before, asserting that "as long as this mortal life
continues here, God can [only] be seen through some images: however, he cannot
be [seen) in his true nature, so that the soul, inspired by the grace of the Spirit,
can see God through some sort of images, but cannot grasp the very nature of his
62 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

econverso, inquantum habitus sunt, quin simul possint esse in

anima. Sed non inclinat actualiter credentem in obiectum per
actum suum si habeat scientiam talis obiecti, nec potest exire in
actum credendi si habeat scientiam de tali obiecto, nec econverso,
si exeat in actum credendi per fidem respectu talis obiecti et
simul habeat habitum scientiae respectu talis obiecti, noni66
potest exire in actum sciendi quia actus repugnant, etsi non
habitus, licet uterque habitus quantum est ex parte sui habeat
essentialem inclinationem in actum suum respectu eiusdem
174 Quod autem habitus simul possunt stare in anima respectu
eiusdem obiecti patet. Quia species essentialius respiciunt obiecta
quam habitus cum immediatius gignantur ab eis et etiam quia
species magis repraesentant obiecta quam habitus. Sed species
contrariae possunt simul stare, ergo et habitus contrario modo
inclinantes in idem obiectum. Minor patet X Metaphysicae.i6"
Quia species contrariorum non sunt contrariae, ut species albi et
nigri, licet album et nigrum sint contraria.
175 Item, non video quomodo salvant scientiam alicuius
veritatis animae Christi in verbo et in proprio genere. Nam si
propter hoc non possunt simul stare scientia et fides respectu
eiusdem obiecti quia inclinant sub oppositis rationibus, scilicet
clari et obscuri, cum circa idem obiectum sint etiam istae rationes
incompossibiles, scilicet clarum et minus clarum sicut clarum et
obscurum, sequitur quod in anima Christi respectu eiusdem
obiecti sint visiones incompossibiles, scilicet visio in verbo et visio
in genere proprio. Nec solvit istam instantiam bene quam facit
contra se.
176 Ad confirmationem illami68 quod una contradictio facit
habitus incompossibiles sicut multae etc. respondeo. Opinio non
stat cum fide quia habet obiectum nullo modo certum, et ideo
opinans nihil habet certum. Sciens et credens habent obiectum

'Non' redundanter dictum, cum 'nec' supra sufficiat.

i67 Aristot, Metaph. X (I), c. 7 (10576 4-10).
l" Cf. supra n. 167.
Prologue, Question Two 62

they are habits, faith does not destroy science nor vice versa,
preventing [each other] from being simultaneously in the soul.
But if the believer has scientific knowledge of such an object this
does not incline him to an actual act of belief, nor can he exercise
an act of belief if he has scientific knowledge of such an object;
nor vice versa, if he does express an act of belief with respect to
such an object, and at the same time possesses science as a habit,
can he then express an act of knowing scientifically, because the
acts are repugnant, though their habits are not, despite the fact
that each habit on its own would have an essential inclination to
express its act as regards the same object.
174 That the habits, however, can simultaneously remain in the
soul with respect to the same object is evident. For the mental
images (species) refer more essentially to the objects than do the
habits, since they are more immediately produced by the former
and also because they represent the objects to a greater degree
than the habits do. But contrary mental images can remain
simultaneously, and therefore also the habits that are inclined
towards the same object in contrary ways. The minor is evident
from Bk. X of the Metaphysics. For the mental images of
contraries, such as those of black and white, are themselves not
contraries, although white and black are contraries.
175 Also, I do not see how they preserve science of some truth in
the soul of Christ in the Word and in its proper genus. For if on
this account science and faith cannot coexist simultaneously with
respect to the same object, because they incline under opposite
aspects, namely clearly and obscurelysince as regards the same
object even these are incompatible notions, namely 'clear' and
'less clear,' such as 'clear' and 'obscure'it follows that in the soul
of Christ with respect to the same object there are incompatible
visions, namely vision in the Word and vision in its proper
category. Nor has he solved this objection well when he raised it
against himself.
176 To the confirmation of this [n. 167] that one contradiction
makes the habit just as incompatible as many contradictions, I
respond. Opinion does not coexist with faith, because it has an
object that is in no way certain, and therefore one opining has
nothing certain. One knowing scientifically and one believing
63 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

simpliciter certum, et ideo opinio contrariatur vel contra-

dictoriatur utrique. Scientia enim habet obiectum certum et
evidens ex evidentia obiecti, fides habet obiectum sibi certum et
evidens ex auctoritate. Et sic obiectum fidei non est omnino non
evidens, licet sit non evidens ex illo habitu qui est evidens ex
evidentia rei et obiecti, et ita nullo modo contradicunt. Nec etiam
contrariantur nec opponuntur esse ex obiecto evidens et evidens
ex auctoritate, et ideo in argumento est fallacia secundum quid et
simpliciter: obiectum fidei non est evidens ex habitu scientiae,
ergo nullo modo evidens. Est etiam fallacia consequentis per
destructionem singularis: Non est Sortes, ergo non est homo.
177 Ad secundum dicendum quod fides acquisita de aliqua
geometrica conclusione quia non excludit formidinem etiam ex
auctoritate cui innititur nec habet aliquam certitudinem
infallibilem, ideo contradicit scientiae quae est notitia certa
excludens omnem formidinem. Sed fides infusa ex auctoritate
immutabili cui innititur habet certitudinem infallibilem exclu
dens omnem formidinem. Credo enim quod habens fidem infusam
minus dubitaret vel formidaret et citius exponeret se morti ex
certitudine adhaesionis auctoritati traditae in scriptura quam
multi theologi habentes scientiam secundum unam opinionem de
178 Ad tertium169 dicendum quod si simplex primo credat istam
conclusionem "Deus est trinus" vel aliquam aliam veritatem de
Deo et post addiscat illud demonstrare, vel econverso,
philosophus conversus primo sciat aliquid de Deo et postea illud
credat, hoc est satis possibile quia isti habitus non sunt
imcompossibiles in eodem, licet habens utrumque non posset
exire in actum secundum utrumque. Inclinatio tamen essentialis
est in utroque habitu in actum suum, licet non exeat in actum
propter aliquid repugnans aliunde quam ex parte habituum.

Cf. supra n. 168.

Prologue, Question Two 63

have an object that is simply certain, and therefore opinion is

contrary or contradictory to both. For science has an object that is
certain and is evident from the evidence of the object; faith has an
object that is certain to it and is evident from authority. And thus
the object of faith is not completely non-evident, although it is not
evident on account of that habit, which derives evidence from the
thing and the object, and so in no way do the two contradict one
another. Nor do 'to be evident from the object' and 'to be evident
from authority' contradict, or are opposed to one another, and
therefore there is a fallacy of confusing 'in a qualified sense' with
'in an unqualified sense' in the following argument: 'the object of
faith is not evident from the habit of science, therefore it is in no
way evident.' Also it is a fallacy of the consequent through the
destruction of the singular: 'He is not Socrates, therefore he is not
a man.'
177 To the second it must be said that faith* acquired about
some geometrical conclusionbecause it does not exclude fear [of
error], in spite of the authority supporting it, nor does it have
infallible certitudetherefore, contradicts science, which is
certain knowledge that excludes all fear of error. But infused
faith* from an immutable authority has infallible certitude and
excludes all fear [of error]. For I believe that one who has infused
faith would be less inclined to doubt or be in fear of error, and
would more readily expose oneself to death because of the
certitude with which he adheres to the authoritative statements
handed down in scripture than many theologians having
scientific knowledge, according to one opinion about them.
178 To the third [n. 168] it must be said that if a simple person
first believed this conclusion "God is triune," and some other
truth about God, and afterwards learned to demonstrate this, or
vice versa, a convert philosopher first knew something
scientifically about God and afterwards came to believe, this is
quite possible because these habits are not incompatible in
themselves, although one having both habits could not perform
acts according to both [at the same time]. Nevertheless the
essential inclination in both habits is to act, although they may
not go into action because of something that is repugnant by
reason of something other than the habits. Therefore when one
64 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

Quando ergo dicit quod fides non potest sequi scientiam, falsum
est quia perinde est ex parte compossibilitatis istorum habituum
quod scientia praecedat fidem vel sequatur.

[Contra opinionem Henrici]

179 Sed contra opinionem istam de lumine170 arguo dupliciter.

Primo sic. In quocumque lumine non habetur distincta notitia
terminorum principii, in eo lumine non potest intelligi distincte
illud principium quia principia cognoscimus inquantum terminos
et distincte si distincte. Sed in isto lumine quod tu ponis non
potest haberi distincta notitia Dei ut est terminus huiusmodi
principii "Deus est trinus" quia impossibile est sic habere
notitiam huiusmodi principii nisi Deus sit in se praesens
intellectui movens ipsum ad talem notitiam, vel in aliquo medio
repraesentativo ipsum sub ratione Deitatis. Sed nihil
repraesentat sic obiectum absens nisi species et phantasma. Non
species, secundum istum, quia negat omnem speciem in
intellectu. Nec phantasma, tum quia non habet phantasma, tum
quia nullum phantasma repraesentat Deum sub ratione Deitatis.
180 Item,171 sciens perfecte in sciendo non dependet ab actu
voluntatis quia necessarium non dependet a contingente. Prius
enim obiectum intellectus necessitat ipsum ad sciendum quam
aliquid velit circa illud. Credens in credendo dependet ab actu
voluntatis quia secundum Augustinum, Super Ioannem:172 'Scire
potest aliquis nolens, credere autem non potest aliquis non
volens', ergo etc.

1711 Cf. supra n. 158.

171 V addit (cf. Add. M.): secundo sic: dicunt sic opinantes quod illa notitia
quae habetur de Deo in illo lumine dependet ex fide et quod fides respectu illius
notitiae se habet ut fundamentum ad aedificium et sicut cibus solidus ad lac,
iuxta verbum Apostoli. Sed contra...
m August.. In Iohannis evangelium tractatus CXXIV, tr. 26, n. 2 (CCSL 36,
Prologue, Question Two 64

says that faith cannot follow scientific knowledge, this is false;

since these habits are compatible, science could just as well
precede or follow faith.

Against the opinion of Henry

179 But against that opinion about the light [n. 158] I argue in a
twofold way. The first is this. In whatever light one does not have
distinct knowledge of the terms of a principle, in that light one
cannot distinctly understand that principle, because principles
are known insofar as their terms are, and they are known
distinctly if their terms are as well. But in this light, which you
postulate, one cannot have distinct knowledge of God insofar as
he is the term of this principle "God is triune." For it is impossible
to have such knowledge of the principle unless God by himself, or
in some medium representative of him under the aspect of deity,
is present to the intellect, moving it to such knowledge. But
nothing so represents an absent object except the species and the
phantasm. Not the species, according to this one, because he
denies every species in the intellect. Nor in the phantasm, both
because this [principle] has no phantasm and because no
phantasm may represent God under the aspect of deity.
180 Also,ii6 one knowing perfectly in knowing is not dependent
upon an act of the will, because the necessary does not depend
upon the contingent. For the object of the intellect necessitates
him to know before he can will something in its regard. The
believer in believing depends upon an act of the will according to
Augustine, Super Ioannem: 'Some one not wanting to, can know,
but no one unwilling can possibly believe'; therefore, etc.

1"' V adds (cf. Add. M.): secondly [it could be put] this way; those who have
this opinion say that this knowledge, which is had about God in that light
depends on faith, and that faith in respect to this knowledge is like a foundation
to the edifice and like solid food to milk, according to the words of the Apostle (cf.
Hebrews 5:12). But to the contrary...
65 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

[Tertia opinio]

181 Tertia opinio est quod theologia est scientia in nobis, etiam
quia habet aliquod primum subiectum de quo considerat omnes
passiones eius per rationem talis subiecti.
182 Contra. Scientia causatur per rationem subiecti cognitam ab
intellectu. Nullam talem rationem subiecti cognoscimus quae
includat virtualiter omnia cognita de Deo, ut scilicet quod Deus
est trinus et unus et huiusmodi, ergo etc.
183 Secundo. Contingentia nullum habent subiectum sicut
ponitur subiectum in scientia, quia nulla scientia continet illud
quod est sibi accidentale. Ad istam autem scientiam pertinent
multae veritates accidentales et contingentes, ut Deum incarnari,
esse mortuum etc. quae conveniunt sibi secundum naturam
assumptam. Ergo talia non habent aliquod subiectum primum.

[Solutio ad quaestionem]

184 Respondeo ad quaestionem quod multae veritates per se

scibiles de Deo possunt sciri simpliciter a viatore, non solum a
posteriori sed etiam a priori per rationem Deitatis cognitione
superiori et nobiliori omni cognitione fidei.
185 Primam partem istius dicti probo sic. Quia intellectus
potens intelligere subiectum sub ratione subiecti potest intelligere
principium virtualiter inclusum in subiecto, et ulterius
conclusiones inclusas in principio quia sicut terminus subiecti est
causa principii, et principium est causa conclusionis. Sed
obiectum istius scientiae potest intelligi et cognosci distincte ab
intellectu viatoris cognitione saltem abstractiva, licet non
intuitiva, nam nulla cognitio abstractiva repugnat viatori
inquantum viator. Quia scientia est habitus veridicus et
permansivus, VI Ethicorum,1"3 ergo non respicit obiectum sub illa
ratione sub qua potest mutari stante habitu. Sed si respiceret
obiectum in exsistentia sua, posset mutari stante habitu, ergo

i Aristot., Eth. Nic. VI, c. 3 (11396 19-23).

171 V addit (cf. Add. M ): [186] Vel sic: intellectus potens intelligere aliquod
subiectum sub propria ratione subiecti, potest scire veritates per se scibiles de
Prologue, Question Two 65

A Third Opinion

181 A third opinion is that theology is a science in us, also

because it has some first subject, whence it considers all its
attributes through the notion of such a subject.
182 To the contrary: science is caused by the notion of the
subject known by the intellect. No such notion of the subject do
we know which includes virtually everything known of God, as
namely that God is triune and one and such like; therefore, etc.
183 Secondly, contingent [truths] have no subject such as is
posited in a science because no science contains that which is
accidental to it. To this science, however, pertain many accidental
and contingent truths, such as, that God became incarnate, and
has died, etc., which pertain to him according to the nature
assumed. Therefore such truths have no first subject.

Solution to the Question

184 I respond to the question that many truths that are per se
knowable about God can be known simply by the pilgrim, not only
a posteriori but also a priori* under the aspect of deity by a form
of cognition that is superior and more noble than any knowledge
by faith.
185 The first part of this statement I prove in this fashion. For
an intellect able to know the subject under the aspect of subject
can know a principle virtually included in the subject, and further
can know conclusions included in the principle, because as the
term of the subject is the cause of the principle so the principle is
the cause of the conclusion. But the object of this science can be
understood and known distinctly by the intellect of the pilgrim at
least abstractively, although not intuitively. For no abstractive*
cognition is repugnant to the pilgrim qua pilgrim. Because science
is a veridical and persistent habit, according to Bk. VI of the
Ethics, therefore it does not regard the object under that aspect
under which the latter can be changed, with the habit remaining.
But if it were to regard the object in its existential state, the
66 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

188 Istam rationem tangit Philosophus VII Metaphysicaei15 ubi

probat quod de sensibilibus non est scientia quia illis abeuntibus
a sensu perit scientia quae est per illum sensum de illis.
189 Contra istam rationem insto sic. Si scientia viatoris habet
Deum pro obiecto sub propria ratione Deitatis, ergo extendit se ad
omnia cognoscibilia de eo, et ita posset esse beatus inquantum
viator. Consequentia patet quia scientia de subiecto extendit se
ad omnia illa ad quae se extendit ratio subiecti.
190 Respondeo. Dico quod ista scientia est de Deo sub ratione
Deitatis propria et concedo quod extendit se ad omnia ad quae se
extendit ratio subiecti inquantum est ex propria et per se ratione

Deo, quia talis intellectus potest intelligere principium complexum talis subiecti,
et sic conclusionem inclusam virtualiter in illo principio. Sed hoc potest
intellectus viatoris; ergo etc. [187] Ad cuius evidentiam, sive ad declarationem
minoris est sciendum, quod duplex est cognitio: quaedam per speciem, quae non
est rei in se praesentis, et haec vocatur cognitio rei abstractiva; alia est cognitio
rei ut habet esse in actuali exsistentia, et haec dicitur intuitiva. Et haec duplex
cognitio potest patere in cognitionibus potentiarum sensitivarum; visus enim
apprehendit visibile, ut exsistit extra actualiter. et huic correspondet cognitio
intuitiva intellectus; phantasia autem, sive imaginativa apprehendit per speciem
ipsum repraesentantem in absentia rei, quamvis non sit sibi praesens in actuali
exsistentia; et huic correspondet cognitio abstractiva intellectus. Tunc
probatur minor sic: omne obiectum scientiae potest cognosci aliqua cognitione
abstractiva distincta, licet non intuitiva; sed Deus est subiectum in aliqua
scientia, ut probatum est in quaestione praecedenti; ergo Deus potest cognosci
aliqua cognitione abstractiva distincte; sed talis cognitio Dei abstractiva non
repugnat viatori. ergo viator potest intelligere divina distincte, licet non intuitive
et clare. Probatio maioris huius prosyllogismi: scientia cum sit habitus
veridicus, non respicit subiectum sub illa ratione sub qua, obiecto mutato, non
potest idem habitus manere; sed si scientia respiceret obiectum sub ratione qua
intuitive cognoscitur, mutato obiecto et non praesente, non maneret idem
habitus. Ergo obiectum cuiuslibet scientiae cognoscitur tantum abstractive et non
intuitive, quantum ex ratione scientiae.
m Aristot., Metaph. VII (Z), c. 15 (1040a 1-4).
Prologue, Question Two 66

latter could be changed, while the habit remained; therefore,

188 The Philosopher in Bk. VII of the Metaphysics touches on
this reason, where he proves that there is no science about things
perceivable by the senses, because when they pass from
perception the scientific knowledge, which is about them through
his sense awareness, perishes.
189 I raise an impediment to the argument in this way. If the
science of the pilgrim has God for its object under the aspect of
deity, then it extends itself to all that is knowable about him, and
thus a pilgrim as pilgrim could be beatified. The implication is
evident, because a science about the subject extends to all those
things to which the notion of the subject extends.
190 I respond: I say that this science about God under the aspect
of deity is proper, and I concede that it extends itself to all to

117 V adds (cf. Add. M.): [186] Or it could be put in this way: the intellect
capable of understanding some subject under the proper notion of the subject
could know all the truths about God that are per se knowable, because such an
intellect could understand the first principle of such a subject, and in this way
[could understand] a conclusion included virtually in that principle. But this is
possible for the intellect of the pilgrim; therefore, etc. [187] In order to
understand this, or in order to clarify the minor one must know that cognition is
twofold: one through the species, which is not of a thing that is present in itself,
and this is called abstractive cognition of a thing; the other is cognition of a thing
as it has being in its actual existence, and this is called intuitive cognition. And
this twofold cognition can be shown in the cognition of the sensitive faculties; for
vision apprehends the visual as it exists actually outside, and this corresponds to
the intuitive cognition of the intellect; but the phantasy, or the imagination,
apprehends through a species representing the visible in the absence of the thing,
although it is not present to it in its actual existence; and this corresponds to the
abstractive cognition of the intellect. And then one proves the minor in this
way: every' object of a science can be known by some distinct abstractive
cognition, although not intuitively; but God is the subject of some science, as was
proved in the preceding question; therefore, God can be known distinctly by some
abstractive cognition; but such abstractive cognition of God is not repugnant to
the pilgrim, therefore, the pilgrim can know the divine distinctly, although not
intuitively and clearly. Proof of the major of this prosyllogism: science, since it
is a veridical habit, is not related to its subject in the way, in which, with the
change of its object [i.e., when it is no longer present], the same habit could not
remain; however, if science were related to its object in the way, in which
intuitive cognition operates, with the change of its object, when it is no longer
present, the same habit would not remain. Therefore, the object of any science
whatsoever is known only in an abstractive way, and not intuitively, insofar as
science is concerned.
67 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

scientiae istius, non limitando nec perstringendo ad certum

gradum. Et ideo ex ratione scientiae in se est quod possit
explicare omnes veritates contentas in subiecto. Sed prout actu
participata ab intellectu viatoris alicuius propter incapacitatem
eius et maxime pro statu isto non est ratio cognoscendi omnia
quae cognosci possunt de Deo.176
193 Contra. Si scientia ista prout est in viatore praescinditur et
limitatur ad duas veritates sciendas de Deo, ergo scientia sub ista
limitatione respicit subiectum praecise correspondens illis
limitationibus et non sub aliis. Consequentia patet quia omne
obiectum correspondet habitui adaequate.
194 Dico quod non sequitur. Quia si binarius habet multas
passiones, ut paritatem et primitatem inter numeros etc., ex
parte binarii non est una passio sine alia nec est ratio praecise ex
parte subiecti unius sine altera quia aeque primo et naturaliter
consequuntur subiectum. Possum tamen ego, quia non habeo
perfectam scientiam de binario, scire unam passionem eius et non
aliam, licet ex parte subiecti sit utraque aequaliter scibilis. Et
eodem modo dicendum est de veritatibus pertinentibus ad
Deitatem inquantum Deitas. Et quando dicis quod obiectum

170 V addit (cf. Add. M.): Immo potest esse in tali intellectu respectu duarum
conclusionum. Unde verum est quod quantum est ex parte sua extendit se ad
omnia, non tamen ut concernit certum gradum in certo intellectu. [191] Dicetur
forte: si scientia intelligendi viatoris respicit tantum duas conclusiones de Deo,
ergo Deus, ut est subiectum illius scientiae in tali intellectu, habebit praecisam
rationem, ut respicit illas conclusiones, (conclusiones post corr.; condiciones MS.)
ergo non erit subiectum illius scientiae sub ratione deitatis. [192] Responsio. Dico
quod non sequitur, quia binarius potest habere plures passiones quae immediate
insunt sibi per rationem binarii; nec sub ratione particulariori est subiectum
respectu unius passionis quam respectu utriusque (utriusque post corr.;
nostrarumque MS). Sic in proposito. Multae sunt veritates quae immediate
insunt Deo per rationem deitatis, nec sub ratione magis praecisa est subiectum
respectu unius quam respectu omnium quae immediate insunt; immo per
rationem deitatis. Et ideo non sequitur, si scientia de Deo in tali intellectu non sit
nisi respectu duarum conclusionum quod oporteat dare rationem aliquam magis
praecisam quam sit ratio deitatis per quam illae insunt.
Prologue, Question Two 67

which the notion of the subject extends insofar as it is from what

is the proper and per se notion of this science, not limiting it or
restricting it to a certain degree. And therefore from the notion of
the science as it is in itself one could explain all truths contained
in the subject. But as for its being really shared by the intellect of
some pilgrim because of his incapacity and most of all for this
[present] state it is not the reason for knowing all that can be
known about God.ii8
193 To the contrary: if this science as it exists in the pilgrim is
cut off and limited to two truths known scientifically about God,
therefore the science under this limitation regards the subject
precisely as corresponding to these limitations and not under
others. The implication is evident because every object
corresponds to a habit adequately.
194 I say this does not follow. Because if a binary had many
attributes, such as parity and a primacy among numbers, etc., on
the part of the binary there is no one attribute without the other,
nor is there a precise notion of one attribute without the other on
the part of the subject, because they all follow from the subject
equally first and naturally. However, because I do not have
perfect knowledge of a binary, I can know one attribute and not
know another, although on the part of the subject they are
equally knowable. And in the same way it must be said of the
truths pertaining to deity qua deity. And when you say that the

i i8 V adds (cf. Add. M ): Indeed, it can be in such an intellect as regards only

two conclusions. Hence, it is true that, so far as it is concerned, it extends itself to
everything, not, however, as it concerns a particular degree in a particular
intellect. [191] It can be said, perhaps: if the pilgrim's science of understanding
regards only two conclusions about God, therefore, God, as the subject of this
science in such an intellect, would have a precise notion, as regards those two
conclusions; therefore, he would not be the subject of that science under the
notion of deity. [192] Reply. I say that it does not follow, because a binary could
have more than one proper attribute that pertains to it immediately in virtue of
its being a binary; nor is it a subject in respect to one proper attribute under a
more particular notion, than regarding both. So it is in the case at hand. There
are many truths that pertain to God immediately by reason of deity, nor is he a
subject with regard to one [of these truths] under a more specific aspect, than
with regard to all those that pertain [to God] immediately, namely, by reason of
deity. And therefore it does not followif the science about God in such an
intellect is only there with regard to two conclusionsthat one would have to
give a more precise reason than that of deity, why they pertain [to God].
68 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

aequatur scientiae vel habitui, verum est in gradu perfecto, sed

non prout participatur ab isto quia iste potest explicare aliam
passionem de subiecto et non aliam quia imperfecte percipitur ab
195 Secundam partem declaro, scilicet quod ista cognitio quam
potest habere viator de Deo sub ratione Deitatis sit perfectior et
certior omni cognitione fidei. Quod probo sic. Quidquid potest
Deus mediante causa secunda effective, potest per se efficienter
sine ea. Sed Deus mediante obiecto potest causare certam
notitiam et certum assensum ita quod voluntas non potest
causare dissensum. Ergo et hoc potest per se sine medio.177
196 Talis non est habitus fidei sicut probatum est supra, ergo
etc. Isto autem habitu illuminati sunt prophetae ita quod non
subfuit voluntati eorum dissentire his quae revelabantur ab eo eis
per istum habitum.178
197 Ex isto infero duas conclusiones. Prima quod in cognitione
Dei sunt quinque gradus. Primus est cognoscere intuitive
veritates scibiles de Deo et distincte per rationem subiecti
intuitive et distincte cogniti,179 et iste gradus non est communiter
possibilis viatori.180 Secundus gradus est cognoscere aliquid
certitudinaliter in aliquo repraesentativo distincte cognito, et iste
gradus est possibilis viatori. Tertius gradus est cognoscere aliquid
cum certitudine ita quod certitudo eius non subest actui
voluntatis, et iste gradus fuit in prophetis. 181 Quartus gradus est
explicite cognoscere ea quae continentur in scriptura quibus piis

177 V addit: Unde Deus potest causare in intellectu viatoris notitiam de

seipso immediate talem qualem esset natum aliquod repraesentativum ipsius
causare sub ratione deitatis.
17,1 V addit: Unde talis notitia dicitur locutio Dei interior, qualis in prophetis,
non tamen clara et intuitiva, et non est immediate evidens ab obiecto.
17n V addit (cf. Add. A/.): Istum modum cognitionis intuitivae semper habuit
Christus de essentia divina sub ratione deitatis...
180 v addit (cf. Add. M ): nisi per specialem revelationem vel raptum.
181 V addit (cf. Add. A/.): Unde iste gradus est obiecti non praesentis
intellectui nec in se nec in aliquo repraesentativo, sed immediate causata a Deo
quae tamen non est evidens ex obiecto.
Prologue, Question Two 68

object is equal to the science or the habit, this is true of the

perfect degree, but not insofar as it is participated by this one,
because this one can explain a different attribute of the subject
and not another one because it is imperfectly perceived by him.
195 I explain the second part, namely that this cognition, which
the pilgrim can have about God under the aspect of deity, is more
perfect and more certain than any cognition based on faith. I
prove it in this way. Whatever God can do effectively by means of
a secondary cause, he can do efficiently without it. But God by
means of an object can cause certain knowledge and a certain
assent so that the will cannot cause any dissent. Therefore he can
also do this without any means.119
196 The habit of faith is not of this sort, as was proved above;
therefore, etc. But the prophets have been illuminated by this
habit, so that it was not in the power of their will to dissent from
those things that were revealed by him [God] to them through
this habit.120
197 From this I infer two conclusions: The first is that the
cognition of God has five degrees. The first is to know intuitively
the truths knowable of God and know them distinctly under the
subject intuitively and distinctly known,121 and this grade is not
commonly possible for the pilgrim.122 The second grade is to
know something certainly in some representation that is
distinctly known, and this grade is possible to a pilgrim. The third
grade is to know something with certitude so that its certitude is
not subject to an act of the will, and this grade was in the
prophets.123 The fourth grade is to know explicitly those things
which are contained in scripture whereby one supports the pious

119 V adds: Hence God could immediately cause in the intellect of the pilgrim
a knowledge of himself, such as could be caused by something representing him
under the aspect of deity.
120 V adds: Hence such knowledge is said to be God speaking interiorly, as in
the case of the prophets, not, however, clear and intuitive knowledge, nor is it
immediately evident from the object.
w V adds (cf. Add. A/.): Christ always had this kind of intuitive cognition of
the divine essence under the aspect of deity...
122 V adds (cf. Add. A/.): except by special revelation or rapture.
123 V adds (cf. Add. M.): Hence, this grade [of knowledge] is not from the
object present to the intellect, neither in itself, nor in something representing it,
but what is not evident from the object is immediately caused by God.
69 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

opitulatur auxiliis et contra impios defendatur sciendo dubi-

tationes aliorum solvere et munire bonis rationibus, et iste gradus
est maiorum in ecclesia. Quintus gradus est cognoscere ea quae
sunt necessaria ad salutem, qui est simplicium,182 quia non
possunt omnia contenta in scriptura perscrutari.183
198 Discordo ergo primo a lumine et ab opinione praecedente
quia pono quod non in illo lumine sed per illud lumen tamquam
per quoddam repraesentativum cognosco multa de Deo. Si autem
sic loquatur, quod non videtur quia negat speciem intelligibilem,
concordo cum eo. Si autem loquatur de lumine pro isto quo
aliquid videtur et non pro illo in quo aliquid videtur ut
repraesentante obiectum, nego lumen suum sicut est lumen
solum quo aliquid videtur, non tamen species in quo sicut
repraesentante aliquid videtur.
199 Secundo, quia non concedo istud lumen esse in nobis per
exercitium studii tamquam aliquid naturale sed per infusionem
supernaturaliter tamquam donum intellectus gratum faciens

,H2 V addit (cf. Add. M.): quorum cognitio subest voluntatis actui; et haec est
cognitio habita per fidem...
i8:i v addit (cf. Add. M.): Ex his patet quod in duobus discordo ab opinione
praecedente; primo quia non potest haberi scientia per quodcumque lumen de
Deo, si non sit obiectum in se praesens nec in suo repraesentativo. Si autem
vocas illud lumen rationem repraesentandi, tunc volo, sed in illo lumine non
habetur scientia, sed per aliud lumen. Secundo discordo in alio, quia huiusmodi
scientia de Deo sub ratione deitatis non habetur per studium, sed est donum
gratis datum ad utilitatem Ecclesiae, et scivit Christus, quando fuit utile illud
donum dare et quibus, ut apostolis et prophetis. Ad alia quae adducuntur pro alia
opinione. Ad auctoritatem Augustini dicendum quod illa scientia est distincta
notitia, sed non evidens simpliciter, quia non attingit ad notitiam distinctam
subiecti in se praesentis.
Prologue, Question Two 69

and defends against the impious by knowing how to solve doubts

of others and provide them with good reasons, and this grade is
for the elders in the church. The fifth grade is to know those
things which are necessary for salvation, which is for the simple
folk,i24 because they cannot investigate all that is contained in
198 I disagree therefore with the preceding opinion primarily
about the light, because I propose that it is not in that light, but
rather through that light as through a kind of representation that
I know many things about God. But he does not speak in this
way, it seems, because he denies the intelligible species;
otherwise I would agree with him. But if one speaks about that
light as being that by which something is seen and not that in
which, as representing the object, something is seen, I deny this
conception of the light, as it is a lighti26 solely by which
something is seen, and not rather a representative species in
which something is seen.
199 Secondly, because I do not concede that this light is in us as
something natural that is the result of study, but is there through
a supernatural infusion given to the one who possesses it as a free
gift to the intellect.

i14 V adds (cf. Add. M.): whose knowledge is subject to an act of the will, and
this is the knowledge had by faith...
i25 V adds (cf. Add. M.): From what has been said it is evident that I disagree
on two points with the preceding opinion; first, because one cannot have any
science about God through whatsoever light, if he is not an object present in itself
or in something that represents him. But if you imply that that light itself is that
which represents him, I agree, but then one does not have the science in that
light, but rather through another light. Secondly I disagree on another point,
because such a science about God under the aspect of deity is not had through
study, but is rather a free gift given for the utility of the Church, and Christ has
known when it was useful to give that gift and to whom, as to the Apostles and to
the Prophets. To the other arguments, which are adduced for the other opinion:
to the authority of Augustine it must be said that that science is distinct
knowledge, and is not evident in an unqualified manner, because it does not
attain to the distinct knowledge of the subject as present in itself.
i2 That is to say, this is the light of the intellect, and not that of the
illumination of the eternal reasons.
70 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

[Ad argumenta Henrici]

200 Ad rationem Augustini184 dico quod scientia vel notitia quae

habetur per exercitium studii est alia a scientia quae habetur per
infusionem tamquam lumen et donum gratis datum intellectui.
Et ideo Augustinus per unum verbum, XV De Trinitate, cap.
ult.185 solvit omnia quae possent adduci pro ista materia: "Cum",
inquit, "orando et bene vivendo inconcusse crediderunt sancti
apostoli",186 etc. Quaere verba ibidem.
201 Ad rationes Richardi187 et Anselmi188 qui promittunt se hoc
ostendere per rationes, non tantum per auctoritates, dicendum
quod non promittunt aliquid quod non possunt solvere, sed sicut
ipsi dicunt dico quod possunt adduci rationes necessariae. Et ipsi
adduxerunt rationes necessarias, sed non evidenter necessarias
ex evidentia obiecti. Non enim omne necessarium est evidens
necessarium ex obiecto.
202 Ad rationem illam189 "Cuiuscumque necessarii terminos
naturaliter cognoscimus" etc. dico quod maior est falsa. Et cum
arguit "Aut est mediata aut immediata" dico quod mediata. Sed
duplex est medium. Unum quod est essentialiter ordinatum inter
extrema ut quod quid est alterius extremi vel passio prior
respectu alterius passionis, et de hoc medio verum est quod qui
cognoscit extrema complexionis potest cognoscere medium inter
illa quia hoc modo medium est ratio uniendi et concludendi unum
de alio quia ratio eius includitur in uno extremo et aliud
extremum sibi per se et primo inest. Aliud est medium contentum
sub extremo uno ut aliquid inferius ad ipsum ad concludendum
passionem de superiori, ut si concluderem aliquod animal esse
risibile per rationem hominis tamquam per medium in tertia
figura, et de tali medio non oportet quod qui cognoscit extrema
complexionis, ut animal et risibile, cognoscat medium sumptum

1* Cf. supra n. 158.

1 August., De Trin. XV, c. 27, n. 49 (CCSL 50A, 530-1; PL 42, 1096).
i8,i v addit (cf. Add. M): "...Scripturis Sanctis, tamquam veracissimis
testibus, agant orando et quaerendo et bene vivendo ut intelligant id est ut
quantum potest videri videatur mente quod teneatur fide..."
187 Cf. supra n. 159.
188 Cf. supra n. 160.
189 Cf. supra n. 161
Prologue, Question Two 70

Reply to Henry's arguments

200 To the argument of Augustine [n. 158] I say that science or

knowledge, which is had through study is other than the science
which is had through the infusion of the light and as a gift freely
given to the intellect. And therefore Augustine through those
words in the final chapter of Bk. XV The Trinity solves all that
could be adduced for this matter: "Since by prayer and a well
lived life the Holy Apostles believed unshakably,"i27 etc. Look for
the text there.
201 To the arguments of Richard [n. 159] and Anselm [n. 160]
who promised themselves here to show by reasons and not just
authorities, it must be said that they did not promise something
that they could not explain, but just as they said so I say that
necessary reasons can be adduced. And they have set forth
necessary reasons, but they are not reasons that are necessarily
evident from the evidence of the object. For not every necessary
reason is necessary because it has evidence from the object.
202 As for that argument [n. 161] "If we naturally apprehend
the terms of any necessary [proposition] whatsoever," etc., I say
the major is false. And when it is argued "these are either
mediate or immediate," I say that they are mediate propositions.
But a medium or middle term is twofold. One is essentially
ordered between the extreme terms as the quiddity of the other
extreme or as a prior attribute with respect to the other attribute,
and about this medium it is true that who knows the extremes of
the compositei28 can know the middle term between them,
because it is in this manner that the middle term is the basis for
uniting and concluding one from another, because its meaning is
included in one extreme, and the other extreme is in it primarily
and per se. The other kind of medium is contained under only
one extreme as something [extensionally] inferior to it, and serves
the purpose of concluding that something is a proper attribute of
a superior notion (as [for instance] if I were to conclude that some

i27 V adds (cf. Add. M.): "...in the Sacred Scriptures as the most true
witnesses, they were active in praying and in inquiring and in living a good life in
order that they might understand, i.e., insofar as what they held by faith can be
seen by the mind..."
l2li That is, the syllogistic argument as a whole.
71 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

sub uno extremorum nisi cognoscat quod quid est eius. Exemplum
de triangulo et figura: cognosco aliquam figuram esse primam,
cum in figuris essentialiter ordinatis non sit processus in
infinitum, et facio istam complexionem "Aliqua figura est prima"
per rationem primitatis figurae. Sed numquam cognosco hanc
figuram esse primam, posito quod numquam eam viderim, ut
triangulum, nisi per propriam rationem trianguli sicut per
medium sub extremo, ut figura. Ita in proposito, cognosco
naturaliter aliquam essentiam esse primam inter essentias, sed
non cognosco hanc, scilicet essentiam divinam, esse primam cui
tamen primo inest haec passio, nisi per propriam rationem illius
essentiae ut ista est, vel Deitatis ut Deitas est, quod non possum
in vita ista.190
203 Ad secundum, cum dicitur quod non possum solvere ad
hominem ita quod appareat mihi aliqua propositio neganda, licet
possem solvere realiter et ad rationem. Contra. Aut peccat in
materia aut in forma. Si in forma, certum est quod possum
solvere quia tradita est ars ad omnem paralogismum sophisticum
solvendum. Si peccat in materia, ergo praemissa falsa aut apparet
mihi vera sicut conclusa aut sicut immediata. Si ut conclusa,
iterum per syllogismum peccantem in materia vel in forma. Si in
forma, ergo potest solvi ut prius. Si in materia, iterum procedatur
quousque sit status ad aliquam falsam quae non apparet propter
aliam. Ergo ista videbitur de se esse vera, et per consequens error

190 v addit (cf. Add. M.): Et sic cognoscimus de Deo ea quae naturaliter
cognoscimus, ut quod aliquod ens sit primum, non tamen hanc essentiam
deitatis, cui primo inest primitas, sicut cognosco aliquam figuram esse primam,
cum species figurarum sint ordinatae et non procedunt in infinitum: non propter
hoc cognoscerem medium, scilicet triangulum. cui primo inest illa passio, quia est
medium sub extremo et non essentialiter ordinatum inter extrema.
Prologue, Question Two 71

animal is risible through the notion of 'man' as a middle term in

the third figure [of the syllogism]) and of this medium it is not
necessary that, because one knows the extremes of the composite
[argument], such as 'animal' and 'risible,' therefore, one knows
the middle term under one extreme unless he knows just what
that middle term is. But consider this example: 'triangle' and
'figure.' I know some figure is primary, for in figures essentially
ordered there is no infinite progression, and I make this
proposition "Some figure is primary" through the conception of a
primacy in figures. But I never know that this particular figure
[i.e. a triangle] is first, assuming that I have never seen a triangle
to be anything other than a proper instance or example of a
[geometrical] figure. So it is in the case at hand: I know
naturally that some essence is first among essences, but in this
way I do not know that this particular, namely, the divine
essence, is first (to which, nevertheless, this attribute [i.e., 'First']
is present primarily) except through the proper notion of 'that
essence' as it is 'that,' or the notion of divinity as it is 'deity,'
which I am unable to do in this present life.i29
203 To the second, when it is said that I cannot solve the
argument 'ad hominem' so that it might appear to me that some
proposition must be denied, although I can solve it really and
conceptually. To the contrary. Either it sins in matter or in form.
If in form, certainly I can solve it, because the art for solving
every sophistical paralogism has been handed down. If it sins
logically in matter, therefore the false premise either appears to
me as true as a conclusion, or as an immediate proposition. If it is
as conclusion, then it is again through a syllogism sinning in
matter or in form. If in form, then it can be solved as above. If in
matter, again one may proceed until it comes to something false
which does not appear to be such because of something else.
Therefore [if one proceeds in this manner] this will be seen of

m V adds (cf. Add. M.): And in this way we know about God these things,
which we know naturallysuch as, that some being is firstnot, however, this
essence of deity, to which primacy is present primarily, just as I know that some
figure is first, since the species of figures are orderly and do not proceed ad
infinitum; but because of this I would not know exactly what [this] medium is,
namely, a triangle, in which this property primarily inheres, because it falls
under [one] extreme and is not essentially ordered between extremes.
72 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

erit inditus lumini naturali quia absque omni discursu statim

inclinat ad aliquam falsam sicut ad per se notam. Secundo,
sequitur quod non potest aliquis esse certus quae sit per se nota
et quae non sit per se nota ex quo alia191 falsa apparet statim per
se nota, et tunc nihil potest sciri. Quia si non potest haberi
certitudo de praemissa quod sit per se vera, nec de conclusione
quod sit per se scita. Concedo ergo quod omne tale argumentum
possum solvere, et mihi sic, quod si nesciam probare hanc esse
falsam, tamen scio eam non esse per se notam. Quia sicut lumen
naturale sufficit ad cognoscendum per se notam ex terminis, ita
sufficit ad cognoscendum istam non esse per se notam quae non
est per se nota. Possum etiam scire eam non esse conclusam ex
alio per se noto quia tunc consequentia deficiet.
204 Tunc ad argumentum.192 Non sequitur "Potest scire
quodcumque impossibile quod infertur non sequi, ergo nullum
impossibile sequi" quia non scitur quin alia impossibilia possent
sequi quorum nullum est illatum. Similiter, dato quod posset
scire quod nullum impossibile manifestius in impossibilitate
sequeretur, non propter hoc sequitur quod sciam illud esse
possibile quia potest esse primum in impossibilitate quod non
sequitur ex aliquo alio impossibili. Primis enim necessariis
opponuntur prima impossibilia.193

Melius lege: aliqua.

192 Cf. supra n. 162.
i83 v addit (cf. Add. M.): Ad secundum dicendum quod non sequitur: scit
solvere omne argumentum factum contra aliquod complexum de Deo, ergo scit
quod nullum impossibile sequitur ad illud, quia licet sciat solvere argumentum
concludens hoc impossibile et illud, quia tamen multa sunt impossibilia, quae sibi
sunt neutra, nescit quod illud impossibile sequatur vel non. quia nescit si sit
impossibile vel necessarium.
Prologue, Question Two 72

itself to be true, and as a consequence the error will be implanted

in one's natural light because without any discourse one would be
immediately inclined to make a false conclusion as self-evident.
Secondly it follows that someone cannot be certain as to which is
per se known and which is not per se known, from which some
falsity would appear as known per se, and then nothing can be
known. For if one cannot have certitude about a premise that it is
true per se, then neither can one have certitude that a conclusion
is per se known scientifically. I concede, therefore, that every
such argument can be solved, and as for me, even if I do not know
how to prove that this is false, nevertheless I know that it is not
per se evident. Because just as the natural light of the intellect
suffices to know propositions that are per se known from their
terms, so too it is sufficient to know what propositions are not
self-evident. Also I can know that something is not a conclusion
from some other per se known truth, because then the implication
is deficient.
204 Then to the argument, [n. 162] It does not follow "One can
know that 'any impossible that is inferred does not follow,'
therefore nothing impossible follows," because it is not known
that no other impossible could followof the ones that have not
been inferred. Similarly, granted that one could know that no
impossible that is more manifest in its impossibility would follow,
this gives no reason to state that I know this to be the case,
because there can be a first in [the sequence of] impossibilities
that does not follow from some other impossible. For the first
impossibles are posited over and against the primary necessary

i30 v adds (cf. Add. A/.): To the second it must be said that it does not follow:
'he knows how to solve every objection against some proposition about God,
therefore, he knows that nothing impossible follows from it.' For, although he
may know how to answer this or that argument that implies that something is
impossible, nevertheless, since there are many impossible cases, which he cannot
classify, he does not know whether that impossible follows or not, because he
does not know if it is impossible or necessary.
73 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

[Ad argumenta principalia]

205 Ad primum principale194 patet per iam dicta. Concedo enim

quod theologia est distinctum donum a fide, non tamen ita
perfectum quod faciat perfectam notitiam et distinctam ex
evidentia obiecti sicut scientia, est tamen simpliciter perfectior
omni scientia acquisita et omni fide.
206 Ad secundum,195 cum dicitur quod haec esset simpliciter
imperfectior fide, dico quod licet fides acquisita non sit nobilior
omni scientia, tamen fides infusa est simpliciter nobilior habitus
omni habitu acquisito et omni scientia acquisita. Quia in
perfectionibus eiusdem generis illa est simpliciter perfectior ad
quam nulla causalitas creata se extendit sed tantum increata
quam ubi causalitas creata necessario requiritur. Et hoc est quod
dicit Philosophus XI De Animalibus,196 quod parum intelligere de
substantiis separatis et veris excellentibus nobilius est quam
quaecumque cognitio nobis possibilis de inferioribus.
207 Ad tertium197 dicendum quod si per lumen supernaturale
esset obiectum in se praesens movens intellectum ad distinctam
notitiam, tunc quod posset lumen naturale respectu sui obiecti,
hoc posset supernaturale respectu sui obiecti. Sed non est
praesens obiectum intellectui correspondens supernaturali vel
fidei. Dico ergo ad formam argumenti quod non est simile quia
obiectum naturale est in se et distincte praesens,198 et ideo movet
ad notitiam distinctam et evidentem ex evidentia obiecti. Non sic
est de obiecto fidei.
208 Ad quartum199 concedo quod revelatum ut revelatum
maiorem habet certitudinem quam scitum per demonstrationem,
non tamen habet maiorem rationem scientiae, quia non habet

194 Cf. supra n. 139.

195 Cf. supra n. 140.
190 Cf. Aristot., De partibus animalium I, c. 5 [De animalibus XI] (6446 23-
645a10); cf. Les Auctoritates Aristotelis (ed. J. Hamesse, 217).
197 Cf. supra n. 141.
108 V. addit: nisi in quibusdam conceptibus abstractis a creaturis.
199 Cf. supra n. 142.
Prologue, Question Two 73

Reply to the initial arguments

205 The reply to the first initial argument [n. 139] is evident
from what has been said. For I concede that theology is a gift
distinct from faith, but not so perfect that it makes for perfect and
distinct knowledge based on the evidence of the object as is the
case with science, and nevertheless it is simply more perfect than
any acquired science and any faith.
206 To the second [n. 140] when it is said that this is simply less
perfect than faith, I say that although acquired faith is not nobler
than all science, nevertheless infused faith is simply a more noble
habit than any acquired habit and any acquired science. Because
in perfections of the same kind that is simply more perfect to
which no created, but only uncreated, causality extends itself,
rather than that where created causality is necessarily required.
And this is what the Philosopher says in Bk. XI De animalibus
that a little understanding of the separate* substances and of
more excellent things is more noble than whatever knowledge is
possible for us to have about inteferior things.
207 To the third [n. 141] It must be said that if it were through
the supernatural light that the object present in itself moved the
intellect to distinct knowledge, then what natural light could do
as regards its object, this the supernatural light could do with
respect to its object. But there is no present object corresponding
to the supernatural intellect or to faith. I say to the form of the
argument that it is not similar, because the natural object is in
itself present distinctlyi3i and it moves to a distinct and evident
knowledge based on the evidence of the object. But this is not the
way it is with the object of faith.
208 To the fourth [n. 142] I concede that the revealed as
revealed has greater certitude than what is known scientifically
by way of demonstration, but it does not have the character of
science, because it does not have such evidence from the object as
the scientifically known does through demonstration, which is

i31 V adds: except in some concepts abstracted from creatures..

74 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

tantam evidentiam ex obiecto sicut scitum per demonstrationem,

quod per se requiritur ad rationem scientiae, I Posteriorum.200

[Quaestio 3
Utrum ex puris naturalibus possimus scire
omnes veritates scibiles de Deo]

Quaeritur tertio utrum ex puris naturalibus possimus scire

omnes veritates scibiles de Deo.
209 Videtur quod sic. Quia viator ex naturalibus potest scire
omnem scientiam physicam et metaphysicam, ergo ex naturalibus
potest habere actum metaphysicalem perfectissimum. Cuiusmodi
est felicitas, X Ethicorum,20i ubi vult quod felicitas sit in
perfectissimo actu speculationis veritatis qui est actus sapientiae.
Sed ultra actum felicitatis non est actus perfectior, ergo etc.
210 Praeterea, potens naturaliter scire principia potest scire
conclusiones virtualiter inclusas in eis quia scientia conclusionum
dependet ex intellectu principiorum. Sed naturaliter intelligimus
prima principia in quibus includuntur virtualiter omnes
conclusiones. Quia termini eorum sunt communissimi et sicut
ianua in domo. "Principia autem cognoscimus inquantum
terminos cognoscimus", I Posteriorum 202 igitur etc.
211 Item, sensus ex naturalibus potest attingere ad omnem
sensationem, ergo intellectus ad omnem cognitionem intel-
lectualem. Antecedens patet. Consequentia probatur per
Philosophum, III De Anima:203 "Natura non deficit in necessariis".
Ergo si non deficit in imperfectis, multo minus deficit in perfectis
quia magis esset contra nobilitatem ordinis universi.

^00 Aristot., Anal. Post. I, c. 2 (716 27-9); cf. Les Auctoritates Aristotelis (ed. J.
Hamesse. 312). V addit: Ad argumenta in oppositum patet responsio per illa,
quae dicta sunt prius.
Aristot., Eth. Nic. X, c. 7 (1177a 12-9).
201 Aristot., Anal. Post. I, c. 3 (726 20-5); cf. Les Auctoritates Aristotelis (ed. J.
Hamesse, 313).
Mi Aristot, De annua III, c. 9 (4326 21-3); cf. Les Auctoritates Aristotelis (ed.
J. Hamesse, 188).
Prologue, Question Two 74

required per se for the notion of science according to Bk. I of the

Posterior Analytics.i22

Question Three
Can we know all the truths knowable about God
from what is purely natural?

It is asked thirdly whether from what is purely natural we can

know all truths knowable about God.
209 It seems we can: For the pilgrim from what is natural can
know all physical and metaphysical science; therefore from what
is natural one can have a most perfect metaphysical act. Such is
happiness (Ethics, Bk. X) where [the Philosopher] wishes to say
that that happiness is in the most perfect act of contemplating
what is true, which is an act of wisdom. But beyond this act of
felicity there is no more perfect act; therefore, etc.
210 Furthermore, one able to naturally know principles can
know the conclusions virtually contained in them, because the
science of conclusions depends upon the understanding of the
principles. But we naturally know first principles in which all
conclusions are included virtually; for their terms are most
common like the door to the house; but we know principles
insofar as we know their terms (Posterior analytics, Bk. I);
therefore, etc.
211 Also, it is natural for sense perception to experience any
sensation whatsoever, therefore the intellect could have any
intellectual cognition. The antecedent is evident; the implication
is proved through the Philosopher, in Bk. IIl of the De anima:
Nature is not wanting in what is necessary. Hence if it is not
deficient in imperfect things, all the less so is it deficient in
perfect things, for this would detract from the nobility of the
universe even more.

i32 V adds: To the arguments to the opposite the reply is evident from what
was said above.
75 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

212 Contra. Augustinus, XI De Civitate Dei, cap. 3:204 "Fidem

habemus de his rebus quas ignorare omnino non expedit nec per
nos ipsos iam noscere idonei sumus".

[Ad quaestionem]

213 Hic sunt tria videnda. Primo, an Aristoteles intellexit

metaphysicam esse de Deo sicut de eius primo subiecto. Secundo,
an habens metaphysicam possit scire omnia possibilia sciri de
Deo per istum habitum. Tertio, quod est aliqua notitia nobis
possibilis nobilior omni notitia naturali vel metaphysica.

[Articulus 1]

214 De primo est controversia inter Avicennam et Averroem.

Ponit enim Avicenna quod Deus non est subiectum in
metaphysica sed aliquid aliud, ut ens. Quia nulla scientia probat
suum subiectum esse. Metaphysicus probat Deum et substantias
separatas esse, ergo etc. Averroes reprehendit Avicennam in
commento ultimo, I Physicorum.205 Supposita maiori Avicennae
quod nulla scientia probat suum subiectum esse, quae est
communis utrique, capit quod Deus est subiectum in
metaphysica, et hoc non probatur in metaphysica sed in physica
quia nullum genus substantiarum separatarum potest probari
nisi per motum, quod pertinet ad physicum.
215 Sed Avicenna bene dicit et Averroes valde male. Et accipio
propositionem communem utrique, scilicet quod nulla scientia
probat suum subiectum esse, quae vera est propter primitatem
subiecti ad scientiam.206 Sed maiorem primitatem habet
subiectum respectu scientiae posterioris quam prioris. Ergo si
prior scientia non potest probare suum subiectum esse quod est

*m August., De civ. Dei. XI, c. 3 (CCSL 48, 323; PL 41, 318).

*or, Averroes, Physica I, com. 83 (ed. Iuntina IV, 47va).
toe, y addit (cf. Add. M ): quia si esset posterius, posset ipsum probari esse in
illa scientia in qua habet rationem posterioris et non obiecti adaequati.
Prologue, Question Three 75

212 To the contrary, Augustine in Bk. XI of The City of God,

chapter 3: "We have faith about those things that we cannot
afford ignoring completely, and yet of ourselves are at the present
moment unable to know."

Division of the Question

213 Here there are three things to investigate. First, did

Aristotle consider metaphysics to be about God as its first
subject? Secondly, can a metaphysician know all that it is possible
to know about God through this habit? Third, can we have some
knowledge that is more noble than all natural or metaphysical

Article One
Is God the first subject of metaphysics for Aristotle?

214 In regard to the first point there is a controversy between

Avicenna and Averroes. For Avicenna claims that not God, but
something else such as being, is the subject of metaphysics. For
no science proves the existence of its own subject, yet the
metaphysician proves that God and separate substances exist;
therefore, etc. In his final comment on the Bk. I of the Physics,
Averroes attacks Avicenna, using the same major premise,
admitted by both, that no science proves the existence of its
subject. God is the subject of metaphysics; but his existence is not
proved there but in physics, for it is only by means of motion that
any sort of pure spirit can be proved to exist, and motion pertains
to the science of physics.
215 Avicenna has spoken well, however, and Averroes very
badly, and against him I use the basic proposition which they
both hold, namely, "No science proves the existence of its subject."
This is true because of the priority that a subject has with respect
to the science.i33 But a subject enjoys a greater priority over a
lower science than over its own, higher science. If the highest
science, therefore, cannot establish the existence of its subject,

iM v adds (cf. Add. M.): because if it were posterior, it could be proved to be

in that science, in which it is subordinate, and not the adequate object.
76 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

subiectum primum, multo magis nec scientia posterior. Ergo si

metaphysica non potest probare Deum esse, multo magis nec
physica. Probatio minoris. Quia duplicem primitatem habet
subiectum prioris scientiae ad posteriorem respectu scientiae
216 Item, si Deum esse est demonstratum in physica et
suppositum tamquam subiectum in metaphysica, ergo conclusio
in physica est simpliciter principium in metaphysica quia
principium in scientia est ex subiecto eius, et per consequens
physica erit simpliciter prior metaphysica. Quae omnia sunt
217 Item, ex omni proprietate manifesta in effectu potest
concludi causam esse quia, si talis proprietas non possit esse nisi
solum a tali causa. Sed non solum huiusmodi proprietates quae
considerantur in physica, ut motum esse, manifeste concludunt
esse causam moventem, sed etiam proprietates consideratae in
metaphysica, ut ens posterius, ens potentiale, ens finitum, prout
sunt in effectu concludunt de causa primitatem simpliciter,
actualitatem et infinitatem et huiusmodi ex quibus potest
demonstrari esse de primo ente potius quam ex ratione motus.

[Opinio Scoti]

218 Dico ergo ad quaestionem quantum pertinet ad istum

articulum quod Deus non est subiectum in metaphysica quia, ut
supra probatum est in prima quaestione,207 de Deo tamquam de
primo subiecto tantum potest esse una scientia quae non est
metaphysica. Quod probo sic. De omni subiecto scientiae
subalternatae praecognoscitur ex sensibus an est vel si est, ut
patet de subiecto perspectivae. Licet enim linea visualis quae est
subiectum in perspectiva possit demonstrari tamquam conclusio
geometriae, tamen si est subiectum alicuius scientiae
subalternatae, de eo oportet statim esse notum si est sine
ulteriori inquisitione ex sensu vel experientia, scilicet quod sibi
non repugnat esse. Sicut enim principia statim sciuntur
apprehensis terminis, cum subiectum sit causa principii et per

207 Cf. supra n. 110-116.

Prologue, Question Three 76

which is first or highest, still less can an inferior science do so.

Therefore, if metaphysics cannot prove the existence of God,
much less can physics. The minor premise is proved because of
the double primacy that the subject of a higher science has in
regard to a lower science, given its relationship to a prior science.
216 Also, if God's existence is something demonstrated in
physics and presupposed in metaphysics as a subject, thento
put it simplya conclusion in physics is the starting point in
metaphysics, for any science starts with its subject. Hence,
physics will be prior to metaphysicsall of which is absurd.
217 Also, if any property can exist only in virtue of such and
such a cause, from every such property that appears in an effect
we can infer the existence of its cause. Now it is not just such
properties of the effect considered in physicssuch as that
something is movedthat lead one to conclude the existence of a
moving cause, but the same is true of properties considered in
metaphysics. If an effect represents something posterior, possible,
or finite, such properties imply that their cause enjoys an
unqualified primacy, actuality, infinity, and the like. It is from
properties of this sort rather than from the nature of motion that
the existence of a first being can be demonstrated.

Scotus's opinion

218 So far as this question is concerned, then, I say that God is

not the subject of metaphysics, for as we proved earlier in the
first question, [n. 110-116] there can be but one science about God
as first subject, and this is not metaphysics. And I prove this in
the following way. The senses tell us first whether or not any
subject of a subordinate science exists, as is clear in the case of
optics. For although a visible line, which is the subject of optics,
could be demonstrated in geometry, nevertheless if it is the
subject of some subordinate science, one needs to be able to know
immediately, without any further experience or investigation by
the senses, whether or not it exists, namely, that there is nothing
incompatible about its existence. Just as principles are grasped
immediately once the terms are apprehended, since the subject is
the cause of the principle, and, as a consequence, is prior to it in
77 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

consequens prius eo in entitate et cognoscibilitate, oportet ipsum

esse statim si est notum ex sensibus. Sed nulla ratio propria
conceptibilis de Deo potest statim esse nobis nota si est. Ergo
nulla notitia acquisita naturaliter a nobis potest esse propria Deo.
Minor patet. Quia prima ratio propria de Deo quam nos
concipimus est quod sit primum ens. Sed primum ens non est
primo notum ex sensibus, sed oportet prius concipere
possibilitatem unionis terminorum, et antequam sciamus hanc
compositionem esse possibilem oportet quod aliquod ens
demonstretur esse primum. Concedo ergo cum Avicenna quod
Deus non est subiectum in metaphysica. Nec obviat dictum
Averrois I Physicorum,20S nec illud I Metaphysicae209 quod
metaphysica est circa causas altissimas quia loquitur sicut
consuevit loqui I Priorum,210 cum dicit: "Primum oportet dicere
circa quid et de quo, quoniam circa demonstrationem et de
disciplina demonstrativa, id est de universali scientia demon-
strandi". Unde "circa" notat proprie circumstantiam causae finalis
sicut "de" circumstantiam causae materialis. Unde metaphysica
est circa causas altissimas finaliter ad quas terminatur ipsius

[Articulus 2
Utrum per metaphysicam possimus scire omnia
nobis possibilia cognosci de Deo]

219 Secundo, supposito quod metaphysica non sit de Deo ut de

subiecto, est ulterior dubitatio utrum per metaphysicam possimus
scire omnia nobis possibilia cognosci de Deo.
220 Et diceret Aristoteles et alii philosophi quod sic quia notum
erat apud eos sicut principium quod omni potentiae passivae
naturali correspondet alia activa naturalis, alioquin potentia

208 Cf. supra n. 214; cf. Aristot., Anal. Post. I, c. 1 (71a 10-2); ibid., c. 10 (76a
31-6). Cf. Les Auctoritates Aristotelis (ed. J. Hamesse, 311): "Dupliciter aliqua
necessaria est praecognoscere, scilicet quia est et quis est"; "Unde iterum
habemus quod in qualibet scientia oportet praesupponere subjectum esse et quid
significet ipsum".
20ll Aristot., Metaph. I (A), c. 1 (9816 27-9); cf. Les Auctoritates Aristotelis (ed.
J. Hamesse, 115): "Sapientia est scientia primarum et altissimarum causarum".
21" Aristot., Anal. Priora I, c. 1 (24a 10-2).
Prologue, Question Three 77

entity and knowability, so too the existence of the subject must be

known immediately from the senses. But we do not immediately
know whether any proper conceivable notion about God exists.
Therefore no knowledge acquired naturally in this life represents
any characteristic of God that is proper to him. The minor
premise is evident, for the first proper notion we have about God
is that he is the first being. "First being," however, is not
something initially known from the senses, for we must first
ascertain that the combination of these two terms makes sense.
Before we can know that this combination represents something
possible, we need to demonstrate that some being is first. Hence I
concede with Avicenna that God is not the subject of metaphysics.
Nor is this contradicted by the dictum of Averroes [about prior
knowledge of the existence of the subject] (from the Physics, Bk.
I), nor by the statement that metaphysics is concerned with the
highest causes (from Metaphysics, Bk. I). For the Philosopher
speaks there as he did in Bk. I of the Prior Analytics where he
says: "First we need to determine what this is concerned with and
is about, for it is concerned with demonstration and is about the
demonstrative branch of learning, i.e., it is about the general
science of demonstrating." Hence "concerned with" denotes
properly the circumstance of the final cause, just as "made from"
[denotes] the circumstance of the material cause. Consequently,
metaphysics is concerned with the highest causes as its goal and
ends with the theoretical knowledge of them.

Article Two
Can a metaphysician as such know every possible truth
about God?

219 Secondly, granted that metaphysics is not about God as its

subject, there is a further doubt whether by means of metaphysics
we can know all that is possible to know about God.
220 And Aristotle and other philosophers would say that we can,
for they regarded as a principle that to every natural passive
potency there corresponded another natural potency that is
active; otherwise the passive potency would seem to be in vain if
it could not be reduced to act through something natural. But the
78 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

passiva videtur esse frustra nisi per aliquid in natura posset

reduci in actum. Sed intellectus possibilis est potentia passiva
respectu quorumcumque intelligibilium quia naturaliter appetit
cognitionem Dei et omnium cognoscibilium, naturaliter etiam
perficitur per quamcumque intellectionem. Ergo cuiuslibet
intellectionis est receptivus.
221 Contra istud arguo et facio maiorem trimembrem. Omnis
cognitio nostra naturalis quam habemus de Deo est causata in
nobis per effectum aequivocum. Item, omnis cognitio nostra de
Deo naturalis est indistincta. Item est obscura, quod patet quia
non est de obiecto evidente intellectui secundum exsistentiam
222 Ex prima propositione arguo sic. Omnis cognitio nostra
naturaliter habita de Deo causata in nobis per effectum
aequivocum est imperfecta. Sed possibilis est nobis aliqua alia
cognitio Dei intuitiva quae est eius ut praesentialiter exsistit.
Ergo ex puris naturalibus non possumus devenire ad omnem
cognitionem de Deo nobis possibilem. Probatio minoris. Omnis
potentia habens aliquod obiectum primum commune ad multa
habet contentum quodlibet sub ipso pro per se obiecto eius
quantum est ex natura potentiae. Non enim esset aliter obiectum
adaequatum potentiae si aliquid contineretur sub obiecto quod
non respiceretur per se a potentia, sed aliquid inferius primo
obiecto esset sibi adaequatum. Intellectus noster habet ens pro
primo obiecto communi et indifferenti ad Deum et ad creaturas
vel univoce vel saltem analogice. Ergo Deus sub ratione Deitatis
est per se contentum sub ente, ergo per se obiectum intellectus
nostri. Nobiliorem ergo et perfectiorem cognitionem possumus
habere de Deo quam in effectu, scilicet in exsistentia eius actuali.
223 Item, desiderium naturale est in cognoscente effectum
cognoscere causam et in cognoscente effectum distincte
cognoscere causam distincte. Sed tale desiderium non quiescit
cognoscendo tantum Deum in effectu aequivoco, sicut quilibet
experitur in se. Ergo cum desiderium naturale non sit ad
impossibile, sequitur quod possibile sit nobis cognoscere Deum
aliter quam in effectu, scilicet in sua exsistentia actuali. Hoc
Prologue, Question Three 78

possible intellect is a passive potency with respect to all

intelligibles, since it naturally desires knowledge of God and of all
knowables and is also naturally perfected by any intellection, and
therefore it can receive any intellection whatsoever.
221 I argue against this and I make a three-member major
premise. Every natural cognition that we have about God is
caused in us by an equivocal* effect. Also, every natural cognition
of ours about God is indistinct. Also, it is obscure, which is
evident, because it is not about an object evident to the intellect
in its intelligible existence.
222 From the first proposition, I argue in this way. Every
cognition of ours about God that we have naturally and that is
caused in us through an equivocal effect is imperfect. But it is
possible for usi34 to have some other cognition of God that is
intuitive, which is of him as existing and present [to us].
Therefore from our purely natural endowment we are not able to
arrive at all knowledge of God that is possible for us. Proof of
the minor. Every potency having something common to many as
its first object regards anything contained under it as its per se
object insofar as its nature as a potency goes. For otherwise that
object would be inadequate to that potency if something contained
under it were not regarded per se by the potency; rather
something inferior to that first object would be that potency's
adequate object. Our intellect's first object, 'being,' is indifferent
and common, either univocally or at least analogously, to God and
creatures. Therefore God, viewed as deity, is contained per se
under 'being,' and therefore God is per se an object of our
intellect. Hence we can have a more noble and therefore more
perfect cognition of God than knowledge derived from some effect,
namely, [we can know him] in his actual existence.
223 Also, there is a natural desire in one knowing an effect to
know the cause, and in knowing the effect distinctly to know the
cause distinctly. But such a desire is not quieted by only knowing
God in an equivocal effect, as each one experiences in himself.
Therefore since there is no natural desire for the impossible, it
follows that it is possible for us to know God otherwise than in an
effect, namely, to know him in his actual existence. This

i34 It is possible for us supernaturally, but not from what is purely natural.
79 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

argumentum est Philosophi, II Metaphysicae,211 ubi probat quod

non est processus in infinitum in causis, nec in efficiente nec in
finali, quia tunc non contingeret aliquid scire. Ergo ad perfectam
notitiam de re necesse est scire omnes causas eius et distincte
quia agens a proposito agit propter finem, distincte etiam quia
non distincte cognosceret causatum si sufficeret confusa cognitio
224 Ex secunda propositione arguo sic. Si cognitio perfectissima
nobis possibilis de Deo est cognitio eius indistincta, cum ergo in
quolibet obiecto creato perciperemus illud obiectum ut Deum
indistincte, sequeretur quod in illo possemus perfecte quietari.
Sed consequens est falsum quia nihil finitum potest nos satiare,
sicut probatur in sequenti quaestione, ergo etc. Probatio
consequentiae. In cognitione perfectissima de Deo est perfecta
quietatio. Ergo si ista esset indistincta, in creatura esset quies et
beatitudo, quod est falsum.
225 Item, ex tertia propositione arguitur sic. Quod est
perfectionis in potentia inferiori non repugnat potentiae superiori
eiusdem generis. Sed perfectionis est in potentia inferiori
sensitiva apprehensiva cognoscere suum obiectum clare et
intuitive in exsistentia eius, sicut patet de visu. Ergo hoc non
repugnat intellectui respectu sui obiecti per se. Cuiusmodi est
Deus, ut ostensum est. Ergo cognitio eius obscura non est
perfectissima nobis possibilis de eo.

[Articulus 3
Utrum possimus habere cognitionem de Deo perfectiorem
quam ex naturalibus]

226 Ex hoc patet tertius articulus quod aliqua est cognitio nobis
possibilis de Deo etiam pro statu isto perfectior ista quam
possumus habere ex naturalibus. Cuius ratio est quia possibile
est nobis distincte cognoscere finem humanorum actuum. Tunc
arguo, aut possumus cognoscere et scire Deum per rationem

211 Aristot., Metaph. II (a), c. 2 (994a 1-11).

Prologue, Question Three 79

argument is taken from the Philosopher in Bk. II of the

Metaphysics where he proves that there is no infinite regress in
causesneither in efficient causes nor in final causesbecause
then nothing could be known scientifically. Therefore for perfect
knowledge of a thing it is necessary to know all of its causes (for
an agent according to what we propose acts for the sake of an
end) and also know them distinctly (for, if confused knowledge of
a cause sufficed, one would also not know distinctly what is
224 From the second proposition I argue in this way. If the most
perfect cognition about God that we could have were an indistinct
knowledge of him, therefore, since any created object whatsoever
we could perceive indistinctly as God, it would follow that we
could be perfectly satisfied in it. But the consequent is false,
because nothing finite can satisfy us, as will be proved in the
following question; therefore etc. Proof of the implication. The
most perfect knowledge about God produces perfect satisfaction.
Therefore, if this were indistinct knowledge, satisfaction and
beatitude could be found in a creature; which is false.
225 Also, from the third proposition it is argued in this way.
What is a matter of perfection in an inferior potency is not
repugnant to a superior potency of the same sort; in an inferior
sensitive apprehensive potency, however, to know its object
clearly and intuitively in its existence is a matter of perfection, as
is evident in the case of vision; therefore this is not repugnant to
the intellect as regards a per se object. God is such an object, as
has been shown. Therefore obscure knowledge is not the most
perfect knowledge we can have of him.

Article Three
Can we have some knowledge of God that is more noble
than any natural or metaphysical knowledge?

226 From this the third article is evident, viz. we can have some
knowledge of God that is even more perfect than what natural
sources can give us and we can have it in our present state [as
pilgrims]. The proof for this is that it is possible for us to know
distinctly the goal of human actions. Then I argue, either we can
80 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

naturalem in se distincte et clare, videndo eum esse finem

actuum meorum, aut non. Si sic, habeo propositum quod pro nunc
est aliqua cognitio necessaria quae non est naturalis. Si non, ergo
ratione naturali possum scire quod intellectus et ratio naturalis
deficit in aliquo quod est necessarium nobis cognoscere. Patet ex
inclinatione naturali in idem. Eodem modo potest argui de causa

[Responsio ad quaestionem]

227 Ex dictis patet responsio ad quaestionem quod aliquae

veritates possunt de Deo a nobis sciri naturaliter et aliquae non.
Nam quaecumque ex his quae in effectibus sunt nota de Deo
possunt sciri a nobis per demonstrationem quia et a posteriori,
scilicet per effectum. Sed multa sunt talia quae possunt esse nota
de Deo ex effectibus, ut patet ex scientiis philosophorum. Multae
etiam sunt veritates scibiles de Deo quas non possumus
cognoscere de Deo ratione naturali. Quia quaecumque in causa
non possunt sciri ex his quae sunt nota in effectu, non possunt a
nobis sciri ratione naturali. Multae sunt veritates scibiles de Deo
quae sunt huiusmodi, ut trinitas personarum et unitas essentiae
et huiusmodi articuli pertinentes ad Deitatem, ergo etc.
Supernaturaliter tamen possumus, ut ostensum est.

[Ad argumenta principalia]

228 Ad primum212 principale dico quod felicitas quae est finis

speculationis metaphysicae est felicitas secundum quid tantum et
ficta quae ordinatur ad visionem essentiae divinae sicut ad
felicitatem simpliciter.
229 Ad aliud213 dicendum secundum magnum doctorem quod
principia trahuntur a sensibilibus, unde sapiunt naturam
sensibilium, et ideo non possunt applicari ad insensibilia. Dico

*ls Cf. supra n. 209.

213 Cf. supra n. 210.
Prologue, Question Three 80

know God scientifically in himself distinctly and clearly through

natural reason, seeing him to be the goal of my actions, or we
cannot know this. If I can know this [through natural reason],
then I have what I propose, [namely] that for our present pilgrim
state we need some knowledge that is not natural [but
supernatural]. If we cannot know this, natural reason [at least]
can make known to us that our intellect and natural reason itself
is deficient in something I need to know. This is evident from the
natural inclination we have for such knowledge. In the same way
I can argue about the efficient cause.

Reply to the question

227 From what has been said the response to the question is
clear, [namely] some truths about God can be known naturally
and some cannot. For whatever we can know of God from his
effects, we know by a demonstration of the simple fact and know
this a posteriori, namely, from an effect; many such truths
however can be known about God from his effects, as is evident
from the scientific knowledge of philosophers. There are also
many truths we can know about God that cannot be known by
natural reason. For whatever we know about regarding a cause
that cannot be inferred from its effects, cannot be known by
natural reason. Many truths of this kind can be known about
God, such as the trinity of persons and unity of essence and such
articles [of faith] as pertain to deity; therefore etc.
Supernaturally, however, we can know these, as has been shown.

Reply to the initial arguments

228 To the first main argument [n. 209] I say that the happiness
which is the purpose of metaphysical speculation is felicity only in
a qualified sense and not genuine happiness, being ordered to a
vision of the divine essence that is simply unqualified happiness.
229 To the other [n. 210] it must be said according to the great
teacheri35 that principles are drawn from sensibles, hence they

i35 This seems to be a reference to Aristotle, since the argument is based

exclusively on his theory of how to acquire knowledge.
81 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

quod hoc non valet. Quia licet trahantur a sensibilibus, tamen

scitur quod verum est in omnibus tam sensibilibus quam
insensibilibus et est universalissime notum. Et ideo aliter dicunt
alii quod ista principia non possunt applicari nisi mediantibus
minoribus propositionibus quae non sunt nobis notae. Sed et hoc
non valet quia prima sunt communissima et accipiuntur
verissime de quolibet. Et ideo dico quod possunt sciri omnes
conclusiones sequentes, sed non sequuntur nisi praedicantes
condiciones universalissimas. Praedicatum enim principii potest
sciri de subiecto, non aliud praedicatum speciale.
230 Et ideo dicendum quod non sequitur "Contingit cognoscere
prima principia naturaliter, ergo et omnes conclusiones inclusas
in eis". Non sequitur quia ex talibus maioribus et minoribus
sumptis sub non sequuntur conclusiones de praedicatis
specialibus sed tantum conclusiones quae praedicant conceptus
communissimos, ut ex ista maiore "impossibile est idem esse et
non esse", "angelus est aliquid" non sequitur nisi esse vel non esse
de angelo, et non probatur aliquid speciale ut immaterialitas vel
aliquid huiusmodi nisi per quod quid est proprium ipsi angelo
quia quod quid est eius est medium demonstrandi de eo
immaterialitatem et omnes passiones eius. Licet ergo principium
primum includat virtute omnes conclusiones quae praedicant
conceptus communes, non tamen alias quae praedicant conceptus
speciales nisi per quod quid est sumpti sub subiecto principii
communissimi. Et ideo tale quid oportet esse notum antequam
sciantur speciales conclusiones de eo.
231 Ad tertium2i4 dico negando consequentiam quod maioris
perfectionis est creatura capax quam ista ad quam habet virtutem
activam. Capax enim est entitatis suae summa creatura ex quo
est quoddam ens, et tamen respectu suae entitatis nullam habet
causalitatem activam.

2U Cf. supra n. 211.

Prologue, Question Three 81

make known the nature of sensibles, and therefore they cannot be

applied to insensibles. I say that this is not valid. Because
although they are drawn from sense perceptibles, nevertheless
this is known to be true of all things, both sensibles and
insensibles, and have the most universal application. And
therefore others put it in a different way saying that these
principles can only be applied by means of minor propositions,
which are not known to us. But this is not valid either, because
first principles are most common and are accepted as being most
true by anyone. And therefore I say that we can know all the
following conclusions, but they follow only by predicating the
most universal conditions. For it is the predicate of a principle
that can be known scientifically of the subject, and not another
special predicate.
230 And therefore it must be said that this does not follow: "One
knows first principles naturally, therefore one also knows all the
conclusions included in them." It does not follow because what
follows from such majors and the minors taken beneath them is
not conclusions about what is most specific, but only conclusions,
which predicate most common concepts, as from this major "it is
impossible for the same thing to both be and not be," "an angel is
something" does not follow unless 'to be and not to be' is about an
angel, and something specificsuch as immateriality or some
thing of this sortis not proved, except through the quiddity
proper to the angel, because its quiddity is the means of
demonstrating about it immateriality and all its attributes.
Therefore, although the first principle includes virtually all
conclusions that predicate common concepts, it does not include
others, which predicate specific concepts, except through the
quiddity subsumed under the subject of the most common
principle. And therefore such a quiddity must be known before
the specific conclusions are known of it.
231 To the third [n. 211] I reply by denying the implication that
a creature is able to have a greater perfection than what can be
had from an active [natural] potency. For the highest creature is
capable of its entity from which it is a certain being, and
nevertheless with respect to its entity it has no active causality.
82 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

232 Ad probationem consequentiae dico quod imperfectionis est

in potentiis sensitivis quod per agens naturale possunt totam
perfectionem suam acquirere, est enim ita parva respectu
perfectionis potentiae intellectivae quod ad eam se extendit
causalitas creata sufficienter. Sed non sic est de intellectu et
voluntate quae ordinantur ad maiorem perfectionem quam possit
haberi ex causis naturalibus. Nec in hoc vilifico naturam sed
dignifico eam. Quia quidquid tu ponis, et ego, et amplius aliquid
quia omnem perfectionem quam tu ponis quod possit acquirere ex
naturalibus et ultra cognitionem Dei in speciali ad quam nulla
creatura causaliter active se extendit, ergo etc.


233 Ex praedictis patet quid et quantum possumus cognoscere

de Deo quoniam triplex cognitio de Deo haberi potest, et patet ad
quae se extendit theologia et quid sit sciendum de ea. Ex prima
quaestione potest haberi quid sit theologia in se, ex secunda
qualem theologiam et cognitionem possumus habere de Deo per
specialem actionem eius, ex tertia quaestione quid per rationem
naturalem et actionem naturalem possumus de Deo cognoscere.


234 Si ergo quaeratur utrum ista scientia quae est de Deo sub
ratione Deitatis sit de omnibus per se scibilibus de eo patet quod
Prologue, Question Three 82

232 To the proof of the implication I say that it is a matter of

imperfection in sensitive potencies that through a natural agent
they can acquire their total perfection, for it is so small compared
to the perfection of an intellective potency, that the created
causality extends itself to it sufficiently; but it is not so about the
intellect and the will, which are ordered to a perfection which is
greater than the one that can be had from natural causes. In this
I do not vilify nature but rather dignify it; for whatever you
postulate, I do as well, but also something over and above,
because [I posit] all perfection that can be acquired by natural
causes, which you posit, and, above that, the cognition of God in
particular, to which no creature extends itself in a causally active
way. Therefore, etc.

A few brief questions

233 From what has been said it is evident just what and how
much we can know about God, seeing that there can be a
threefold cognition about Godi36 and it is evident to what theology
covers and what can be known about it. From the first question
one can glean what theology is in itself, from the second what sort
of theology and cognition we can have about God through his
special action, and from the third, what we can know about God
through natural reason and natural action.


234 If therefore it is asked: Is this science about God qua deity

about everything knowable per se of him? it is clear that it is,
for the notion of deity contains virtually all the principles; and the

i36 This might be a reference to the conclusions drawn from his threefold
major premise in n. 221, but more probably seems to refer to the threefold
argument from efficient, final and formal causality (cf. below, n. 251), which leads
to Scotus's threefold argument for God's existence based on the essential orders
of efficiency, finality and eminence. The order of eminence is based on the fact
that forms are hierarchically ordered. As he writes in the Ordinatio I, dist. 2, n.
64: "Some preeminent nature is simply first as regards perfection. This is clear,
since there is an essential order among essences, for, according to Aristotle,
Metaphysics, Bk. VIII, ([H] c. 3 [10436 33]) forms behave in the same way as
83 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

sic quia ratio Deitatis includit virtualiter omnia principia et

principia omnes conclusiones continent de eo scibiles per
rationem subiecti.
235 Si obiciatur quod aliquae veritates scibiles pertinent ad
metaphysicam, respondeo: Omnis veritas pertinet simpliciter ad
illam scientiam in qua scitur propter quid, ad illam autem in qua
tantum scitur quia pertinet tantum secundum quid. Exemplum:
Conclusio ista quod terra sit rotunda probatur propter quid in
scientia naturali et quia tantum in scientia astrologiae. Et ideo
quod terra sit rotunda est simpliciter conclusio physica et
secundum quid astrologica. Sic in proposito, omnes veritates per
se scibiles de Deo propter quid sciuntur in ista scientia, quae est
de Deo secundum se et secundum propriam rationem Deitatis,
quae est ratio et medium ad concludendum quamlibet veritatem
conclusam de eo in metaphysica, quia non nisi ex effectibus
communibus probat eas de Deo et a posteriori et non per rationem
subiecti, quia subiectum secundum propriam rationem eius est
sibi ignotum; et ideo est theologia tantum secundum quid quia
veritates de Deo probat tantum secundum quid, quia scilicet et a
236 Sed forte dicetur: Metaphysica est scientia simpliciter, ergo
simpliciter considerat veritates probatas de Deo, ergo simpliciter
pertinent ad considerationem eius, et non tantum secundum quid.
237 Respondeo: Metaphysica quatenus considerat aliquid vel
aliquas veritates scibiles de Deo est simpliciter scientia quia. Et
talis scientia est secundum quid propter quid, et ideo ad
metaphysicam secundum quid pertinent huiusmodi veritates de


238 Ulterius si etiam quaeratur utrum theologia sit una scientia

dico quod sic quia est unius subiecti sub ratione una, scilicet sub
Prologue, Question Three 83

principles contain all those conclusions that are knowable about

him by using the notion of its subject.i37
235 If it be objected that some knowable truths pertain to
metaphysics, I reply: "Every truth pertains simply to that science
wherein it is known as a reasoned fact, but to that science
wherein it is known only as a simple fact it pertains only in a
qualified sense." For example: this conclusion "the earth is round"
is proved as a reasoned fact in physics and only as a simple fact in
astronomy; and therefore "the earth is round" is in an unqualified
sense a conclusion of physics and only in a qualified sense a
conclusion in astronomy. So it is in the case at hand. All truths
that are per se knowable about God are known as reasoned facts
in this science [of theology], which is about God in himself and
under the proper notion of deity, which is the notion and middle
term for concluding any truth inferred about him in metaphysics.
For it is only from common effects and a posteriori that it [i.e.
metaphysics] proves those truths about God, and not through the
notion of [God as] its subject. For that subject according to its
proper notion is not known to it, and therefore metaphysics is
only a 'theology' in a qualified sense, because it is only in a
qualified sense that truths about God are proved there, namely,
'as a simple fact' and a posteriori.
236 But perhaps you will say: "Metaphysics is a science in an
unqualified sense and it simply considers truths that are proved
about God; therefore these truths pertain to a consideration of
him purely and simply, and not just in a qualified sense."
237 I respond. "Metaphysics in so far as it considers some
knowable truths, or anything, about God is simply a science of the
simple fact. As such, it is not simply a science about the reasoned
fact and therefore such truths about God pertain to metaphysics
only in a qualified sense."


238 If it be asked further: Is theology one single science? - I say

that it is, because it is about one subject and under one notion,

l37 Namely, as the middle term of its demonstative syllogisms.

84 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

ratione Deitatis, et ex unitate subiecti sortitur scientia suam

unitatem in quo virtualiter continentur omnia principia et omnes
conclusiones istius scientiae. Et non dicitur una a conclusionibus
istius scientiae quia tunc quaelibet scientia esset simpliciter
plures, cum plures possint sciri de quolibet subiecto. Omnia etiam
principia istius ultimo resolvuntur in rationem Deitatis.


239 Ulterius si quaeratur an sit maxime una patet quod sic quia
subiectum eius est maxime unum. Nam subiectum scientiarum
philosophicarum est tantum unum secundum rationem et
apprehensionem intellectus, subiectum autem huius est maxime
singulare, immo est ipsa singularitas ut haec deitas ut haec, vel
haec essentia ut haec.
240 Ex hoc apparet falsitas illius opinionis quae dicit quod haec
scientia est tam speculativa quam practica et per consequens duo
habitus. Et est ratio secundum eos. Quia haec scientia considerat
ita operabilia ac si de illis solum esset et ita de speculabilibus
sicut si non esset de operabilibus. Sed nulla scientia est sic de
operabilibus nisi practica nec sic de speculabilibus nisi
speculativa. Ergo haec scientia est uterque habitus.
241 Sed contra. Cum omnis scientia sit una ab unitate subiecti
in quod omnia principia istius scientiae resolvuntur et non ab
unitate conclusionum, haec erit maxime una, sicut prius
probatum est.
242 Item, in omnibus essentialiter ordinatis, et habentibus
unitatem, necesse est stare ad aliquid simpliciter primum in
unitate, ergo et in scientiarum unitate oportet stare ad aliquam
scientiam primo unam et maxime unam. Si ergo haec non sit talis
quae est de Deo secundum rationem formalem eius, nulla erit
Prologue, Question Three 84

namely, under that of deity. And from the unity of its subject the
science about that subject obtains its unity, [for it is a subject] in
which all principles and all conclusions of this science are
virtually contained. A science is not said to be one because it
draws but one conclusion,i38 for then any science would be simply
multiplex, since several [conclusions] could be scientifically
known about each subject. Also, all principles of this science are
ultimately reduced virtually to the notion of deity.


239 And if it is asked further: Is theology maximally one? it is

evident that it is, because its subject is maximally one. For the
subject of the philosophical sciences is one only in the way the
intellect conceives and apprehends it. The subject of this science,
however, is maximally singular; indeed it is singularity* itself,
such as 'this deity as just this' or 'this essence as just this.'
240 This shows the falsity of that opinion, which claims this
science, is both speculative and practical, and hence is two habits.
The reason they give for this, is because this science considers
practicables as though these were its chief concern, and it
considers speculative things as though it had no interest in
practicables; no science behaves this way about practicables
unless it is a practical science, nor does any science behave this
way about speculatives unless it is a speculative science; hence
this science has both habits.
241 To the contrary. Every science derives its unity not from any
unity of its conclusion, but from the unity of its subject, to which
all the principles of the science are virtually reduced; hence this
science is maximally one, as was proved before.
242 Also, in everything essentially ordered and having unity,
there must be something that is simply first in unity; therefore
also where there is a unity among several sciences, it is necessary
to go back to some science that is primarily one and maximally
one. If this science about God qua deity is not the sort of science
[that is primarily and maximally one], then none will be first,

l:lH That is, because only one conclusion is demonstrated in that science.
85 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

prima, quod est inconveniens. Nec unitas luminis fidei in quo

cognoscuntur principia eius, secundum eos, sufficit ad talem
unitatem quia sic omnes scientiae philosophicae essent una
scientia propter unitatem luminis naturalis in quo principia
cuiuslibet scientiae cognoscuntur.
243 Item, habitus non habens evidentiam ex obiecto non
distinguitur ex distinctione obiecti. Sed theologia est huiusmodi
habitus, secundum eos. Ergo non distinguitur in habitum
practicum et speculativum propter obiectum operabile et
speculabile de quibus ponunt ipsam esse. Maior probatur. Quia
si habitus non habens evidentiam ex obiecto distingueretur
secundum distinctionem obiecti, ergo cum fides sit huiusmodi
habitus, ipsa distingueretur secundum distinctionem credibilium,
et cum sint 12 articuli credendi, essent 12 fides.
244 Aliqui etiam articuli sunt necessarii et alii contingentes,
quae ambo non videntur respici ab aliqua scientia una
essentialiter. Ad rationem eorum dicendum quod ponentes eam
speculativam dicerent quod non determinat de practicis nec
agibilibus propter se, sed propter speculari quatenus ad istam
cognitionem practicam sequitur cognitio speculativa. Similiter
econverso, ponentes earn esse practicam, quod magis videtur,
dicerent quod non considerat speculabilia nisi propter praxim
inquantum scilicet per speculationem diriguntur in praxim et in
operationem. Exemplum: Haec est practica: "Talis debet sanari
tali infirmitate sic". Sed haec conclusio sequitur ex principio
simpliciter practico, scilicet quod talis infirmitas contingit ex
habundantia colerae. Ita est in proposito. Sicut enim haec
conclusio est practica "Deus est diligendus", ita sequitur quod215
ex praemissa practica "Deus fecit caelum et terram" ex qua
sequitur quod maxime debes eum diligere, ita quod speculatio
semper ordinatur ad praxim in operationibus.

*" Hoc quod potius omittendum est.

Prologue, Question Three 85

which is incongruous. Neither does the unity of the light of faith

in which theology's principles are known, suffice to produce such
unity according to those,i39 because in this way all the
philosophical sciences would be one science because of the unity
of the light of natural reason in which the principles of any
science are known.
243 Also, a habit not having evidence from its object is not
distinguished on account of a distinction in the object. But
theology is such a habit, according to those. Therefore it is not
distinguished into a practical and a speculative habit because of
an object about which one can be both speculative and practical:
the two aspects, about which they assume this science to be.
The major is proved, because if a habit that does not derive its
evidence from the object were to be distinguished on the basis of
its object, then since faith is such a habit, it would be
distinguished on the basis of what is credible and, since there are
twelve articles of belief, there would be twelve faiths.
244 Also some articles are necessary and others are contingent,
both of which do not seem to be regarded by a science that is
essentially one. To this reason of theirs it must be said that those
who postulate it to be speculative, would say that it is not limited
of itself to just practice or to works that can be performed. But
insofar as speculation could follow from practical knowledge, [it
could be called speculative]. Similarly, on the other hand, those
who postulate it is practical, which it seems more to be, say that it
only considers speculative things for the sake of praxis insofar as
through speculation they are directed to praxis and operation. For
example: this is practical "One has to be healed of such a sickness
in this fashion." But this conclusion follows from some practical
principle in an unqualified sense, namely that such an infirmity
happens from an abundance of bile. And so it is in the case at
hand. For just as this conclusion is practical: "God must be loved,"
so it follows from this practical premise: "God made the heavens
and the earth." From which it follows that you ought to love him
most of all, so that speculation is always ordered to some

l39 That is, those who hold theology to be maximally one.

86 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A


245 Ulterius si quaeratur an theologia sit distincta a scientiis

philosophicis patet quod sic quia habet aliud subiectum formale
quia subiectum eius est singulare, subiectum vero aliarum
scientiarum est aliquod universale. Hoc etiam patet discurrendo.
Quia si physica est de mobili, haec non est illa quia Deus non est
mutabilis. Si geometria est de quanto, Deus non est sic quantus.
Nec est metaphysica ut prius probatum est, ergo nulla scientia
philosophicarum .


246 Si quaeratur an sit prior aliis scientiis patet quod sic. Quia
cum sit duplex prioritas in scientiis, I Posteriorum,2i6 scilicet
nobilitatis subiecti et certitudinis notitiae, et haec utroque modo
sit certissima, tum quia subiectum eius est nobilissimum sub
ratione nobilissima, scilicet Deitatis, tum quia eius principia sunt
certissima quae includuntur in subiecto certissimo quia sim-


247 Si quaeratur an sit subalternata alicui alteri scientiae dico

quod non quia scientia subalternata accipit sua principia ut sibi
evidentia propter quid a scientia superiori, scilicet subalternante,
nec cognoscit ea nisi quia sunt ut per experientiam aut quia
reducuntur in principia superioris scientiae. Hoc non contingit in
hac scientia quia nullum aliud subiectum potest virtualiter
includere hoc subiectum, sed potius econverso.
248 Contra. Si subiectum est sub subiecto, et scientia sub
scientia. Sed Deus continetur sub ente de quo ut subiecto est
metaphysica. Ergo haec scientia est sub metaphysica. Dicendum
quod subalternatio non attenditur secundum superius et inferius
vel secundum universale et minus universale quia scientia

2i6 Aristot., Anal. Post. I. c. 2 (716 33-72a 1); cf. Les Auctoritates Aristotelis
(ed. J. Hamesse, 312).
Prologue, Question Three 86


245 And if it is asked further: Is theology distinct from the

philosophical sciences? it is evident that it is, for it has another
formal subject, because its subject is singular; the subjects of the
other sciences are all universal. This is also evident inductively.
For if physics is about the mobile, this is not that, because God is
not mobile. If geometry is about the quantified, God is not in this
way quantified. Nor is it metaphysics as was proven earlier,
therefore it is none of the philosophical sciences.


246 And if it is asked further: Is it prior to the other sciences? it

is evident that it is. For since there is a twofold primacy in
sciences, according to Bk. I of the Posterior Analytics, namely
nobility of subject and certitude of the knowledge, this [science] in
both of these ways is most certainly prior, both because its subject
is the noblest under the most noble notion, namely deity, and
because its principles, which are included in the most certain
subject because it is most simple, are most certain.


247 And if it be asked: Is it subordinated to any other science? I

say that it is not, because a subordinate science receives its
principles from a higher science, namely that to which it is
subordinate, where they are evident as reasoned facts. Neither
does it know these principles unless it be from experience or
because they are traced back to the principles of a superior
science. But this does not happen in this science [of theology],
because there is no other subject that can virtually include this
subject, but rather the converse is the case.
248 To the contrary. If the subject is under a subject, then the
science is subordinate to another science. But God is contained
under being which is the subject of metaphysics. Therefore this
science is under metaphysics. It must be said that subordination
is not determined on the basis of what is superior or inferior,
87 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

subalternata est de ente per accidens, ut de linea visuali est

perspectiva, non autem de eo quod per se et essentialiter
continetur sub superiori, scilicet linea. Nam si linea haberet
species, esset eadem scientia quia de genere et specie non est nisi
una scientia. Quamdiu enim proceditur in conceptibus per se, ex
ratione proprii subiecti possunt sumi principia ad concludendum
passiones de inferioribus. Sed ens per accidens, licet sit notum
per sensum et similiter principia eius, tamen non possunt sciri
propter quid nisi per rationem utriusque partis vel alterius quae
pertinent ad scientiam superiorem, sicut principia lineae visualis
non possunt sciri propter quid nisi per rationem lineae et


249 Si quaeratur an haec scientia subalternet sibi alias scientias

dico quod non. Nam aliae scientiae resolvunt suas conclusiones in
sua principia immediata quae primo sunt vera de eis, et si nihil
aliud esset.
250 Unus tamen doctor dicit quod sic, quod non credo esse
verum quia illae scientiae non resolvunt conclusiones suas in alia
principia priora quae, si tantum essent, omnibus aliis
circumscriptis nihil minus sufficerent ad veritates conclusionum
omnium eliciendas. Sed circumscriptis omnibus aliis conclusiones
omnium aliarum scientiarum resolvuntur in sua principia et
ulterius in rationem subiecti. Vel si, per impossibile, Deus non
esset et quod triangulus esset, adhuc habere tres resolveretur in
naturam trianguli. Unde, licet huiusmodi subiecta secundum esse
eorum sint a Deo, non tamen per rationem Dei includunt
virtualiter suas passiones, et ideo theologia non dicit propter quid
respectu aliarum.
Prologue, Question Three 87

universal or less universal, because a subordinate science is about

being incidentally, just as optics is about visual line, but it is not
about that which is contained per se and essentially under
something superior, namely, line. For if line were to have species,
it would [still] be the same science because about the genus and
the species there is only one science. For as long as one continues
reasoning in per se concepts, principles for concluding attributes
would be taken from what is inferior, based on the proper notion
of the subject. But accidental being, as well as its principles,
although they are known from the sense, nevertheless cannot be
known as reasoned facts except through the notions of both parts
or of one of the parts that pertain to the superior science, just as
the principles of a visual line cannot be known as reasoned facts
except through the notions of line and visibility.


249 And if it be asked: Does this science subordinate to itself

other sciences? I say that it does not. For the other sciences trace
back their conclusions to their immediate principles, which
primarily are true of them, as if there were nothing else.
250 One doctor however says that theology does subordinate,
which I do not believe to be true. Indeed, those sciences do not
trace back their conclusions to some prior principles, such that (if
only they existed) they would still be sufficient to elicit the truth
of all their conclusions, even if all others were written off. At the
same time, even if all others are written off, the conclusions of all
the other sciences [by themselves] are traced back to their own
principles and further to the notion of the subject. And if, to
assume the impossible, God did not exist and a triangle did, it
would still be the case that having three angles is traced back to
the nature of the triangle. Hence, although such subjects
according to their being are from God, nevertheless it is not
through the notion of God that they include virtually their
attributes, and therefore theology does not assert the reasoned
fact with respect to other things.
88 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A


251 Si autem quaeratur utrum theologia sit de omnibus dico

quod sic quantum ad aliquas relationes reales quas habent omnia
ad Deum et econverso Deus ad omnia secundum relationem
rationis, ut sunt relationes eminentiae et excedentiae secundum
triplicem rationem causae efficientis, formalis et finalis, quae
fundantur in Deo secundum rationem ut terminat relationes
excessus ex parte causae effectus, scilicet exemplati et finiti.
Prologue, Question Three 88


251 And if it is asked: Is theology about all things? I say that it is

insofar as all things have some real relationships to God, and God
in turn has a conceptual relationship to all things; such are the
relations of eminence and excess as regards the triple notion of
cause, efficient, formal and final, which relations have their basis
in God conceptually, who is the term of the relations of excess
that stem from the effect of a cause, namely being modeled on an
exemplar* and directed to an end.
[Distinctio 1
Pars I de obiecto fruitionis
Quaestio unica
Utrum per se obiectum fruitionis sit ultimus finis]

1 Circa distinctionem primam quaeritur primo de frui in

comparatione ad obiectum suum: utrum per se obiectum fruiti
onis sit ultimus finis.

Videtur quod non:

Ad Galatas 5: Fructus autem Spiritus gaudium, pax, caritas,
etc., ubi dicit Ambrosius quod ista appellat Apostolus fructus quia
propter se appetenda sunt; et sunt plura, ergo plura propter se
appetenda; et quod est per se appetendum, illo est per se
fruendum; ergo etc.
2 Praeterea, confirmatur hoc de caritate, quia bono per
essentiam est fruendum; caritas est huiusmodi, quia est bonum
non per accidens; quia si sic, de illo esset quaerendum: aut est
bonum per essentiam aut per accidens. Aut igitur erit processus
in infinitum, aut stabitur quod caritas sit bonum per essentiam et
sic ea fruendum.
3 Item, capacitas naturae finitae est finita; ergo potest satiari
aliquo finito. Antecedens patet. Cum natura rationalis sit finita,
eius capacitas erit finita. Consequentia probatur: quia finitum
potest adaequari finito; sed satiatio non est nisi quaedam
adaequatio, et obiectum potest adaequari capacitati potentiae;
ergo etc.
4 Item, firmius assentit et adhaeret intellectus vero creato
quam increato, quia isti per evidentiam, illi non. Ergo voluntas
magis adhaerebit bono creato quam increato, et per consequens
magis fruetur.

Distinction 1
Part I: The object of fruition
Sole Question
Is the ultimate end the per se object of fruition?

1 In regard to the first distinction the first question asked

about fruition or enjoyment compared to its object is whether it is
the ultimate end that is the per se object of fruition.

Arguments Pro and Con

Apparently it is not:
"The fruit of the Spirit is joy, peace, charity," etc. according
to ch. 5 from Paul's letter to the Galatians. Ambrose says here
that the Apostle calls these things fruit because they must be
sought for their own sake; and there are many, hence several
things must be sought for their own sake, and what is sought for
its own sake is what must be enjoyed per se [as ultimate object].
Therefore, etc.
2 Furthermore, this is confirmed in regard to charity, for what
must be enjoyed per se and essentially is the good; charity is
such, because it is not an incidental good, for if it were, one must
question whether it is a good essentially or only accidentally. And
therefore there will be an infinite process or it will be established
that charity is a good by reason of its essence and thus it must be
enjoyed. Therefore, etc.
3 Also, a finite nature* has a finite capacity; therefore it can
be satisfied by something finite. The antecedent is evident. Since
a rational nature is finite, its capacity will be finite. The
implication* is proved, because something finite can be adequate
for what is finite; but to be satisfied is nothing other than a
certain type of adequacy, and the object can be adequate for a
finite potency;* therefore etc.
4 The intellect will assent to and adhere more firmly to
created, rather than uncreated truth, since the former will be
evident to it whereas the latter will not. Therefore the will* will
adhere more to created good than to uncreated, and, as a
consequence, will enjoy it more.

90 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

5 Contra:
Augustinus, I De doctrina christiana cap. I,i sicut patet in

[I. Ad quaestionem]

6 Ut habeatur materia de fruitione, hic est primo distin-

guendum de fruitione, secundo de obiecto fruitionis; tertio expono
unum verbum quod ponitur in quaestione.

[A. Art. 1: De fruitione]

7 Quantum ad primum dico quod fruitio potest dupliciter

accipi: vel pro fruitione in communi et absolute, vel ordinata.
Probatio divisionis: quia quaecumque potentia potest agere vel
frui inordinate, abstrahit ab actione vel a fruitione ordinata; sed
voluntas potest inordinate velle frui, secundum Augustinum 83
Quaestionum 30 quaestione,3 igitur etc.

[B. De obiecto fruitionis]

8 Si ergo quaeratur de fruitione ordinata, dico quod solo fine

ultimo est per se fruendum, sicut per se obiecto fruitionis. Quod
ostendo dupliciter: primo, quia sicut electio ordinata est quae
habet circumstantias rectas et consonas rectae rationi, sic fruitio
est ordinata quae habet circumstantias consonas ultimo fini. Illud
ergo est obiectum suum quod est obiectum fruitionis
circumstantionatae; hoc autem est Deus, qui est finis ultimus, et
est debito modo proportionatus et circumstantionatus.
Probatio: quia potentia quae respicit aliquod obiectum commune
non quietatur nisi in eo in quo ratio illius communis perfectissime
reperitur; sed potentia quae est voluntas fruens respicit omne
bonum sive bonum universale; ergo non potest quietari nisi in eo

i August., De doctrina Christ. I, c. 5, n. 5 (CCSL 32, 9; PL 34, 21).

1 Petrus Lombardus, Sent. I, dist. 1, c. 2 (SB IV, 56).
l August., De diversis qq. 83, q. 30 (CCSL 44A, 38; PL 40, 19).
Dist. 1, Part I, Sole Question 90

5 To the contrary is Augustine, in Bk. I On Christian

Doctrine, chapter 1, as is clear from the introductory* citations [to
this distinction].

I. To the question

6 To have some material [for discussing] fruition or

enjoyment, one must first distinguish the sort of enjoyment or
fruition we are talking about; secondly what its object is, and
thirdly I will explain one word that is put into this question.

Article One
Two sorts of fruition

7 As for the first I say that fruition can be taken in a twofold

sense. Either the word is taken in general and absolutely, or it
refers to what is orderly.* Proof of the division: Since any potency
or power can act or enjoy inordinately, it can withdraw from the
orderly action or fruition; but the will can will to enjoy something
inordinately, according to Augustine in Eighty-three Questions,
question 30; therefore etc.

Article Two
The object of fruition

8 If one is asking about orderly enjoyment, therefore, I say

that only the ultimate end must be enjoyed for its own sake as its
object per se. I show this to be the case in two ways: first, since an
orderly choice is that which has the right circumstances that are
consonant with right reason, it follows that enjoyment is orderly
if it has circumstances consonant with one's ultimate end. Hence
its object is that object of enjoyment that is appropriate in all its
circumstances. That object is God who is the ultimate end, and is
appropriate in all his circumstances and appropriately
proportionate. Proof: For a potency, which regards some common
object, is not satisfied unless there is found in that object that
which is most perfectly its raison d'etre; but the potency that is
the will that enjoys is concerned with every good or good in
91 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

ubi finis ultimus invenitur, qui habet rationem omnis boni; quia
finis et bonum idem, ergo ultimus finis est omne bonum.
Probatio maioris: quia in omnibus aliis bonis ab illo communi est
suum obiectum deminute sive sumitur ratio obiecti deminute.
Quod patet: si visus aspiceret aliquod luminosum, non quietatur
in eo secundum rationem nisi tantum in lumine.
9 Secundo, quia quod inclinatur per se ad aliqua plura, non
quietatur in aliquo nisi tantum in illo quod continet virtualiter
omnia illa plura, sive illo modo quo potest illa continere.
Exemplum de materia, quae inclinatur ad plures formas; et ideo
non quietatur nisi in illa forma quae continet virtualiter omnes
formas; unde haec est causa incorruptibilitatis caeli. Sed voluntas
inclinatur ad multa bona; ergo non quietatur nisi tantum in illo
quod est continens omnia bona, quod non potest esse aliud nisi
finis ultimus; et si deficeret unum bonum fini ultimo, non perfecte
quiesceret. Sic ergo patet quod est obiectum fruitionis ordinatae.

[C. Art. 3: De fruitione in communi]

10 Si vero quaeratur de fruitione in communi, dico quod potest

esse obiectum eius quodcumque bonum vel apparens bonum, sive
sit bonum quod appareat esse finis ultimus. Quod apparens
bonum, probatur quia si ratio erronea proponat aliquid pro fine
ultimo, puta voluptatem, voluntas potest illud appetere propter
se, et sic illo frui.
11 Secundo ostendo quod potest quietari sub fine praestituto a
voluntate, ita quod bonum erit obiectum eius sub ratione
praestituti licet non sit finis in se, sed secundum quod voluntas
praestituit sibi illud bonum pro fine; dato quod non sit apparens
bonum, ut si intellectus ostendat voluntati aliquod bonum, etiam
dato quod ostendatur sibi a ratione non errante, potest voluntas
illud sibi praestituere ut finem. Quod sic patet: illud in cuius
Dist. 1, Part I, Sole Question 91

general; therefore it cannot be satisfied except in that which

represents its ultimate end, which has the aspect of everything
good; for the end and the good are the same thing, therefore the
ultimate end is every good. Proof of the major: in every good other
than this most perfect or common good the object is diminished or
notion of the object is taken incompletely. This is evident: if one's
vision were focused on some luminous object, it would have no
reason to find satisfaction in it, but only in light [itself].
9 Secondly, since what is inclined per se to a multiplicity of
things,* does not come to rest except in what contains virtually*
every one of these in the manner it can do so. Take the example of
matter, which is inclined to receive a plurality of forms, and
therefore does not come to rest save in that form which virtually
contains all the others; this is the reason why the heavenly bodies
are incorruptible. The will, however, is inclined to many goods;
therefore it cannot come to rest unless it be in that which
contains all good, and that cannot be anything other than the
ultimate end, and if one good were missing from the ultimate end,
it would not be perfectly at rest. Thus it is clear, therefore, what
the object of orderly enjoyment is.

Article Three
Fruition or enjoyment in general

10 If one were to inquire about enjoyment in general, I say that

its object can be any real or apparent good, or one that only seems
to be the ultimate good. Proof that this is true of what appears to
be good is the fact that if erroneous reason can propose something
as the ultimate end, for example, pleasure, the will can seek it for
its own sake and thus enjoy it.
11 Secondly, I show that one can be satisfied with some end set
before that individual by the will, so that the good, under the
aspect presented, will be that one's object, even though it is not
the end in itself but is only something set before it by the will as
an end. Indeed, given that something is [a real, and] not just an
apparent good, for instance if the intellect shows the will
something that is good, and granted that it is not in error, the will
can set it up as an end for itself. Evidence of this: if an act is in
92 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

potestate est actus et modus agendi est in virtute illius; sed in

potestate voluntatis est velle quodcumque bonum vel hoc bonum;
ergo potest voluntas sibi pro fine illud praestituere, sive referre in
finem vel non referre.
12 Quomodo autem ultimus finis est obiectum per se fruitionis,
est intelligendum quod ratio finis non est ratio principalis et
formalis actus fruitionis, sed est condicio sive ratio obiectum
ipsum concomitans. Quod patet, quia nulla relatio rationis est per
se ratio ipsius obiecti beatifici ut beatificum est; sed relatio finis
est relatio rationis ad creaturas; ergo non erit per se formalis
ratio obiecti beatifici, quia nullum tale est obiectum per se.
13 Similiter patet hoc de fine praestituto a voluntate, quia ratio
obiecti praecedit actum et finem; talis enim finis necessario
sequitur, eo quod voluntas appetens illud propter se tribuit sibi
rationem finis.

[II. Ad argumenta principalia]

14 Ad primum4 principale de auctoritate Ambrosii, dicendum

quod illa sunt appetenda, et appetuntur propter se formaliter,
non autem finaliter.
15 Et ad confirmationem de caritate quod est bonum per
essentiam, dicendum quod 'per essentiam' dividitur contra 'per
accidens' uno modo, ut 'homo per essentiam est animal' contra
istam 'homo per accidens est albus'. Secundo 'per essentiam'
dividitur contra 'per participationem', ita quod ens per
participationem excludit omnem rationem causae tam efficientis
quam formalis, sive exemplaris et finalis a se, eo quod habet
rationem effectus secundum quamlibet istarum trium causarum.

4 Cf. supra n. 1.
Dist. 1, Part I, Sole Question 92

the power of something, then the manner of acting is also in its

power. [But where the will is concerned,] any good whatsoever or
this particular good is in the power of the will; therefore the will
can set it up for itself as an end or can refer it or not refer it to an
12 How the ultimate end is the per se object of fruition,
however, must be understood in such a way that the aspect of end
is not the principal and formal* act of enjoyment, but rather a
characteristic that accompanies the object itself. This is evident,
because no conceptual relationship is the per se reason the
beatific vision itself is beatific. But the relation of being an end is
a conceptual relationship to creatures; therefore it will not be per
se the formal reason why an object is beatific because no such
[relationship] can be the object per se.
13 Likewise this is also applicable to what was said about an
end set up by the will, because the aspect of being an object
precedes the act and the end; for such an end necessarily follows
from the fact that the will, seeking some thing for its own sake,
gives to it the aspect of being an end.

Reply to the initial arguments

14 To the first initial argument [n. 1] about the authority of

Ambrose it must be said that these [virtues] must be sought and
sought formally for their own sake, but not finally [or as an
ultimate end].
15 To the confirmation about charity that it is a good by reason
of its essence it must be said that in one sense 'through or by
reason of its essence' is contrasted with 'by reason of what is
accidental,' as 'man is by reason of his essence an animal' in
contrast to 'man is white by reason of what is accidental.' In a
second sense, 'by reason of its essence' is contrasted with 'by
participation' so that a being through participation excludes from
itself every aspect of cause, not only efficient, but also formal or
exemplar, and final, in so far as it has the aspect of being an
effect according to any one of these three causes. But a being
through or by reason of its essence in the second sense includes
this triple aspect of [being a] cause, as "God is good by reason of
93 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

Sed ens per essentiam secundo modo dicto includit hanc triplicem
rationem causae, ut 'Deus est bonus per essentiam'. Sed caritas
est bonum per essentiam primo modo, non secundo; et ideo primo
bono non est fruendum, sed secundo.
16 Ad secundum5 dicendum quod capacitas finita potentiae non
potest satiari obiecto finito, nec quietatur in eo. Et quando dicitur
quod 'finitum potest adaequari finito', dicendum quod dupliciter
potest aliquid adaequari alteri: vel in entitate, ut albedo albedini,
vel in proportione, ut materia formae; et prima est inter similia in
natura; secunda inter dissimilia. Unde inter similia non est
aequalitas proportionis. Sic igitur in proposito, capacitas
potentiae finitae licet adaequatur finito in entitate, non tamen in
proportione, et ideo oportet quod excedat illud finitum in entitate;
hoc autem solum est infinitum, quare in solo tali potest quietari
potentia finita. Quod declaro: quantumcumque ens ad finem
accipiatur cum omnibus suis condicionibus, necesse est tales
rationes sive relationes rationis fundari in aliquo finito, quia
accipiuntur ex parte ipsius finiti; sed ex parte finis illud finitum
necessario fundatur super infinitum; unde talis habitudo, quae
est beatorum ad finem beatificum, ex una parte fundatur in finito
et ex parte termini fundatur in infinito.
17 Ad aliud6 dicendum quod consequentia non valet, quando
dicitur quod intellectus firmius assentit bono creato, ergo
voluntas. Quod patet, quia assensus intellectus non est in
potestate eius, sed est ex evidentia obiecti, cui necessario habet
assentire vel adhaerere per actum intellectionis magis quam
obiecto non evidenti. Sed assensus voluntatis est in potestate
eius, et potest assentire magis bono minus noto et evidenti quam
magis evidenti, licet teneatur plus tendere in maius bonum.

5 Cf. supra n. 3.
6 Cf. supra n. 4.
Dist. 1, Part I, Sole Question 93

his essence." But charity is a good by reason of its essence in the

first, but not in the second way. And therefore it is the essential
good in the second, not in the first sense that must be enjoyed.

16 To the second argument [n. 3] it must be said that the finite

capacity of a potency cannot be satisfied by a finite object, nor can
it come to rest in such. And when it is said that 'something finite
can be adequate to the finite' it must be said that in a twofold
sense something can be adequate to another; either in entity, as
white to whiteness, or in proportion, as matter to form, and the
first is between things similar in nature, the second between
things that are dissimilar. Hence between similar things there is
no equality of proportion. Thus it is the case in our proposal. The
capacity of a finite potency, although adequate to something finite
in entity, is not however adequate to it proportionally, and
therefore it is necessary that [the end] exceed that finite in entity.
But only the infinite is this sort of thing, because only in such can
a finite potency be satisfied. Which I explain: no matter how great
a being is accepted with all its conditions as the end, it is
necessary that such conceptual relations be founded in something
finite, because they are accepted on the part of the finite itself;
but on the part of the end that finite is necessarily founded upon
the infinite. Hence such a relationship as that of the blessed to
the beatific end, is based on the one hand on the finite, and on the
part of the term is founded in the infinite.

17 To the other [n. 4] it must be said that the implication is

invalid when it is said that the intellect assents more firmly to
the created good [than to the uncreated, and] therefore the will
does the same. This is evident, because the assent of the intellect
is not in its own power but is necessarily controlled by the
evidence of the object. It must assent or adhere through an act of
understanding to what is evident to a greater degree than it does
to what is not evident. The assent of the will, on the contrary, is
in its power, and it can assent to a greater good that is less well
known than to one that is more evident, although it is bound to
tend to a greater extent to a greater good.
94 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

[Pars II de frui in se
Quaestio 1
Utrum fine ultimo apprehenso necesse sit frui voluntatem]

18 Utrum fine ultimo apprehenso necesse sit frui voluntatem.

Videtur quod sic:

Augustinus IV De doctrina Christiana,1 ubi recitat de
quodam mimo, dicit quod "omnes volunt sibi beatitudinem
propter se non propter aliud". Si ergo ultimus finis sit
apprehensus, necessario omnes volunt beatitudinem.
19 Item, Avicenna VIII Metaphysicae suae:8 "Delectatio est
coniunctio convenientis cum convenienti"; sed finis ultimus est
summe necessario conveniens voluntati, ergo ibi est summa
delectatio, quae est idem quod fruitio sive beatitudo.
20 Item, sicut agens approximatum passo necessario movet
realiter, ita finis approximatus sive apprehensus movet
necessario metaphorice. Ergo si finis ultimus ab intellectu
apprehensus movet voluntatem, necessario fruetur illo.
21 Item, omne mobile supponit aliquid immobile; sed omnes
alii actus voluntatis qui non sunt de fine ultimo sunt varii et
mutabiles; ergo solus ille qui est circa finem est immutabilis, et
sic necessarius.
22 In oppositum arguitur: Psalmus: Superbia eorum qui te
oderunt ascendit semper.

[I. Ad quaestionem]

23 Haec quaestio dupliciter potest intelligi: vel de fine ultimo

apprehenso obscure, vel apprehenso clare; et utroque modo potest

7 Potius August., De Trin. XIII, c. 3-4, n. 6-7 (CCSL 50A, 387-9; PL 42, 1017-
8); cf. Petrus Lombardus, Sent. I, dist. 1, c. 3, n. 7 (SB IV, 59).
H Avicenna, Metaph. VIII, c. 7 (AviL, 432).
Dist. 1, Part II, Question One 94

Part II: Fruition itself

Question One
Must the will necessarily enjoy the ultimate end
once it is apprehended?

18 Once the ultimate end is perceived must the will necessarily

enjoy it?

Arguments Pro and Con

It seems that it must:

Augustine in Bk. IV of Christian Doctrine, where he tells a
story about a certain actor, says, "All want happiness for its own
sake and not for the sake of anything else." Therefore, if the
ultimate end is apprehended, it is [also] necessary that all wish
happiness [to be present then].
19 Also, Avicenna in Bk. VIII of his Metaphysics: "Delight is
the joining of what is suitable to what it is suited." But the
ultimate end is the highest object that is necessarily suited to the
will; therefore the supreme delight is to be found there, which is
the same thing as enjoyment or beatitude.
20 Also, just as the agent, when it touches the patient,* must
really move it, so too the end when it is reached or apprehended
must necessarily move metaphorically. Therefore, if the ultimate
end apprehended by the intellect necessarily moves the will, the
will must necessarily enjoy it.
21 Also, every mobile presupposes something immobile; but all
other acts of the will, which are not directed to the ultimate end,
are varied and changeable; therefore only that act which is
directed to the end is unchangeable, and thus is necessary.

22 It is argued to the contrary in the Psalms [74:23]: "The

uproar of those who rebel against you is unceasing."

To the question

23 This question can be understood in two ways: either about

the ultimate end perceived obscurely or perceived clearly. And of
95 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

intelligi dupliciter: vel in universali vel in particulari. Si obscure

et in particulari sub ratione termini; et universali sub ratione
unius. Si autem intelligatur de fine clare viso, hoc est dupliciter:
vel comparando ad voluntatem caritate elevatam sive habitu
supernaturali informatam, vel ad voluntatem nudam et non

[A. Art. 1: De fine ultimo apprehenso obscure

in universali
1. Opinio Henrici Gandavensis]

24 Quando ergo quaeritur de primo, an Deo apprehenso

obscure in universali necesse sit voluntatem frui, dicunt aliqui
quod sic. Quod probant tribus rationibus. Primo sic: quod sicut
est principium in speculabilibus, sic finis in operabilibus et
agibilibus; sed de necessitate intellectus assentit primis principiis
speculabilibus; ergo et voluntas ultimo fini.
25 Secundo sic: voluntas vult necessario illud cuius partici-
patione vult quidquid vult, quia ipsum est maius omni alio
appetibili; sed omne aliud ab ultimo bono, quod est bonum per
essentiam, est quaedam participatio summi boni, secundum
Augustinum, VIII De Trinitate, cap. 5;9 ergo etc.
26 Tertio sic: voluntas non potest aliquid non velle vel respue-
re, nisi illud ubi est aliqua malitia vel defectus boni vel in re vel
in cognitione; sed de fine ultimo sic apprehenso non potest concipi
nec malitia nec defectus boni nec in se nec in cognitione; ergo etc.

[2. Contra opinionem Henrici]

27 Sed hanc opinionem non intelligo, quia quidquid necessario

quiescit in aliquo sibi praesente, necessario tenet illud sibi
praesens si potest. Exemplum de gravi respectu centri. Si igitur

0 August., De Trin. VIII, c. 3, n. 5 (CCSL 50, 273; PL 42, 950).

Dist. 1, Part II, Question One 95

both ways it can be understood in a twofold way; universally or in

particular. If it is only understood obscurely and as a particular
[good], it is apprehended as a term [that is, as a particular object
of the will] and [if known only] in general it is under one aspect
[i.e., of a real or apparent good]. If however it is grasped clearly as
an end, this can occur in two ways: either in relationship to the
will elevated by the supernatural virtue of charity, or as seen in
an unelevated and purely natural* way.

Article One
The ultimate end perceived obscurely and in general
The opinion of Henry of Ghent

24 When asked whether the will must necessarily enjoy God,

apprehended obscurely and in general, some say: "Yes, it must!"
and give three reasons why. First: just as the principle*
functions in regard to theoretical or speculative things, so the end
functions in regard to what must be done; but the intellect
assents of necessity* to first theoretical principles, therefore the
will assents necessarily in regard to the ultimate end.
25 Second: the will necessarily wills that in virtue of which it
wills whatever it wills, for that is more attractive than any other
thing that can be wanted. But every other good is a participation
in the highest good, which is good by reason of its essence,
according to Augustine in Bk. VIII of The Trinity, chapter 5;
therefore, etc.
26 Third: only where in reality or in what is known of it there
is something bad, or a defect of goodness, can the will not will or
reject anything. But the ultimate end thus apprehended [viz. in
an obscure and general way], cannot be conceived as lacking any
goodness or being bad; therefore, etc.

Against the opinion of Henry

27 I do not understand this opinion, because whatever

necessarily is put at rest by the presence of something,
necessarily keeps it present to itself. Take for instance, the way
something heavy seeks the center [of the earth]. When located
96 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

grave necessario quiescit in centro, praesente eo necessario tenet

istam praesentiam quantum potest, et facit sibi illud praesens si
28 Hoc etiam patet in appetitu sensitivo, quia de necessitate
tenet se in appetibili nisi voluntas averteret; sed voluntas
imperando potest ut intellectus maneat in consideratione illius
finis; ergo si voluntas necessario quiescit in illo fine, tunc
voluntas non posset se avertere ab illo, quod est falsum, quia sic
potest ab illo sicut ab aliis, ex natura suae libertatis, alias nihil
libertatis haberet super intellectum; ergo etc.
29 Item, quod necessario quiescit in aliquo sibi praesente, hoc
non est nisi propter convenientiam naturalem illorum; ergo
eodem modo erit causa tensionis; sed convenientia naturalis non
est inter voluntatem et finem ultimum apprehensum univer-
30 Item, quodcumque activum non impeditum necessario agit;
et si impeditur, necessario amovet impedimentum si potest: ut
lapis si movetur deorsum et invenit trabem, frangit si potest, ut
tendat ad centrum. Sed voluntas, ut dicis, non impedita neces
sario vult finem; impeditur autem per hoc quod non considerat
intellectus ut potest; ergo hoc impedimentum necessario amovet,
et per consequens tenet eum necessario quando actu considerat,
quod falsum est, quia contrarium experimur eo quod potest
avertere se ab illo.
31 Item, ab eodem habet aliquid agere et necessario agere; si
igitur voluntas est principium eliciendi volitionem, quod isti
concedunt, necessitas erit in voluntate. Modo sic, in agentibus
essentialiter ordinatis si agens principale necessario agit,
necessitat omne secundarium agens in suo ordine, ut si manus
trahit, etc. Sed agens proximum immediate voluntati est intel
lectus; et voluntas, ut dicis, necessario agit: ergo et intellectus in
considerando agit necessario.10

10 V addit (cf. Add. M.): ...et semper stabit in consideratione finis ultimi,
quod est falsum. [32] Confirmatur hoc: quamvis enim agens naturale agat per
multas dispositiones praevias, quae possunt impediri, si tamen in ultimo instanti
agat necessario, dicetur agens naturale ex necessitate. Ergo quamvis fruitionem
ultimi finis praecedant aliquae actiones, ut ostensio et apprehensio obiecti, et
istae sunt impedibiles per intellectum, si tamen istis positis voluntas necessario
fruitur fine ultimo, dicetur absolute necessario velle. [33] Unde ista quaestio
Dist. 1, Part II, Question One 96

there, it necessarily remains there if possible, and keeps that

place if it can.
28 This is also the case with the sense appetite, because of
necessity it holds on to what is attractive unless the will turns it
away. But the will can command the intellect to keep thinking of
the end; therefore if the will necessarily rests in this, then it
cannot turn away from [thinking of] it, which is false. For the will
has the power to turn from this just as from others by reason of
its liberty. Otherwise it would have no freedom to direct the
mind; therefore etc.
29 Also, whatever rests in the presence of anything, does so
only because it has a natural affinity for such things. Hence, this
is what the cause of this bond will be. But there is no natural [or
necessary] affinity of the will for the ultimate end perceived only
in general [i.e., as some sort of good].
30 Also, any active agent acts necessarily if not impeded, and if
it is impeded, it removes the impediment if it can do so. Thus a
boulder if it is falling and strikes a beam, breaks it if it can, and
continues to fall toward the center [of the earth]. But the will
you sayif not impeded, necessarily seeks the end. Now if the
intellect is not considering the end when it could do so, this
constitutes an impediment. The will therefore must necessarily
remove the impediment, and as a consequence make the intellect
think about the endwhich is false. For we experience the very
opposite to be the case, since our will can turn itself away from it.
31 Also, the basis for acting necessarily, is rooted in the nature
of the agent. Hence, if the will is the principle of eliciting volition,
which these individuals concede to be the case, then necessity will
reside in the will. Now in essentially ordered agents, if the
principal agent acts necessarily, it necessitates every secondary
agent in an orderly way, for instance if it moves the hand, and so
forth. But the proximate agent immediately adjacent to the will is
the intellect; and the will, you claim, acts necessarily. Therefore,
the intellect in its thinking [activity] must also act necessarily.i

i V adds (cf. Add. M): ...and will always remain thinking of the ultimate
end, which is false. [32] This is confirmed: for, despite the fact, that a natural
agent may act through many preceding dispositions that can be impeded,
nevertheless, if in the final moment it should act necessarily, it will be classified
as a natural agent [acting] out of necessity. Therefore, although some actions,
97 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

[3. Responsio ad primum articulum]

35 Dico ergo de hoc articulo quod sicut voluntas apprehenso

aliquo bono particulari potest illud velle et non velle, et aliquid
circa eum, et circa omne obiectum praesentatum, sic similiter et
de fine ultimo sibi praesentato potest hoc imperare intellectui ut
se avertat vel convertat. Stante etiam intellectu, potest voluntas
elicere aliquid vel refugere, eo quod in potestate voluntatis est
suspendere actus potentiarum inferiorum; et suum actum etiam
potest suspendere, secundum Augustinum, I Retractationum cap.
24. 11 Nec video, quantumcumque variae actiones praecedant
ultimam in agentibus naturalibus; et licet non possit agere nisi
multis praeviis, tamen in illo instanti in quo immediate inducit
formam, necessario agit, et primo fuit ratio movens necessario
omnes praevias actiones. Sic similiter est in proposito: si voluntas
in illo instanti quo habet finem sibi praesentatum necessario
elicit circa ipsum actum volitionis, ergo illa necessitas est
intrinseca voluntati, et per consequens movet ad omnia
necessario, quod est absonum.

potest intelligi dupliciter: uno modo de fine ultimo obscure cognito, alio modo de
clare et intuitive viso; et utrumque dupliciter: vel in universali vel in particulari.
Et similiter de obiecto clare viso dupliciter: vel per comparationem ad voluntatem
elevatam caritate, vel non elevatam, sed in puris naturalibus sibi dimissam. [34]
Et cum quattuor sint articuli in ista quaestione. nullo istorum fruitur voluntas
necessario fine ultimo, etiam per caritatem elevata. Nec est necessitas fruendi ex
parte Dei, cum possit agere ad claram visionem, nec agendo ad posterius, scilicet
ad fruitionem. Nec est necessitas ex parte voluntatis creatae, quin possit videre
intellectus et non fruetur voluntas.
11 August., Retractat. I, c. 24 (CCSL 57, 72-3; PL 32, 623).
Dist. 1, Part II, Question One 97

Scotus's answer to the first article

35 I say therefore to this article that just as the will,

apprehending some particular good, can will or not will it, and
[can do] something about it, and about every object presented to
it, so also it can behave this way where the ultimate end is
concerned. When confronted with this [obscurely and in general]
it can command the intellect to avert its gaze or turn towards it.
Also given understanding, the will is able to choose something or
refuse it, based on the fact that it can suspend the acts of a lesser
power, and it can also suspend its own act, according to
Augustine in Bk. I of his Retractions, chap. 24. Nor do I see it, no
matter what sort of various actions may precede the last in
agents that act naturally [or involuntarily]. Although the last
cannot occur unless many previous actions precede it,
nevertheless in that instant in which it immediately induces a
form, [a natural agent] acts necessarily, and it was primarily the
reason why the other actions had to be performed. This is also
what occurs in the case in hand. If the will in that instant in
which it has the end presented to it, necessarily elicits an act of
volition in its regard, therefore that necessity will be an intrinsic
characteristic of the will, and as a consequence, it will be moved
to will everything necessarily, which is unheard of.

such as the demonstration and the apprehension of the object, may precede the
enjoyment of the ultimate end, and these (actions] can be impeded by the
intellect, nevertheless, if, after positing these [actions] the will necessarily enjoys
the ultimate end, it will be considered to will out of absolute necessity. [33]
Whence this question can be understood in a twofold way: in one way, concerning
the ultimate end cognized obscurely, in another way, concerning [the ultimate
end] seen clearly and intuitively; and both of these, [again,] in a twofold way:
either universally or in particular. And similarly regarding the object that is
clearly seen, [it can be understood] in a twofold way: either in connection to the
will elevated through charity, or [the one that is] not elevated, but left to itself [to
remain immersed] in mere natural things. [34] And, although there are four
articles in this question, according to none of them the will necessarily enjoys the
ultimate end, even when it is elevated through charity. Nor is there a necessity to
enjoy on the part of God, since he is capable of acting towards a clear vision,
without acting towards what comes after, namely towards enjoyment. Nor is
there a necessity on the part of the created will to enjoy, [even] in the case when
the intellect is able to see.
98 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

36 Dico ergo quod voluntas viatoris omnem volitionem libere

elicit, et non necessario. Nisi enim nos haberemus illam
promptitudinem voluntatis, quam vocat Anselmus12 'affectionem
commodi', non concluderemus ex hoc necessitatem in actu
volitionis. Nunc autem talis promptitudo vel habilitas non potest
dici necessitas; ergo etc.

[4. Ad argumenta principalia primi articuli]

37 Ad primum 13 dicendum quod de principiis in speculabilibus

et de fine in practicis est similitudo quoad duo: primo quoad
ordinem verorum et bonorum inter se, secundo quoad ordinem
ipsorum ad potentias ordinate operantes. Quantum ad primum,
sicut vera habent ordinem essentialem inter se, scilicet
participatione unius primi veri, II Metaphysicae,14 sic et bona; et
eodem modo quoad potentias, quia sicut potentia intellectiva
ordinate intelligit mota a principiis speculabilibus, sic et voluntas
ordinate mota a finibus.
38 Sed in hoc est dissimilitudo quia intellectus, quantum est de
se, ordinate agit semper, ita quod non potest intellectus non
intelligere principium quod habet primam veritatem; sed licet
finis ultimus habeat summam bonitatem, voluntas tamen potest
eam non velle, quia non necessario tendit in ultimum finem.
39 Ad secundum15 dicendum quod maior est falsa, quia
neutrum vult necessario; et dato quod esset verum, cum dicis in
minori quod voluntas vult omnia 'participatione primi boni', aut
hoc intelligis de participatione ratione causae efficientis, et tunc
falsa est et nihil est ad propositum. Sic enim oculus meus
necessario videret Deum. Si ratione obiecti voliti et causae finalis

12 Anselmus, De casu diaboli c. 4 (ed. F.S. Schmitt I, 241; PL 158, 332-3).

13 Cf. supra n. 24.
" Aristot., Metaph. II (a), c. 1 (9936 25-30).
,r' Cf. supra n. 25.
Dist. 1, Part II, Question One 98

36 I say therefore that the will of a pilgrim* freely elicits every

volition and it does not do so of necessity. For were it not for that
promptness in the will, which Anselm calls the 'attraction for
what is advantageous,' we would not have concluded that there is
any necessity in the act of volition. As it stands, however, such
promptness or ability cannot be called necessity; therefore etc.

To the arguments for Henry's opinion

37 To the first [n. 24] it must be said that there is a twofold

similarity between theoretical principles and the way the end
functions in practical matters. The first is in regard to the order
that exists among truths on the one hand and goods on the other.
The second is in regard to the order of those things to the powers,
which act in an orderly way to attain them. As for the first, just
as truths have an essential* order among themselves, namely by
participation in the first truth [i.e., the first principle or axiom in
virtue of which they are true] according to Bk. II of the
Metaphysics, so also this is true of good. The same can be said in
regard to the potencies or powers. For just as the intellective
potency understands in an orderly way when moved by
theoretical principles, so the will is moved in an orderly way by
its ends.
38 But there is also a lack of similarity. For the intellect, so far
as it is concerned, always acts in an orderly way, so that it cannot
fail to understand a first principle in which truth primarily
resides [i.e., it cannot be thought of except as something that is
true]. But although the ultimate end has the highest goodness,
nevertheless the will can fail to will it, because it does not tend
necessarily to the ultimate end.
39 To the second [n. 25] it must be said that the major is false,
because it wills neither [the good nor the highest good]
necessarily, and given the truth of what you say in the minor
about the will willing all things by way of participation in the first
good, if you understand this participation to pertain to the will as
an efficient cause, then it is simply false and does nothing to
bolster your proposal. For if this were so, my eye would
necessarily see God. Even if one were to grant that [this
99 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

isto enim modo esset danda et tunc similiter est falsa, quia
tunc semper esset actualis relatio. Et cum tu probas 'sunt
participatione bonum', dico quod aequivocatio est de partici-
patione, scilicet effective, et sic verum est; vel formaliter, et sic
non est verum.
40 Ad tertium16 dicendum quod falsum assumit eo quod
voluntas quidquid vult, sive bonum ut est obiectum in communi
sive quodcumque bonum in particulari, non vult illud necessario
sed contingenter. Probabile tamen est quod ubi non inveniret
defectum aliquem boni non posset illud nolle qui est actus
contrarius ipsi velle, et est actus positivus; sed non ex hoc
sequitur: 'ergo necessario vult illud', vel 'non potest non velle

[B. Art. 2: De fine apprehenso in particulari et obscure]

41 De secundo articulo, scilicet de fine apprehenso in parti

culari et obscure, puta apprehendendo hunc finem esse Deum, vel
aliquid aliud ut voluptatem dicunt quod non necessario
fertur voluntas in Deum sic apprehensum, sed ponunt exemplum
de peccantibus ex certa malitia. Sed videtur mihi quod contra-
dicunt sibi, male sequentes sua principia. Dicunt enim quod 'sicut
principium in speculabilibus, sic finis in agibilibus', etc. Tunc
arguo sic: sicut apprehendens ultimum finem confuse et in
universali invenit bonum ibi cuius participatione omnia sunt
bona, et de vero similiter et hoc sub ratione speculabilis, sic
apprehendens finem in particulari invenit ibi omne bonum sub
ratione agibilis et diligibilis.
42 Item, ratio boni a quo sunt omnia bona per participationem
magis convenit fini in particulari quam in universali, eo quod
primum bonum est mensura omnium bonorum, sicut primum
verum omnium verorum; sed mensurare magis convenit parti
culari quam universali; ergo etc.

16 Cf. supra n. 26.

Dist. 1, Part II, Question One 99

participation in the first good refers to] the reason why [every]
object is willed and to the final cause, this is likewise false. For
then this actual relationship would always exist. And when you
prove 'they are good by participation,' I say that 'by participation'
is used equivocally, namely, effectively, in which case this is true,
or formally, in which case it is not true.
40 To the third [n. 26] it must be said that it is based on a false
assumption, for whatever the will wills it wills contingently and
not necessarily, whether the object be good in general or a
particular good. However, it is probably true that where no defect
of goodness can be found, the will is unable to elicit an act of
rejection, which is an act that is contrary to willing it, and is a
positive act. But from this it does not follow that "therefore it
necessarily wills it" or "it is unable not to will it."

Article Two
The end perceived obscurely and in particular

41 As for the second article, namely about the end perceived in

particular and obscurely, for example by apprehending this end to
be God, or something elsesuch as pleasurethey admit that the
will is not necessarily carried away to will 'God' apprehended in
this way, but rather point to the example of sinners who act out of
a certain malice. But it seems to me that they contradict
themselves, by badly following their principles. For they say that
'as the principle is in theoretical matters, so the end is in practical
things.' etc. Then I argue in this way. Just as one apprehending
the ultimate end only confusedly* and in general finds the 'Good'
there whose sharing of itself is the reason all things are good,
even as this is true of the 'True' in regard to all theoretical truths,
so also one apprehending the end in particular, finds there in
each good an aspect of what can be wanted and is lovable.
42 Also, the characteristic of goodness of which all goods have a
share pertains more to the end perceived as a particular than it
does when it is conceived only as a universal. The fact is that the
first Good is the measure of all goods, just as the first Truth is
that of all truths, but the idea of a 'measure' pertains more to a
particular object than it does to a universal; therefore, etc.
100 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

[C. Art. 3: De fine apprehenso sub habitu caritatis]

43 De tertio articulo, scilicet de fine apprehenso sub habitu

elevante, scilicet caritatis, dicunt quod voluntas necessario vult et
fruitur eo. Cuius ratio est, quia ibi videt omne bonum, et ibi
invenitur ratio omnis boni et nulla ratio mali. Et loquitur de
visione practica, scilicet sub ratione boni et diligibilis. Et addunt
quod Deus non posset hanc visionem practicam separare a
fruitione divina.
44 Sed contra: quando principium elicitivum non necessario
elicit, habens illud non necessario agit; sed huiusmodi principium
elicitivum est voluntas. Quod patet, quia ille qui habet maiorem
caritatem in via, sive ut viator exsistens, non necessario agit; nec
voluntas talis est principium necessario eliciendi talem actum,
sed contingenter; alias naturaliter moveretur et non libere.
45 Item, diversa approximatio agentis ad passum non facit in
actione necessitatem, sed mutat gradum forte, quantum ad inten-
sionem et remissionem. Sed caritas viatoris et comprehensoris
non differt nisi in gradu intensiori et remissiori, nec est
diversitas realis, sed tantum diversa agentis approximatio. Ergo
sicut in viatore non fuit necessitas in eliciendo actum, sic nec in
voluntate caritate elevante.
46 Item, necessitas agendi non potest esse nisi per aliquam
condicionem primi agentis intrinsecam; sed voluntas est primum
principium agendi et eliciendi actum in isto toto, scilicet in anima
elevata per caritatem, quae nullam habet necessitatis condi
cionem de se, sed mere libertatis; ergo nihil extrinsecum dabit
sibi quod sit principium necessarium, sive necessario eliciat
actum suum. Et quod addunti7 quod Deus non potest separare
hanc visionem a fruitione, contra: quia quaecumque essentiae

i7 Cf. supra n. 43.

Dist. 1, Part II, Question One 100

Article Three
The end perceived under the virtue of charity

43 As for the third article, namely, about the end apprehended

under a virtue that elevates the will, namely charity, they say
that the will necessarily wills and enjoys it. The reason for this is
because there all good is seen and there is found every aspect of
good and no characteristic of anything bad. And they are
speaking of actual vision, namely under the aspect of what is good
and lovable. And they add that God cannot separate that actual
vision from divine enjoyment or fruition.
44 To the contrary: when an elicitive principle does not
necessarily elicit, what possesses such does not necessarily act;
but such an elicitive principle is the will. This is evident because
he, who has the greater charity while still on the way to the
ultimate end, or existing as a pilgrim, does not act necessarily.
Neither is the will of such a person* a principle that necessarily
evokes such an act. Rather it does so contingently. Otherwise it
would move naturally [i.e., necessarily by reason of its nature]
and not freely.
45 Also, a fundamentally different way in which an agent can
be in contact with what it acts upon does not make its action by
that fact necessary, but it changes perhaps to a greater or lesser
degree. Charity in a pilgrim and in one in possession of the
ultimate end is only different in degree, one being more intense,
the other less so. Nor is this a real diversity, but only in the
degree of nearness of the agent [to its ultimate end]. Therefore,
just as in the wayfarer there was no necessity in evoking the act,
so neither is there in the will elevated by charity.
46 Also, the need to act can only exist by reason of some
intrinsic condition that exists in the primary agent. The will
however is the primary agent eliciting the act in this whole
namely, in a soul elevated by charitywhich of itself does not
have any condition of necessity, but is free. Hence nothing
extrinsic to [the primary agent] will make it a necessary
principle, or force it to elicit its act. And regarding what is added
[n. 43] about 'God cannot separate this [beatific] vision from
fruition [or enjoyment],' quite the contrary. Any [non-relational
101 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

absolutae habentes ordinem essentialem inter se possunt ab

invicem separari; sed visio et fruitio sunt absolutae essentiae, et
operationes reales duarum potentiarum; ergo etc.
47 Dicunt ad hoc quod verum est quod possunt ab invicem
separari, nisi dependerent a tertio; sed utraque operatio dependet
immediate formaliter ab obiecto beatifico; ergo etc. Contra hoc:
quidquid est prius alio, potest separari ab illo; sed visio est
praevia fruitioni, nec necessario dependet a tertio; quod patet,
quia sicut prima causa nihil absolute necessario causat, sic nec
necessario causat effectum causae secundae; et sic voluntas
elevata per habitum caritatis, exsistente intellectu sub actu
visionis, potest suspendi ab actu fruitionis, sicut patet si Deus
causaret primo solem in se lucentem et suspenderet actum
illuminationis vel calefactionis.
48 Quantum igitur ad illum articulum dico loquendo de
visione clara et voluntate per habitum elevata non est necesse
frui nec ex parte obiecti beatifici nec ex parte voluntatis
habituatae caritate creata. Si dicas quod si voluntas non fruitur
necessario, non erit secura de sua beatitudine, dicendum quod
non est ibi repugnantia aliqua. Sicut enim sperans non sperat a
se sed ab alio, sic illa tentio et securitas est a Deo et non ab
intrinseco, et ideo non valet.

[D. Art. 4: De voluntate non elevata per habitum

1. Responsio]

49 De quarto et ultimo articulo, scilicet de voluntate non

elevata per habitum, dicunt quod non potest sequi fruitio in
voluntate, quia agere supernaturale praesupponit esse super
Dist. 1, Part II, Question One 101

or] absolute essences having an essential order can be separated

from one another. But vision and its enjoyment are such absolute
essences, because they are real operations of two [different]
powers; therefore etc.
47 They say to this that it is true that they could be separated
from one another if they were not both dependent upon a third
thing. But both are dependent immediately and formally* upon
the beatific object; therefore etc. To the contrary: whatever is
prior to another can be separated from it. But vision is a necessa
ry precondition to fruition; neither does it necessarily depend
upon a third. This is evident, because just as the first cause does
not cause anything with absolute necessity, so neither does it ne
cessarily cause the effect of a secondary cause. And thus the will
elevated through the habit* of charity, given the existence of the
act of vision in the intellect, can suspend eliciting the act of enjoy
ment, as is evident if God were to cause primarily the Sun that is
lucent in itself and suspend its act of enlightening or heating.
48 So far as this article is concerned, I declarespeaking of
clear vision [intuitive* knowledge] and a will elevated by the
virtue [of charity]there is no necessity imposed to enjoy the
beatific object that stems either from that object itself or from the
will endowed with created charity. If you say that if the will does
not enjoy necessarily, it will not be in secure possession of
beatitude, it must be said that there is no inconsistency there. For
just as one who is hoping does not hope by virtue of himself but
rather by virtue of something else [namely, God-given theological
virtues of faith and hope], so too this 'holding fast to' and security
is from God and not from something intrinsic [to the will] and,
therefore, this argument is not valid.

Article Four
The will as unelevated by the virtue of charity

49 As for the fourth and final article, namely, about the will not
elevated by a habit, they say that fruition cannot follow in the
will, because to act supernaturally presupposes some superna
tural being; but the will as uninformed has no supernatural
102 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

naturale; sed voluntas non informata non habet esse super

naturale; ergo etc. Tunc etiam si posset frui, esset beata sine
50 Sed hoc non intelligo, quantum ad hunc articulum, quia
illud quo aliquid potest simpliciter agere est potentia; sed
caritate, per te, potest aliquid simpliciter agere et impossibilitas
est ex carentia eius; ergo est potentia, vel aliquid potentiae, quod
est falsum.
51 Item, si circa obiectum minus approximatum potest esse
forma principium eliciendi actum vel agendi, multo magis circa
maxime approximatum; sed voluntas, per te in primo articulo,
poterat actum elicere necessario et naturaliter obiecto non
praesente; obiecto ergo praesente poterit absque habitu
informante et elevante.
52 Dicendum igitur quod si intellectus videret clare et intuitive
obiectum beatificum, voluntas nuda in puris naturalibus posset

[2. Ad argumenta articuli quarti]

53 Ad argumentum primum,18 quando dicunt quod agere

supernaturale praesupponit esse supernaturale, concedo. Et
quando addis quod talis actus elicitus a voluntate nuda esset
supernaturalis, nego; immo esset ex natura voluntatis, quae est
talis quod potest in omne volibile sive bonum elicere velle. Et
quando addis: 'ergo sine caritate posset esse beata', dicendum
quod non valet consequentia 'potest frui sine caritate, ergo potest
esse beata'. Quod patet, quia secundum Augustinum, V De
Trinitate in fine:19 Beatus est cui nihil deest; 'qui habet quidquid
vult, et nihil mali vult'; sed haec voluntas non haberet quidquid
ordinate posset velle, quia posset et deberet velle habere
caritatem ad hoc quod sit beatus.
54 Sic igitur quantum ad praedictos articulos quod apprehenso
ultimo fine, non necessario voluntas elicit actum volendi circa

,K Cf. supra n. 49.

19 August., De Trin. XIII, c. 5, n. 8 (CCSL 50A. 393; PL 42, 1020).
Dist. 1, Part II, Question One 102

being; therefore, etc. Then also if it could enjoy, it would be

beatified without charity.
50 But I do not understand this, so far as this article is
concerned, because that by which something can act in an
unqualified sense is a potency; but by charity, according to you,
something can act in an unqualified sense and the impossibility is
from a lack of it; therefore it is a potency or something of a
potency, which is false.
51 Also, if in regard to an object less proximate a form could be
a principle of eliciting an act or of acting, all the more so in regard
to something maximally nearby; but the will, according to you in
the first article, could act to elicit necessarily and naturally when
the object is not present; therefore when the object is present it
will be able to do so without any informing or elevating habit.
52 It must be said therefore, that if the intellect were to see
clearly and intuitively* the beatific object, the bare will with what
is purely natural to it could have an act of enjoyment.

To the arguments for the fourth article

53 To the first argument [n. 49] when they say that to act
supernaturally presupposes some supernatural being, I concede
this. And when you add that such an elicited act of the bare will
would be supernatural, I deny this; indeed it would be from the
nature of the will, which is such that it could elicit an act of
willing in regard to any thing that can be willed or any good. And
when you add: "therefore without charity it could be beatified," it
must be said that the following is not a valid inference: "it can
enjoy without charity, therefore it can be beatified." This is
evident, because according to Augustine in Bk. V of The Trinity,
"Blessed is he to whom nothing is wanting, who has all that he
wills, and wills nothing wrongly"; but this will would not have
whatever it could will in an orderly way, because it could and
would will to have charity for this reason, that he would be
54 And so far as the aforesaid articles, it is as follows: when I
apprehend the ultimate end, the will does not necessarily elicit an
act of willing in its regard.
103 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

[II. Ad argumenta principalia]

55 Ad primum principale20 dicendum quod Augustinus loquitur

de illo mimo, et dicit quod si dixisset: "Omnes vultis beati-
tudinem", etiam verum dixisset, et tamen certum est quod non
omnes qui fuerunt ad spectaculum habuerunt actum elicitum de
beatitudine; et ideo intentio Augustini est de volitione habituali,
quae includitur in illa 'affectione commodi', quae est quaedam
inclinatio et pronitas voluntatis ad beatitudinem, non necessitas.
Vel aliter dicendum quod omnes volunt beatitudinem sibi, et
hoc concupiscendo, sed non propter hoc necessario fruuntur.
56 Ad illud Avicennae21 dicendum quod aliquid est conveniens
dupliciter: vel actualiter vel aptitudinaliter; si autem aptitudi-
naliter, tunc quidquid est conveniens alicui aptitudinaliter,
coniungitur ei aptitudinaliter. Si sit conveniens ei actualiter,
coniungitur ei actualiter si sit potentia non libera, et sic delectatio
est coniunctio convenientis cum convenienti; sed voluntas potest
facere quod non erit conveniens actualiter, et sic non sequitur
delectatio, nec per consequens fruitio.
57 Ad tertium22 dicendum quod istae condiciones, scilicet
moventis metaphorice et effective, destruunt necessitatem, sicut
finis movet voluntatem metaphorice, sed non necessario; 'movens
autem effective necessario movet' verum est in naturalibus ubi
est efficiens movens; et finis necessario movet metaphorice; sed in
potentia libera, scilicet in voluntate, non est efficiens movens nisi
contingenter; ergo nec finis nisi contingenter movet et meta
58 Ad quartum23 dicendum quod reducuntur ad aliquod
immobile, scilicet ad potentiam operantem vel operativam, sed
non ad aliquem actum immobilem sive immutabilem vel neces-

20 Cf. supra n. 18.

21 Cf. supra n. 19.
22 Cf. supra n. 20.
a Cf. supra n. 21.
Dist. 1, Part II, Question One 103

Reply to the initial arguments

55 To the first [n. 18] argument at the beginning, it must be

said that Augustine speaks about that actor, and says that [even]
if he had said: "You all will happiness," still he would have stated
something true, and nevertheless it is certain that not all who
were at the show would have had an elicited act of beatitude, [as
though each actually would have been thinking about beatitude].
And therefore the intention of Augustine is about habitual
volition, which is included in that 'attraction to what is
advantageous,' which is a certain inclination towards, or
penchant for, beatitude, rather than any necessity to have it. Or
otherwise it must be said that all will happiness for themselves,
and this with a concupiscent will but not because of this do they
enjoy [it].
56 To that of Avicenna [n. 19] it must be said that something is
suitable in one of two ways: either actually or aptitudinally. If it
is aptitudinally, then whatever is suited to something by way of
an aptitude it has for the thing in question, is only joined to it qua
having a capacity to receive the thing in question. But if it is
suitable to it only as actually present, then if the power or
potency is not free, it has to be joined to it, and in this way delight
consists in the joining of what is suitable to what is suited to it.
But the will can make what is not actually suitable [an end] and
thus delight does not follow [as a consequence of its attainment],
nor does fruition [or ultimate fulfillment].
57 To the third [n. 20] it must be said that these conditions,
namely of moving metaphorically and effectively, destroy
necessity, as the end moves the will metaphorically, but not
necessarily. That 'what moves effectively, however, moves
necessarily,' is true in regard to natural things where [an
involuntary] efficient cause does the moving, and in this case the
end has to move in a metaphorical sense. But in a potency that is
free, namely the will, the end only moves the efficient cause
contingently. Therefore, the end moves it only contingently and
58 To the fourth, [n. 21] it must be said that [mobiles] are
traced back to what is immobile, namely to an operating potency
104 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

[Quaestio 2
Utrum frui sit idem delectationi vel dilectioni]

Utrum frui sit idem delectationi vel dilectioni.

59 Videtur quod sic:

Quia secundum Augustinum, X De Trinitate:24 "Fruimur
cognitis in quibus voluntas delectata conquiescit", sicut patet in
littera; sed sic definiretur male frui si delectatio esset passio
consequens dilectionem vel fruitionem, quia posterius non ponitur
in definitione prioris, nec passio in definitione subiecti.

60 Contra:
Voluntas actu amandi elicito fruitur Deo; aut ergo propter se
aut propter aliud. Non propter aliud, quia tunc uteretur Deo et
esset perversa; si propter se amat Deum, ergo fruitur eo actu
elicito. Delectatio non est actus elicitus, sed decor et pulchritudo
actus, sicut decor se habet ad iuvenem; ergo etc.

[I. Ad quaestionem]

61 Respondeo. Hic sunt duo videnda: primo de actu fruitionis in

se, quomodo se habet ad delectationem et e converso utrum
sint idem vel non; secundo, dato quod non sint idem, quomodo
differunt utrum scilicet fruitio significet tantum actum
elicitum a voluntate, vel tantum delectationem vel utrumque

August., De Trin. X, c. 10. n. 13 (CCSL 50, 327; PL 42, 981).

Dist. 1, Part II, Question One 104

or something operative, but not to some immobile or immutable

or necessary act.

Question Two
Is fruition the same as enjoyment or love?

Is fruition the same as enjoyment (delectatio) or love (dilectio)?

Arguments Pro and Con

59 It seems that it is:

For according to Augustine in Bk. X of The Trinity: "We
enjoy those things that are known in which the delighted will
comes to rest," as is evident in the initial texts cited. But it would
be a bad definition of fruition if enjoyment were [only] a proper
attribute that followed love or fruition, because what is posterior
is not placed in the definition of what is prior, nor is a proper
attribute put into the definition of the subject [of that attribute].
60 To the contrary:
The will enjoys (fruitur) God in an elicited act of loving;
therefore either he is loved for his own sake or for some other
reason. Now he is not loved for any reason other than himself,
because then he would be only used, and it would be perverse; if
God is loved for his own sake, therefore he will be enjoyed by an
elicited act. But delight is not an elicited act [itself], but is a kind
of decor or beauty of an act, just as beauty is an attribute of a

To the question

61 I reply: Here there are two things to investigate: First is the

act of fruition in itself, how it is related to delight or enjoyment,
and how enjoyment is related to fruition: are they the same thing
or not? And given that the two are not the same, how do they
differ: is fruition only the elicited act of the will, or is it only the
delight or is it a combination of both together?
105 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

[A. Art. 1: Relatio inter fruitionem et delectationem

1. Opinio aliorum]

62 De primo dicit unus magister quod delectatio et dilectio sive

fruitio, sumendo fruitionem pro actu elicito voluntatis, sunt idem
realiter, sed differunt tantum secundum rationem.
63 Primum ostenditur quadrupliciter. Primo sic: unius et
eiusdem potentiae circa unum et idem obiectum unus est actus;
quia actus distinctio non est nisi a potentia vel obiecto ut a causis;
sed eadem est potentia et idem obiectum respectu utrorumque;
patet de voluntate et de Deo; ergo etc.
64 Item, secundo sic: ad idem non sequitur immediate nisi
idem; sed ad idem obiectum, habito obiecto, sequitur dilectio et
delectatio; ergo sunt idem.
65 Item, quorum opposita sunt eadem, ipsa sunt eadem; sed
oppositum dilectionis et delectationis, ut odium et tristitia, sunt
eadem; ergo etc. Minor patet, quia utrumque importat quandam
66 Item, quarto sic: quae habent eosdem effectus et eadem
consequentia sunt eadem; sed ista sunt huiusmodi, quia utrum
que habet perficere operationem intellectus, ergo etc.
67 Secundum declaratur quod scilicet tantum differunt
secundum rationem, et hoc ostenditur dupliciter. Primo, quia
dilectio intelligitur ut est a potentia in obiectum; sed delectatio e
converso; idem tamen re, quia idem est actus activi et passivi, III
Physicorum:25 actio et passio sunt idem secundum rem, licet
differant secundum rationem.
68 Secundo ostendo, quod differunt, quia delectatio importat
quietationem quae est privatio motus; dilectio dicit unionem et
privationem inquietationis; hae autem privationes tantum
differunt secundum rationem.

Aristot., Physica III, c. 1 (201a 24-5).

Dist. 1, Part II, Question Two 105

Article One
The relation between fruition and enjoyment
The opinion of others

62 One master says about the first, that enjoyment, love or

fruition, taking fruition for an act of the will, are the same thing
really, but they differ only conceptually.
63 He shows this is so in four ways: first, one and the same
potency has one act that has to do with one and the same object,
for a distinction of acts stems either from their potency or from
their object as their causes; but the potency is the same and the
object is the same for both [fruition and enjoyment]; it is evident
of the will and of God; therefore etc.
64 Also, secondly in this way: only the same immediately
follows the same; but both love and enjoyment follow the same
object, granted we have it; therefore they are the same.
65 Also, those things are the same whose opposites are the
same; but the opposites of love and enjoyment, such as hatred
and sorrow, are the same; therefore, etc. The minor is evident,
because both imply a certain uneasiness or disquiet.
66 Also, fourthly, in this way: those things that have the same
effects and the same consequence are the same; but these are
things of this sort, because both tend to perfect the action of the
intellect; therefore, etc.
67 The second is shown to be the case, namely, that they only
differ conceptually, in two ways. First because love is understood
to move from the potency to the object, and enjoyment to move
from the object to the potency. They are the same however,
because it is the same act viewed actively and passively,
according to Bk. IIl of the Physics. Action and being acted upon is
one and the same thing; they differ only conceptually.
68 I show secondly, that they differ [conceptually], because
enjoyment implies quiet, which is the privation of movement; love
implies union and a privation of disquiet; but these two privations
differ only conceptually.
106 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

[2. Contra opinionem aliorum]

69 Contra istam opinionem habeo aliquas rationes, nec video

quod quattuor rationes iam factae multum debeant movere
aliquem et arguo contra eam, accipiendo eandem maiorem quam
accipiunt contra eos. 'Illa sunt eadem quorum opposita sunt
eadem'; et quorum opposita non sunt eadem, nec illa sunt eadem.
Sed opposita dilectionis et delectationis non sunt idem, ergo nec
ipsa. Minor patet, eo quod odium est quoddam nolle, eo quod
odire aliquid est illud nolle esse; nolle autem non requirit
obiectum apprehendi sub ratione exsistentis, quia antequam
obiectum exsistat, potest voluntas nolle illud et prohibere ne fiat.
Tristitia autem requirit obiectum apprehendi sub ratione
exsistentis, quia nunquam contristor nisi est nolitum quod timeo
ut26 eveniat, secundum Augustinum, XIV De Trinitate cap. 10:27
"Tristitia est de his quae nobis nolentibus accidunt". Non igitur
sunt idem realiter odium et tristitia, nec per consequens opposita,
scilicet, dilectio et delectatio.
70 Praeterea, nolle intensissimum potest praecedere eventum
noliti et eius exsistentiam. Ponatur ergo nolitum in esse, voluntas
non habet nolle intensius modo quam prius, quia prius habuit
intensissimum; non ergo est voluntas mutata de non velle in
nolle, et tamen modo ex eventu noliti tristatur, scilicet ex eius
exsistentia; ergo non per aliquod nolle differunt, ergo realiter.
Maior probatur, quia sicut in potestate voluntatis est nolle, ita et
modus et intensio actionis.
71 Item, voluntas omnem actum suum elicit voluntarie, ita
quod si reflectatur super ipsum actum, placet sibi, ut nolle se
nolle placet sibi sicut velle se velle; sed nullus voluntarie

20 Rectius: ne eveniat.
27 Potius cf. August., De civ. Dei XIV, c. 7-8 (CCSL 48, 423; PL 41, 410).
Dist. 1, Part II, Question Two 106

Refutation of this opinion of others

69 Against this opinion I give some reasons of my own; neither

do I see that the four arguments in its favor just given do much to
convince anyone; and I argue against these, taking the same
major which they use against them [as part of the argument],
namely 'They are the same whose opposites are the same'; and
things whose opposites are not the same, are not the same. But
the opposites of love and enjoyment are not the same; therefore
neither is love and enjoyment. The minor is evident, because
hatred is a certain 'willing not,' for the reason that 'to hate
something' is to wish for it not to exist. But 'willing not' does not
require that the object be apprehended under the aspect of
existence, because before some object exists, the will can will that
it not exist and can keep it from happening. Sorrow, however,
requires that the object be apprehended under the aspect of
existing, because I am never sad unless I fear that what I wish
not to be is likely to happen, according to Augustine in Bk. XIV of
The Trinity, chapter 10: "Sorrow is about those things we wish
wouldn't happen." Hence hatred and sorrow are not really the
same, nor are their opposites consequently, namely love and
70 Furthermore, the most intense 'willing not' can precede the
existence of the event we don't want to happen. Therefore, given
the existence of what we don't want, the will's willing for it not to
be there may not be as intense at this point as it was before,
because what it had earlier was most intense. So the will is not
turned from 'not willing' to 'willing not' and nevertheless now it is
sad about the very existence of the event it wishes not to have
happened; therefore it is not through some [conceptual variation
of] 'willing not' that [hatred and sadness, and therefore love and
enjoyment] differ; therefore they differ in reality. The major is
proved, because just as 'willing not' is in the power of the will, so
also the manner and intensity of the action [of 'willing not'].
71 Also, the will voluntarily elicits every one of its acts, so that
if it were to reflect upon its act, it would be pleased; for if it 'wills
not,' it is pleased to 'will not,' just as if it wills, it is pleased
107 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

tristatur; ergo etc. Probatio minoris: nullus complacet sibi in

tristando, cum tristitia sit simpliciter quaedam displicentia ipsi
voluntati, quam voluntas non potest prohibere ne fiat.
72 Item, in Deo et in beatis est nolle, quia sicut per velle est
causa promotiva boni, ita per nolle est causa impeditiva mali; sed
Deus nec angeli beati possunt tristari. Vel sic: Deus habet nolle
intensissimum impeditivum cuiuslibet mali, quod est materia
tristitiae et cuiuslibet tristitiae ne fiat; ergo etc. Probatio
minoris: quia passio opposita, scilicet delectari, continue et
perpetuo sibi inest.
73 Item, delectatio est per se obiectum alicuius fruitionis vel
dilectionis, cuius dilectionis ipsa dilectio non potest esse
obiectum; ergo ipsa differunt realiter. Antecendens probo per
rationem et auctoritatem Augustini, IX De Trinitate cap. ultimo:28
"Desiderium inhiantis fit amor fruentis". Sed non oportet
voluntatem reflectere super actum suum quando desiderat
delectari in suo delectabili praesente sibi; ergo absente delectabili
voluntas non solum desiderat ipsum delectabile, sed etiam
delectari in illo delectabili. Ergo delectatio potest esse obiectum
ipsius desiderii, per te, sed non actus dilectionis vel fruitionis.
Dilectio autem non sic potest esse obiectum dilectionis, nisi
reflectendo se primo super potentiam et obiectum, et deinde super
actum. Patet igitur consequentia, quia sicut illi actus non sunt
idem realiter qui non habent idem obiectum realiter, ita nec ista
sunt idem realiter quorum unum est per se obiectum alicuius
actus et alius non. Sic est hic; ergo etc.
74 Secundo, ostendo per rationem sic: angelus malus potest
summe diligere se, nam secundum Augustinum, XIV De
Trinitate,29 cap. ultimo: "duo amores fecerunt duas civitates; amor
sui usque ad contemptum Dei et amor Dei usque ad contemptum
sui"; sed angelus malus non potest summe delectari, quia
vehemens tristitia quam habet excludit ab eo omnem
delectationem; ergo etc. Minor patet, quia tristitia vehemens

* Rectius: August., De Trin. XV, c. 26, n. 47 (CCSL 50A, 527; PL 42, 1094);
cf. ibid., IX, c. 12, n. 18 (CCSL 50, 310; PL 42, 972).
Rectius: August., De civ. Dei XIV, c. 28 (CCSL 48, 451, PL 41, 436).
Dist. 1, Part II, Question Two 107

to will; nothing voluntarily makes it sad; therefore etc. Proof of

the minor: no one is pleased by sadness, for sadness is simply a
certain displeasure on the part of the will itself, which the will
could not prevent happening.
72 Also, in God and in the blessed there is nolition, for just as
to will is the cause that promotes the good, so not to will is the
cause that impedes evil; but neither God nor the beatified angel
can be sad. Or it could be put this way: God has the most
intense will to impede any evil whatsoever that would be matter
for grief, so that no sadness could occur; therefore, etc. Proof of
the minor: the opposite attribute, namely, to be delighted, is
continually and perpetually present to him.
73 Also, delight is per se the object of some fruition, or love,
which cannot have love itself as its object; therefore, they are
really different. I prove the antecedent by argument and by the
authority of Augustine, in Bk. IX of The Trinity, the last chapter:
"Desire in seeking now becomes love enjoying." But it is not
necessary for the will to turn itself to its own act when it desires
to be delighted in what is able to give it delight by its presence;
indeed, in the absence of what delights it the will not only desires
what delights it, but also the delight itself in that which delights
it. Therefore delight itself can be an object of desire, according to
you, but not the act of love or fruition. For love can not be an
object of love in this way except by turning itself primarily to the
faculty and the object and [only] then to the act. This implication
is evident, therefore, because just as those acts are not the same
in reality, which do not have the same object in reality, so neither
are those acts really the same of which one is the per se object of
some act whereas the other is not. But that is the case here;
therefore, etc.
74 Secondly, I show this by an argument in this way. A bad
angel can love itself in the highest degree, for according to
Augustine in Bk. XIV of The City of God, the last chapter: "Two
loves created two cities, the love of self to the contempt of God,
and the love of God to the contempt of self." But the bad angel
cannot be delighted to the highest degree, because vehement grief
he has excludes all enjoyment from him; therefore, etc. The minor
is evident, because vehement grief bans all and every delight, not
108 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

excludit omnem delectationem sive quamcumque, non solum

contrariam, sed etiam contingentem, ex II Ethicorum.30
75 Item, aliquis potest habere dilectionem intensiorem, et
minorem delectationem. Patet in devotis, qui ferventer diligunt et
tamen nullam sentiunt delectationem, vel modicam, de quo
multum dolent; non ergo qui intensius diligit, intensius
delectatur. Patet etiam hoc in actu fortitudinis, qui est ex
dilectione magna, et tamen est sine delectatione parvissima, II
76 Quod autem dicunt dilectionem et delectationem secundum
rationem tantum differre, modo primo falsum est; immo ista
differentia est realis, quia dilectio a voluntate elicitur realiter et
non tantum significatur per modum procedentis a voluntate, quia
voluntas est causa realis eius; delectatio autem est ab obiecto
delectabili realiter et ita, quod sicut obiectum sensibile est causa
delectationis in appetitu sensitivo, ita et obiectum intelligibile in
appetitu intellectivo.
77 Secundo, non intelligo differentiam secundum rationem
modo secundo, nam dilectio et delectatio non sunt formaliter
privationes; nec etiam unio, quae est per se habitudo inter
extrema unita, dicit privationem, sed veram positionem; aliter
enim unio beati ad Deum esset privatio formaliter.
78 Similiter unio agentis ad passum causat actionem realiter,
non sic privatio. Similiter unio materiae ad formam est
compositum, et non-unita non est compositum; haec ergo est non
solum privatio, quia beata visio esset privatio (actio esset privatio,
compositum etiam esset privatio) et quia ex privatione formaliter
sequeretur aliquid simpliciter positivum. Differunt igitur re
dilectio et delectatio, quia sunt effectus diversae rei et ab
agentibus omnino diversis, ut a potentia et ab obiecto.

:l Cf. Aristot., Eth. Nic. II. c. 8 (11086 14-5, 25-30).

31 Aristot., Eth. Nic. III, c. 7 (11156 7-13).
Dist. 1, Part II, Question Two 108

only its [direct] opposite, but also [any] associated, according to

Bk. II of the Ethics.
75 Also, someone can have a more intense love and less delight,
as is evident in devout persons, who fervently love and
nevertheless experience no delight, or moderate delight, which
saddens them a great deal; therefore it is not the one who loves
most that experiences the greatest delight. For it is evident in
acts of fortitude, which is based on the greatest love, and
nevertheless is without the smallest delight, Bk. II of the Ethics.
76 But they say that love and delight differ only conceptually,
which is false in the first mode* [of perseity*]; indeed this
difference is real because love is elicited really by the will and
does not merely signify the manner of proceeding from the will,
because the will is a real cause of it; but delight stems from the
object that is really delightful, in such a way that, just as the
sensible object is a cause of enjoyment in the sensitive appetite,
so the intelligible object is in the intellective appetite.
77 Secondly, I do no understand the conceptual difference in
the second mode* [of perseity], for love and delight are not
formally privations; nor also the union, which is a per se
relationship between the terms united, asserts a privation, but a
true placement; for otherwise the union of the blessed with God
would be formally a privation.
78 Similarly the union of the agent with the patient causes
action in reality, unlike a privation. Similarly the union of matter
to form is a composite and matter not united is not a composite;
therefore this is not just a privation, because the beatific vision
would be a privation (and action would be a privation; also the
composite would be a privation), and because from a privation
something simply positive would formally follow. Therefore love
and delight differ in reality, because they are the effects of
different things and result from completely different agents, one
from a potency, and the other from the object.
109 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

[B. Art. 2: Quomodo differunt fruitio et delectatio?]

79 De secundo, utrum fruitio significet actum elicitum tantum

vel tantum delectationem consequentem vel utrumque simul, est
controversia de significato huius nominis; et hoc est propter
magnam connexionem dilectionis et delectationis. Inseparabiliter
enim concomitantur dilectio et delectatio actum fruitionis, quia si
illa bona et ista bona, et e converso.
80 Quaedam tamen auctoritates videntur dicere quod frui sit
tantum elicitus actus, scilicet diligere, aliquae autem quod sit
delectatio tantum, et aliquae quod utrumque. Quod significet
actum elicitum, scilicet dilectionis, videtur dicere Augustinus, I
De doctrina Christiana:32 "Frui est amore inhaerere alicui propter
se"; quae adhaesio est in corporibus, ex vi scilicet motiva, quae
applicat se appetibili sive rei amatae et sic est actus elicitus.
81 Quod sit idem quod delectatio videtur dicere Augustinus, De
Trinitate:33 "Frui est plenum gaudium", etc.; sed gaudium est
quaedam passio consequens actum elicitum et sic delectatio.
Quod sit idem quod utrumque simul, Augustinus X De Trinitate.34
"Fruimur cognitis in quibus voluntas delectata conquiescit", ubi
exprimitur utrumque.
82 Si ergo volumus dicere quod significet unum tantum vel
actum elicitum, auctoritates sunt glossandae quae exprimunt
utrumque, dicendo quod loquuntur de fruitione quantum ad eius
totalitatem vel concomitantiam. Si non vult glossare, dicendum
tunc quod frui est aequivocum, cuius nomen unum sed res diversa
est et non una, sicut 'Ilias'35 est nomen unum, res tamen significat

August., De doctr. Christ. I, c. 4, n. 4 (CCSL 32, 8; PL 34, 20).

a August., De Trin. I, c. 8, n. 18 (CCSL 50, 52; PL 42, 832).
m August., De Trin. X, c. 10, n. 13 (CCSL 50, 327; PL 42. 981).
35 Cf. Aristot., Metaph. VII (Z), c. 4 (1030a 7-10); idem, Metaph. VIII (H), c. 6
(1045a 13-4); cf. Duns Scotus, Praedic. q. 8, n. 14: "Dicendum quod si contingat
subiectum et accidens unico actu intelligere, et composite ex eis unum nomen
imponere, sicut toti historiae Troianae hoc nomen 'Ilias', illud nomen non
significat utrumque sub propria ratione".
Dist. l, Part II, Question Two 109

Article Two
How do fruition and delight differ?

79 About the second question (whether fruition signifies only

an elicited act or is only the delight that follows, or is it a
combination of both) there is a controversy about the meaning of
this noun; and this is because of the close connection between love
and delight. For the act of fruition is inseparably associated with
love and delight, because if that is good, then this is also good,
and vice versa.
80 Certain authorities seem to say that to enjoy is only an
elicited act, namely of love; some however say that it is only
delight, and other that it is both. That it indicates an elicited act,
namely of love, is what Augustine seems to say in On Christian
Doctrine I: "To enjoy is to inhere in someone by love for his own
sake," which adherence is in the body, and from a force, namely
that motivates, which applies itself to what is desirable or the
thing loved, and thus it is an elicited act.
81 Augustine also seems to say that it is the same thing in The
Trinity: "Fruition is the fullness of joy," etc. but joy is a certain
attribute following the elicited act, and in this way is delight.
That it is the same as both together, Augustine, Bk. X of The
Trinity: "We enjoy the things that we know, when the will rests
by delighting in them for their own sake," where he describes
82 If then we wish to say that fruition signifies only one or the
elicited act, the authoritative statements that express both need
to be glossed, by saying that they speak about fruition insofar as
its totality or what accompanies it goes. If one does not wish to
gloss, then it must be said that fruition is an equivocal term,
whose name is one but means diverse things and not just one,
just as "Iliad" is one name, but signifies diverse things.
110 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

[II. Ad argumenta pro opinione aliorum]

83 Ad primum argumentum36 illius opinionis respondeo quod

maior est falsa, nisi loquendo de actu proprie, ut scilicet frui est
actus elicitus a potentia. In proposito autem alter est actus
elicitus a potentia, scilicet dilectio, alter est passio causata ab
obiecto, scilicet delectatio.
84 Ad secundum37 dico quod licet sensationem posset sequi
immediate delectatio sensibilis, et forte illa sola, ita quod nullus
actus sit elicitus a potentia, tamen in voluntate dilectio
immediatius sequitur apprehensionem, et mediante illa delec
85 Ad tertium38 concedo maiorem negando minorem, quia
opposita dilectionis et delectationis sunt diversa realiter, sicut
superius multipliciter est probatum.
86 Ad quartum39 dico quod non eodem modo perficiunt
operationem dilectio et delectatio, quia delectatio est quasi
perfectio accidentalis ipsius operationis, sicut pulchritudo
iuventutis, X Ethicorum;40 dilectio autem est quasi actus
imperativus vel coniungens parentem cum prole.

[III. Ad argumenta principalia]

87 Ad rationes pro. et contra principales patet per distinctionem

fruitionis secundum triplicem opinionem iam dictam, secundum
quod praecise significat actum, vel passionem consequentem, vel
utrumque ut dictum est.

[Pars III
Quaestio 1
Utrum Deus fruatur]

Quantum ad fruentem, potest hic quaeri utrum Deus


1,1 Cf. supra u. 63.

37 Cf. supra n. 64.
38 Cf. supra n. 65.
30 Cf. supra n. 66.
40 Aristot., Eth. Nic. X, c. 4 (11746 31-3).
Dist. 1, Part II, Question Two no

To the arguments for the other opinion

83 To the first argument [n. 63] for that opinion, I respond that
the major is false, unless one is speaking about the act properly,
namely that to enjoy is an elicited act of a potency. In what they
propose, however, one is an elicited act of a potency, namely love,
whereas the other is a proper attribute caused by the object,
namely, delight.
84 To the second [n. 64] I say that although sensible delight,
and perhaps that alone, can follow sensation immediately, so that
no act is elicited by a potency, nevertheless in the will it is love
that follows apprehension more immediately, and delight only
follows through the mediation of love.
85 To the third [n. 65] I concede the major and deny the minor,
because the opposites of love and delight are really diverse, as
was proved many times above.
86 To the fourth [n. 66] I say that love and delight do not
perfect an operation [of the intellect] in the same way, because
delight is, as it were, an accidental perfection of this operation, as
beauty is to youth, according to Bk. X of the Ethics; love, however,
is, as it were, a mandatory act, e.g., one joining the parent with
the child.

To the initial arguments

87 How to answer to the initial arguments pro and con is clear

from what has already been said of distinct meanings of 'fruition'
according to the threefold opinion about it: depending upon
whether it precisely signifies an act, a consequent attribute, or
both, as was said.

Part III: About fruition

Question One
Has God fruition?

In regard to fruition one can ask here whether God has

111 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

88 Videtur quod non:

Quia non habet aliquid pro fine; ergo nec aliquid fruibile; et
sic non potest frui.

[Quaestio 2
Utrum viator fruatur]

Utrum viator fruatur.

89 Videtur quod non:
Quia fruitio non est alterius, sed est alicuius propter se; sed
nullus actus viatoris est propter se, cum sit actus desiderii, qui
est actus concupiscentiae; ergo etc.

90 Contra:
Viator amore inhaeret Deo propter se; sed hoc est frui
secundum Augustinum,41 ut supra; ergo etc.

[Quaestio 3
Utrum peccator fruatur]

Quaeritur utrum peccator fruatur.

91 Et videtur quod non:
Quia fruitio est quaedam quies; sed peccator non quietatur,
quia innititur mobili; ergo etc.

92 Contra:
Augustinus 83 Quaestionum, 30 q.:42 Omnis perversitas
quae vitium nominatur est "uti fruendis, et frui utendis".

[I. Ad quaestiones]

93 Ad ista tria simul respondeo per unum exemplum in

Primum quietativum est centrum in corporibus, quae nata
sunt quietari, in quo tripliciter quietantur: [a] unum necessario,
per se, et primo, et immobiliter, et se toto, scilicet terra; [b] et

41 Cf. supra Dist. 1, p. 2, q. 2, n. 73.

August., De diversis qq. 83, q. 30 (CCSL 44A, 38: PL 40, 19).
Dist. 1, Part III, Questions One-Three i11

88 It seems he does not, since he does not have something as

an [ultimate] end, therefore there is nothing he can delight in
possessing, and hence he cannot have fruition or enjoyment.

Question Two
Does the pilgrim in this life have fruition?

One can also ask whether the pilgrim in this life has fruition.
89 It seems he does not, since fruition is not for the sake of
something else, but is something one possesses for its own sake.
But no act of the pilgrim is for its own sake, since it is an act of
desire, which is an act of concupiscence; therefore etc.
90 To the contrary: through love the pilgrim inheres in God for
his own sake. But this is fruition, according to Augustine in the
text cited above.

Question Three
Does the sinner have fruition?

One can also ask whether a sinner has fruition.

91 It seems he does not, since fruition is a kind of quiet rest,
but the sinner is not at rest, because he is at work striving for
92 To the contrary: Augustine in his Eighty Three Questions,
question 30 says: 'Every perversity which is called vice is
"enjoying for its own sake what is to be used [only as a means to
an end"]-'

Reply to the questions

93 To these three questions one can reply by way of an example

about corporeal bodies.
The center is the primary location where corporeal bodies
are suited by nature to be perfectly at rest, in a threefold way.
There must be (a) something that is primarily and per se,
completely and immovably at rest, namely the earth; and (b)
something that can be immovably at rest of itself, but not
112 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I -A

aliquod immobiliter per se, sed non primo sed in quantum est
aliquid totius, sicut partes terrae intrinsecae, ut mineralia, quae
sunt quaedam partes intrinsecae; [c] tertio aliquod quietatur per
se et simpliciter, sed non primo, nec immobiliter, sicut grave
adhaerens superficiei terrae quod non quietatur primo, quia
est ut pars, nec immobiliter, quia in superficie continetur, sed
tamen per se, quia per gravitatem; [d] quarto aliquid quiescit non
simpliciter, nec primo, nec per se, nec immobiliter, sed quiescit
respectu alicuius, ut homo in navi exsistens, et haec est quies
secundum quid, tamen non immobiliter, quia in comparatione ad
navem quae non uniformiter se habet ad centrum.
94 Ad propositum ergo, primum centrum omnium intelligi-
bilium est Deus, qui est ultimus terminus omnium motuum in
spiritibus, secundum definitionem Tullii:43 "Deus est sphaera
intelligibilis cuius centrum ubique et circumferentia nusquam".
Pondus autem quo aliquid movetur ad illud centrum est amor
secundum Augustinum.44 Illud quod quiescit in isto centro primo
modo, simpliciter, et primo immobiliter, est voluntas divina; unde
in isto fine et termino motus omnium spirituum est voluntas
divina, quae est coniuncta huic bono non per habitum vel per
actum vel per participationem sed per essentiam.
95 Secundo quiescit in hoc centro voluntas beatorum, quasi
subintrans beneplacitum divinae voluntatis per amorem quasi
partes intraneae.
96 Tertio voluntas viatoris simpliciter, quia eodem immobili
obiecto cum beato innititur per se per caritatem, non tamen
primo, nec immobiliter. In hoc enim est differentia inter ista et
gravia, quia gravitas non corrumpitur quando non quiescit in
centro, sed caritas viatoris corrumpitur quando non quiescit in
Deo; sed quia movetur ad aliud, corrumpitur statim.

1:1 Sententia Hermae Trisinegisto communiter attributa: cf. Liber 24

philosopkorum, Pars I, Sent. 2 (ed. F. Hundry, CCCM 143A, 7 [cf. 37]); cf.
Thomas Eboracensis, Sapientiale I, 18 (CCCM 143A, 90-4). De attribution
Ciceroni cf. Thomas Ebor., ibid., p. 91. ubi De nat. deorum 2.18.47 citat. Cf.
Bonaventura, Itinerarium c. 5, n. 7.
44 August., Conf. XIII, c. 9, n. 10 (CCSL 27, 246; PL 32, 849).
Dist. 1, Part III, Questions One-Three 112

primarily, but in so far as it is an [integral] part of some whole, as

are the interior parts of the earth, such as the minerals which are
certain bodily parts of the earth; and (c) and thirdly, something
which is just at rest but not primarily, or per se or immovably,
just as the heavy adheres to the surface of the earthwhich is
not quieted primarily because it is as a part; nor immovably,
because it is located on the surface; but it is moved, however, per
se, because it is moved through gravity; (d) fourthly, something is
not simply at rest, neither primarily, nor per se, nor immovably,
but is simply at rest with respect to something, such as a human
being or passenger at rest in a moving boat. And this is being at
rest in a qualified sense, but not immovably so, because the
passenger is at rest only in comparison to the boat, which is not
static with respect to the center [of the earth].
94 As for the case proposed, therefore, the primary center of all
intelligible beings is God, who is the ultimate term of all activity
in spirits, according to that definition of Cicero: "God is an
intelligible sphere whose center is everywhere and circumference
nowhere." The mass or weight by which something is moved to
this center is love [a/nor] according to Augustine. That which
rests immovably in that center primarily and in an unqualified
way is the divine will, hence, in this end and term of the motion of
all spirits is the divine will, which is joined to this good not by
way of any act, participation, or habitual tendency [habitus], but
by its very essence.
95 Secondly, at rest in this center is the will of those beatified,
whose will through love has stolen, by divine benevolence, into
the center as a quasi-inner part.
96 Thirdly, the will of the pilgrim [rests in this center] in an
unqualified way, because by reason of charitable love [caritas] it
is united per se to the same immobile object, to which the blessed
in heaven are joined, but not primarily or immovably. But the
difference between these heavy things and beings [joined by love]
is that weight is not corrupted when a body is not at rest in the
center, whereas the charitable love of the pilgrim perishes, when
that person is not at rest in God, and even more so when it
becomes centered on another thing [as one's ultimate end].
113 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

97 Quarto, nec per se, nec primo, nec immutabiliter, nec

simpliciter, sed secundum quid quiescit, ut peccator qui non
innititur nec adhaeret Deo, nec immediate nec mediate, sed
quiescit in quantum voluntas ita intenso actu quietat se quantum
potest, sed non per se, quia non caritate, nec immobiliter, quia
continue elongatur a centro, scilicet a Deo.

[II. Ad argumenta principalia]

98 Ad primum45 dicendum quod ratio finis non est per se ratio

obiecti fruibilis. Ratio enim fruibilis est ratio absoluta, ut in alia
quaestione dictum est, quod obiectum fruitionis est essentia
absoluta in qua fundatur ratio finis in comparatione ad extra; et
ideo ratio finis est ratio vel relatio rationis; et ideo licet Deus non
sit finis suae voluntatis, non propter hoc sequitur quod non
fruatur; habet enim rationem absolutam per se obiecti fruibilis.
99 Ad secundum46, quando dicitur quod omnis actus viatoris est
actus desiderii, dico quod propositio est falsa, immo habet actum
amicitiae quo vult sibi beatitudinem suam, sicut actus desiderii
est actus concupiscentiae.
100 Ad tertium,47 quando dicitur quod peccator non quietatur,
verum est simpliciter, quia una condicio deficit sibi scilicet ex

4fi Cf. supra n. 88.

46 Cf. supra n. 89.
47 Cf. supra n. 91.
Dist. 1, Part III, Questions One-Three 113

97 A fourth way [of relating to the center] is to lean or rest

upon it neither per se, nor primarily, nor immovably, nor simply,
but only in a qualified manner, like a sinful man who does not
lean on God or adhere either immediately or mediately to him,
but rests content, to the extent that the will is able to calm itself
by an act as intense as possible [for it], though [his will] is not at
rest per se. For it is not drawn by charity,2 neither is the sinner's
will immovably at rest, because it is continually withdrawn from
its center, namely God.

Reply to the initial arguments

98 To the first, [n. 88] it must be said that the aspect of being
an 'end'3 is not the per se characteristic of an object of fruition.
For this is an absolute [or non-relative] characteristic. As was
pointed out in another question, the object of fruition is the
absolute essence in which is based the characteristic of being an
end with respect to what is outside it [viz. created beings]. And
therefore the aspect of 'being an end' is a conceptual relation and
therefore, although God is not the 'end' of his will, it does not
follow from this that he has no fruition. For [God] has something
absolute that can be enjoyed for its own sake.
99 To the second, [n. 89] when it is said that every act of the
pilgrim is an act of desire, I say that this statement is false.
Indeed the pilgrim has an act of friendship or benevolent love by
which he wills his happiness [as an objective value in] itself, just
as the act of desiring it [as a good for himself] is an act of
concupiscent love.
100 To the third, [n. 91] when it is said that the sinner is not at
rest, this is true in a simple or unqualified sense, because one
condition is lacking for him, namely on the part of the object. For

2 Charity (caritas) as he explains elsewhere is a theological virtue,

supernaturally infused by God, that reinforces the free will's* natural ability to
what is good for its intrinsic value, and hence God above all is a rational being's
ultimate good.
:i Here 'end' (or finis) has the technical Aristotelian meaning of a final cause
that moves one to attain some good or perfection the agent does not already
114 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I -A

parte obiecti quod non quietat, sed secundum quid quietat,

scilicet ex actu voluntatis in se. Et haec sufficiunt quoad tres
Dist. 1, Part III, Questions One-Three 114

it does not put him at rest, but calms him only in a qualified
sense, namely through an act of the will in itself.
And these remarks suffice so far as these three questions
are concerned.
[Distinctio 2
Pars I de exsistentia Dei eiusque unitate]

1 Circa distinctionem secundam primo quaerantur quaesti-

ones de esse Dei, secundo de unitate eius, tertio de Trinitate
2 Circa esse Dei propono tres quaestiones. Prima est utrum sit
aliquod ens primum simpliciter in universitate entium; secunda
utrum primitas simpliciter possit competere entibus alterius
rationis; tertia utrum sit aliquod ens simpliciter et actu infinitum.

[Quaestio 1
Utrum sit aliquod ens primum simpliciter]

3 Circa primum arguitur quod non sit aliquod ens simpliciter

primum, quia entia se habent sicut numeri, VIII Metaphysicae;1
sed nullus numerus est simpliciter primus in perfectione; ergo nec
aliquid est simpliciter primum in entitate. Minor probatur sic:
omne totum est perfectius sua parte; ergo si esset aliquis
numerus simpliciter primus, iste numerus esset maximus, quia
esset quasi totum respectu praecedentium omnium, quia
contineret omnes alios, sicut ternarius binarium, et sic de aliis
ascendendo. Sed hoc est falsum quia tunc non procederetur in
infinitum in numeris secundum divisionem continui in infinitum,
quod est contra Philosophum, III Physicorum.2
4 Contra:
II Metaphysicae,3 est primum efficiens; ergo primum actuale, quia
nihil agit nisi secundum quod est in actu; ergo erit primum in
entitate et perfectione.
5 Item, ibidem: est primus finis; ergo primum in bonitate, et
sic in perfectione et entitate.

i Aristot., Metaph. VIII (H), c. 3 (10436 33).

* Aristot., Physica III, c. 7 (2076 15-6).
:l Aristot., Metaph. II (a), c. 2 (994a 1-8).

Distinction 2
Part I: On the existence and unicity of Godi

1 In regard to distinction two I ask: (1) about the existence of

God, (2) about his unicity, (3) about the Trinity of Persons.*
2 Regarding the existence of God I propose three questions.
First, in the world of beings is there some being that is first in an
unqualified sense? Second, could several different sorts of being
possess such primacy? Third, is some being actually infinite in an
unqualified sense?

Question One
Is there some being that is first in an unqualified sense?

3 As for the first question it is argued that there is no being

that is simply first, because beings are related to one another like
numbers, according to Bk. VIII of the Metaphysics. Now no
number is simply first in perfection. Therefore, nothing is simply
first in entity. The minor is proved as follows. Every whole is
more perfect than a part of it; therefore if there were some
number that was simply first, this number would be the greatest,
because it would be the quasi-whole of all the numbers that
preceded it, since it would contain all the others the way two is
contained in three, and so on with the other numbers of
increasing magnitude. But this is false, for if there were a
greatest number, one could not proceed to infinity in numbers by
dividing the continuum indefinitely, which is contrary to what the
Philosopher says in Bk. IIl of the Physics.
4 To the contrary: According to Bk. II of the Metaphysics,
there is a first efficient cause, and therefore a being that is first in
actuality because nothing acts unless it actually exists.
Consequently, something is first in entity and perfection.
5 Also, in the same work there is said to be a primary end,
and therefore something first in goodness and hence in entity and
perfection as well.

i Re. Dist. 2, p. 1 and 2 see also: A. Wolter, M. McCord Adams, "Duns

Scotus's Parisian Proof for the Existence of God," Franciscan Studies 42 (1982):

116 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

[Quaestio 2
Utrum primitas possit competere entibus alterius rationis]

6 Secundo quaeritur utrum primitas simpliciter possit com

petere entibus alterius rationis.
Videtur quod sic:
Quia posterioritas essentialis convenit entibus alterius
rationis. Patet in omni genere, ut in passionibus respectu
subiectorum suorum; ergo et primitas. Probatio consequentiae:
quia correlativa commultiplicantur.
7 Contra: omnis multitudo reducitur ad aliquod unum sive ad
unitatem; ergo multitudo essentiarum ad unitatem essentiae.
Consequentia patet, quia inter essentias est ordo essentialis; sed
in essentialiter ordinatis est aliquid simpliciter primum, licet non
in his quae sunt eiusdem rationis, ut in individuis eiusdem
speciei et in ordinatis accidentaliter.

[Quaestio 3
Utrum sit aliquod ens simpliciter et actu infinitum]

8 Iuxta hoc quaeritur utrum sit aliquod ens simpliciter et actu

infinitum. De hoc dicetur post.

[Ad quaestiones]

9 Quantum ad quaestiones istas, primo ostendo quis sit ordo

inter illas, secundo quomodo una dependet ab alia.
10 Quantum ad primum dico quod, ut dictum est prius, de Deo
secundum nullum conceptum nobis possibilem de eo in via est per
se notum de eo esse demonstratione propter quid, quia medium
ad demonstrandum de eo esse est nobis ignotum, scilicet essentia
Dei ut haec vel deitas sub ratione deitatis; et ideo haec propositio
"Deus est" non est per se nota nec nobis nota propter quid, nec est
desperatum a nobis cognosci. Ergo demonstratione quia tantum
Dist. 2, Part I, Questions One-Three 116

Question Two
Can such primacy pertain to different sorts of being?

6 Second it is asked whether primacy in an unqualified sense

pertains to beings of different sorts.
It seems that it could: For essential* posteriority pertains to
beings of different sorts. This is evident in the case of every
genus, as it is in the case of attributes with regard to their
respective subjects. But if there are several sorts of posteriority,
then there are also several kinds of primacy. Proof of the
implication:* correlatives are multiplied in pairs.
7 On the contrary: every multitude upon analysis implies a
unit or something unique. Therefore, the multitude of essences
implies that one is unique. The implication is evident, because an
essential* order exists among essences, and where things* are
essentially ordered there is something that is simply first. This is
not the case, however, where the many are of the same sort, as
with individuals of the same species and with things ordered only

Question Three
Is there some being that is simply and actually infinite?

8 In this connection another question is raised that will be

discussed later. Is there some being that is simply and actually

To the questions

9 As for these questions, I show first how they are ordered

and secondly how one depends upon the other.
10 As for the first, I say as I did before about God, that
according to no concept of him that we have in this life is his
existence known per se by a demonstration* of the reasoned* fact.
Because the middle term needed to demonstrate this, namely
God's essence as just "this" or deity qua deity, is unknown to us.
And therefore, for us this proposition "God exists" is neither self-
evident nor known as a reasoned fact. But we need not despair of
117 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

potest a nobis cognosci modo, ut medium sumitur ab effectu.

Immediatius autem sunt nobis notae proprietates respectivae in
causa quam proprietates absolutae, quia secundum proprietates
respectivas dicimus eum respicere omnem effectum ut secundum
proprietates causalitatis et productibilitatis; et ideo ex huiusmodi
proprietatibus primo propositum est ostendendum.

[Responsio ad primam quaestionem]

11 Respondeo ergo ad primam quaestionem quod est aliquod

primum simpliciter omni primitate quae non includit aliquam
imperfectionem, cuius est primitas materiae vel formae respectu
compositi; pars enim semper est imperfectior toto et tamen prior;
pars enim participat entitatem totius et non est ipsum totum.
Aliae enim sunt primitates quae non includunt aliquam
imperfectionem, ut primitas eminentiae et triplicis causalis
independentiae, scilicet efficientis, formalis vel exemplaris, et
finalis. Primitas autem eminentiae non est primitas causalitatis;
non enim ex hoc quod unum ens praeeminet alteri, est causa
illius. Nam primum in quolibet genere praeeminet alteri
posteriori illius generis, et tamen non est causa illius. Primitas
etiam exemplaris non distinguitur a primitate efficientiae, quia
primum exemplans alia in esse intelligibili, non est nisi primum
efficiens per intellectum; et sicut naturale efficiens non
distinguitur contra efficiens, immo continetur sub eo, sic nec
exemplaris distinguitur ab efficiente. Sunt ergo duae causalitates
contra se distinctae, scilicet causae efficientis et finalis. Et istae
primitates omnes, quae attribuimus Deo, nullam includunt
Dist. 2, Part I, Questions One-Three 117

knowing it altogether. Consequently, at present we can know it

only by a demonstration* of the simple* fact, where the middle
term of the demonstration is taken from what God effects. For
relative* properties in a cause are known more immediately than
absolute properties, because we say that he relates to every effect
in virtue of the relational properties of causality and
producibility. And therefore it is on the basis of these properties
that we must first establish our proposed thesis.

Reply to the first question

11 I reply then to the initial question that there is some being

that is simply first in every way that does not include some
imperfection like that of the primacies of matter or form with
respect to their composite, for a part [like matter and form],
although prior, is nevertheless always less perfect than the whole,
since the part shares the entity of the whole and yet is not the
whole itself. But there are other ways of being first that do not
include any imperfection, such as the primacy of excellence and of
causal independence in a threefold sense, namely of having no
efficient cause, no formal or exemplar cause, and no final cause.
Now the primacy of excellence is not a primacy of causality, for it
does not follow that, if one being is more perfect than another, it
is also the cause of that other. For the most eminent [species] in
any genus excels each less eminent [species], and yet is not its
cause. Note also that the primacy of exemplarity is not
distinguished from that of efficiency, for the first to model
another in thought is nothing other than a first efficient cause
endowed with an intellect. Now just as a natural* efficient cause
is not distinguished from efficient causeindeed it is a
subdivision thereofso neither is the exemplar cause. Hence,
there are only two sorts of causality that are distinct from each
other, namely what pertains to an efficient cause and final cause
respectively. And each primacy we attribute to God includes no
118 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

[Quod Deus sit primum primitate efficientis]

12 Quod autem Deus sit primum omnium ista primitate probo:

et primo de primitate efficientiae sic:
Aliquod ens est effectum, quia productum; aut igitur
producitur a se, vel a nihilo vel ab alio. Non a nihilo, quia nihil
nullius est causa; nec a se, quia nihil est quod seipsum gignat vel
producat, I De Trmitate, capitulo nono.4 Ergo ab alio. Si ab alio,
ergo illud producitur a nihilo vel a se vel ab alio, et sic procedetur
in infinitum. Ergo oportet stare ad aliquid non productum, nec
virtute alterius producens sed virtute propria; et hoc voco
13 [Duae instantiae] Contra istam rationem insto dupliciter:
Primo, quia non est inconveniens procedere in infinitum in
productionibus eiusdem rationis, secundum philosophos ut
quod filius iste sit ab isto patre et iste ab alio, et sic in infinitum.
Ignis etiam ab igne potest esse in infinitum.
14 Item, omnis demonstratio non demonstrans quia sed propter
quid est ex necessariis; haec non est ex necessariis sed ex
rationibus producentis et producti, quae sunt termini contin-
gentes; ergo non demonstrans.
15 [Solutio primae instantiae] Excludo primam consequentiam:
dico quod non est processus in infinitum in essentialiter ordinatis;
nec umquam philosophi in talibus concesserunt infinitatem, licet
in accidentaliter ordinatis hoc concesserint, ut patet per
Avicennam,5 VI Metaphysicae, capitulo quinto.
16 Ad hoc autem demonstrandum praemitto unum, scilicet
quod non est idem loqui de causis per se et per accidens, et de
causis essentialiter et accidentaliter ordinatis. Nam in primo est
tantum comparatio unius ad unum, scilicet causae ad effectum, et
est causa per se quando aliquid secundum naturam propriam et
non secundum aliquid sibi accidens causat, ut subiectum est per

4 Rectius: August., De Trin. I, c. 1, n. 1 (CCSL 50, 28; PL 42,

5 Avicenna, Metaph. VI, c. 5 (AviL, 334); cf. ibid., c. 2 (AviL,
303): "Causas enim non essentiales vel non propinquas non nego
procedere in infinitum; immo facio debere hoc".
Dist. 2, Part I, Questions One-Three 118

That God is first as an effective agent

12 I prove that God is first of all by each such primacy, and

begin with the primacy of efficiency in this way. Some being is an
effect, because it is produced. Now either nothing produces it, or
it produces itself, or it is produced by another. It is not produced
by nothing, for nothing is the cause of nothing. Neither does it
produce itself, for, according to Bk. I, chapter nine of Augustine's
The Trinity, "nothing begets itself." Therefore it is produced by
another. If by another, then this other is produced by nothing, by
itself or by anotherand so the process would continue
indefinitely. Consequently, one must stop with something not
produced, but which produces by its own power and not in virtue
of any other, and this I call the first.
13 [Two objections] I raise two objections to this reasoning.
First, because it is not incongruous that productions* of the same
sort should continue indefinitely, according to the philosophers.
Thus this son is from that father, and the latter from another
father, and so ad infinitum. Fire too can come from fire
14 There is also this objection. Every demonstration not
demonstrating the simple fact, but the reason for the fact, begins
with something necessary. But this argument does not, for it uses
the notions of producer and produced, which are contingent
terms; hence the argument does not demonstrate.
15 [Solution to the first objection] I refute the first objection. In
things essentially ordered, I declare, there is no progression to
infinity, nor do any philosophers admit such, though they do
concede this where accidentally ordered things are concerned, as
is clear from Avicenna's Metaphysics, Bk. VIII, chapter 5.
16 To demonstrate this, however, I introduce one prefatory
remark, namely, to speak of per se and per accidens causes* is not
the same as speaking of essentially ordered and accidentally
ordered causes.* For in the first case there is a one-to-one
comparison, namely of a cause to its effect. And we have a per se
cause when something causes in virtue of its proper nature* and
not something incidental to it. Thus a subject is the per se cause
of its proper attribute; and there are many other instances, such
119 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

se causa suae passionis, et in multis aliis, ut album disgregat et

aedificator aedificat; sed causa per accidens est e converso, ut
Policletus aedificat.
17 In secundo autem est comparatio duarum causarum inter se
in quantum ab eis est aliquod tertium ut causatum, et tunc
different causae per se sive essentialiter ordinatae a causis
accidentaliter ordinatis tripliciter, ex qua triplici differentia
habebitur triplex demonstratio ad probandum aliquid simpliciter
primum efficiens.
18 Prima differentia est quod in causis per se et essentialiter
ordinatis causa secunda, in quantum causat, dependet a prima; in
accidentaliter ordinatis non sic dependet in causando licet in esse
vel in aliquo alio dependeat. Filius enim licet secundum esse
dependeat a patre, non tamen in causando, quia patre mortuo
potest agere sicut ipso vivo.
19 Secunda differentia est quia in per se et essentialiter
ordinatis est causalitas alterius rationis et alterius ordinis, quia
superior causa est perfectior eo quod eius virtute causat causa
secunda; sed non sic est in accidentaliter ordinatis, quia ita potest
filius generare sicut pater, nec dependet in causando nisi a causa
eiusdem rationis, non a causa perfectiori.
20 Tertia differentia est quia omnes causae per se et
essentialiter ordinatae simul necessario requiruntur ad causan-
dum effectum; quia, si non, aliqua causalitas essentialis et per se
deesset effectui; sed talis simultas non requiritur in accidentaliter
ordinatis, sed successive una post aliam.
21 Ex prima differentia arguo sic: in causis essentialiter
ordinatis, ubi ponit adversarius infinitatem, secunda in quantum
causat dependet a prima. Si ergo essent causae infinitae ita quod
quaelibet alia non solum quaelibet posterior dependet a sua
proxima priori, esset6 universitas causatorum ab alia causa priori,

6 Esset scripsimus: set (sed) onines codd.

Dist. 2, Part I, Questions One-Three 119

as when something white expands [the diaphanous medium] or a

builder builds. But the converse is true of a per accidens cause,
such as Polycletus building.
17 In the second case, however, there is a comparison of two
causes with each other insofar as some third thing is caused by
them. And then it turns out that per se or essentially ordered
causes differ from those accidentally ordered in three ways. And
this triple difference provides a threefold demonstration for
proving something is a first efficient cause in an unqualified
18 The first difference is that with causes that are essentially
ordered, the second cause depends upon the first insofar as
causing is concerned, whereas in accidentally ordered causes the
second does not depend upon the first in this way, though it may
be dependent on the first for its existence or in some other
respect. For though a son depends upon his father for his
existence, he does not depend upon him in causing, since with his
father dead he can act as effectively as when his father was alive.
19 There is a second difference, since the causality of per se
and essentially ordered causes is of different sorts and is ordered
[to the effect] in different ways. For the superior cause is more
perfect inasmuch as the second cause causes in virtue of it. But
this is not so with accidentally ordered causes, for a son can
procreate just as a father can, neither does he depend in this
except upon a cause of the same sort rather than upon a more
perfect cause.
20 There is a third difference, because all the per se and
essentially ordered causes are needed simultaneously to cause the
effect; were this not so, some per se and essential causality would
be wanting for the effect. But such simultaneity is not required
where accidentally ordered causes are concerned, for they
exercise their causality successively, one after the other.
21 From the first difference I argue in this way. In essentially
ordered causes, where our adversary postulates an infinity, each
second cause insofar as it is causing depends upon a first.
Therefore, if there were an infinity of causessuch that each one
of them, not just each posterior cause, depended upon its
immediate prior causethen the whole collection of what is
120 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

non ab aliqua causa quae est aliquid istius universitatis, quia

tunc esset aliqua causa sui. Tota enim universitas dependentium
dependet et non ab aliquo illius universitatis, quia quilibet
dependet; ergo ab aliquo quod non est aliquid illius universitatis,
et hoc voco primum efficiens. Si igitur sunt infinitae, adhuc
dependent ab aliqua, quae non est illius infinitatis.
22 Ex secunda differentia arguo sic: si causae essentialiter
ordinatae sint alterius ordinis, semper causa superior est
perfectior; ergo causa in infinitum superior erit in infinitum
perfectior. Si igitur sunt infinitae tales, erunt infinitae causae
perfectae. Sed nulla talis simpliciter perfecta causat virtute
alterius; ergo non sunt essentialiter ordinatae. Dato enim quod
causaret virtute alterius, non esset simpliciter suprema et
23 Ex tertia differentia arguo sic: si causae ordinatae essen
tialiter in infinitum concurrant ad productionem alicuius effectus,
et ex ista differentia omnes causae essentialiter sint simul,
sequitur quod infinita actu sunt simul ad causandum hunc
effectum, quod non conceditur ab aliquo philosopho.
24 [Argumenta persuasiva] Ad hoc etiam adducuntur duae
aliae persuasiones. Prima talis: si sit processus in infinitum in
causis essentialiter ordinatis, omnes erunt causatae, ergo ab
aliqua causa; et si illa non sit prima, omnes erunt aequaliter
mediae causae, nam non ponitur alia prima respectu cuius alia
possit dici propinquior vel remotior alia; et sic est verum quod
tenet ratio Philosophi, II Metaphysicae,1 et est eadem ratio
virtualiter cum illa quae accepta est ex prima differentia.
25 Secunda ratio est ista: esse effectivum nullam
imperfectionem includit; sed quod nihil imperfectionis includit,
potest poni inter entia sine imperfectione. Sed si nulla causa est

7 Aristot, Metaph. II (a), c. 2 (994a 17-9).

Dist. 2, Part I, Questions One-Three 120

caused would depend upon some other prior cause that is not a
part of that collection, for then something would be a cause of
itself. For the whole collection of dependents depends, but not
upon something that is part of that collection, because everything
there is dependent. Consequently it depends upon something that
is not part of that totality. And this I call the first efficient.
Hence, even if there is an infinity of causes, they still depend
upon something that is not a part of that infinity.
22 From the second difference I argue in this fashion. If all
essentially ordered causes are of a different orders, [because they
are of different orders] the higher will always be more perfect.
Therefore a cause that is infinitely superior will be infinitely more
perfect. Hence if there is an infinity of such, there will be infinite
causes that are simply perfect. But no cause that is simply perfect
causes in virtue of another; therefore if there is an infinity of
causes, then these are not essentially ordered, for if you grant
they cause in virtue of another, none would be simply supreme
nor perfect.
23 From the third argument I argue thus. If an infinity of
essentially ordered causes would concur in the production of some
effect andby virtue of this third differenceall such must act at
once, it would follow that an actual infinity is simultaneously
causing this effectsomething no philosopher admits.
24 [Two persuasive reasons] Two other persuasive arguments
are adduced to prove this [primacy of efficiency], the first of which
is this. If in essentially ordered causes, the process went on to
infinity, each would be caused, and hence by some cause. If this
were not a first cause, then all would be equally intermediate
causes, for there would be no first with reference to which one
could be said to be more proximate or remote than another. And
hence the argument given by the Philosopher in Bk. II of the
Metaphysics would hold good. This is virtually the same as the
argument derived from the first difference.
25 The second reason is this. To be an efficient cause does not
imply any imperfection. But what includes no imperfection can be
assumed to exist without imperfection in some being. But if no
cause exists that is not itself dependent upon something prior,
then [no cause] exists in any being without imperfection. [Since
121 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

sine dependentia ad aliquid prius, in nullo est sine imperfectione;

ergo effectibilitas potest inesse alicui naturae, et illa natura est
simpliciter prima. Ergo effectibilitas simpliciter prima est
possibilis et, si potest esse et non ab aliquo alio, ergo a se.
26 Sed dices quod istae rationes non concludunt nisi
supponendo ordinem essentialem causarum. Sed negabitur tibi
ordo essentialis, et dicetur quod omne quod producitur,
producitur sufficienter a causa particulari eiusdem rationis sicut
a causa totali, ut filius a patre, et sic in infinitum.
27 Contra: hoc productum aut producitur a causa alterius
ordinis, et sequitur ordo essentialis, aut a causa eiusdem rationis,
et tunc fuit possibile produci a causa a qua producitur, et ista ab
alia et illa ab alia a qua producitur fuit possibilis produci, et sic in
infinitum. Semper enim natura habebit eundem modum essendi
in quolibet eiusdem rationis, ita quod, si unum fuit productibile,
et quodlibet in infinitum successive. Sed nulla successio potest in
infinitum continuari nisi in virtute alicuius permanentis in
infinitum cum tota successione illa, eo quod nulla difformitas
perpetuatur nisi in virtute alicuius uniformis quod non est aliquid
illius successionis, quia nulla pars successionis potest permanere
cum tota successione, eo quod tunc non esset pars eius. Ergo est
aliquid essentialiter prius tota successione, cum tota successio
dependeat ad ipsum. Omne ergo quod dependet a causa
accidentaliter ordinata, dependet essentialius a causa per se et
essentialiter ordinata. Immo negato ordine essentiali negabitur
ordo accidentalis, quia accidentia non habent ordinem nisi
mediante fixo et permanente, et per consequens nec multitu-
dinem in infinitum. Et sic exclusa est prima instantia, scilicet
quod non est procedere in infinitum in accidentaliter ordinatis
nisi fuerit status in essentialiter ordinatis.
Dist. 2, Part I, Questions One-Three 121

this negates our initial assumption], it follows [from that

assumption] that effectibility could exist in some nature that is
simply first. Therefore, effectibility that is first in an unqualified
sense is possible, and if it can exist and yet not be from another,
then it [can exist] of itself.
26 You may object that these reasons are valid only if one
assumes an essential order among the causes,* something you
will deny and admit instead that everything produced is
adequately accounted for by some particular cause of the same
sort as its total cause, like a son produced by a father, and so ad
27 To the contrary: Either this product* is produced by a cause
of some other order, and then it follows that an essential order
does exist, or else the product is caused by something of the same
sort. But then it would be something possible to be produced by
the cause which produces it, and that cause too would be
something possible to be produced by some other cause, which in
turn was something possible to be produced by something else,
and so ad infinitum. For in anything of the same sort, its nature
would have the same way of being, so that if one were something
able to be produced, then all would be such successively* ad
infinitum. But no succession can continue indefinitely except in
virtue of something permanent* that is coextensive with the
succession as a whole. For no change in form is perpetuated save
in virtue of something uniform which is not a part of the
succession itself, since no part can persist throughout the entire
succession [that involves change], and still be a part of it.
Therefore, there is something that is essentially prior to the
whole succession, since the latter depends upon it. Hence
everything that depends upon an accidentally ordered cause, also
dependsin a more essential wayupon a per se and essentially
ordered cause. Indeed, if this essential order were denied, the
accidental order will also be denied, because the accidentals have
no order and as a consequence no infinite procession except in
relation to something fixed and permanent. And in this way the
first objection is refuted, namely by stating that there will be no
infinite process of accidentally ordered causes unless one comes to
a rest in the essential order.
122 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

28 [Solutio secundae instantiae] Ad secundam instantiam quae

dicit quod non demonstro, quia procedo ex contingentibus, cum
dico: aliqua natura est producta vel effecta, ergo aliquid est
producens vel efficiens, etc., respondeo quod in demonstratione
quia possum accipere praemissam de inesse vel de possibili. Si
accipitur de inesse, est demonstratio contingens et non ex
necessariis; ut cum dico: "Aliquid est productum, ergo aliquid est
producens"; ostensum enim est ad sensum. Si autem accipiatur
praemissa pro possibile esse sic: "Aliqua natura est possibilis fieri,
sive effectibilis vel productibilis, ergo aliqua natura est effectiva
vel productiva", est demonstratio ex necessariis. Nam antecedens
est necessarium et consequens similiter, quia aliquod subiectum
est mutabile et aliquod entium est possibile distinguendo
possibile contra necessarium.
29 Et concludit probatio istis rationibus8 de esse quiditativo vel
de esse possibili sic: "Aliquid potest fieri, ergo aliquid est
productivum et causativum eius; et si aliquid simpliciter primum
effectivum, erit actu exsistens". Probo sic: cuius rationi repugnat
esse ab alio, illud si potest esse, potest esse a se; sed rationi primi
simpliciter effectivi repugnat esse ab alio, quia non est effectum
vel productum ab alio, nec virtute alicuius alterius est pro
ductivum vel effectivum vel producens; et potest esse; ergo est. Si
enim potest esse, aut ergo a se, vel ab alio; non ab alio, quia
ponitur primum; si a se, habetur propositum, quia si potest esse,
est. Ergo concludo quod in causis efficientibus est dare
essentialem ordinem et per consequens aliquod efficiens primum

H In nonnullis codd. rebus pro rationibus legitur.

Dist. 2, Part I, Questions One-Three 122

28 [Solution to the second objection] The second objection

claims that I have no demonstration when I argue: "Some nature
is produced or effected, hence something is producing or effecting
it," etc., since I start out with contingent terms. To this I reply: in
a demonstration of the simple fact [such as from effect to cause] I
can take as a premise a statement of what exists or of what is
only possible. If I take only the assertoric statement of what
exists, my demonstration will be contingent and not based on
necessary terms. Such would be the case, if I say: "Something is
being produced, therefore something is producing it," for this is
something sense perception reveals. But if the premise is taken
from what is possible, then the demonstration begins with what is
necessary, in this way: "It is possible that some nature come to be,
i.e., it is effectible or producible; hence some nature is able to
effect or produce it." For here the antecedent, and the consequent
as well, are necessary, because some being is mutable and among
beings something is possible, where "possible" is contrasted with
29 And the proof concludes by [adducing] the following reasons
about essential or possible being, in this fashion. "Something can
come to be, therefore something can produce or cause it." But if
something can cause effectively in a simple or unqualified sense,
then it will be actually existing. This I prove as follows. If it is
repugnant to the very notion of something that it be from
another, then if it can exist, it can exist of itself. But to stem from
another is repugnant to the very notion of an efficient agent that
is first in an unqualified sense, since it is not an effect or product
of another. Nor is it productive or effective or producing in virtue
of something else. Furthermore, it can exist. Therefore it actually
does exist. For if it can exist, then either it is of itself or from
another. Now it is not from another, because it is assumed to be
first. If it is of itself, we have what we set out to prove, since if it
can exist, it does exist. Therefore, I conclude that in efficient
causes an essential order must be admitted and consequently
some efficient cause that is simply first.
123 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

[Quod Deus sit primum primitate eminentiae]

30 Ex isto secundo infero quod est aliquod ens simpliciter in

eminentia, quia in ordine essentiali causarum essentialium
semper est causa aequivoca respectu sui effectus, quia est alterius
ordinis ab effectu. Causa autem aequivoca semper est nobilior suo
effectu, cum non potest esse aeque perfectum nec minus
perfectum; sic enim dicerem quod omnia alia perfecta corpora
possent produci a musca, quia per te non requiritur in causa
aequivoca maior perfectio quam in eius effectu.

[Quod Deus est primum primitate finalitatis]

31 Ex hoc etiam sequitur tertio si est aliquod primum

efficiens quod est aliquis primus finis non ordinabilis ad alium
finem nec virtute alterius finitivum, quia omne per se agens et
efficiens agit propter finem habetur hoc ex II Physicorum9 et
prius efficiens propter priorem finem, ergo primum efficiens
propter ultimum finem; sed propter nihil aliud a se principaliter
agit et ultimate, ergo propter se sicut propter finem. Et sic
sequitur quod primum efficiens erit ultimus finis, sive primus. Si
enim ageret per se propter finem alium a se, tunc aliquid esset
nobilius primo efficiente, quia finis, qui est aliquid remotum ab
agente intendente finem, est nobilius eo.

[Quod Deus est primum exemplans]

32 Quarto et ultimo dico quod primum efficiens est primum

exemplans respectu effectibilium, quia, ut prius dictum est,
primum efficiens agit propter finem per se, nam omne per se
agens agit propter finem, etiam agens per naturam, de quo minus

0 Aristot., Physica II, c. 5 (1966 17-22).

Dist. 2, Part I, Questions One-Three 123

That God is first in excellence

30 From this I infer secondly that some being is simply

unexcelled. For in an essential order of essential or per se causes,
a cause is always equivocal* with respect to its effect, since it is of
a different order than the latter. An equivocal cause, however, is
always nobler than its effect, sinceas equivocalit can be
neither less perfect nor only equal in perfection with its effect.
For this would be equivalent to saying that every other more
perfect organism could be produced by a fly, sinceaccording to
youno greater perfection is required of an equivocal cause than
exists in its effect.

That among final causes God is also first

31 From this a third point also follows. If something is first as

an efficient agent, then something also exists that is first as an
end, i.e. something that cannot exist or function as final cause
only in virtue of some other end. Every per se agent or efficient
cause acts for the sake of some end. This we glean from Bk. II of
the Physics. Now a prior efficient agent acts for the sake of some
prior end, therefore, the first efficient agent acts for the sake of
the final end. But such an agent never acts principally or
ultimately for anything other than itself. Hence, it acts for the
sake of itself as end. Thus it follows that the first efficient agent
will also be the ultimate or first end. For were an agent to act for
the sake of some end other than itself, then something would be
more noble than the first efficient agent, because anything that is
removed or distinct from an agent intending the end, is more
noble than that agent.

That God is the first exemplar cause

32 Fourth, and finally, I say that the first efficient agent also
functions as first exemplar cause of all that can be effected,
because, as was stated earlier, the first efficient acts for an end
per se, for every per se agent acts for an end. Even one that acts
by nature, acts for some end, where the teleology is less obvious,
124 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A
videtur, II Physicorum.i0 Vel ergo propter finem quem cognoscit,
vel in quem a cognoscente dirigitur. Non secundo modo, quia
primum efficiens non potest ab alio dirigi vel ordinari. Ergo
propter finem quem cognoscit. Sed agens per cognitionem ordinat
effectum in finem cognitum, sed hoc non est aliud quam effectum
exemplari. Sed non ordinat rem in aliquem finem secundarium
cognitum alium a se, quia tunc non esset primus finis, ut dictum
est; ergo ordinat in se exemplando tamquam in finem ultimatum
immediate. Et sic sequitur quod est primum exemplans.

[Ad argumentum principale]

33 Ad rationem in oppositumii de similitudine numerorum et

entium dico quod licet ordo essentiarum in multis assimiletur
ordini numerorum in dependendo in communi, ut sicut omnia
entia dependent ad primum ens, et ita omnes numeri ad primum
numerum, non tamen tenet similitudo dependentiae in speciali,
sed modo contrario, quia numeri posteriores dependent a priori
sicut ab imperfectiori, quia prior numerus est pars numeri
posterioris, et pars imperfectior suo toto. Sicut ergo totum
dependet a parte ut ab imperfectiori, sic maior numerus a minori.
In entibus autem e converso, sive ordinatis essentialiter sive
accidentaliter, quia ens imperfectius non est pars entis
perfectioris nec ens perfectius est aliquod totum aggregatum ex
entibus imperfectioribus, sed est quoddam totum continens
virtualiter et essentialiter perfectiones omnium entium
imperfectorum et praehabens omnia eminenter. Similiter omnia
entia citra primum dependent ad primum ut ad simpliciter
perfectius, quia ipsamet eminentius sunt in primo quam in

ili Aristot., Physica II, c. 8 (1986 10-1996 33).

i i Cf. supra n. 3.
Dist. 2, Part I, Questions One-Three 124

according to Bk. II of the Physics. Now either the first agent acts
for an end it is aware of or else it is directed to its end by one who
is aware of it. But it is not in the second manner, for a first
efficient cause cannot be directed or ordered by another. Hence it
acts for the sake of some end it has in mind. Now an agent that
acts knowingly, orders its effect to the end it has mind; but this is
nothing else than to function as exemplar cause of that effect.
Such an agent, however, does not order a thing to some known
secondary end distinct from itself, for then it would not be the
first end we claimed it to be. Therefore, in modeling the thing in
mind it immediately orders it to itself as ultimate end. And thus
it follows that first efficient agent plays primary role as

To the argument at the beginning

33 To the argument [n. 3] for the opposite view based on the

similarity of beings and numbers, I admit that the order of
dependence of essences in many general respects is like the order
of numbers. For instance, all beings depend upon a first being
just as all numbers depend upon the first. But the similarity does
not hold as to the special way each depends. Quite the contrary.
The later numbers depend upon the first number as upon that
which is less perfect, because the prior number is a part of the
later number, and a part is always less perfect than the whole.
Hence the dependence of a larger number upon a smaller number
is like that of a whole upon its parts. The very opposite is true of
beings, whether they are essentially or accidentally ordered, for
the less perfect being is not a part of the more perfect being nor
does the more perfect represent a whole that is the aggregate of
the less perfect. It is rather the sort of whole that contains
virtually* and essentially the perfections of all less perfect beings,
prepossessing them in a more excellent way. Also, whereas all
beings except the first depend upon the first as upon what is more
perfect in an unqualified sense, because they are in it in a more
excellent way than they exist in themselves, all the later numbers
depend upon the first as upon something less perfect than
125 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

seipsis; et omnes numeri posteriores dependent ad primum ut ad

aliquid imperfectius. Non est ergo simile de essentiis et de
34 Aliter potest dici, quod in numeris est devenire ad
maximum et perfectissimum, et iste est in intellectu divino, qui
numerus est infinitus secundum Augustinum, XII De Trinitate,
cap. 18:12 "Infinitas numeri, licet infinitorum numerorum non sit
numerus, non tamen ill! est incomprehensibilis cuius
intelligentiae non est numerus".

[Responsio ad secundam quaestionem]

35 Ad secundam quaestionem qua quaeritur utrum primitas

simpliciter posset competere entibus alterius rationis, respondeo:
ista quaestio videtur habere duplicem intellectum: unum
comparando primitatem ad primitatem, ut primitatem eminen-
tiae ad efficientiae vel finis, quae sunt alterius rationis; sed iste
intellectus non est ad propositum, quia probatum est prius quod
cui competit primitas rationis unius, et alia alterius rationis, quia
nulla istarum concludit aliquam imperfectionem. Est igitur idem
primum efficiens, primum exemplans, primum eminens et
primum finiens, sive primus finis.
36 Alius intellectus quaestionis est an omnes illae quattuor
possint competere essentiis alterius rationis, et respondeo quod
non, quod probo: loquamur modo exempli gratia de primitate
efficientiae. Si duae essentiae alterius rationis possent esse
primae efficientes simpliciter, aut ergo respectu eorumdem
effectuum vel effectibilium posteriorum, vel respectu aliorum.
Non possunt esse causae primae efficientes respectu eiusdem
effectus, quia eiusdem causati non possunt esse plures causae
totales eiusdem generis vel ordinis; ergo multo minus possunt
esse duae causae efficientes totaliter, quia istae non essent
eiusdem generis et ordinis, et neutra dependeret ab altera in
causando aliquem effectum.
37 Probatio assumpti, scilicet quod respectu eiusdem causati
non possunt esse duae causae totales. Sint a et 6 duae causae
totales efficientes respectu eiusdem effectus. Ex quo ergo a est

12 August., De civ. Dei XII, c. 19 (CCSL 48, 375; PL 41, 368).

Dist. 2, Part I, Questions One-Three 125

themselves. Therefore, there is no complete likeness between

beings and numbers.
34 Another answer that could be given is that with numbers
one arrives at a greatest or most perfect "number," and this is in
the divine intellect, which is an infinite number, according to
Augustine, De Trinitate XII, chapter 18. "The infinity of numbers,
though there be no 'number' for numbers that are infinite,
nevertheless is not incomprehensible to him whose intelligence is
not bounded by number."

Reply to the second question

35 The second question asked whether this primacy in an

unqualified sense could pertain to beings of different sorts. To
this I reply: the question, it seems, could be understood in two
ways. One would be to compare one primacy with another, for
example that of eminence with that of efficiency or that of final
cause, which are primacies of different sorts. But this sense of the
question is not relevant to what we have in mind. For it was
proved earlier that the subject to which one sort of primacy
pertains also has the other sorts, since none of these ways [of
being first] imply any imperfection. The first efficient cause is the
same being as the first exemplar cause, and is also the most
excellent and is the first end or final cause as well.
36 Another sense of the question is whether all four of these
ways of being first could pertain to different sorts of essences, and
to this I reply that they could not. I give a proof for this. Take for
example the primacy of efficiency. If two essences of different
sorts could both be first efficient causes in an unqualified sense, it
would be either with respect to the same actual or possible
effects, or with respect to different effects. Now both could not be
first efficient causes of the same effect. For if the same effect
cannot have several total causes of the same kind or order, much
less could it have two total efficient causes, since they would not
be of the same kind or order, nor would one depend upon the
other in causing some effect.
37 Proof of the assumption, namely that the same effect cannot
have two total causes. Let a and b be two total efficient causes of
126 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

totalis causa alicuius effectus, posito a sufficienter ponitur

effectus, quia effectus non dependet nisi a causa eius totali; et ita,
circumscripto b, potest iste effectus sufficienter poni ab a. Sed
secundum te b est totalis causa illius effectus; ergo aliquid erit
totalis causa alicuius, quo non posito non minus esset effectus et a
quo effectus non dependeret. Consequens est impossibile. Ergo
oportet dare quod sint duae causae totales respectu diversorum
effectuum. Sed hoc similiter est impossibile, quia aut sunt
diversorum effectuum eiusdem speciei, aut alterius speciei; non
eiusdem speciei, quia ista possunt esse a causa eiusdem speciei,
nec requirunt causas distinctas specie; nec secundo modo, quia si
illi effectus sunt diversae speciei, ergo habent ordinem
essentialem, quia species universi sunt sicut numeri. Ergo et
omnia quae habent ordinem essentialem reducuntur ad unum
principium a quo dependent, quod est quadruplici primitate
primum, sicut ostensum est in praecedente quaestione.
38 Item, hoc probatur per rationes Philosophi XII Meta-
physicae:13 si sunt prima entia alterius rationis habentia sub se
diversas coordinationes, ita quod coordinata ad unum primum
non haberent ordinem ad coordinata in alia coordinatione ad
aliud primum, tolleretur natura boni ab universo, quae natura
boni consistit in ordine partium universi ad invicem et ad
primum. Unde ponentes plura principia prima alterius coor-
dinationis "inconnexam faciunt universi substantiam", sicut dicit
ibidem Philosophus.
39 Item, tertio hoc probatur specialiter de primitate
eminentiae, nam sicut in omni genere est stare ad aliquam unam
naturam quae est mensura omnium posteriorum in illo genere,
ita in genere totius entis necesse est stare ad aliquam naturam

1:1 Aristot., Metaph. XII (A), c. 8 (1074a 31-7).

Dist. 2, Part I, Questions One-Three 126

the same effect. Then from the fact that a is the total cause of
some effect, it follows that, if a is given, this suffices to place the
effect in existence, because the effect only depends on its total
cause. Thus, even if b were written off completely, the same effect
could exist because a would suffice to accomplish it. But according
to you, b is the total cause of this effect; therefore something will
be the total cause of a thing, and nevertheless its absence would
not prevent the effect from existing, since the effect does not
depend upon it for its existence. But the consequent is impossible.
Therefore, the two total causes must be causes of diverse effects.
But this too is impossible, because either these diverse effects are
of the same species or of different species. Now they are not of the
same species, because these can stem from a cause of the same
species and do not require causes that are specifically different.
But nor do these diverse effects belong to different species, for if
they did, an essential order would exist among them, since all the
species in their totality are like numbers. And then it would
follow that all these things which have an essential order would
be traced back to one principle* from which they depend. And
thisas we showed in the previous questionwould be our
principle that is first by a quadruple primacy.
38 The reasoning of the Philosopher in Bk. XII of the
Metaphysics provides another proof of this. If each of two
different sorts of first beings has under it its own group of ordered
effects, so that [the effects] ordered to one first being are not
coordinated with the other group ordered to the other first being,
the goodness of the universe would be destroyed. For what makes
the universe good is the orderly way in which all its constituent
parts depend on each other, as well as upon one being that is
first. Hence, those who postulate several first principles, each
with its distinct coordinate group of effects, "dismember the fabric
of the universe," as the Philosopher says in that same book.
39 Also, there is a third proof that refers in particular to the
primacy of excellence, for just as in every category we end with
some one nature that is the measure of all the others in that
category, so in the category of the whole of being it is necessary to
end with some nature that is first in an unqualified sense and is
127 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

simpliciter primam quae est ratio et mensura omnium entium, ut

patet ex X MetaphysicaeM
40 Ex dictis sequuntur duo corollaria: unum quod primum
efficiens non tantum est primum secundum quid respectu
omnium effectibilium unius coordinationis, sed etiam est primum
respectu omnium effectibilium et etiam primum eminens et
primum finis. Unde sequitur quod aliquod ens simpliciter primum
est unius rationis, ex quo patet necessitas istius quaestionis, nam
ex rationibus praecedentis quaestionis non est probatum nisi
aliquod primum unius coordinationis. Posset enim aliquis dicere
aliam coordinationem esse habentem suum primum efficiens et
sua effectibilia. Unde cum arguitur in praecedente quaestione
quod hoc productum producitur ab aliquo et non in infinitum,
ergo est stare ad aliquod primum, diceret aliquis quod hoc est
verum ad primum illius coordinationis, ut ad solem; sed praeter
ista sunt alia productibilia alterius rationis, quae non habent
suum primum utpote lunam. Ideo necesse fuit postea quaerere,
an possint esse duo prima alterius rationis, et probare quod est
tantum unum ens simpliciter primum unius rationis, quod
pertinet ad istam quaestionem. An autem tale sit aut unum
numero vel plura, pertinet ad quaestionem sequentem de unitate
41 Secundum corollarium est quod cum ista primitas tantum
convenit uni essentiae, nihil faciens unum per accidens cum ista
essentia requiritur ad primitatem istius essentiae, quia si
requiretur, tunc ista primitas non convenit tantum uni essentiae,
sed cuidam aggregato ex duabus essentiis, et tunc nihil unum
esset primum. Et ex hoc sequitur quod nihil potest sibi accidere
quod pertinet ad istam primitatem. Et ulterius, cum intellectio
distincta omnium causabilium pertineat ad primitatem
exemplantis omnia, et efficientis omnia per cognitionem, sequitur
quod intellectio illa primi non potest esse accidens illi essentiae;
ergo intellectio primi est sua essentia. Similiter, cum volitio

i4 Aristot, Metaph. X (I), c. 1 (10526 17-8)

Dist. 2, Part I, Questions One-Three 127

the measure of all beings, as is evident from Bk. X of the

40 Two corollaries follow from what has been said. One is that
the first efficient agent is not only first in a qualified sense, i.e.,
with respect to all that can be effected in one coordination, but it
is also first with respect to everything whatsoever that can be
effected and is also the first in excellence and is the first end.
Hence it follows that there is but one kind of being that is simply
first. From this we see why this question was necessary, since the
arguments of the previous question only establish the fact that
there is something first with respect to one coordination, for one
could say the other coordination has its own first efficient cause
and what it can effect. Hence, when we argued in the preceding
question that this product is produced by something and, since
the productive process cannot be infinite, one must end with
something first, someone could object that this is true only of
what is first in this coordination, for instance the Sun, but besides
this there are other things of a different sort that could be
produced which would not have this as their first cause, for
example, the Moon. Therefore it was necessary to ask further
whether there could be two such firsts of different sorts. Proving
that there is but one kind of being that is first in an unqualified
sense was the task of this question. Whether such is one or
several in number pertains to a later question about the unicity of
41 The second corollary is that inasmuch as this primacy
belongs to but one sort of essence, nothing that constitutes
something only accidentally one with it is required for this
essence to be first. For if it were, then this primacy would not
pertain to but one essence, but rather to a certain aggregate of
two essences, and then no one thing would be first. From this it
follows that nothing pertaining to this primacy can be connected
to it only accidentally. And what is more, since to be the first
exemplar cause of all things and the sort of efficient cause that
knows what it is doing requires that it has a distinct
understanding of all possible effects, it follows that this
knowledge of the first being is one with its essence. Similarly
since the volition of all that can be directed to an end pertains to
128 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

omnium finibilium pertineat ad aliquid primum Aniens omnia,

sequitur quod volitio omnium non sit accidens primo fini.

[Ad rationem in oppositum]

42 Ad rationem in oppositum,15 cum arguitur: sunt plura

posteriora, ergo plura prima, dico quod non valet consequentia
quia resolvendo a posterioribus ad priora semper reducitur a
multitudine ad unitatem, quia aliter magis non reducerentur ad
unum quam e converso.
43 Ad probationem, cum dicitur quod relativa commultipli-
cantur, verum est secundum relationes, et non secundum
absoluta vel supposita quae praecedunt ipsas relationes, et quot
sunt filiationes tot paternitates, et e converso in relationibus
mutuis; sed non oportet tot esse supposita absoluta quot
paternitates quae fundantur in absolutis. Et ideo concedo quod
quot sunt posterioritates in entibus, tot sunt primitates in Deo,
sed non tot essentiae primae et absolutae, in quibus fundantur
istae primitates.

[Responsio ad tertiam quaestionem]

44 Tertio quaeritur, utrum ens simpliciter primum respectu

omnium posteriorum sit actu infinitum intensive.
Videtur quod non,
Nam causa activa infinitae virtutis nihil sibi repugnans
compatitur in effectu; sed primum efficiens repugnantia sui
effectus compatitur. Maior patet: si aliquod efficiens sit virtutis
infinitae activae, ergo destruet omne sibi repugnans. Minor
probatur, quia mala fiunt in effectu, malitia autem repugnat
divinae bonitati. Ergo si esset infinitae virtutis nihil mali esset in
universo. Maior probatur, quia si summum contrarium esset
infinitum, nihil sibi contrarium esset in natura; si igitur primum
bonum sit infinitum, nullum malum erit in universo.

15 Cf. supra n. 6.
Dist. 2, Part I, Questions One-Three 128

what is the end of all, it follows that this volition of all things is
not an accident of the first end.

To the argument for the opposite opinion

42 As to the argument [n. 6] for the opposite, when they argue:

"If there are several sorts of posteriority, then there are several
kinds of primacy," the inference is invalid. For in tracing back
what is posterior to what is prior, we find that multitude always
goes back to unity. Otherwise, the many things that are posterior
would be no more traced back to one, than vice versa.
43 As for the proof, when it is said that "correlatives are
multiplied in pairs," this is true so far as relationships go, but it
does not hold for absolutes or the individual subjects which these
relationships presuppose. Thus there are as many instances of
paternity as there are of filiation and vice versa, where these are
mutual relationships. But it is not necessary that these many
paternal relationships be rooted in as many absolute subjects [or
fathers]. And therefore, I concede that there are as many
primacies in God as there are posteriorities in things, but not that
there are that many first and absolute essences in which these
primacies are rooted.

Reply to the third question

44 Thirdly, it is asked: Is a being that is simply first with

regard to all posterior things actually infinite intensively?
It seems not: For an active cause of infinite power allows
nothing incompatible with it to exist actually; but the first
efficient cause allows many things opposed to it to exist actually.
The major is evident. If some efficient agent possessed an active
power that was infinite, it would destroy everything opposed to it.
The minor is proved, because evils have existed; and evil is
opposed to divine goodness. Therefore, if the first efficient cause
were of infinite power, nothing that was evil would exist in the
universe. The major is proved, for if the highest of contraries were
infinite, nothing contrary to it would exist in nature; if the first
good then were infinite, no evil would exist in the universe.
129 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

45 Respondetur, quod maior est vera de contrariis formaliter;

sed nullum malum contrariatur Deo formaliter. Sed contra hoc:
quia si sol esset virtualiter et infinite calidus, nihil relinqueret
frigidum in universo, sicut nec si esset formaliter calidus. Si
igitur Deus virtualiter contrariatur malo, si infinitae virtutis,
nihil relinqueret malum in universo vel repugnans suo effectui.
46 Item, quod ita est hic quod non alibi, est finitum respectu
ubi; ergo quod ita est haec essentia quod non est illa, est finitum
secundum essentiam. Sed divina essentia ita est haec quod non
est illa; ergo etc.
47 Item, VIII Physicorum:16 virtus infinita si esset, moveret in
non tempore; nulla virtus potest movere in non tempore; ergo
nulla virtus est infinita.

48 Contra:
Psalmus:17 "Magnus Dominus et laudabilis nimis, et magni-
tudinis eius non est finis".
49 Item, per rationem probatur, VIII Physicorum,16 primum
movens esse potentiae infinitae, quia moveret motu infinito. Sed
haec conclusio non potest intelligi de infinitate durationis, quia
propter infinitatem potentiae probat quod non est in
magnitudine; magnitudini autem secundum eum non repugnat
quin in ea sit potentia infinita secundum durationem, sicut ponit
de caelo.
50 Hoc idem vult Damascenus,19 libro primo, cap. 4: "Est,
inquit, pelagus infinitae substantiae".

[Ad quaestionem]

51 In ista quaestione omnes tenent eandem conclusionem,

scilicet quod Deus est infinitus non secundum durationem
tantum, sed etiam intensive. Primo ergo ponenda est significatio
nominis. Voco autem hic infinitum quod quodcumque ens finitum

l Aristot., Physica VIII, c. 10 (266a 24-2666 6).

17 Ps. 47:2; 144:3.
1H Aristot., Physica VIII, c. 10 (266a 10-24; 2666 6-20; 2676 17-
10 Damasc., De fide orthod. c. 9 [I, c. 9] (ed. Buytaert, 49; PG 94,
Dist. 2, Part I, Questions One-Three 129

45 To this it is countered that the major is true only of things

that are formally* contrary, but no evil is formally contrary to
God. But this evasion will not do, for if the sun were infinitely hot
virtually, nothing cold would remain in the universe any more
than if it were formally hot. If then God were virtually contrary to
evil, and were of infinite virtue or power, nothing evil would
remain in the universe nor would anything opposed to him be
found in what he effects
46 Also, what is here in such a way as to be nowhere else is
finite as to its location; therefore whatever is just this and not
that essence, is finite as to essence. But the divine essence is just
this essence and not that. Therefore, et cetera.
47 Also, according to Bk. VIII of the Physics, if an infinite
power were to exist, it would move instantaneously; but no power
can move instantaneously; therefore, no power is infinite.
48 To the contrary: Psalm [47:2]: "Great is the Lord and highly
to be praised, and of his greatness there is no end."
49 Also, Physics VIII gives a proof from reason. The first mover
is of infinite power because it moves with an infinite motion. But
this conclusion cannot refer [only] to a durational infinity,
because on the basis of the infinity of the power, [Aristotle] proves
that [the first mover] is not in a magnitude:* something that,
according to him, is not incompatible with a power that is infinite
durationally, such as he attributes to the heavens.
50 Damascene also maintains this in De fide orthodoxa, Bk. I,
chapter four: "God," he says, "is a sea of infinite substance."

To the question

51 In this question, all hold the same conclusion, namely that

God is infinite not only in duration but also intensively.
130 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

datum vel possibile dari excedit secundum omnem determinatam

proportionem, acceptam vel acceptibilem. Quod autem intel-
lexerint sic philosophi, patet I Physicorum,20 ubi primo principio
attribuit infinitatem.
52 [Opinio Thomae] Haec autem ab aliquibus sic declaratur:
materia determinatur et finitatur per formam, sicut potentia per
actum et perfectionem et esse formale eius; et e converso, forma
per materiam finitur, sicut actus per potentiam. Forma ergo quae
non est nata esse in materia est infinita. Cum ergo esse sit
formalissimum, et Deus sit ex se esse et in se subsistens, Deus
erit infinitus.
53 Contra: si quilibet actus non receptus in materia ex boc
habeat infinitatem perfectam, et essentia angeli sit huiusmodi
actus, sequitur quod angelus sit infinitum perfectione.
54 Responsio: quod infinitum potest intelligi dupliciter; vel ad
superius vel ad inferius. Infinitum ad inferius dicitur cuius actus
vel forma non recipitur in materia, et isto modo concedo angelum
infinitum esse ad inferius. Sed infinitum ad superius est cuius
esse non est participatum ab alio; et sic solus Deus est infinitus.
Angelus autem, quia recipit esse a superiori agente participative,
ideo est finitus ad superius.
55 Contra: licet verum sit quod omne causatum est finitum,
formalis tamen ratio finiti non est ad suam causam sive in
relatione ad causam, sed inest sibi intrinsece, ut in se
consideratur; sicut per se et formaliter ratio infiniti non est in
comparatione ad suum effectum, sed intrinsecus gradus essentiae
illius, et si numquam esset effectus. Ergo formalis ratio finitatis
angeli essentiae non est in respectu ad suam causam qua
participat esse.

20 Cf. Aristot., Physica III, c. 6 (207a 7-8).

Dist. 2, Part I, Questions One-Three 130

Therefore, we must first set forth the meaning of the word. Now
what I call "infinite" here is what exceeds any actual or possible
finite being to a degree beyond any determinate measure you
take or could take. That the philosophers understood it in this
sense is clear from Bk. I of the Physics, which attributes infinity
to the first principle.

The view of Thomas Aquinas

52 But some explain this as follows. Matter is specified and

limited by form, just as potency* is by its act,* perfection and
formal* being; conversely, form is limited by matter as act is by
potency. Therefore, a form that is not suited by nature to be in
matter is infinite. Since existence or being is the most formal of
all, and God is of himself existence and subsists in himself, God is
53 To the contrary: if any act not received into matter would
thereby possess perfect infinity, and the essence of an angel is
this sort of act, it follows that an angel would be infinite in
54 [Thomas] replies that "infinite" can be understood in two
ways, with respect either to what is above or to what is below.
Anything whose act or form is not received into matter we call
"infinite" with respect to what is below. And in this way I concede
that an angel is infinite with respect to what is below. But
"infinite" with respect to what is above designates that whose
existence is not shared by another, and in this way God alone is
infinite. Since the angel, however, receives shared existence from
a higher agent, it is finite with respect to what is above.
55 To the contrary: Although it is true that everything caused
is finite, nevertheless the reason for its being finite does not lie in
this respect or relationship to its cause but rather in something
intrinsic to itself considered as such, just as the per se and formal
reason why something is infinite is not its relationship to its
effect. Rather it is something intrinsic to its essence, a measure of
being it would possess even if it never had an effect. Therefore,
the formal reason for the finitude of an angel does not consist in a
relationship to the cause that gives it shared existence.
131 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

56 Praeterea, esse est posterius essentia in quolibet alio a

primo, cum sit accidens commune, secundum eos; in isto ergo
priori in quo intelligitur essentia sine esse, videtur essentia esse
infinita secundum se intensive, et per consequens numquam
poterit finitari. Cuius probatio est, quia quaelibet entitas habet
intrinsecum gradum suae perfectionis, in quo est finitum vel
infinitum, si potest esse infinitum, et non per aliquod accidens
57 Breviter ergo dico unam propositionem notandam: quod
quaelibet essentia absoluta finita in se, est finita ut
praeintelligitur omni comparatione sui ad quamcumque aliam
essentiam, et prius in se finitur quam ad aliud finiatur. Unde
argumentum eorum peccat secundum consequens: "Forma finitur
ad materiam, igitur si non, illa est infinita", quia procedunt ab
aliquo habente aliquas vel plures causas veritatis ad unam: forma
enim finitur, id est, terminatur ad materiam, et forma etiam
finitur in se antequam ad illam, quia est talis natura in entibus
prior quam uniatur materiae, quia omnis compositio
praesupponit extrema compositionis. Faciunt enim sophisma, III
Physicorum:21 "Corpus finitur ad corpus, ergo si non finitur ad
illum, est infinitum". Non sequitur 'ergo octavum caelum erit
infinitum actu', hoc enim falsum est. Sicut enim corpus finitur
suis propriis terminis antequam ad aliquid aliud finiatur, sicut
patet de caelo octavo, quia illud non finitur ad corpus, sic forma
finitur sua propria natura antequam ad materiam; immo
numquam ad materiam cum materia nihil sit aliud a forma per
eos et finitas rei non sit simpliciter privatio, cum sit intrinsecus
gradus cuiuslibet, nisi dicant omnia intrinseca esse privationes.
58 Praeterea, ratio ponitur talis ad probandum Dei infinitatem.
Virtus quae potest super extrema distantia in infinitum, est
infinita; sed virtus divina est huiusmodi: sic patet in creatione ubi

Cf. Aristot., Physica III, c. 4 (2036 20-2).

Dist. 2, Part I, Questions One-Three 131

56 Furthermore, existence is posterior to essence in every being

except the first, since it is a common accident, according to those
who hold this view. Hence, in that logically prior instant in which
essence is thought of abstractly without existence, it seems to be
intensively infinite in itself, and consequently could never have
been limited. Proof of this: every entity has its intrinsic grade of
perfection in which it is either finite or infiniteif it can be
infiniteand it has this not by reason of anything accidental to it.
57 Putting it briefly then, I say there is one principle to keep in
mind. Each absolute essence that is finite in itself is thought of as
finite prior to any relation it may have to any other essence and is
first finite in itself before it is finite in relationship to anything
else. Hence, those who argue: "Form is limited in relationship to
matter, therefore if a form is not limited in relationship to matter,
that form is infinite," sin logically by drawing this conclusion. For
they argue for a consequent that has several reasons that could
make it true by adducing only one of these. Indeed, form is finite,
i.e., limited in relationship to matter, but form is also finite in
itself prior to its relationship to matter, because it is this sort of
nature or thing even before it is united to matter, since every
composition presupposes the things of which it is composed. They
commit the sophism mentioned in Bk. IIl of the Physics. "A body
is limited by a body, therefore if it is not limited by such, it is
infinite." It does not follow 'therefore the eighth heaven will be
actually infinite,' for this is false. For just as a body is finite or
limited by its own boundaries before it is bounded by anything
else (for instance the eighth heaven is not limited by some body
bounding it), so form is limited by its own nature before it is
limited in its relationship to matter. Indeed form is never limited
by matter, becauseaccording to those who hold this opinion
matter is nothing apart from form, and the finitude of a thing is
not simply a privation, since it is the intrinsic degree of
anythingunless you say that all intrinsic things are privations.
58 Furthermore, [Thomas] gives a reason of this sort to prove
God's infinity. A power over extremes infinitely distant is infinite,
but the divine power is such as is clear in creation where the
extremes, namely something and nothing, are infinitely distant.
132 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

extrema distant in infinitum, scilicet aliquid et nihil; ergo quando

facit de nihilo aliquid, habet actionem infinitam.
59 Et si dicatur quod minor est credita tantum, et ideo non
demonstrat, quia demonstratio non est ex creditis, respondetur
quod licet minor fuerit credita de creatione qua in ordine reali
non esse praecedit esse duratione, ita quod esse duratione
sequatur non esse, tamen de creatione qua in ordine naturae esse
sequitur non esse est sufficienter demonstrata. Et isto modo
loquitur Avicenna de creatione, VI Metaphysicae22 quia si est
unum primum effectivum, quodlibet aliud ab eo totum esse suum
capit ab eo, aliter secundum aliquid eius non dependeret ab eo,
nec esset unum tantum primum effectivum; sed quod sic capit
totum esse suum ab aliquo, ita quod per naturam suam habet
esse post non esse, creatur; ergo etc.
60 Contra, probo quod ista consequentia non valeat, quia
quando inter aliqua extrema non est distantia media, sicut est in
continuo, cuius extrema sunt duo puncta, sed ipsa dicuntur
praecise distare ratione extremorum inter se, tanta est distantia
quantum est extremum maius, vel excedens. Exemplum: Deus
distat in infinitum a creatura, etiam suprema possibili, non
propter aliquam distantiam mediam inter extrema, sed tantum
propter infinitatem alterius extremi. Sed inter ens et nihil non est
distantia media, quia sunt contradictoria, et contradictio est
oppositio immediata, I Posteriorum;23 nec extrema istius distantia
sunt infinita, patet; ergo quod non est inter ista distantia infinita.
61 Item, quod potest totaliter super terminum ad quem, potest
super transitum a termino a quo ad terminum ad quem, aliter
enim non posset super terminum ad quem. Sed terminus ad quem
huiusmodi transitus est aliquid finitum; ergo posse super talem
terminum non concludit virtutem activam infinitam demon

22 Avicenna, Metaph. VI, c. 2 (AviL, 304).

2:1 Aristot., Anal. post. I, c. 2 (72a 12-3).
Dist. 2, Part I, Questions One-Three 132

Therefore, when it makes something from nothing, its action is

59 And if one claims the minor is only believed and therefore is
not demonstrative, because a demonstration does not proceed
from what is believed, it is replied as follows. The minor is
[merely] believed if "creation" means creation in the order of
reality, when non-existence precedes [real] existence
durationally, so that existence might follow non-existence
durationally. But if "creation" means that in the order of nature
existence follows non-existence, then the minor is sufficiently
demonstrated. And it is in this sense that Avicenna speaks of
creation in Bk. VI of the Metaphysics, because if there is but one
first effective agent, then every other thing whatsoever gets its
whole existence from it. Otherwise something it has would not be
dependent upon this agent; neither would this be the only first
efficient agent. But what gets its whole existence from another in
such a way that by its own nature it only has existence after non
existence, is created; therefore, et cetera.
60 Against that, I prove that this inference is invalid, because
when two extremes are not separated by an intermediary
distance (such as [exists] in a continuum where the extremes are
two points), but the very difference between the two is called
"distance," then the distance is the measure in which one is
greater or exceeds the other. For example, God is infinitely
distant from a creature, even the greatest possible creature, not
because of some intermediate distance between the two extremes,
but [only] because of the infinity of the other extreme. Now
between being and nothing there is no intervening distance
because they are contradictories andaccording to Bk. I of the
Posterior Analyticscontradiction is an immediate opposition.
And it is clear that neither of the extremes of this "distance" are
infinite, hence there is no infinite distance between them.
61 Also, whatever has complete power over the terminus* ad
quem, has power over the transition from the terminus* a quo to
the terminus ad quem; otherwise it would not have power over
the ad quem term. But the ad quem term of such a transition is
something finite. Therefore, power over such a term does not
imply demonstratively that this creative power is infinite.
133 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

62 Quod autem dicitur quod sunt contradictoria quae distant in

infinitum, patet quod verum est, id est indeterminate. Quia sicut
non est aliqua ita parva distantia quae non sufficiat ad
contradictionem eo quod in minimo deficiens statim est sub
affirmatione (et impossibile est quod24 illud quod recedit ab uno
contradictoriorum quin eo ipso intret aliud, patet hoc de
disparatis) et in minimo excedens statim est sub negatione ita
nulla est ita magna, etiam si esset maior maxima possibili esse,
quin ad illam contradictio se extenderet. Est ergo eorum distantia
infinita, id est indeterminata ad quamcumque magnam vel
parvam. Ex tali infinita distantia et indeterminata non sequitur
ergo consequens de virtute infinita intensive, sicut nec sequitur
ad minimam distantiam, in qua salvatur sic infinita distantia, id
est indeterminata; et quod non sequitur ad antecedens, nec ad
consequens. Contradictio igitur est maxima distantia et oppositio
privative et indeterminate; sed contrarietas est maxima oppositio
positive et maxima distantia, sicut patet X Metaphysicae.25

[Opinio propria Scoti]

63 Teneo autem conclusionem cum aliis, et ostendo propositum,

scilicet infinitatem eius actualem, ex quadruplici primitate
64 [Prima via] Ex primitate efficientiae probo sic: primum
efficiens movet tempore infinito, VIII Physicorum26 ergo habet
virtutem infinitam et est infinitum movens. Sed dices quod
antecedens falsum est. Respondeo: Antecedens est necessarium
de possibili, licet non de inesse. Si enim causa potest causare,
potest causare effectum; licet non causet, non propter hoc minus
perfectior, quia habet virtutem causativam; ergo aeque sequitur
perfectio virtutis.

Pro 'quod illud ... quin ... intret' lege: 'quin illud ... intret'.
25 Aristot., Metaph. X (I), c. 4 (1055a 9-10; 1055a 38-6 4).
*i Aristot.. Physica VIII, c. 10 (266a 10-24; 2666 6-20; 2676 17-
Dist. 2, Part I, Questions One-Three 133

62 But when it is said that contradictories are infinitely

distant, this is obviously true if "infinite" is understood in the
sense of "indeterminate" [or lacking precise limits]. For just as, on
the one hand, there is no distance so small that it does not suffice
for a contradictionfor to depart the least [from one
contradictory] is to affirm [the other] (and you cannot draw clear
of one without by that very fact falling into the other, which is
obviously the case with disparates) and the slightest excess
results immediately in a negation [of the other] so too, on the
other hand, there is no distance so great, even the greatest
possible, that is not covered by a contradiction. Between
[contradictories] then the distance in terms of howsoever great or
small is infinite, i.e., indeterminate. But from this sort of
"infinite" or indeterminate distance the consequent about
intensively infinite power does not follow, just as it does not
follow from the minimal distance in which this sense of "infinite,"
i.e., indeterminate, is [still] preserved. Contradiction then
represents the maximal distance or opposition in a privative or
indeterminate sense, whereas contrariety represents the maximal
distance or opposition in a positive sense, as is clear from Bk. X of
the Metaphysics.

Scotus's own opinion

63 I hold this conclusion along with the others and I establish

my thesis about God's actual infinity on the basis of his aforesaid
fourfold primacy.
64 [The first way] I prove it from the primacy of efficiency in
this way. The first efficient cause moves for an infinite time,
according to Bk. VIII of the Physics; therefore it has infinite
power and is an infinite mover. You may object, however, that the
antecedent is false. I respond: the antecedent is necessary as
regards what is possible, though not as regards the actual. For if
a cause is able to cause, then it can cause an effect even though it
does not actually do so, and it is not less perfect on this score, for
it still possesses the causal power. Hence the perfection of such
power follows equally from the possible as from the actual.
134 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

65 Consequentia probatur sic: causa habens a se in virtute sua

activa effectum infinitum est infinita; sed causa potens movere
motu infinito habet a se in virtute sua activa effectum infinitum;
ergo etc. Minor est plana. Maior probatur: quia omnis effectus
vel est formaliter in causa vel eminentius, sive eminentius est in
causa quam in se, vel saltem aeque nobiliter; ergo effectus qui
natus est esse infinitus in se formaliter, erit in sua causa
formaliter infinitus eodem modo vel eminentius; sed non est ibi
formaliter et eodem modo, quia tunc successive essent omnes in
infinitum in causa, sicut successive omnes sunt in effectu; ergo
virtualiter et modo eminentiori, et per consequens simul et per
consequens infinita intensive.
66 Secundo probatur eadem consequentia sic: agens qui potest
ex se in motum infinitum, potest in effectus infinitos productibiles
per motum; primum est huiusmodi, ut probabitur, et quantum est
ex parte sui, simul potest in omnes; sed quod potest a se in
effectus infinitos est infinitum intensive; ergo etc. Probatio
minoris: quia si sit perfectionis in eo posse in unum effectum,
posse in plures effectus est maioris perfectionis; ergo posse in
infinitos arguit virtutem infinitam et potentiam infinitam
67 Item, causa quae potest simul quantum est ex se in infinitos
effectus, est infinita intensive; sed si primum movens formaliter
haberet causalitates omnium causarum secundarum, quantum
est ex se posset in effectus infinitos simul, sicut si illae
causalitates essent simul; ergo si primum movens causalitates
omnium causarum haberet formaliter, esset infinitum; sed
primum nunc perfectius continet causalitates omnium causarum
quam si haberet simul formaliter causalitates omnium, quia
eminentius nunc omnes continet; ergo nunc est virtualiter
infinitum. Probatio maioris: ubicumque pluralitas includit
Dist. 2, Part I, Questions One-Three 134

65 The validity of the implication is proved in this fashion. A

cause having of itself by virtue of its active power an infinite
effect is itself infinite. But a cause that is able to move by a
movement that is infinite has of itself by virtue of its active power
an infinite effect. Therefore, etc. The minor is clear. The major
is proved because every effect is in its cause either formally or in
a more excellent way, in other words it is present there in a more
excellent way than in itself, or at least in an equally noble way.
Therefore an effect which is apt by nature to be formally infinite
in itself will be formally infinite in its cause either in the same
way or in a more excellent fashion. Now it is not there formally or
in the same way, for then all the effects would be there as an
infinite succession just as they exist in actuality. Therefore, they
are there only virtually and in a more excellent way, and hence
simultaneously, and as a consequence the power [that can
produce them] is intensively infinite.
66 This same implication is proved in a second way. An agent
which of itself has the power of infinite motion, has power over
the infinity of effects that can be produced by motion. But the
first is this sort of agent, as will be proved. And, so far as it is
concerned, it possesses this power over them all simultaneously.
But whatever has power of itself over an infinity of effects is
intensively infinite. Therefore, et cetera. Proof of the minor:
because if it is a matter of perfection in it to be able to produce
one effect, it is a matter of greater perfection to be able to produce
many effects; therefore, the ability to produce infinite effects
argues to intensively infinite power and an infinite potency.
67 Also, a cause which simultaneously on its part can produce
an infinity* of effects is intensively infinite.* But if the first
moving cause would have the causalities of all secondary causes
formally, then so far as it goes, it would have power
simultaneously over an infinity of effects, just as it would if these
causalities existed simultaneously. Therefore, if the first moving
cause possessed formally the causality of all causes, it would be
infinite. But the first cause now possesses even more perfectly the
causalities of all causes than it would if simultaneously it had
them all formally, for now it contains all in a more excellent
manner. Therefore, it is now virtually infinite. Proof of the
135 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

maiorem perfectionem quam paucitas, ibi infinitas concludit

infinitam perfectionem, ut patet etiam in pluralitate aliquorum
eiusdem speciei: si facere decem sit maioris perfectionis quam
facere quinque, facere infinita est infinitae perfectionis; ergo cum
posse in plures effectus simul sit maioris perfectionis quam posse
in pauciores, posse in infinitos effectus simul est posse in
infinitum intensive.
68 Quarto probatur eadem consequentia sic: causa efficiens
prior cui secunda causa nihil addit perfectionis in agendo est
virtutis infinitae intensive, quia si esset virtutis finitae in agendo,
secunda causa adderet sibi aliquam perfectionem, sicut sol, non
potens immediate producere entia perfectiora nisi mediantibus
secundis agentibus, quae addunt perfectionem soli, est virtutis
finitae. Sed primum efficiens est huiusmodi, cui nullum agens
addit aliquid perfectionis. Probo, quia quando causa secunda
addit perfectionem in agendo, quanto plures causae secundae
concurrunt cum prima causa, tanto effectus est perfectior; ergo si
prima causa perfectius ageret cum causa secunda quam per se,
quanto plures causae secundae concurrerent, tanto effectus eius
esset perfectior, quod falsum est, quia primus effectus qui
immediatius causatur ab eo est perfectior quam remotior.
69 [Secunda via] Ex secunda via, scilicet ex primitate
exemplantis, arguitur sic: intellectio infinitorum distincte est
infinita, quia intellectio plurium est perfectior quam paucorum;
ergo infinitorum infinita. Sed intellectio primi exemplantis est
infinitorum distincte, quia est omnium factorum et possibilium
fieri; sed cum intellectio sua sit sua essentia, ergo sua essentia
erit infinita. Ex hoc infero quod erit actu infinita, quia
quaecumque sunt infinita in accipiendo alterum post alterum, ubi
sunt simul actu, sunt actu infinita, quia si sunt finita in
Dist. 2, Part I, Questions One-Three 135

major: wherever plurality implies greater perfection than paucity,

there an infinity implies infinite perfection, as is clear also in the
case of a plurality of things of the same species. If making ten
would be a matter of greater perfection than making five, then
making an infinity would be a matter of infinite perfection.
Therefore, since to have simultaneously a capacity for several
effects is of greater perfection than to have a capacity for fewer
effects, then the simultaneous capacity for an infinity of effects is
a capacity that is intensively infinite.
68 The same implication is proved fourthly in this way. A prior
efficient cause to which a second cause adds nothing of perfection
in acting, is of intensively infinite power. For if it were only of
finite power in acting, the secondary cause would add something
of perfection to its causation, as happens in the case of the Sun.*
Being unable immediately to produce the higher forms of life
without the help of secondary agents that add to its perfection,
the Sun is of finite power. The first efficient cause, however, is
such that secondary causes can add nothing to the perfection of
its causation. I prove this, for when secondary causes add to the
perfection of the causation, the more numerous secondary
concurrent causes there are, the more perfect is their effect.
Therefore, if the first cause acted more perfectly with the second
cause than when acting alone, the more numerous secondary
causes would concur, the more perfect would its effect bewhich
is false, because the first effect caused by it more immediately
[e.g. a pure spirit or something of this sort] is more perfect than
the more remote effect [e.g. a material organism].
69 [The second way] The argument from the second way,
namely from the primacy of exemplarity, goes like this. To know
an infinity of things distinctly is an infinite intellection, because
the intellection of several things is more perfect than the
apprehension of only a few; therefore knowing an infinity is an
infinite intellection. But the intellection of the first exemplar
cause is a distinct grasp of an infinity of things, because it has to
do with all that is made or can come to be. But since its
intellection is its essence, therefore its essence will be infinite as
well. And from this I infer that the first exemplar cause will be
actually infinite, for whenever one thing after another totals up to
136 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

accipiendo, ergo accipiendo alterum post alterum tandem erit

status et ita non sunt infinita in accipiendo successive hoc post
hoc. Sed factibilia sunt infinita in potentia accipiendo alterum
post alterum successive; ergo ubi simul sunt, sunt actu infinita.
Sunt autem simul in cognitione divina a qua omnia factibilia et
exemplabilia exemplantur; ergo etc.
70 Item, quod nihil addit in cognoscibilitate, nec in entitate, II
Metaphysicae;21 sed omne exemplabile nihil addit primo
exemplanti in cognoscibilitate, ergo nec in entitate, quia si sic non
posset ita perfecte cognosci per solam essentiam primi
exemplantis sicut si ipsummet concurreret in movendo
intellectum divinum. Exemplum: si nigredo aliquid addit in
cognoscibilitate coloris ipsi albedini, non potest ita perfecte
cognosci nigredo per albedinem sicut si ipsamet concurreret ad
sui cognitionem. Nunc autem per solam essentiam divinam et non
per aliquid additum cognoscitur distincte quidquid ab eo
cognoscitur, ex corollario primo quaestionis praecedentis.
71 [Tertia via] Ex tertia via, scilicet eminentiae arguitur sic:
eminentissimo aliquid repugnat esse eminentius; sed finito non
repugnat aliquid esse eminentius eo; ergo primum eminens est
infinitum. Probatio minoris: infinitum non repugnat enti; quia si
sic, hoc est vel quia suum oppositum per se includitur in conceptu
essentiali entis, quod non convenit, quia tunc non posset intelligi
ens nisi intelligatur finitum, vel quia eius oppositum est passio
convertibilis cum ente; nec hoc convenit, quia cognito subiecto
statim passio eius fit in intellectu nota; sed cognito ente, non
statim occurit intellectui finitas; ergo, etc.

Cf. Aristot.. Metaph. II (a), c 1 (9936 27-31)

Dist. 2, Part I, Questions One-Three 136

an infinity, then if all are actual simultaneously they are actually

infinite. If one thing after another only added up to something
finite, then taking one item after another, one would eventually
come to an end, and thus the items taken successively would not
be infinite. But the things that can be made one after another are
potentially infinite; therefore, where they occur all at once they
are actually infinite. Now they do occur simultaneously in the
divine cognition where all things that can be made or modeled are
exemplified; therefore, et cetera.
70 Likewise, that which adds nothing to the ability to cognize,
cannot add to entity, according to Bk. II of the Metaphysics. But
nothing that can be modeled adds anything to the ability of the
first exemplar cause to cognize, hence it adds nothing to it in
entity, for if it did, then [this modeled thing] could not be known
as perfectly solely through the essence of the first exemplar cause
as it could if the modeled thing itself were to concur [with the
essence] in moving the divine intellect. For example, if blackness
adds something to whiteness insofar as color-knowledge is
concerned, then blackness could not be known as perfectly
through whiteness [alone] as it could if blackness itself concurred
[with whiteness] in the acquisition of the knowledge of itself.
Now, however, according to the first corollary of the preceding
question, the divine essence knows distinctly whatever it knows
solely by reason of itself and not in virtue of anything added to it.
71 [The third way] The argument from the third way, namely
from the primacy of excellence, proceeds in this fashion. It is
impossible that anything should excel what is most excellent. But
it is not impossible that something should excel what is finite.
Therefore, the most excellent is not finite but infinite. Proof of the
minor: to be infinite is not repugnant to being, for if it were, this
would be because its opposite [i.e., to be finite] is either [1] per se
included in the essential concept of being, which is not a
convenient solution, because then one could not grasp the notion
of being unless one conceived of it as finite, or is [2] a coextensive
attribute of being. But this also is not a happy solution, because
once a subject is known, immediately its proper attribute would
come to mind; but finitude does not immediately come to mind
once being is known. Therefore, et cetera.
137 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

72 Aliter etiam probatur eadem minor: potentiae sensitivae

quae sunt minus cognitivae quam intellectus statim percipiunt
disconvenientiam in suo obiecto; patet de auditu respectu soni
discovenientis. Ergo si infinitum repugnat enti statim intellectus
istam discovenientiam et repugnantiam percipiet; et tunc non
posset apprehendere ens infinitum pro obiecto sicut nec
repugnantia, ut hominem esse irrationalem, potest habere pro
obiecto, quia obiectum includit repugnantiam cuius oppositum
quilibet experitur, quia numquam quietatur in ente finito.
73 Hoc autem probatur per rationem Anselmi:28 quo maius
cogitari non potest, est infinitum, ergo infinitum est. Minor
probata est supra. Probatio maioris: illud dicitur cogitari quod
potest intelligi sine contradictione; unde quod homo sit
irrationalis est incogitabile. Unde sicut in rebus nihil est unum
nisi sit simplex vel compositum ex potentia et actu, ita et in
conceptibus. Contradictoria autem nihil faciunt unum nec
simplex nec compositum; ergo non erit unus conceptus cogitabilis.
Redeo ergo ad propositum et arguo quod summum cogitabile est,
quia summum cogitabile est cogitabile sine contradictione; sed
tale possibile est in effectu, ergo potest cogitari in effectu esse.
Sed non erit in effectu quod sit ab alio, quia adhuc maius cogitari
potest, scilicet quod est a se. Si potest cogitari esse a se, ergo
summum cogitabile necessario est a se. Sed quo maius cogitari
non potest, est infinitum actu, ut supra probatum est; ergo est
aliquid actu infinitum. Et sic intelligo auctoritatem Anselmi,
quando dicit quod Deus est quo maius cogitari non potest.
74 Sed contra hoc dicitur, scilicet, quod contradictoria possunt
cogitari et impossibilia, ut chimera vel mons aureus, et tamen
non sunt possibilia fieri vel esse in effectu.

28 Anselmus, Proslogion c. 5 (ed. F.S. Schmitt I, 103-4; PL 158,

Dist. 2, Part I, Questions One-Three 137

72 The same minor is proved in another way. The sense

faculties which are less perfect cognitive powers than the intellect
immediately perceive any lack of harmony in their object, as ie
clear from the case of auditory perception of dissonance.
Therefore, if "infinite" were repugnant to "being," the intellect
would immediately perceive this repugnance and lack of harmony
and then, because of the repugnance, it could not grasp "infinite
being" as its objectjust as it could not have something
contradictory, like "man is irrational," as its object. But everyone
experiences the opposite, since the intellect never rests with finite
73 This is also proved by Anselm's argument: "That is infinite
than which nothing greater can be thought; therefore the infinite
exists." The minor [i.e., that the most excellent, or that than
which nothing greater can be thought, exists] was proved above.
Proof of the major. By definition what can be thought of is what
can be understood without contradiction. Hence, that man [i.e. a
rational animal] is irrational, is something inconceivable. Just as
in the real order nothing is one unless it is simple or composed of
potency and act, so too with concepts. But contradictories do not
form anything one, neither simple nor composite. Therefore, they
will not form one conceivable concept. I return then to my original
proposal and argue that the highest thing one can think of exists,
because the highest thing one can think of is conceivable without
contradiction, but it is possible for such to exist in actuality,
therefore it can be thought to exist in actuality. Now it cannot
exist in actuality if it is from another, because one could still
think of something greater, namely something that exists of itself.
If it can be conceived to exist of itself, then the highest thing one
can think of exists necessarily of itself. But, as was proved above,
a thing greater than which nothing can be thought is actually
infinite, therefore there is something actually infinite. And it is in
this way that I understand Anselm's statement when he says that
God is that greater than which nothing can be thought.
74 But against this it is objected that contradictories as well as
absurdities, like a chimera or gold mountain, can be thought of,
138 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

Respondeo: si idem cogitabile esset in intellectu et in effectu,

non propter hoc esset magis cogitabile intensive, licet esset
cogitabile pluribus modis; sic ex parte ista si iste intellectus quo
cogito montem aureum, etc. Sed si aliquid summum cogitabile est
in intellectu, sequitur: ergo potest esse in effectu, et si potest esse,
est, quia si non, non est summum cogitabile.
75 [Quarta via] Ex quarta via, scilicet ex primitate finis,
arguitur sic: sicut intellectus potest intelligere maximum verum
et citra non quietatur in aliquo vero cognito, sic voluntas potest
appetere maximum et ultimum bonum sed quiquid est citra illud
non est maximum bonum, sed est finitum; ergo ratio ultimi
quietativi non est nisi in infinito bono.

[Ad rationes in oppositum]

76 Ad primam rationem,29 quando dicitur quod causa activa

infinitae virtutis nihil repugnans secum compatitur in effectu,
dico quod verum est de necessario agente. Sed de agente
voluntario non est verum; tunc enim potest causare aliquid vel
non causare. Permittit tamen malum in effectu quia non causat
ista secundum ultimum de potentia sive possibilitatem ultima
causa non dat sibi ultimam.

2!l Cf. supra n. 44.

Dist. 2, Part I, Questions One-Three 138

and yet cannot come to be or actually exist.2 I reply: if the same

conceivable thing would be in the mind and in the world of actual
existence, it would not on that account be conceivable with any
more intensity, although it would be conceivable [extensively] in
several ways [viz. abstractly and intuitively,* for what can exist
can be intuited]. And this applies to things we can think of like a
gold mountain, [or a chimera, etc., which will not be distinguished
from others through a reference to actual existence, but already
conceptually, as contradictory and incompatible with existence].3
But if something that is the highest thing conceivable is in the
intellect, it follows that it could exist in actuality, and if it could
exist, it does exist, for if it were unable to exist, it would not be
the highest thing conceivable.
75 [The fourth way] The argument from the fourth way,
namely from the primacy of the end, is constructed in this
manner. Just as the intellect can understand the maximal truth
and will not rest in any truth short of this, so also the will* can
seek the maximal and ultimate good. But anything short of this is
not the maximal good, but is finite. Therefore, the ultimate
satisfaction of the will lies only in a good that is infinite.

To the arguments for the opposite opinion

76 To the first reason [n. 44], when it is said that an active

cause of infinite power would tolerate nothing incompatible with
it to exist in reality, I say this is true where the agent acts
necessarily. But it is not true of a voluntary agent; for such can
cause something or not cause it. The ultimate cause permits evil
to exist, however, because it does not employ its causal power to
the utmost or do all it possibly could do.

2 Here Scotus approaches the main objection against the Anselmian proof:
since one can think of what does not exist, how can having a concept of something
prove its existence? According to Scotus, the actual existence of a thing conceived
does does not add anything to its concept (does not make it more "intensive").
Therefore, the distinction must lie within the concept itself: i.e., like with the
Stoic icaTaX.!yrciia| avtaoia, it should be possible to tell, from a particular clarity
and consistency of a concept, whether the thing it represents is able to exist, or
even whether it exists or not.
3 See above note to this paragraph.
139 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

77 Contra: tunc philosophi qui posuerunt primam causam

agere de necessitate naturae, non posuissent malum.
Respondeo: secundum philosophos qui sic ponerent, non
esset possibile aliquod malum accidere in universo ut monstrum,
quando pro illo tunc posset oppositum bonum causari ab omnibus
causis. Probo per exemplum: Deus movet caelum naturaliter,
et hanc stellam, et omnes causas usque ad proximam alternantem
matricem ad formandum foetum; tunc in illo instanti, si posset
fieri oppositum foetus, scilicet monstrum, quaero per quem
efficientem. Detur illa. Tunc enim illa causa efficiens potest non
movere et per consequens causa superior et sic usque ad primam;
de necessitate igitur sequitur malitia sive monstruositas in
effectu. Si igitur causae efficientes in una coordinatione
necessario agunt, et causae efficientes impedientes necessario
agunt impediendo; unde aequali necessitate qua sol agit ad
disgregandum, agit Saturnus ad condensandum. Cum igitur
omnis defectus materiae reducatur ad causas efficientes quae
sunt defectuosae in virtute, si quaelibet causa efficiens agit
necessario, tunc nihil defectus vel malitiae vel monstruositatis
erit in natura quin necessario accidat.
78 Tunc igitur dico ad argumentum quod si Deus non
permitteret in natura nisi quod est summum calidum, nihil esset
in universo frigidum, et hoc est ex necessitate agentis naturalis;
sed quando est agens libere, non sequitur, ut dictum est, vel
quando est agens cuius actio impediri potest et effectus eius
impeditur, et sic in natura est vitium et defectus.
79 Ad aliud30 dicendum est quod est argumentum sophisticum,
quia in omnibus illis illud quod demonstratur in antecedente,
scilicet nunc, vel hic vel huius, est finitum, et tunc consequentia
bona; si infinitum, non tenet consequentia, sed petis
conclusionem in principio, ut si terra esset infinita et aliquod
corpus esset ibi, et arguatur "Hoc corpus est in hoc ubi, ergo est
finitum", ratio non valet, quia hoc ubi est infinitum, et ideo debes

30 Cf. supra n. 46.

Dist. 2, Part I, Questions One-Three 139

77 To the contrary: then the philosophers who assumed the

first cause acted by a necessity* of its nature, would not have
admitted evil exists. I reply: according to the philosophers who
would make such an assumption, something evil in the world, like
a monster, would not be possible [only] in the case when, instead
of it, all the causes operative at that given moment could produce
the opposite good. I prove this by an example. God naturally
moves the heavens, this star, and all the causes including the
proximate cause which alters the womb to form the foetus. If the
opposite of this foetus, namely a monster, were [only] possible at
that moment, I ask: By what efficient cause [could it become a
monster, rather than a foetus]? A particular cause is given. But
then that efficient cause is able [to act or] not to act [in its natural
way] and hence the higher cause is able not to act and so on,
including the first cause; hence the evil or monstrosity in the
effect followed of necessity. If the efficient causes in one order act
necessarily, then the efficient causes that impede their effects
also act of necessity. With equal necessity, then, Saturn acts to
condense what the Sun necessarily dissipates. Therefore, since
every defect of nature is traceable to efficient causes that are
defective in power, if every efficient cause acts necessarily, then
nothing defective, evil or monstrous will occur in nature without
it happening necessarily.
78 To the argument then I say that if God did not permit
anything in nature except the highest heat, nothing in the
universe would be frigidand this because of the necessity that
characterizes the action of a natural agent. But, as has been said,
this does not follow when the agent is free or when there is an
agent whose action can be impeded and whose effect is prevented.
And so defect and vice occur in nature.
79 To the other [n. 46] it must be said that the argument is
sophistical, because in all those instances, what is demonstrated
in the antecedent, namely the "now" or the "here" or the "this
sort," is finiteand then the inference is valid. If it is infinite,
then the inference does not hold, but you beg the conclusion at
the outset. Suppose the earth were infinite and some body were
located there; if one argued "This body is here, therefore it is
finite," the argument would not hold, because the "here" was
140 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I -A

probare quod hoc ubi sit finitum et ita est hic de essentia, quae
est ita haec quod non illa. Probes primo quod etiam in quantum
haec sit finita, et quia hoc supponis, ideo petis in principio
80 Ad aliud,31 quando dicitur quod potentia infinita moveret in
non tempore, dicendum quod non intendit Philosophus de
potentia extra magnitudinem, sed in magnitudine et de hoc est
impossibile, et contradictio implicatur, scilicet quod moveat in
non tempore, sed et quod potentia infinita in magnitudine
moveret tempore infinito, et sic contradictoria. Et quare? Quia in
antecedente includuntur contradictoria, scilicet quia ponit
potentiam infinitam in magnitudine. Tenet autem consequentia
ex hoc quod infinita agentia necessitate naturali movebunt in non
tempore, et sic ex una contradictione concludit Philosophus duas
contradictiones. Quod enim est in magnitudine, est sicut virtus
extensa per accidens; et si potentia infinita est in magnitudine,
sequitur quod movebit successive, quia distantia partium mobilis
est causa propria motus et successionis sive motus in tempore,
quia illa potentia non est in magnitudine sicut anima in corpore,
sed moveret in corpore. Arguit igitur Philosophus sicut ex
contradictoriis contradictoria. Sed ad hoc respondet ibidem32
Averroes ex hoc quod ponit agens primum mediatum et
immediatum, sed probatur alias quod, si haberet medium, adhuc
moveret de necessitate naturae. Argumentum igitur habet
difficultatem contra philosophos qui ponunt quod de necessitate
moveret. Secundum nos autem sive ponatur infinitum in
magnitudine sive non, non oportet quod moveat in tempore
infinito. Et sic patet ad quaestionem.

:" Cf. supra n. 47.

12 Averroes, Metaph. XII, com. 41 (ed. Iuntina VIII, 324vb-
Dist. 2, Part I, Questions One-Three 140

infinite. Hence you must prove this "here" is finite. And so too
with this essence which is so "this" that it is not "that." First
prove that qua "this" it is also finite. Because you presuppose this,
you beg your conclusion at the outset.
80 To the other [n. 47] when it is said that an infinite potency
would not move instantaneously, it must be said that the
Philosopher did not have in mind a power beyond magnitude, but
one in magnitude, and for this it is impossible and implies a
contradiction, namely that it would not move in time but
instantaneously, and yet as an infinite power in magnitude it
would move in time, [although] infinitely, and thus there are two
contradictory notions. And why? Because the antecedent includes
contradictory notions, namely it assumes an infinite power in
magnitude. But from this follows the implication that infinite
agents acting by natural necessity would [at the same time] move
instantaneously, and thus from one contradiction the Philosopher
infers two contradictions. But [in fact] what happens to be in
magnitude is like a power extended accidentally; and if the
infinite power happens to be in magnitude, then it follows that it
will move successively, because the distance between the parts of
the mobile is the proper cause of the motion and of the succession
or motion in time, for that potency is not in magnitude, like the
soul in the body; yet it would move in a body. Hence the
Philosopher argued to contradictories from contradictories. But to
this Averroes replies in his comment [41 on Bk. XII of the
Metaphysics] that the first agent acts both mediately and
immediately. I prove elsewhere, however, that even if it did use
an intermediary it would still move with a necessity of nature.
Therefore, the argument presents a difficulty for philosophers
who postulate that the first cause moves necessarily. For us,
however, whether one postulates something infinite in magnitude
or not, there is no need to assume an infinite temporal movement.
And so the answer to the question is clear.
141 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

[Pars II
Quaestio unica
De unitate Dei]

81 Secunda parte principali huius distinctions secundae, quae

est de unitate Dei, quaerendum est unum tantum: utrum primum
ens sit tantum unicum numero.
Videtur quod non:
Ad Corinthios I, 5 cap.:33 "Etsi sint qui dicuntur dii sive in
caelo sive in terra, siquidem sunt dii multi et domini multi".
82 Item, omne ens per participationem reducitur ad ens per
essentiam; sed plura sunt entia per participationem; ergo et plura
per essentiam.
83 Item, quidquid simpliciter est melius, ponendum est in Deo
melius esse quam non esse; sed meliora sunt plura bona in natura
divina paucioribus, quia infinita.
84 Item, Deus est; ergo dii sunt. Probatio consequentiae:
singulare et plurale idem significant; igitur idem praedicatum
proportionaliter intellectui includunt per se. Si igitur Deus
intelligitur singulariter esse, et dii.
85 Contra: Deuter. 6:34 "Dominus Deus tuus unus est", etc.

[Ad quaestionem
Rationes aliorum]

86 Hic sunt rationes antiquorum quibus probant quod non sunt

nec possunt esse plures dii. Et prima ratio sumitur ex simplicitate
divina: Si enim essent plures dii, differrent in aliquo et in aliquo
convenirent, et sic haec duo distincta facerent aliquam
compositionem in Deo. Istam rationem tangit Damascenus, cap.
535 libri primi, et Philosophus XII Metaphysicae,36 ubi dicit quod
non sunt plures dii, quia non habent materiam. Sed aliqui male
intelligunt Philosophum. Per quiditatem enim intelligit formam
et per suppositum materiam, ita quod quidquid est extra

1:1 Cf. I Cor. 8:5.

14 Cf. Deut. 6:4.
35 Damasc., De fide, orthod. c. 5 [I, c. 5] (ed. Buytaert, 22-3; PG
94. 802).
36 Aristot.. Metaph. XII (A), c. 8 (1074a 31-7).
Dist. 2, Part II, Sole Question 141

Part II: Sole Question

Is there numerically but one first being?

81 The second main part of this second distinction which is

about the unicity of God poses but one question. Is there
numerically but one first being?
It seems not: According to Corinthians I, [8:5]: "There are
so-called gods in the heavens and on earththere are to be sure
many such 'gods' and 'lords."'
82 Also, every being by participation is traced back to some
being that is such by its essence; but as there are multiple beings
by participation, so too there are multiple that are such by their
83 Also, as regards anything that is simply better, one must
assume that it is better for it to exist than not to exist in God. But
in the case of the divine nature, more numerous goods are better
than fewer, because the goods there are infinite.
84 Also, God exists, therefore gods exist. Proof of the
implication. Singular and plural signify the same; therefore, they
include per se the same predicate in proportion to their meaning.
If then God is understood to exist in the singular, then also gods
in the plural.
85 On the contrary: Deuteronomy 6:[4]: "The Lord, thy God is

To the question
Arguments of others

86 These are the proofs older authors gave to prove that there
neither are nor can be several gods. And the first reason is taken
from divine simplicity. For if there were several gods, they would
differ in something and agree in other respects, and thus these
two distinct aspects would make for some composition in God.
Damascene cites this reason in [De fide orthodoxa] Bk. I, chapter
5 and the Philosopher uses it in Bk. XII of the Metaphysics, where
he says that there are not several gods because they lack matter.
But some have misunderstood the Philosopher on this score. For
"form" for him means "quiddity" and "matter" means "individual
142 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

rationem quiditatis est materiale et de ratione suppositi;

quaelibet autem quiditas simplex est ex se haec, i.e. suppositum,
et quia divina essentia est simplex, nihil est extra quiditatem
suam vel extra rationem propriae quiditatis.
87 Alia est ratio Damasceni et Magistri37 de unitate regiminis:
si enim plures essent dii, frustra essent, quia unus sufficeret. Et
confirmatur XII Metaphysicae38 et IV Politicorum:39 principatus
monarchicus, etc. Et istae rationes sunt quaedam persuasiones.
88 Alia est ratio aliquorum quae sumitur ab unitate et
pluralitate, quia omnis unitas prima est respectu pluralitatis; sed
si essent plures, ut duo dii, essent aequales, et unus non esset
prius altero, etc. Hanc rationem tangit Damascenus, libro I,
cap. 5,40 et est quasi eadem ratio et includit illam quam facit
Avicenna,41 de necesse esse.
89 [Contra] Ad istas rationes respondetur quod non conclu-
dunt; prima non, quia eodem modo arguitur de angelis, quia
quiditas eorum simplex et forma sine materia secundum aliquos.
90 Ad secundam potest dici quod unus non sufficeret.
91 Ad tertiam dicunt quod non intelligitur de unitate et
pluralitate numerali quae est in eadem specie plura enim
individua non ordinantur inter se sicut prius et posterius, sed de
unitate et pluralitate in specie, quia species se habent sicut

[Rationes ipsius Scoti]

92 [Ex parte intellectus] Et credo quod conclusio ista potest

demonstrari, scilicet quod sit unicum ens primum unitate
numerali, et primo ex parte intellectus. Probatum enim est quod
primum efficiens est primum exemplans, quia distincte
intelligens omnia et infinita intelligibilia, et intellectus et

17 Petrus Lombardus, Sent. I. d. 3, c. 3 (SB IV, 76).

38 Aristot., Metaph. XII (A), c. 10 (1076a 4).
:,0 Aristot., Politico IV, c. 2 (1289a 40-6 1); c. I (1292a 13-4); cf.
Eth. Nic. VIII, c. 10 (1060a 31-5).
40 Cf. supra n. 86.
41 Avicenna, Metaph. I, c. 6 (AviL, 43-6).
Dist. 2, Part II, Sole Question 142

subject," so that anything beyond the quidditative nature is called

"material" and pertains to the notion of the individual subject.
But every simple quiddity* is of itself a "this" or individual
subject, and because the divine essence is simple, nothing is there
that is other than its quiddity or lies outside the notion of what
properly makes it what it is.
87 Another proof is that of Damascene and the Master [Peter
Lombard] about the need for "one ruler." For if there were several
gods, this would be in vain, since one would suffice. And this is
confirmed by what is said of monarchical rule, etc. in Bk. XII of
the Metaphysics and Bk. IV of the Politics. And these reasons are
persuasive arguments.
88 Another reason some give is taken from the idea of unity
and plurality, because with respect to plurality unity is always
first. But if there were several, say two gods, they would be equal
and one would not be prior to the other. And so on. Damascene
also treats of this reason in Bk. I, chapter 5 and it is, as it were,
the same point Avicenna makes about "necessary existence."
89 [To the contrary] These arguments, it is claimed, are not
conclusive. The first is not because one argues in the same way
about the angels, since their quiddity is simple, and according to
some, is form without matter.
90 To the second one could say that one ruler does not suffice.
91 To the third, they object that what is said does not refer to
numerical unity and plurality where all are of the same species.
For a plurality of individuals are not ordered among themselves
as prior and posterior. The reference is rather to the unity and
plurality of species, because species are related to one another as

Scotus's own arguments

92 [From the nature of God's intellect] I believe this conclusion

can be demonstrated, namely that there is a unique first being
that is one numerically, and the first proof is derived from the
intellect. For it has been proven that the first efficient cause is
also the first exemplar cause. Inasmuch as it knows distinctly all
things and an infinity of intelligibles, both its intellect and what
143 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

intellectum in ipso sunt infinita. Sicut intellectus finitus potest

intelligere omne finitum intellectum, sic intellectus infinitus
potest intelligere quodcumque intelligibile perfectissime. Si igitur
sunt duo primi intellectus infiniti a et b, sequitur quod a intelliget
b perfectissime; ergo a per essentiam suam intelliget b vel per
essentiam ipsius b vel per essentiam ipsius a. Si per essentiam b,
tunc intellectus a dependet a b, quia actus differens ab obiecto
dependet ab eo, et per consequens si intellectio a dependet a b, et
essentia ab essentia; et sic a non est Deus. Si per essentiam a
intelligit b, hoc est dupliciter: vel per communem rationem
quiditatis a et b, et hoc non potest esse, quia intelligens praecise
aliquod per simile, non intelligit illud in se perfectissime; vel in se
intelligit b, et hoc non est ita, quia una essentia non potest esse
ratio perfectissime intelligendi aliam, eo quod quaelibet in se est
intelligibilis per essentiam suam. Praeterea, una non includit
aliam virtualiter in se, quia si o includeret virtualiter in se
essentiam b, tunc b non esset Deus. Sic igitur haec intellectio
duorum non posset esse nisi per rationem universalis et
communis essentiae, et sic imperfecte.
93 Dices quod per rationem deitatis a intelligit b. Contra:
ista ratio est universalis; ergo imperfecta cognitio.
94 Praeterea, unica intellectio non potest habere plura obiecta
adaequata; sed a habet pro obiecto adaequato essentiam suam;
ergo non habet essentiam b pro obiecto adaequato.
95 [Ex parte voluntatis] Item, ex parte voluntatis: voluntas
enim infinita est recta, ergo diligit omne diligibile quantum ipsum
diligibile est; sed a et b est infinite diligibilis; ergo a diligit b
infinite. Sed quod hoc sit impossibile, probo.
Omnis voluntas naturalis plus diligit bonum sui suppositi
quam alterius cuius nihil est, nec pars nec aliquid tale; sed a nihil
Dist. 2, Part II, Sole Question 143

is known to it are infinite. Now just as a finite intellect can

understand every finite thing known, so an infinite intellect can
understand any intelligible most perfectly. If then there were two
first infinite intellects, say a and 6, it would follow that a would
understand b most perfectly. Therefore, a would understand b
through its essenceeither through the essence of b itself or
through the essence of a itself. If it were through the essence of b,
then a would depend upon b, because an act different from its
object depends upon it, and hence if as intellection depends upon
b, then its essence also depends upon the other's essence, and
thus a is not God. If a understands b through its own essence,
this would occur in one of two ways: either [1] by virtue of the
common character of the quiddity of a and 6, and this could not
be, because to understand something just through some similarity
is not to understand that thing perfectly in itself; or [2] it
understands b in itself, and this is not so either, because one
essence cannot be the reason for understanding the other
perfectly, because each in itself is intelligible through its own
essence. Furthermore, one does not include the other virtually in
itself, because if a in itself were to include virtually the essence of
b, then b would not be God. And so this intellection of the two
could only be through some common and universal notion, and
thus it would be imperfect.
93 You may say that a understands b through the aspect of
deity. To the contrary: this notion is universal; therefore the
cognition is imperfect.
94 Furthermore, one intellection could not have several
adequate objects; but a has its own essence as its adequate object;
therefore it does not have b's essence as its adequate object.
95 [From the nature of God's will] Also, there is a proof from
the will. For an infinite will is upright, therefore it loves every
lovable object to the extent it is lovable. But o and b are each
infinitely lovable; therefore, o loves b infinitely. But I prove this is
impossible. Every natural* will loves its own individual good
more than that of another, of which it is neither a part nor any
such thing. But a is not something of b itself; therefore, its
upright will conformable to what is natural, loves a more than b,
144 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

est ipsius b; ergo voluntas recta conformis naturali plus diligit a

quam b, quia plus diligibile, et per consequens non diligit b
96 Item, a aut fruitur b aut utitur; si utitur, est voluntas
perversa; si fruitur, ergo erit beatus in b et beatus in a; ergo bis
beatus in obiectis adaequatis. Probatio: si fruitur b, igitur
circumscripto a, nihilominus erit beatus se circumscripto; ergo
non in se erit beatus, quod est impossible; erit enim beatus et
non beatus.
97 [Ex ratione primitatis] Item, ex ratione primitatis probo sic.
Unum omnino unius rationis se habens ad plura unius rationis
non determinatur ad illam pluralitatem, sive ad determinationem
certam illorum; nec est instantia in natura respectu suppositorum
nec in causa respectu causatorum nisi instes in proposito. Sed
deitas est una unius rationis, et per te se habet ad plura
unius rationis supposita, ergo ex se non determinatur ad certam
pluralitatem singularium, nec potest determinari ad unum,42 quia
repugnat primo; ergo deitas est in suppositis infinitis.
98 Ista ratio fundatur in hoc quod primitas de se est
determinata.43 Si dicas quod non concludit, quia pari ratione
deitas non erit in tribus personis, responsio distinctione quinta.

42 Ad unum: aliunde Ord., Add. M.

u Determinata: indeterminata in uno cod. (T).
Dist. 2, Part II, sole Question 144

because it is more lovableand consequently it does not love b

96 Also, a either enjoys b for its own sake or uses it. If a uses it,
then as will is perverse; if it enjoys b for its own sake, then as
capacity for happiness* will be satisfied fully by b and also fully
satisfied by [its enjoying] itself. Therefore, a will is beatified twice
in adequate objects [each of which satisfies exhaustively its
capacity for happiness]. Proof: if a enjoys b for its own sake, then
even if enjoying itself is excluded, a would be perfectly happy;
therefore, it will not be made happy by itselfwhich is
impossible.4 For then it will be both made happy [by b] and not
made happy [by itself].
97 [From the nature of God's primacy]5 I prove unicity also
from the primacy in this way. One thing of only one sort is not
related to others of one sort in such a way that it is limited to just
this plurality or to a certain number of such things. Indeed, there
is nothing in the nature itself which requires that there be just so
many individuals, nor anything in a cause that says that there
must be only so many things caused, unless you insist on what we
seek to prove [viz. that the nature is such that it is found in but
one individual]. But deity is one thing of one sort, and according
to you is related to more than one individual of one sort.
Therefore, deity of itself is not limited to any fixed number of
individuals nor can it be restricted by anything else,6 for this
would be repugnant to it as first; therefore deity exists in an
infinity of individual subjects.
98 This argument is based on the question whether primacy by
its very nature has to be somehow restricted.7 And if you object
that this does not follow because it would rule out the possibility

i Since one of the adequate objects required to complete its happiness is

5 Here, instead of proving that something infinite (intellect, will, etc.) is one,
Scotus seems to be proving, reversing the order, that primacy (= being one)
implies infinity or not being limited.
'' Reading aliunde (found in Ord. and Add. M.) instead of ad unum or ad
unam in the MSS.
7 The translation tries to accommodate both the reading determinate found
in four MSS and the reading indeterminata (which fits the sense better) found
only in one.
145 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

99 [Ex necesse esse] Similiter probari potest propositum de

necesse esse sicut Avicenna probat, et de voluntate.
100 [Ex omnipotentia] De omnipotentia autem probat Richardus
I De Trinitate, cap. 17:44 Facile efficere poterit, quisquis
omnipotens fuerit, quod omne aliud nihil possit. Si ergo sunt
plures omnipotentes, quilibet potest facere omnipotentes alios
nihil potentes et eos destruere. Sed insto, quia omnipotentia non
respicit nisi obiecta possibilia: sed si alius Deus sit omnipotens,
non esset possibile, eo quod est necesse esse. Responsio:
concedo in isto intellectu sicut, si Pater non faceret Filium, tamen
faceret eum omnipotentem, destrueret omnia producta ab illo
omnipotente, quia sicut suo velle potest omnia velle et ea
producere, ita suo velle potest impedire omnia volita a se et ab
alio. Et hoc intendit Richardus. Unde dicit omnipotentem facere
non ut non sit, sed ut nihil possit.
101 Sed dices quod concordarent ambo in voluntate et sic quod
vellet unus, et alter. Contra: sicut voluntas unius contingenter
se haberet ad omnia, sic et voluntas alterius; nec voluntas unius
potest determinari a voluntate alterius, quia tunc nullus esset
102 Item, pono quod concordent; tunc arguo sic: unus
omnipotens volens possibile esse producit illud in esse ut causa
totalis, et alius omnipotens volens illud possibile esse, producit
illud in esse ut causa totalis; sed impossible est plures causas
totales esse respectu eiusdem effectus; ergo impossibile est plures
omnipotentes esse. Sed haec ratio non est evidenter necessaria,
quia omnipotentia in Deo non est evidenter scita, sed credita; et
licet aliqui ponerent Deum infinitum intensive, non tamen

44 Richardus de S. Victore, De Trin. I, c. 25 (ed. Ribaillier. TPMA VI, 105-6;

PL 196, 902).
Dist. 2, Part II, Sole Question 145

of deity being shared by three persons, look up what I have said

in distinction five.
99 [From the nature of "necessary existence"] Our thesis can be
proved from the nature of "necessary existence," as Avicenna
does, in a way similar to the proof from the nature of the will.
100 [From the nature of omnipotence] Richard [of St. Victor] in
chapter 17 of The Trinity, however, uses a proof from
omnipotence. Anyone who would have been omnipotent could
easily bring it about that every other agent could do nothing, and
therefore, if there were several omnipotent beings, each could
destroy the other "omnipotents" and render them incapable of
doing anything. One can raise the objection that omnipotence
only has to do with possible objects. If another God were
omnipotent, however, that God would not be just possible but a
necessary being. Reply: I concede, in the sense that the Father
may not have produced the Son, but made him omnipotent.
[However, if this were the case,] he could still destroy all that was
produced by the other omnipotent. For just as by his volition he
could will all things and produce them, so too he could impede all
things willed by himself and by another. And this is what Richard
had in mind. Hence he does not say that each omnipotent makes
the other non-existent, but impotent.
101 But you may say that both could agree voluntarily and thus
what one wills the other does also. To the contrary: just as the
will of one is related to all things contingently, so too is the will of
the other. Neither one's will can be determined by the other,
because then neither would be God.
102 Also, let me assume they do agree, then I argue this way.
One omnipotent by willing some possible produces it in existence
as its total cause and the other omnipotent by willing the same
thing produces it in existence as its total cause. But it is
impossible that there be more than one total cause with respect to
the same effect. Therefore, it is impossible that more than one
omnipotent exists. This is not an evidently necessary argument,
however, because omnipotence in God is not something known
evidently but is something believed. And although some assumed
that God is intensively infinite, they did not think that he was
146 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

omnipotentem respectu omnium non includentium contradictio-

nem, sicut nos intelligimus omnipotentem.

[Ad argumenta principalia]

103 Ad primum45 dicendum quod idola nuncupative sunt dii, sed

Apostolus subdit statim: nobis autem unus Deus, scilicet sufficit.
104 Ad secundum46 dicendum quod haec propositio "Ens per
participationem reducitur ad ens per essentiam" non est prima,
sed haec: "Omne imperfectum ex se reducitur ad perfectum", ex
qua sequitur alia, quod "Ens per participationem reducitur ad ens
per essentiam, quod est perfectum". Ut ergo vere possit sequi
conclusio, debet sic distingui: aliqua sunt imperfecta perfectione
simpliciter, ut imperfecta quae sunt infra aliquod genus; et illa
reducuntur ad perfectum illius perfectionis quae potest esse in
illo genere; et imperfecta alterius generis ad perfectum alterius eo
modo, quod in quolibet genere est dare unum quod est mensura
omnium in illo, ut diminutum verum ad perfectum in veritate, et
diminutum bonum ad perfectum in bonitate. Alia sunt imperfecta
perfectione limitata, et ista non reducuntur ad perfectum finitae
rationis, quae est infra genus, quia hoc repugnat perfectioni
limitatae, sed reducuntur ad perfectum alterius generis, in quo
sunt eminenter ista imperfecta perfectione limitata; non autem
ad ideam, quae est ratio relationis et perfectionis limitatae in
quantum huius, sed ad primum ens, unum et perfectissimum per
essentiam, quod est pelagus omnium perfectionum.
105 Ad aliud,47 quando dicitur quod plura bona sunt meliora
paucioribus et quaecumque sunt plura in natura divina essent
meliora paucioribus, quia essent ibi plura infinita in quantum
essent in natura divina. Probatio: quia nihil est possibile esse in
Deo quin sit infinitum et necesse esse. Respondeo quod si istud

4r' Cf. supra n. 81.

10 Cf. supra n. 82.
17 Cf. supra n. 83.
Dist. 2, Part II, Sole Question 146

omnipotent with regard to whatever does not include a

contradiction, as we understand omnipotence.

Reply to the initial arguments

103 To the first [n. 81] one must say that idols are gods only in
name and the Apostle immediately adds: 'Tet for us there is only
one God," namely one suffices.
104 To the second, [n. 82] one must point out that this
proposition "Every being by participation is traced back to some
being that is such by its essence" is not a primary truth, like this
truth: "Everything imperfect is traced back to something that is
perfect," from which this other proposition follows: "Every being
by participation is traced back to some perfect being that is such
by its essence." For the conclusion to truly follow, therefore, one
must distinguish it in this way. Sometimes a pure* perfection
characteristic of a class of things is possessed imperfectly by some
in that class and one is led back to something that possesses it
perfectly. Similarly, with the pure perfection characteristic of
another class (so that in any class one must allow for something
one that is the measure of all others in that class), e.g., what is
true in a lesser sense goes back to what is perfectly true and what
is good in a lesser sense to what is perfectly good. As regards a
class characterized by some perfection that is itself limited,
however, the imperfect instances are not traced back to
something perfect within that class, for this is not possible where
the perfection itself is limited. Rather those that possess the
limited perfection imperfectly lead us back to something perfect
in a different class which possesses their limited perfection in a
more excellent way. And this is not just the archetypal idea,
relational and of limited perfection, but it is the first being which
is one and most perfect in its essence and is a sea of all perfection.
105 To the argument [n. 83] when they claim that more goods
are better than fewer goods, and that in the divine nature
whatever would be more numerous would be better than what
would be fewer, because in the divine nature there would be an
infinite profusion of such goods. Proof: nothing can exist in God
that is not infinite and does not exist there necessarily. To this I
147 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

potest implicare positionem possibilem, tunc maior, scilicet quod

illud quod est simpliciter melius est ponendum in divinis, est vera
et minor falsa, quando dicit quod plura bona infinita in natura
divina sunt meliora paucioribus. Si autem in maiori dicant
implicationem incompossibilis, tunc maior falsa et minor vera,
sed hoc non est nisi ex implicatione incompossibilis.
106 Ad quartum48 dicendum negando consequentiam. Et quando
dicit quod plurale et singulare idem significant, dicendum quod
numerus non est talis modus significandi grammaticus sicut alii,
quia alii modi praecise non requirunt quod aliquid sit in re; unde
intellectus possit moveri ad concipiendum, quamvis illud
motivum non sit aliquid in re; masculinitas enim non requirit
aliquid in re masculini, sed aliquid correspondens masculinitati
(scilicet 'potentia activa', vel aliquid huiusmodi). Non est sic de
numero, quia requirit aliquid realiter in re diversum; unde
sequitur: "Res sunt, ergo plures sunt". Unde haec dictio "dii"
includit contradictoria, quia res repugnat significato, et per
consequens modus significandi numeri pluralis modo significandi
numeri singularis. Ad formam ergo argumenti: Deus est, ergo
dii sunt, nego consequentiam. Ad probationem dicendum quod
idem includunt sub oppositis modis.

48 Cf. supra n. 84.

Dist. 2, Part II, Sole Question 147

reply that if "it is better for it to exist" is taken in the sense of

possibility, then the major is true, namely that in the divine one
must assume the existence of what is simply better, but then the
minor premise is false. However, if this expression in the major
implies incompatibility, then the major is false and the minor
true. But this is the case only because one assumes the
existence of incompatible notions.
106 As for the fourth argument [n. 84], one must deny the
validity of the inference. And when it is said that the singular and
plural signify the same thing, one must point out that number is
not like other grammatical modes of signification, for other modes
do not require something precise in the thing. Hence, the intellect
could be moved to conceive the way it does even though it is not
moved by something [precise] in the thing. For a noun to be
masculine, for instance, it is not necessary that the thing be
masculine, but only that something resembling masculinity be
there, namely some active potency or some such thing.8 It is not
that way with number, because this requires some real difference.
Hence, this follows: "Things exist, therefore several exist." The
expression "gods," then, includes contradictory notions, because
reality is opposed to what this expression signifies, and
consequently the plural mode of signification is opposed to the
singular mode of signification. As to the form of the argument,
"God is, therefore gods exist," I deny the validity of the
implication. As for the proof, one must say the same thing is
included but under opposite modes.

H Scotus's explanation of masculinitas is non-sensical (the term potentia

activa itself, which is feminine, refutes it); nor is his example of grammatical
gender particularly illustrative, but his main point is valid: e.g., changing
grammatical case only indicates a change in relationship, while the real referent
of the word remains unchanged. At the same time, changing grammatical
number requires the actual existence of a single or of multiple referents.
148 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

[Pars III de personis et productionibus in Deo

Quaestio 1
Utrum personae divinae repugnet
quaecumque productio intrinseca realis]

107 Circa tertiam partem secundae distinctionis quaero de

Trinitate personarum, et quia via ad notitiam de ea habendam est
per productiones, ideo quaero primo utrum personae divinae
repugnet quaecumque productio intrinseca realis.

Et videtur quod sic:

Quia nullum productum est ex se necessarium; quidquid
subsistit in essentia divina est ex se necessarium; ergo nihil ibi
subsistens in essentia divina est productum.
Maior probatur: quia omne productum includit possibilita-
tem ad produci, alioquin impossibile fuit produci; sed omnis
possibilitas repugnat necessario ex se; ergo etc.
108 Secundo probatur eadem maior sic: nihil simul est
necessarium ex se et ab alio; sed quod est productum, si est
necessarium, est necessarium ab alio; ergo non a se. Maior patet:
si est necessarium a se, est necessarium omni alio circumscripto;
si autem est necessarium ab alio, non est necessarium illo
circumscripto; ergo si est productum, est necessarium et non
109 Tertio probatur eadem maior sic: omne productum est
posterius aliquo modo producente, quia non potest intelligi
productio sine aliquo ordine. In illo igitur priori in quo intelligitur
producens, non intelligitur productum, quia tunc non esset prius.
Ergo intelligitur in illo priori productum non esse et in signo
posteriori intelligitur esse. Ergo mutatio de non-esse eius ad esse.
Dist. 2, Part III, Question One 148

Part III: On the Trinity of Persons

Question One
Is any intrinsic real production repugnant
to the divine persons?

107 In regard to the third part of the second distinction I ask

about the Trinity of Persons, and because the way to have
knowledge about it is through productions, therefore I ask first
whether any intrinsic real production is repugnant to the divine

Arguments Pro and Con

It seems that it is: for no product is of itself necessary; whatever

subsists in the divine essence is of itself necessary; therefore
nothing subsisting there in the divine essence is produced. The
major is proved, because every product includes the possibility of
being produced, otherwise it would be impossible to produce it;
but all possibility is repugnant to what is of itself necessary;
therefore etc.
108 Secondly the same major is proved in this fashion: nothing
is at the same time necessary of itself and from another; but what
is produced, if it is necessary, is necessary from another; therefore
it is not of itself. The major is evident: if it is necessary of itself, it
is necessary apart from anything else; but if it is necessary from
another, it is not necessary apart from it; therefore if it is
produced, it is both necessary and not necessary.
109 Third, the same major is proved in another way: every
product is posterior in some way to what is producing it, because
one cannot conceive of production without any order. In that
logically prior instant, then, in which one thinks of the producer,
one is not yet thinking of the product, because otherwise that
instant would not be logically prior. Therefore, in that logically
prior instant the product is not existing and in a posterior logical
instant it is understood to be existing. Therefore there is a
mutation from non-being to being.
149 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

110 Item, quarto probatur maior sic: si est productum, ergo

dependens. Consequens falsum est, ergo et antecedens. Probatio
consequentiae: quia si nullo modo dependet productum a
producente, igitur uterque ex aequo haberet naturam et ita non
magis praeexigeret productum producens quam e converso.

111 Contra est Magister in littera et in Psalmo49: Dominus dixit

ad me: Filius metis es tu, ego hodie genui te. Alias auctoritates
quaere in littera.

[I. Ad primam quaestionem]

112 In ista quaestione, conclusio est certa apud theologos omnes.

Veritas tamen conclusionis a diversis diversimode suadetur.

[A. Opiniones aliorum

1. Opinio prima]

113 Aliqui50 persuadent hoc per talem rationem, quasi demons-

trent: prima persona in divinis est relata, ergo constituitur per
relationem ad secundam. Nam si non constitueretur per
relationem ad secundam personam, accideret sibi relatio illa et
esset quasi adventitia personae iam constitutae, quod est
inconveniens. Si constituatur per relationem, ergo non est nisi
relatione originis; ergo oportet in divinis ponere plura supposita
quorum unum sit ab alio per originem.
114 Item, arguunt sic: virtus summe activa summe se
communicat vel diffundit; sed non se diffundit summe nisi
producendo summe, et hoc est alteram personam.

49 Ps. 2:7; cf. Petrus Lombardus, Sent. I, d. 2, c. 4, n. 8 (SB IV, 66).

r'0 Henricus Gand., Quodl. VI, q. 1 in corp. (f. 215vQ-216rV); Summa a. 53, q.
8 in corp. (II, 71N); q. 9 (II, 72C); a. 54, q. 3 in corp. (II, 790).
Dist. 2, Part III, Question One 149

110 Also, fourthly, the major is proved in this way: if it is a

product, therefore it is depending. The consequent is false,
therefore the antecedent is also false. Proof of the inference: for if
the product depended in no way upon the producer, therefore
both would be equally in possession of their nature and thus the
product would no more require as a precondition the producer
than vice versa.
111 To the contrary is what the Master* says in the text* and in
the Psalms [2:7]: "The Lord said to me: you are my Son, and today
I have begotten you." For other authoritative statements look in
the preliminary texts.

To the first question

112 In this question, the conclusion is certain as all theologians

agree. But different ones offer different ways in which one can be
persuaded of its truth.

The opinion of others

The first opinion

113 Some use this persuasive argument, as if they were

demonstrating it. The first person in the divine is related;
therefore he is constituted by a relationship to the second person.
For if he were not constituted by a relationship to that person, the
relationship would be something accidental to him and would be
quasi-adventitious, which is incongruous. If he is constituted by a
relation, then it is none other than a relationship of one's origin;*
therefore in the divine they postulate several subjects of which
one is from the other as regards his origin.
114 Also, they argue in this way: the highest active power tends
to communicate or diffuse itself in the highest way; but one
cannot diffuse or spread oneself out in the highest way except by
way of producing in the highest way, and this results in another
person being produced.
150 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

[2. Opinio secunda]

115 Item, alii51 persuadent sic: bonum est sui communicativum;

ergo summum bonum summe sui communicativum; nonnisi ad
intra, quia nihil ad extra potest esse summum.
116 Item, per rationem perfecti: perfectum potest sibi producere
simile, ex I Metaphysicae52 et IV Meteorologicorum.53 Ergo
primum agens, quod est perfectissimum, potest producere sibi
simile. Sed perfectius agens est quod potest producere sibi simile
univoce quam aequivoce, quia productio aequivoca est imperfecta;
ergo etc.

[B. Contra istas opiniones]

117 Istae rationes non declarant propositum per manifestius

neque fideli neque infideli. Prima ratio non, quia quando accipit
quod prima persona est relata, si vult persuadere infideli, accipit
quod est minus notum principali proposito, quia minus notum est
personam per se subsistentem per relationem constitui quam
productionem esse in divinis, quia si aliqua persona per se
subsistens sciatur producta, non tamen per relationem, sed magis
videretur sibi per absolutum. Si etiam vult persuadere fideli,
adhuc procedit ex minus noto, quia quod persona aliqua
producatur in divinis est expressus articulus fidei. Non autem est
ita expressus articulus fidei quod constituatur per relationem.
Nec valet consequentia, quia communis spiratio est relatio et non
est constitutiva.
118 Quod etiam ultra arguit quod distinctio est per relationem,
ergo per relationes originis, hoc non est statim evidens ex fide,
sicut est conclusio quam intendit ostendere. Nec consequentia
valet, quia relationes communes non sunt originis.

51 Bonaventura, Sent. I, d. 2, a. un., q. 2, arg. 1 (I, 53a); Richardus de

Mediavilla, Sent. I, d. 2, a. 2, q. 1 in corp. (I, 34a).
52 Cf. Aristot., Metaph. I (A), c. 1 (9816 7).
r,:l Aristot., Meteor. IV, c. 3 (380a 12-15).
Dist. 2, Part III, Question One 150

The second opinion

115 Also, others offer this persuasive argument: what is good

tends to communicate itself; therefore the highest good tends to
do so in the highest possible way; but this can only be an internal
communication, for nothing can communicate itself to something
outside in the highest way.
116 Also, in virtue of being perfect, what is perfect can produce
something like itself, from Bk. I of the Metaphysics and Bk. IV of
Meteorology. Therefore, the first agent, that is most perfect, can
produce something like itself. But a more perfect agent is one that
produces something univocally similar to itself rather than
something equivocal, because an equivocal production is
imperfect; therefore etc.

Against these opinions

117 These reasons do not show what they propose to show in a

more manifest fashion, whether it be to a believer or an infidel.
The first argument does not, because to start with the fact that
the first person is a relative entity, when you wish to persuade an
infidel, means to start with something less well known than what
is principally proposed, because it is less well known that a
person who subsists in himself is constituted by a pure
relationship than that a production exists in the divine, because if
some person who subsists in himself is known to be produced, it
would seem to happen not by a relationship, but rather by
something absolute. If one wished to convince a believer, one
would still be proceeding from what is less known to what is more
known, because that any person in the divine is produced is an
express article of faith, but that it is constituted through a
relation is not so expressly an article of faith. Neither does the
inference hold good, because the common spiration* [of the Holy
Spirit shared by Father and Son] is itself a relationship and it
does not constitute [a distinct fourth person].
118 As to his further argument that 'the distinction is through a
relationship; therefore this relationship* is one of origin,'*this
is not something as immediately evident from faith, as is the
151 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

1 19 Et cum arguit secundo quod summum bonum est summe sui

diffusivum, responsio esset quod maior est vera, si summa
diffusio est possibilis. Non est autem ostensum quod possibile sit
aliquid54 summe diffundere se sive communicare se alteri in
unitate naturae; ergo etc.
120 Per idem patet ad tertium. Oporteret enim probare quod
communicatio eiusdem rei vel naturae esset possibilis, quia ad
impossible includens contradictionem non est potentia, et per
consequens nec communicatio bonitatis summae, ut dicit
121 Per idem patet ad quartum, cum dicitur quod perfectum
natum est producere summum sibi simile: verum est ita summum
sibi simile sicut potest produci; sed non summe univoce, quia tunc
posset producere alium Deum. Oporteret ergo probare quod
supponit, scilicet quod simile univoce summum esset producibile.
Sed hoc est impossibile, quia tunc possunt esse plures dii, ut
ostensum est praecedenti quaestione de unitate Dei.

[II. Responsio Scoti]

122 Ostendo ergo propositum tali ratione: suppositum quod-

cumque habens principium productivum sufficiens et principium
formale, a se potest producere suppositum vel productum
adaequatum illi principio, id est suppositum perfectissimum quod
potest produci tali principio; non autem productum adaequatum
in natura, quia tunc esset petitio, sed productum adaequatum
virtuti activae producentis. Sicut sol, cum producit animatum
perfectissimum, dicitur producere effectum adaequatum, non in

Aliquid: melius lege alicui, sice ut aliquid ... diffundat.

Dist. 2, Part III, Question One 151

conclusion itself that he intended to prove. Neither is the

inference valid, because common relationships* are not those of
1 19 And when he argues secondly that the highest good tends to
spread or diffuse itself in the highest way, the reply would be that
the major is true, if this highest form of diffusion were possible.
But it has not been shown that it is possible for something to
diffuse or communicate itself to another by sharing with the other
his own individual nature; therefore, etc.
120 And for the same reason the third point is clear. For one
would have to prove that a communication of the same thing or
nature would be possible, because the 'impossible' that includes a
contradiction has no potential; and as a consequence an
adversary would say, neither is communication of the highest
good a possibility.
121 Also, for the same reason the fourth point is evident when it
is said that what is perfect is suited by nature to produce what is
most similar to itself, it is true [that it can produce] something as
similar to it as can be produced; but the highest similarity is
[still] not univocal,* because it cannot produce another God.
Therefore it is necessary to prove what is presupposed, namely,
that what is univocally similar to the highest degree can be
produced. But this is impossible, because then there could be
several gods, as was shown in the previous question about the
unity of God.

Scotus's reply

122 Therefore I demonstrate the proposal by this sort of

argument: whatever individual subject or supposit* that has a
sufficient productive principle and a formal principle, can of itself
produce a supposit or a product adequate to the principle in
question, that is, the most perfect supposit that could be produced
by such a principle. However, it is not a product adequate in
nature, because then that would be begging the question, but a
product adequate to the active power of the one producing. E.g.,
the Sun, when it produces the most perfect animated being, is
said to produce an adequate effect, not adequate as to its nature,
152 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

natura sed virtuti eius activae. Haec est minor 'aliquod suppo
sition divinum habet memoriam perfectam quae est principium
producendi notitiam genitam a se'; ergo etc.
123 Maior probatur, quia quod habens principium producendi
non potest producere secundum illud principium: aut hoc est quia
imperfecte habet illud principium, ut calidum imperfectum
habens imperfecte calorem non est sufficiens ad calefaciendum
secundum illum; aut quia praeintelligitur habere productionem
adaequatam illi principio, sicut est de Filio in divinis. Quia licet
habeat principium generandi ut memoriam perfectam, non tamen
potest generare, quia illud principium praeintelligitur in Patre
habere productionem adaequatam. Primum excluditur si sit
principium sufficiens; secundum similiter excluditur quia illud
principium habet a se.
124 Minor patet quantum ad primam partem, quia nisi aliqua
persona in divinis haberet memoriam perfectam a se, esset
processus in infinitum.
125 Alia pars minoris, scilicet quod memoria perfecta in
supposito habente eam a se sit principium producendi notitiam
genitam, probatur: quia omnis memoria creata, unde memoria,
non unde creata, nec unde limitata, est principium producendi
notitiam genitam, quia nulla imperfectio est ratio agendi, et ideo
est perfectum principium producendi notitiam genitam
correspondentem sibi. Et hoc convenit sibi ex perfectione sua
naturali; ergo et hoc convenit sibi perfectissime ubi est memoria
perfectissima et perfectissime. Sic est in supposito Patris increato;
ergo etc.
Dist. 2, Part III, Question One 152

but rather as to its active power. This is the minor premise: 'some
divine supposit has a perfect memory,* which is the principle for
producing knowledge as something begotten of itself ; therefore
123 The major is proved, because the situation when something
that has a principle of producing cannot produce according to that
principle occurs: either [i] because it has that principle
imperfectly, as, e.g., an object deficient in heat that has imperfect
warmth, is not sufficient for heating with it; or else [ii] because a
production that is adequate to the [producing] principle is
[already] presupposed, as is the case with the Son in the divine.
Because although the Son has a principle of generation,* such as
a perfect memory, nevertheless he cannot generate, because that
principle is [already] understood beforehand to have an adequate
production in the Father. The first is excluded if the principle is
sufficient; the second is also excluded, because [the Father] has
this principle of himself [i.e., no prior adequate production is
presupposed] .
124 The minor is evident as regards the first part, because
unless in the divine some person of himself would have a perfect
memory, there would be a process ad infinitum.
125 The other part of the minor, namely, that perfect memory in
a supposit that has it of itself, is a principle of producing
conceived knowledge,9 is proved: since every created memoryas
memory, not as created, nor as limitedis a principle of
producing conceived knowledge, [and] because no imperfection is
a reason for acting, therefore it is a perfect principle producing
conceived knowledge corresponding to itself. And this pertains to
it by reason of its natural perfection; therefore it pertains to it
most perfectly where there is the most perfect memory that
functions most perfectly. But such is [the case] in the uncreated
supposit of the Father; therefore, etc.

n The very term concept can be seen in terms of an idea as a child conceived
by the mind. Memory's ability to recall what it knows stresses this aspect of the
mind, as opposed to the intellect, which rather implies that the mind is
conceiving because something from the outside is informing it, that is,
transferring the form of the object as an impression on the intellect qua matter.
153 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

[A. Quattuor instantiae

contra responsionem supra dictam]

126 Sed huic rationi insto quadrupliciter ut amplius declaretur.

Dicetur tibi primo ad minorem quod verum est quod memoria
creata, unde creata, non est principium producendi notitiam
genitam, sed ut memoria habens tamen unitatem univocationis
secundum eius rationem formalem; memoria vero creata non est
univoca memoriae divinae nec e converso, sed tantum analoga.
127 Ex hoc infero propositum sic: cuilibet habenti unitatem
analogiae, si convenit sibi esse principium perfectum agendi
posteriori multo perfectius, et illi cui primo et perfectissime
convenit ad quod cetera reducuntur. Ut si calefacere convenit igni
et soli analogice, quia calorem habent analogice, si calor in igne
potest esse principium calefaciendi, multo magis et calor in sole si
haberet calorem. Similiter, si verum creatum sit sui
declarativum, et verum increatum, II Metaphysicae.55 Si igitur
convenit memoriae creatae, unde memoria, esse principium
producendi notitiam genitam ex perfectione sua, multo magis
memoriae increatae perfectissimae ad quam memoria creata
128 Secundo rationi primae insto sic: memoria solum est
principium productivum notitiae genitae quando intellectus
potest recipere intellectionem vel notitiam genitam aliam a se
tanquam perfectionem suam, ut in nobis. Sed sic non est in Deo,
quia intellectus divinus non potest gignere aliam notitiam a se et
illam ut suam perfectionem recipere, cum sit infinitus et infinite
perfectus. Ergo ibi memoria non erit principium productivum.
129 Tertio insto sic: nihil debet in divinis poni superfluum; in
nobis ponitur memoria productiva notitiae ut per eam

" Aristot., Metaph. II (a), c. 1 (9936 23-8).

M Attribuitur: melius lege reducitur.
Dist. 2, Part III, Question One 153

Four objections to the aforesaid response

126 But to this argument I raise a fourfold objection, so that this

may serve to explain it more fully. You would first object to the
minor premise, that it is true that created memory, as created, is
not a principle of producing conceived knowledge, but rather as a
memory having unity of univocation according to its formal
notion;i0 however, created memory is not a univocal likeness to
the divine memory, but only analogous to it.
127 On this account I present what is proposed in this way.
Regarding anything having unity of analogy, if it is suited to it to
be a perfect principle of acting, that is much more perfect than
what is posterior [i.e., in the order of perfection], then [all the
more so] it is suited to what is primary and most perfect [in the
hierarchical order], to which all the others [in that order] are
traced back. E.g., given that the ability to heat is suited both to
fire and to the sun analogically, because they both possess heat in
an analogical way, if the heat in [elementary] fire can be the
principle of heating, much more so the heat in the sun, if it were
to have heat. Likewise, if created truth tends to manifest itself,
then uncreated truth does so as well, according to Bk. II of the
Metaphysics. If therefore it is suited to created memory qua
memory to be a principle of producing conceived knowledge by
reason of its perfection, all the more so to the uncreated and most
perfect memory, to which created memory is traced back.
128 I object to the first proof secondly in this way: memory is a
productive principle of conceived knowledge only when the
intellect can receive intellection or conceived knowledge other
than itself as its perfection, as in us. But such is not the case in
God, because the divine intellect cannot generate knowledge that
is other than itself, receiving it as its perfection, since it is infinite
and infinitely perfect. Therefore memory will not be a productive
principle there.
129 I object thirdly in this fashion: nothing must be posited in
the divine that is superfluous; in us memory that is productive of

i0 That is to say, when something is recalled from memory it presumably is

something stored there potentially, and potency and its actualization are
identical in form, according to Aristotle.
154 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

perficiamur. Hoc non convenit intellectui divino, quia non

formaliter perficitur per genitam notitiam, sed per notitiam
ingenitam essentialem eandem sibi.
130 Ex secunda instantia infero propositum sic: quandocumque
in aliquo concurrunt duo, unum per se et reliquum per accidens,
scilicet ratio agendi et patiendi, ubi illud quod est ratio agendi est
per se, non minus est ratio agendi; patet II Physicorum51 de
medico sanante se, si separaretur medicina ab infirmitate,
nihilominus erit medicina ratio sanandi. Igitur si separentur ista
ab invicem in intellectu quocumque, remanente eo quod erat per
se ratio principii productivi, adhuc erit ratio producendi,
quantumcumque non sit ibi potentialitas passiva. Exemplum
huius potest esse: si intellectui nostro esset concreata vel
connaturalis notitia sui sive consubstantialis, secundum quod
quidam intelligunt Augustinum de notitia abdita, XIV De
Trinitate, cap. 7. 58 Tunc licet intellectus non posset habere
notitiam genitam qua cognoscit se, quia cognoscit per notitiam
concreatam, secundum istos, si tamen potest habere aliud
obiectum actu intelligibile sibi praesens, potest aliam notitiam
gignere in passo approximato si quod tale sit vel per se
stantem si habeat talem virtutem ad producendum aliquid per se
stans. Ergo ab intellectu divino, et nostro similiter, circumscripta
ratione receptivi notitiae, si remaneat in eo ratio productivi
notitiae, et hoc per se stantis, poterit talis notitia gigni licet non
recipiatur in intellectu qui est principium gignendi.
131 Tertia etiam instantia concludit propositum: in omni ordine
agentium, praecipue ibi ubi principium activum non dicit de se
aliquid imperfectum, status est ad aliquod principium simpliciter
perfectum quod agit ex plenitudine perfectionis suae. Sed

r'7 Aristot., Physica II, c. 1 (1926 23-7).

M August., De Trin. XIV, c. 7, n. 9 (CCSL 50A. 433; PL 42, 1043).
Dist. 2, Part III, Question One 154

knowledge is posited in order that through it we may be

perfected. This does not apply to the divine intellect, because it is
not formally perfected by the conceived knowledge, but by
essential knowledge that is not begotten, which knowledge is the
same as itself.
130 On account of the second objection I present what is
proposed in this way: whenever two things concur in some
thingone per se and the other incidentally, namely, the basis
for acting and being receptive to impressionswhere that which
is the reason for acting is per se [and not incidental], it is no less
the basis for acting; this is evident from Bk. II of the Physics,
about the physician who heals himself: if medical skill were
separated from sickness [as a passive principle], it would be no
less the reason for healing. Therefore if one were to separate
these [i.e., memory and conceived knowledge] from each other in
any intellect whatsoever in such a way that that which was per se
the basis of a productive principle would remain, it would still be
the basis of productivity, no matter how much passive
potentiality were lacking. An example of this could be if
knowledge of itself was innate to, or created with our intellect
and consubstantial with it, which is how certain ones understand
what Augustine says about hidden knowledge, in Bk. XIV of The
Trinity, chapter 7. Then, although the intellect could not possess
conceived knowledge, by which it knew itselfbecause, according
to those, it knows through innate knowledgebut if nevertheless
it had another object that was actually intelligible and present to
it, it could generate knowledge in some other nearby patient*if
such existedor cause this conceived knowledge to stand on its
own, if it had such power to produce something that stands on its
own. Therefore, if one removes the aspect of received knowledge
from the divine intellect, and likewise from ours, given that the
characteristic of productive knowledge were to remain in it,
moreover, retaining its per se status, such knowledge could be
conceived, despite the fact that it may not be received in the
intellect which is the principle of its conception.
131 Also the third objection leads to the conclusion we propose
[in the following manner]. Every order of agents, especially where
the active principle does not imply of itself any imperfection,
155 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

intellectus est tale principium et voluntas similiter. Ergo in isto

genere necesse est stare ad aliquod principium simpliciter
perfectum. Sed nullum est agens simpliciter perfectum
cuiusmodi est agens ex libertate secundum Avicennam VIII
Metaphysicae, cap. ultimo,59 quod exspectat perfici per suam
operationem, quia nullum agens liberaliter agit quod exspectat
perfici sua actione. Sicut in actibus humanis non dicitur liberalis
qui exspectat retributionem. Ergo intellectus perfectus, habens
obiectum intelligibile actu sibi praesens sive memoria perfecta,
non recipit nec perficitur notitia quam producit. Et cum arguitur:
'aliter erit frustra', non sequitur. Nam productum est summe
bonum per se stans ex plenitudine perfectionis ipsius producentis.
Non autem est productum, ut per ipsum producens perficiatur.
132 Quarta instantia est ista, et est secundum intentionem
philosophorum magis sic: memoria in quocumque vel est realiter
productiva notitiae genitae ut in nobis, vel quasi-productiva ut in
Deo, quia ibi intelligitur intellectio sua actualis quasi notitia
genita. Tunc arguo: productivum habens productum adaequatum
non potest aliud producere. Ergo cum totum istud 'intellectus
habens actu obiectum intelligibile sibi praesens', vel memoria,
habeat in intellectu paterno notitiam ingenitam quasi-productam
sibi adaequatam aliquo modo secundum rationem intelligendi
posteriorem tali memoria vel praesentia obiecti, videtur quod
nullam virtutem aliam habeat ulterius ad producendum notitiam
distinctam genitam aliam ab ista.
133 Istam instantiam duco ad oppositum, quia si potentia vel
intellectus habens obiectum actu intelligibile sibi praesens, vel
memoria in Patre habeat ibi notitiam actualem Patris quasi-

M Avicenna, Metaph. VIII, c. 7 (AviL, 429s).

Dist. 2, Part III, Question One 155

comes to a stop in some simply perfect agent, which acts because

of the plenitude of its perfection. But the intellect is such a
principle11 and the will is likewise. Therefore in this class of
things it is necessary to come to some principle that is simply
perfect in an unqualified sense. But, according to Avicenna in his
Metaphysics, Bk. VIII, the last chapter,12 no agent is simply
perfectsuch is the one that acts freelyif it expects to be
perfected by its operation, because no agent acts freely if it looks
forward to being perfected by its action. Just as in human actions
one is not considered to be liberal that expects some return.
Therefore the perfect intellect or a perfect memory, having an
intelligible object actually present to it, does not receive anything,
nor is it perfected by the knowledge which it produces. And if it is
argued "Otherwise it will be in vain," this does not follow. For the
product is the highest good standing per se from the plenitude of
perfection of its producer. But it is not produced, in order that the
producer be perfected through it.
132 The fourth objection is the following, and it is based more on
the intention of the philosophers in this way: memory in anything
either is really productive of conceived knowledge as it is in us, or
quasi-productive as it is in God, because there one understands
his actual knowledge as if it were conceived knowledge. Then I
argue: what is productive, once it has an adequate product,
cannot produce another. Therefore, when either the 'intellect
having an actual and intelligible object present to it,' or the
memory in the paternal intellect has unbegotten knowledge
produced, as it were, as adequate to itself in some way, according
to the notion of understanding that is posterior to such a memory
or presence of an object, it seems it would have no further power
of producing distinct conceived knowledge, other than this.
133 This objection I draw to an opposite conclusion, because if
the potency or intellect (having an intelligible object present to
itself actually) or the memory in the Father would have there
actual knowledge of the Father as quasi-produced, nevertheless it

" I.e., the one that does not of itself imply any limitation or imperfection.
n Avicenna implies that such an agent acts necessarily and not freely and by
so acting acquires some perfection it did not possess before.
156 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

productam, non tamen habet illa notitiam actualem in Patre vere

et realiter productam. Nulli autem principio productivo ex se
tollitur producere ut est in aliquo, nisi intelligatur produxisse
aliqua productione adaequata virtuti talis principii productivi, et
ideo quantumcumque ut in Patre habeat quasi-productum, adhuc
potest habere vere productum. Sed cum habuerit vere et realiter
productum adaequatum sibi, non potest in aliud productum.

[B. Ad rationes in oppositum]

134 Ad rationes in oppositum. Ad primum60 de possibili

respondeo: hoc nomen 'potentia' multos decipit et multipliciter
sumitur quod decipit ignorantes. Dicitur enim multipliciter, sicut
patet per suum oppositum iuxta considerationem Philosophi V
135 Potentia enim uno modo opponitur impossibili, et sic
possibile convenit cuilibet enti quia tam Deo quam creaturae, tam
habentibus esse essentiae quam exsistentiae, tam conceptibus
simplicibus quam compositis, ubi non est repugnantia, ut cum
dico 'homo irrationalis', vel ubi extrema non repugnat sicut hic
'homo non est animal'. Et de isto conceditur quod 'omne
productum est possibile' quia termini non repugnant. Et sic
concedo quod 'Verbum potest esse' et 'Pater potest esse' quia non
est impossibile eos esse.
136 Alio modo accipitur 'potentia' prout opponitur necesse esse,
et hoc modo possibile est contingens ad utrumlibet. Et de isto
possibili non tenet consequentia 'si est productum, ergo est
possibile', quia personae divinae sunt necessariae et non
contingentes. Sed oppositum sequitur, scilicet quod productum
non sit possibile hoc modo sed necessarium.
137 Tertio modo 'potentia' opponitur actui. Et isto modo illud
quod nihil est dicitur possibile esse, et sic est differentia entis, et

no Cf. supra n. 107.

01 Aristot., Metaph. V (A), c. 12 (1019a 15-1020a 5).
Dist. 2, Part III, Question One 156

does not have actual knowledge in the Father truly and really
produced. But no principle productive by itself is deprived, as it is
in something else, of production, unless it be understood to have
produced by some production adequate to the power of such a
productive principle. Therefore, no matter to what extent it would
have a quasi-product, as in the Father, it still can have a true
product. But when it would have truly and really produced
something adequate to itself, it cannot have another [adequate]

Reply to the initial arguments

134 To the reasons for the opposite. To the first [n. 107] about
the possible I respond: this term 'potency' deceives many and is
taken in several senses that deceive the ignorant. For it is
predicated in several ways as is evident through its opposites
according to the consideration of the Philosopher in the
135 For in one way potency is opposed to the impossible, and
thus possible pertains to everything to which 'being' does, because
it pertains both to God and to creatures, and to things having the
being of essence as well as the being of existence, both to simple
concepts as well as those that are composed, where there is no
repugnance (such as there is when I say 'irrational man') or
where some terms are not repugnant (as they are here: 'man is
not an animal'). And about this it is conceded that 'every product
is possible,' because the terms are not repugnant. And in this
sense I concede 'The Word* can be' and 'The Father can be,'
because it is not impossible for these to exist.
136 In another way 'potency' is taken as opposed to 'necessary
being,' and in this way possible' is contingent in respect to either
one. And regarding this possible the inference does not hold 'If
something is produced, therefore it is possible,' because the divine
persons are necessary, and not contingent. But the opposite
follows, namely that the product is not possible in this sense, but
137 In a third way 'potency' is opposed to act. And in this way
that which is nothing [i.e., what does not exist] is said to be
157 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

sic non tenet consequentia, quia ista potentia dicit simpliciter

imperfectionem eo quod dividitur contra actum. Et omnis persona
producta est purus actus.
138 Quarto modo accipitur 'potentia' ut relative dicitur ad
potentem, ut aliquis dicitur potens potentia activa vel factiva vel
productiva; et sic correspondenter dicitur aliquid possibile,
agibile, factibile vel producibile. Et sic loquendo de possibili vel de
potentia, prout relative accipitur ad potentem, non acceperunt
eam philosophi communius quam pro potentia causativa vel
effectiva quam dixerunt esse respectu alterius in essentia et
natura, quia est principium transmutandi aliud in quantum
aliud. Et non acceperunt eam pro potentia productiva quae potest
esse eiusdem in quantum idem. Et isto modo prout potentia vel
possibile dicitur ad potentem, contrahendo ad causationem vel
efficientiam proprie, sic non est Verbum in divinis possibile
passivum produci. Sed quia secundum veritatem potentia
productiva est in plus quam effectiva, ideo accipiendo possibile ut
refertur ad potentem potentia productiva, bene sequitur 'si est
productum, ergo est possibile', id est potest esse terminus
139 Ad secundum62 dicendum quod idem est necessarium a se
formaliter et non necessarium a se, sed ab alio vel originaliter; et
ista non contradicunt.

6* Cf. supra n. 108.

Dist. 2, Part III, Question One 157

possible being, and in this sense it [i.e., potency] is a variation of

'being,' and so the inference [if something is produced, therefore it
is possible] does not hold, because this potency asserts
unqualified imperfection, in as much as it is distinguished from
act. And every person produced is pure act.
138 A fourth way is understanding 'potency' as relative to what
is potent, as someone is said to be potent by reason of potency,
being able to act, or to make,13 or to produce. And correspondingly
something can be possible, able to be done, able to be made or
produced. And speaking in this way about the 'possible' or
'potency', meaning 'relative to what is potent,' philosophers do not
accept this to be a greater level of commonness than in a
causative or efficient potency, which, they say, one can have
regarding something 'other' in essence or nature, because [such
potency] is defined as the principle of transmuting another
insofar as it is other [i.e., an essence or nature that is really
distinct from the nature of the producer] . And they do not accept
that this [type of 'potency' reaches the level of] a productive
potency, which can be in respect to the same thing qua same. And
in this way, insofar as 'potency' or 'possible' means 'relative to
what is potent,' defining what is causative or efficient [in it] in a
proper sense, the Word in the divine is not something passive
with a potential to be produced. But because in truth the
productive potency is capable of more than the effective one,
therefore by taking 'possible' as referring to what is potent by
reason of a productive potency, it does follow logically, that 'if it is
produced, therefore it is possible,' that is, it can be a term of a
139 To the second [n. 108] it must be said that the same thing
can be both necessary of itself in a formal sense and not necessary
of itself (in a sense of being from another or by reason of origin);
and these do not contradict one another.

11 'Able to make' and 'able to be produced' indicate indifferently a real

opposition, whether it be between cause and effect, or between correlatives,
where both as is the case with the divine persons constituted exclusively by the
opposition of relationships, may share the same one absolute nature. In the case
of generation, as in the case of causation, the action is identified with the product
according to the Aristotelian axiom: "Actio est in passo."
158 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

140 Ad probationem, quando dicitur quod illud quod est

necessarium a se, est necessarium omni alio circumscripta,
dicendum quod aliquid potest circumscribi cuius circumscriptio
est incompossibilis in esse quia habent eandem entitatem. Et
'quod circumscribatur secundum esse' et 'quod non habeat suum
esse', includit contradictionem. Aliquid autem potest circumscribi
cuius circumscriptio non includit contradictionem. Quando igitur
dicitur in prima propositione 'necessarium a se circumscripta
quocumque alio' addo 'cuius circumscriptio non includit
impossibilia vel contradictoria'; tale non potest non esse. Sed
minor 'quod est necessarium ab alio, circumscripta alio, potest
non esse', hoc est falsum, quia includit contradictionem eo quod
illud aliud non dicit aliam entitatem, ut dictum est.
141 Ad tertium63 dico igitur de illo priori, quod in illo 'intelligitur
illud quod est producens, et productum non intelligitur esse', hoc
est verum, 'ergo intelligitur non esse', hoc est falsum. Exemplum:
non est idem intelligere animal absque rationali, et intelligere
ipsum non esse rationale compositive, et non intelligere eum
rationale abstractive. Unde iste est ordo in intellectu: primo non
intelligere esse, secundo intelligere esse; sed in re nullus est ordo.

142 Sed contra: oportet in illo priori non intelligere illud esse,
quia in illo priori non habet esse, alias haberet prioritatem
essendi cum illo primo. Responsio: non intelligitur in illo priori
non-esse absolute, sed non-esse in priori originis, id est, non-esse
a se. Et sic etiam intelligitur esse in illo priori absolute quando

63 Cf supra n. 109.
Dist. 2, Part III, Question One 158

140 As to the proof, when it is said that that which is 'necessary

of itself, is necessary apart from anything else,' it must be said
that (1) something can be written off, whose removal makes being
impossible, because both [the thing and what is written off] have
the same entity. And 'being written off according to being', just as
'not having one's own being,' includes a contradiction. But (2)
something can be written off whose removal does not include a
contradiction. When therefore it is said in the first proposition
'necessary of itself apart from anything else' I add 'whose removal
does not include what is impossible or contradictory'; such thing
cannot not exist. But [what] the minor [implies, namely] "what is
necessary from another, apart from the other has a potential not
to be" is false, because it includes a contradiction, since the 'other'
in this case does not refer to another entity,i4 as was said.
141 To the third [n. 109] I say, therefore, about that prior
instant, that in itthis is true'the producer is understood, and
the product is not thought of as existing'; [but to conclude from
this] 'therefore, the [product] is understood not to exist' is false.
For example: it is not the same thing 'to conceive animal without
rational,' and 'to conceive animal as non-rational' in the sense of
composition,* or 'not to conceive animal as rational' in the sense
of abstraction; hence there is an order in what is thought: first,
not to think of [something] as existing, and, second, to understand
it to exist. But in a thing there is no order.
142 To the contrary however. It is necessary in that logically
prior instant 'not to think that it exists,' precisely because in that
prior logical instant it has no existence, otherwise it would have
the priority of existing together with the first. I reply: in that
prior instant it is not thought of as 'non-existing' absolutely, but
as 'non-existing from the point of view of the priority* of origin,'
i.e., 'non-existing of itself.' And hence it is also thought of as
'existing' absolutely in that prior logical instant, [even] when [the
first] is logically prior,i5 but when it is thought of as being

M That is to say, we are not talking about two opposed absolute beings or
natures, but about two correlatives or relationships which are equally necessary
and are as logicians express it 'simul natura.'
Ir> ...which it is eternally. For the generation is eternal and is always
159 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

illud prius est; sed in posteriori originis intelligitur productum

esse, quia est ab alio. Vel potest sic dici quod veram
abstractionem commutat in falsam, quia in illo priori intelligitur
prius producens quam productum, non tamen in illo priori
quando producens producit intelligitur productum non esse.
Intellectus enim hoc sic abstrahendo, non est tunc abstractivus
tantum, sed etiam divisivus eorum quae sunt in re. Sicut non
sequitur 'animal illud quod est in homine intelligitur non
intellecto rationali, ergo intelligitur non esse rationale'.
Abstractionem igitur considerationis unius sine alio commutas in
abstractionem realem unius ab alio, quod est inconveniens, quia
non est idem ordo in re et in intellectu.

143 Ad quartum64 dico quod aeque primo habent essentiam

'primitate opposita dependentiae', sed non sequitur 'aeque
independenter vel aeque primo habent eam'. Ergo aeque est Pater
a Filio sicut e converso. Vel sic: non oportet productum
dependere, quia dependentia est in diversitate essentiae;
productio autem hoc non includit.

144 Ad probationem: ergo aeque primo erit in utroque.

Responsio: verum est, 'aeque primo primitate opposita
dependentiae'. Sed dicis quod non valet responsio, quia sic
praeexigitur in illo priori esse in utroque, scilicet in producente et
producto. Dico Filium esse necessarium, quia independenter

M Cf. supra n. 110.

Dist. 2, Part III, Question One 159

posterior in origin it is understood as 'being produced,' for it is

from another.16 Or one could express it this way: true
abstraction becomes false, because in that logically prior instant
the producer is thought of as prior [in origin] to the product, not
however in that logically prior moment when the producer
produces is the product thought of as not existing.17 For the
intellect, by abstracting in this fashion, is not then only
abstractive,* but also divisive of those things that are in reality.
Just as this does not follow: "That animal which is in man is
understood without understanding rational, therefore it is
understood to be non-rational." Therefore you commute the
abstraction characteristic of considering one without the other
into a real abstraction of one from the other, which is
incongruous, because the order in a real thing and in the intellect
is not the same.
143 To the fourth [n. 110] I say that both have the nature
'equally first18 by a primacy opposed to dependence,'19 but it does
not follow that they have it 'equally independently' or 'equally
first.' Therefore the Father implies the Son, as much as the Son
implies the Father.20 Or one could say it is not necessary for the
product to depend,' because dependence exists only where there is
a diversity of essence; production however does not include this.
144 As to the proof "therefore the [nature] will be equally first in
both"the reply: it is true "it is equally first by a primacy
opposed to dependence." But you may say that this reply is not
valid, because in this way [or case] existence is prerequired in
that first [logical instant] in both, namely in the producer and in
the product. I say that the Son is necessary, because he

16 That is to say, it does not exist of itself but because it is being constantly
and eternally generated.
17 For the generation is eternal and always both producer and product
actually exist.
18 First = "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and
the Word was God," i.e., there was not first and second in the real order of their
existence as God.
19 Both enjoy the characteristic of being the 'first or primary being' for this is
characteristic of what is essential to all three persons and equally so. This
excludes dependence upon any other absolute entity, i.e., one that exists
substantially as independent of any other.
20 Correlatives are 'simul natura.'
160 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

est eo quod eadem entitate formaliter est. Sed secundum

praedicta aliquid potest esse necessarium formaliter, sed tamen
dependenter propter ordinem originis. Necessarium enim
formaliter et non necessarium originaliter non sunt opposita, ut
dictum est supra.

[Quaestio 2
Utrum in natura divina possint esse
plures productiones intrinsecae]

145 Utrum in natura divina possint esse plures productiones


Videtur quod non: Commentator VIII Physicorum, com-

mento 48:65 In una natura non potest esse nisi unus modus
communicandi, cuius probatio est per duas rationes ibidem.
Prima est quia propriae formae correspondet propria materia, et
agenti particulari propria, agenti universali vel aequivoco alia
materia convenit; ergo diversis productionibus diversas esse
146 Item, si eidem specie convenit diverso modo produci, ergo
ista convenientia talium productionum erit aequivoca, et sic talis
productio vel erit ex necessitate quod non est dare quia tunc
produceret univoce, nec in pluribus per eandem rationem ergo
erit ut raro et per consequens a casu; omnis enim productio vel
est a natura vel a casu, II Physicorum;66 sed casualia non sunt in
determinata specie entium, ibidem; ergo etc.
147 Item, quod non sint tantum duae productiones in divinis;
quia natura et intellectus, II Physicorum 61 distinguuntur
tanquam diversa principia activa, et utriusque ratio vere
invenitur in Deo, quia neutrum includit imperfectionem ad intra,
quia neutrum est productivum ad extra, ergo praeter
productionem voluntatis erunt aliae duae productiones intra.

65 Averroes, Physica VIII, com. 46 (ed. Iuntina IV, 387rE-vH).

M Aristot., Physica II, c. 1 (1926 78); c. 4 (1956 30-1).
67 E.g., cf. ibid., c. 8 (199a 10-33).
Dist. 2, Part III, Question One 160

independently exists, since he exists formally by virtue of the

same entity [i.e., that is necessary]. But according to what was
said before something can be formally necessary, but nevertheless
dependent on account of order of origin. For "formally necessary"
and not necessary by origin [that is, not having necessity of itself
but from another] are not opposed, as was said above.

Question Two
Can there be several intrinsic productions
in the divine nature?

145 Can there be several intrinsic productions in the divine


It seems not:
The Commentator in Bk. VIII of the Physics, comment 48:
"In one nature there can be but one way of communicating," in
proof of which he gives two arguments. The first is that a proper
matter corresponds to a proper form, and to a proper agent its
proper [matter, while] to a universal or equivocal agent some
other matter is suitable; therefore to diverse productions
correspond diverse forms.
146 Also, if it were appropriate to the same in species to be
produced in diverse ways, the agreement of such productions will
be equivocal, and in this way such a production will either be of
necessitybut this cannot be because then it would produce
univocally, nor can it be in most cases, for the same reasonor,
logically, it will be as it were rarely and consequently a chance
event; for every production is either by nature or by chance,
according to Bk. II of the Physics; but chance things are not in a
determinate species of being, ibid.; therefore, etc.
147 Also, that there would not be only two productions in the
divine; because nature and intellect, Bk. II of the Physics, are
distinguished as diverse active principles, and the reason for both
would truly be found in God, because neither includes
imperfection within, for neither is productive outside, therefore
besides the production of the will there would be two other
productions within.
161 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

148 Contra: Illa principia producendi et sola illa quae non

includunt imperfectionem, sunt ponenda in divinis; sed intel
lects et voluntas solum sunt huiusmodi principia; ergo etc.

[I. Status quaestionis

A. Art. 1: Opinio Henrici Gandavensis
1. Expositio opinionis]

149 Responsio: conclusio istius quaestionis omnibus theologis est

certa, sed circa declarationem eius dicit unus magister68 sic, et est
ratio talis. Actus notionales fundantur super essentiales
immanentes, et adaequatur unus notionalis alii essentiali et alius
alii; ergo tot sunt notionales quot essentiales et immanentes; sed
non sunt nisi duo essentiales, scilicet intelligere et velle, ergo etc.
Modus fundandi eorum est quia in quocumque habent esse
intellectus et voluntas, propter separationem eorum a materia
possunt se convertere super se, intelligendo se et actus et obiecta
sua, quia sunt substantiae immateriales et multa talia.
150 Secundum quod dicunt, est quod quodammodo uniformiter
convenit intellectui et voluntati, quia utraque potentia per
actualitatem suam aequaliter convertit se ex parte obiectorum,
quia intellectus ut nudus convertit se super intellectum formatum
notitia simplici; voluntas autem convertit se ad hoc obiectum
amore simplici.
151 Sed quomodo differenter conveniat utrique conversio ista?
Dicunt quod intellectus ut nudus convertendo se super
intellectum formatum se habet sicut passivum formatur ab activo
suo. Et ista declaratio per impressionem est expressio notitiae
declarativae, id est, Verbi. Sed voluntas ut nuda convertendo se
non formatur a voluntate simplici sed convertitur ad volitionem

M Henricus Gand., Quodl. VI, q. 1 in corp. (f. 216X-Y); Summa a. 54, q. 8 in

corp. 01 101D); cf. Duns Scotus, Ord. I, d. 2, nn. 271-81 (II, 287-94).
Dist. 2, Part III, Question Two 161

148 To the contrary: those principles of production and only

those which do not include imperfection, must be postulated in
the divine, but only the intellect and will are principles of this
sort; therefore etc.

To the question

Article One
The opinion of Henry of Ghent

Explanation of the opinion

149 Response: the conclusion of this question is certain for all

theologians, but one master explains it this way, and gives this
sort of reason. Notional* acts are founded upon immanent
essential acts,* and one notional is adequate to one essential and
another is adequate to another; therefore there are as many
notional as essential and immanent actions; but there are only
two essentials, namely, to understand and to will; therefore, etc.
The way of establishing these is because in whatever it is that
they have existence, intellect and will because of their separation
from matter can reflect upon themselves, by understanding
themselves and their action and their object, because they are
immaterial substances and perform many such things.
150 According to what they say, there is something that to a
certain degree is appropriate to both the intellect and will alike,
because both potencies alike through their actualization reflect
upon themselves as regards their objects, because the bare
intellect itself reflects upon an understanding formed by simple
knowledge; but the will itself reflects upon this object through
simple love.
151 But how different would the two reflections be? They say
that the intellect as bare, by converting itself upon the formed
understanding, is in the same state as is something passive that
is formed by its corresponding active potency. And this becoming
clear through impression is an expression of clarifying knowledge,
that is, the Word. But the bare will itself by reflecting is not
formed by simple will, but turns to a simple volition as to its
162 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

simplicem tanquam ad suum passivum de quo excutit et exprimit

et exsufflat amorem incentivum. Vel in hoc potest esse secunda
differentia quod intellectus nudus est passivus et voluntas nuda
est activa. Alia est differentia, quia intellectus formatur
imprimendo, sed voluntas exsufflando, non imprimendo.
152 In ordine ergo intellectus assignat quattuor gradus, ita quod
in primo instanti naturae tantum est intellectus et intelligibile; in
secundo, obiecto sibi praesente imprimit notitiam simplicem, et
talis impressio notitiae facit intellectum naturam et per
consequens fecundum ad producendum; tertio, intellectus nudus
ex actualitate sua active convertit se ad intelligendum totum ut
obiectum suum ut sit fecundus; quarto, ab ipso obiecto tanquam
activo in intellectum nudum sic conversum imprimitur notitia
declarativa, quae dicitur verbum et exprimitur de notitia simplici.
Sed differentia est in hoc quantum ad voluntatem, quia voluntas
in primo instanti tantum est voluntas; secundo, apprehenso bono,
facit volentem se, sed tunc non est fecunda. Tertio convertit se ad
totum ut intellectus, et quarto exprimit.

[2. Contra opinionem Henrici]

153 Iste doctor dicit tria in quibus discordo. Primo quia dicit
quod Verbum divinum generatur per impressionem, et hoc
dimitto usque ad quintam distinctionem.69 Secundo dicit quod
Verbum generatur per intellectum conversum sive ut convertitur.
Tertio dicit quod notitia essentialis est notitia formalis
declarativa Verbi.
154 Contra secundum arguo quod Verbum non gignatur per
conversionem intellectus, quia conversio per te est aliqua actio;
sed actiones sunt suppositorum; ergo convertere non competit
alicui nisi in supposito.
155 Quaero: cuius suppositi est intellectus ille ut convertitur?
Non secundae personae, scilicet Filii. Si enim esset secundae

ra Cf. infra. Dist. 5, p. 2. q. un. nn. 47-93.

Dist. 2, Part III, Question Two 162

patient, out of which it shakes off and squeezes out and breathes
out incentive love. Or there can be a second difference in the fact
that the bare intellect is passive and the bare will is active.
Another difference is that the intellection is formed by being
impressed whereas the will is [formed] by blowing out, not by
being impressed.
152 Therefore in the ordering of the intellect he assigns four
grades, so that in the first instant* of nature there is only the
intellect and the intelligible; in the second, the object presenting
itself impresses simple knowledge, and such an impression of
knowledge makes the intellect a nature and as a consequence
makes it fecund and able to produce; in the third instant, the bare
intellect in its actualization actively turns itself to understanding
the whole compound [intellect/object] as its object in order to be
fecund; in the fourth instant declarative* knowledge, which is
called the Word and is derived from simple knowledge, is
stamped by the object as active into the bare intellect reflecting in
this way. But there is a difference in this from the will, because
the will in the first instance is only will, in the second, after the
good is apprehended, it makes itself willed, but at this point it is
not fecund; in the third instant it reflects upon the whole like the
intellect, and in the fourth instant it breathes out.

Refutation of Henry's opinion

153 This doctor says three things I disagree with. First, because
he says that the divine Word is generated through an impression,
and this I put off discussing until the fifth distinction. Secondly
he says that the Word is generated by the intellect reflecting or
turning upon itself. Third he says that essential knowledge is the
formal declarative knowledge of the Word.
154 Against the second point, I argue that the Word is not
begotten through a reflection of the intellect, because a reflection
according to you is some action; but actions are ascribed to the
supposit [or person]; therefore this reflection does not belong to
anything unless it is something in the supposit.
155 I ask: to which supposit does the reflecting intellect belong?
Not to the second person, namely the Son. For if it did belong to
163 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

personae, et conversio per te praecedit expressionem Verbi, ergo

ante gignitionem Verbi habemus duas personas et post alias duas.
156 Si autem intellectus ut convertitur est primae personae,
tunc arguo sic: cuiuscumque personae est intellectus ut
convertitur super obiectum, eius est ut recipiat notitiam
declarativam; sed primae personae est ut convertitur super
obiectum; huius ergo primae personae est ut recipiat notitiam
157 Probatio maioris: Philosophus IX Metaphysicae10 super illud
"Quando est aliquid in potentia et quando non" dicit quod tunc est
aliquid in potentia propinqua quando nihil oportet addi nec minui
ad hoc quod inducatur actus, etc.; tunc sic: obiecto proportionate
et sufficiente praesente et approximato potentiae, sive patiente
sibi correspondente, id est, disposito et proportionate, de
necessitate sequitur actio absque mutatione passi ad hoc quod
recipiat actum. Sed intellectus non conversus est tale passum
respectu huius obiecti summe proportionatum et approximatum,
et activum est praesens. Ergo absque mutatione esse personalis
habebit idem esse ut recipiat notitiam declarativam; ergo notitia
declarativa formaliter est in Patre.
158 Secundo, contra hoc: quod haec conversio non sit necessaria.
Intellectus enim cum obiecto intelligibili actu sibi praesente, id
est memoria, est principium producendi per modum naturae;
probatum est in quaestione praecedenti. Sed tale non requirit
actum conversivum sui vel alterius antequam exeat in actum, eo
quod memoria perfecta est sufficiens principium gignendi per
modum principii naturae. Ergo non requiritur aliqua conversio.
159 Item, non intelligo quid est dictum 'per conversionem', si
nihil intelligitur esse per conversionem, quod non esset si
conversio non intelligeretur. Quaero et dico quod non, quia
circumscripta conversione, intelligo in divinis quidquid potest
intelligi. Per conversionem enim non intelligitur praesentia

70 Aristot., Metaph. IX (0), c. 5 (10476 35-1048a 1); ibid., c. 7 (1049a 10-2).

Dist. 2, Part III, Question Two 163

the second person, and the reflection according to you precedes

the expression of the Word, therefore before the Word is begotten
we have two persons and afterwards another two.
156 If however the intellect as it reflects belongs to the first
person, then I argue in this way. To whatever person the intellect
belongs as it is reflecting upon an object, this one is receiving
declarative knowledge; but it belongs to the first person as it is
reflecting upon an object; therefore it is the first person that is
receiving declarative knowledge.
157 Proof of the major: the Philosopher in Bk. IX of the
Metaphysics, reflecting on the statement "sometimes a thing is in
potency and sometimes it is not," says that something is in
proximate potency* when nothing has to be added nor taken
away to impel it to act, etc. Then [I argue] in this way: when a
proportionate and sufficient object is present and nearby the
potency, or a patient corresponds to it, that is, as disposed and
proportionate, action of necessity follows, without any change in
the patient required in order to receive the act. But the intellect,
when it is not turned, is such a patient, in the highest way
proportionate and proximate as regards this object, and the active
[agent] is present. Therefore without any change in the personal
being the same being will be receiving declarative knowledge; and
therefore the declarative knowledge will be formally in the
158 Second, against this point, i.e., that this conversion is not
necessary. For the intellect with the intelligible object present,
i.e., memory, is the principle of producing after the manner of
nature; this has been proved in the preceding question. But such
does not require an act of reflection upon itself or another before
it goes into action, for the fact that the memory is perfect suffices
for it to be a principle of begetting after the manner of nature [i.e.
necessarily and not freely]. Therefore no reflection is needed.
159 Also, I do not understand what "through reflection" means,
if nothing is understood to occur through reflection that would
not occur if reflection did not take place. I ask and say that
nothing is [understood], because reflection having been written
off, I understood regarding the divine whatever can be
understood. For the presence of the object is not understood
164 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

obiecti, quia illa est ante omnem conversionem, sicut patet. Nec
perfectio potentiae quia nec potentia dictativa nec cognitiva
perfectior est per conversionem. Nec per conversionem est ibi
determinatio, quia ista haberetur mere naturaliter.
160 Item, quid intelligis per conversionem ex virtute activa? Aut
est actio productiva, et hoc falsum est, quia nihil per eam
producitur. Vel actio vitalis, et hoc non intelligo, quia non est
actio quae est intellectio, quia illa praecedit cum sit notitia
simplex. Nec intelligo sine notitia declarativa, quia illa sequitur.
Unde videtur mihi dictum illud de conversione nimis
metaphoricum, et abducit a veritate.

[B. Art. 2: Notitia essentialis in Patre non est ratio

gignendi Verbum]

161 De secundo articulo: quod intelligentia71 sive notitia

essentialis in Patre non est ratio formalis gignendi Verbum sive
ratio declarativa. Probatio: quia Verbum non gignitur per actum
intelligentiae sed memoriae, sicut dicit Augustinus XV De
Trinitate, cap. 14 in fine:72 "Quomodo inquit Verbum Patris
scientia de scientia", etc.; scientia, secundum eum, nunquam est
nisi in memoria, ergo licet in Patre sit memoria, intelligentia et
voluntas, secundum Augustinum I libro De Trinitate cap. 17,73
tamen omnis intellectio actualis Patris est per intelligentiam;
ergo nulla actio productiva Verbi in Patre est per suam
intelligentiam, et sic per consequens actualis intellectio Patris
non est principium producendi Verbum.
162 Item, si sit ibi aliquod Verbum productum per istam
notitiam, erunt ibi duo verba, ita quod oportet quod sit ibi aliud
Verbum prius productum. Probatio consequentiae: Verbum

71 Cf. Duns Scotus, Ord. I, d. 2, n. 291 01, 299-300).

72 August., De Trin. XV, c. 15, n 24 (CCSL 50A, 498; PL 42, 1078).
7:1 Cf. August., De Trin., multis locis.
Dist. 2, Part III, Question Two 164

through reflection, because that [presence] is prior to any

reflection, as is evident. Nor does it mean the perfection of the
potency, because neither a potency of speaking nor a cognitive
potency becomes more perfect through reflection. Nor is there,
through reflection, [some kind of] demarcation, because this
would be there purely by reason of its nature.
160 Also, what do you understand through reflection that has to
do with an active power? Either it is the productive action, and
this is false, because nothing is produced through it. Or it refers
to vital action, and this I do not understand, because it is not the
same action as intellection, since the latter precedes, for it is
simple knowledge. Nor do I understand it without [the presence
of] declarative knowledge, because that follows. Hence it seems to
me that this talk about reflection is too metaphorical and leads
one away from the truth of the matter.

Article Two
Essential knowledge in the Father is not what generates
the Word.

161 As for the second article: that intelligence or essential

knowledge in the Father is not the formal reason for generating
the Word or a declarative reason. Proof: because the Word is not
generated through an act of understanding, but an act of memory,
as Augustine declares in Bk. XV of The Trinity, chapter 14 at the
end: "How, he asks, is the Word of the Father knowledge from
knowledge," etc.; knowledge according to him is always only in
the memory, therefore although in the Father there is memory,
understanding and will, according to Augustine in Bk. I of The
Trinity, chapter 17, nevertheless all actual knowledge of the
Father is through understanding; therefore no action productive
of the Word in the Father is through his understanding, and thus
as a consequence actual understanding of the Father is not a
principle of producing the Word.
162 Also, if there some Word is produced through this
knowledge, there will be two words, so that it would be necessary
that there be another Word produced before. Proof of the
implication: The Word most expressly manifests that object,
165 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

expressissime declarat illud obiectum quod est principium

immediatissimum exprimendi ipsum; sed antequam intelligatur
illa notitia simplex et actualis quae est principium, per te, ante
praecedit essentia quae praecedit intelligentiam illam quam tu
ponis principium; illa autem essentia nata est declarare et est
principium exprimendi sufficiens sua ratione formali; ergo erit ibi
unum Verbum productum ab ipsa essentia declarativa et aliud ab
actuali notitia.
163 Item, si intellectio actualis Patris esset genita realiter.
essentia divina esset ratio formalis gignendi eam. Probatio: tunc,
secundum eos, sic actualis notitia essentiae non potest esse
formaliter alterius rationis per hoc quod est genita vel non-genita,
quia tunc deitas esset alterius rationis per hoc quod est
communicata vel non-communicata; sed declaratum est quod
actualis notitia in Patre, si esset genita, haberet essentiam
tanquam principium formale; ergo in Filio, ubi est genita et
eiusdem rationis, habebit essentiam pro principio formali; non
ergo habet intellectum vel notitiam simplicem.
164 Si obiciatur per Augustinum, XV De Trinitate, cap. 12,74
quod visio est de visione etc., dico quod exponit se ibi dicens quod
"simillima <enim visio cogitationis> visioni scientiae" gignitur;
igitur "visio cognitionis de visione scientiae", id est de visione
quae est scientia. Sed quomodo de scientia gignitur, id est, de
actu primo in quo relucet obiectum intelligibile actualiter et
continet ipsum? Non enim est ista scientia habitus, sed obiectum
praesens actu primo, vel in se vel in specie.
165 Dico ergo quod ordo est inter intellectionem actualem Patris
et declarativam sive gignitionem Filii, non quidem ordo
producentis et producti, sed productorum ad idem. Prius enim
agens agit in propinquum quam in remotum naturaliter, licet
simul, ut sol illuminat totum caelum vel aerem in instanti et

74 August., De Trin. XV, c. 11, n. 20 (CCSL 50A, 488; PL 42, 1072); c. 12, n.
22 (CCSL 50A, 493-4; PL 42, 1075).
Dist. 2, Part III, Question Two 165

which is the most immediate principle expressing it. However,

prior to understanding that simple and actual knowledgewhich
is, according to you, the principle [of producing the Word]comes
the essence, which precedes that knowledge or understanding,
which you postulate as the principle [of producing the Word]. But
that essence is suited to manifest and is a sufficient principle of
expression according to its formal notion; therefore there will be
one Word produced by that declarative essence and another by
the actual knowledge.
163 Also, if the actual intellection of the Father were really
generated, the divine essence would be the formal reason for
generating it. Proof: according to those, the actual knowledge of
the essence cannot be formally of another sort depending on
whether it is generated or not generated, because then the deity
would be of another sort depending on whether it is
communicated or not communicated; but it has been manifested
that the actual knowledge in the Father, if it were generated,
would have the essence as its formal principle; therefore in the
Son, where it is generated and of the same sort, it would have the
essence as its formal principle: therefore not an intellect or simple
164 If it be objected that, according to Augustine in Bk. XV,
chapter 12 of The Trinity, vision is from vision, etc., I say that he
explains himself here saying that '[the vision of cognition]
becomes most similar to the vision of knowledge,' therefore, "the
vision of cognition [is] from the vision of knowledge," that is, from
the vision that is knowledge. But how is it generated from
knowledge, that is, from the primary act, in which the intelligible
object shines forth actually and which contains it? For this
knowledge is not [an intellectual] habit,* but the object present in
primary act, either in itself or specifically.
165 I say therefore that there is an order between the actual
intellection or understanding of the Father and that which is
declarative or generative of the Son, not indeed an order of the
producer to the product, but such as exists between products. For
the agent naturally acts first on what is nearby before it acts on
what is remote, although both [actions] occur at once, as the Sun
illumines the entire heavens and the air immediately and in an
166 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

immediate, ita quod inter partem priorem et posteriorem non est

ordo causae et causati, sed ordo tantum effectuum, quamvis idem
sit agens in duobus quorum unum est propinquius et aliud
remotius. Sic est in proposito. Essentia divina cum intellectu, id
est memoria, est ratio formalis, et primum est; secundo est
intellectio actualis Patris ab eo, quasi immediatius causata.
Tertio, post sequitur productio Filii non causata ab intellectione
actuali, sed ambo a memoria; sed Verbum mediatius quam notitia
actualis. Unde notitia actualis Patris causatur ita distincta in
intellectu Patris sicut in Filio, et quodammodo prior est ipsa
notitia genita quae est in Filio, quia prius aliquid perficitur
principio in se quam producat aliquid perfectum quasi extra, et
hoc erit in aliquo ordine quo immediatius est in Patre quam in
Filio, eo modo quo dictum est.

[II. Responsio Scoti]

166 Ad quaestionem igitur dico quod quaestio potest dupliciter

intelligi. Primo, an tantum sint duae productiones distinctae
secundum rationes suas formales. Secundo, an in divinis sint
tantum duae productiones eiusdem rationis formaliter distinctae
secundum numerum, ut individua eiusdem speciei quae differunt
secundum numerum et tamen habent eandem rationem
formalem. Et quia quaestio sequens erit de secundo membro, ideo
secundum primum intellectum respondeo ad quaestionem. Et dico
quod tantum sunt duae productiones in divinis alterius rationis
distinctae secundum rationes earum formales. Et primo ostendo
quod duae sunt productiones; secundo quod tantum duae.
167 Primo ostendo sic: ubicumque sunt principia productiva
alterius rationis, eis possunt competere principiationes alterius
rationis, quia non est maior unitas in productionibus quam in
Dist. 2, Part III, Question Two 166

instant, so that between the prior and the posterior part there is
no order of cause and caused, but an order that exists between
effects, although the agent is the same for both cases where one is
closer and the other more remote. So it is in the case at hand. The
divine essence with the intellectual knowledge, that is the
memory, is the formal reason, and is the first thing; the second
thing is the actual understanding of the Father produced by it,
which understanding is, as it were, the more immediate thing
that is caused. Third, the production of the Son occurs afterwards,
not being caused by the actual intellection or understanding, but
by the memory, just as the other, except that [in the case of] the
Word [it happens] in a more mediate way than [with] the actual
knowledge. Hence the actual knowledge of the Father is caused
just as distinctly in the intellect of the Father as in the Son, but
in a certain measure it is prior to that knowledge that is
generated, which is in the Son, because something is first
perfected by the principle in itself before it produces something
perfect that is as, it were, outside, and this will come about in
some orderly way by which it is more immediately in the Father
than in the Son, in the way that has been stated.

The reply of Scotus

166 To the question therefore I say that it can be understood in

two ways. First, whether there are only two productions, distinct
according to their formal notions. Secondly, whether in the divine
there are only two productions formally of the same kind that are
numerically distinct, as individuals of the same species, which
differ in number and nevertheless formally are of the same sort.
And because the second interpretation will be covered in the
following question, therefore I respond to this question [here]
understanding it in the first way. And I say that there are only
two productions in the divine that are of different sorts, distinct
according to their formal notions. And first I show that there are
two productions; and then that there are only two [of them].
167 I show the first in this way: wherever there are productive
principles of different sorts, different principiations* can be
attributed to them, because there is no greater unity in
167 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

principiis productivis; sed in divinis manent duo principia

distincta secundum suas rationes formales principiandi, quia
sicut memoria perfecta in aliquo supposito est principium
perfectum producendi in aliquo naturaliter notitiam sibi
adaequatam, ita voluntas amorem sibi adaequatum libere, scilicet
infinitum amorem et per consequens ad intra, quia ad extra non
potest esse infinitum productum nec virtuti agentis adaequatum;
ergo eis correspondebunt distinctae principiationes sive
productiones formaliter distinctae.
168 Secundo probo quod sunt tantum duae sic: quia omnis
pluralitas reducenda est ad unitatem vel ad paucitatem tantam
ad quantam potest reduci, ergo et multitudo principiandi ad
unam rationem principiandi vel ad tantam paucitatem quantum
possibile est. Sed non potest reduci ad unam rationem
principiandi tantum, quia tunc illud principium simul
principiaret aliquid principiationibus oppositis; sed probatum est
prius quod in divinis manent duae rationes principiandi
formaliter distinctae et per oppositum contra se divisae, ut
voluntatis et memoriae, quia opposite modo principiant, scilicet
per modum naturae et voluntatis liberae. Ergo fiet reductio ad
tantam unitatem quantam possibile est. Possibile autem est ut
fiat reductio ad duas rationes principiandi. Omnes enim rationes
principiandi unius coordinationis, scilicet per modum naturae
quae determinatur ad unum, vel voluntatis quae est oppositorum,
reducuntur ad primum illius coordinationis quod est memoria et
voluntas. Ergo sunt tantum duae formales rationes principiandi
alterius rationis et per consequens tantum duae productiones.

169 Sed contra istam deductionem probo quod rationes

principiandi possent reduci ad unam primam. Nam omnes
perfectiones in divinis reducuntur ad essentiam ut ad fundamen-
tum et pelagus infinitum omnium perfectionum in divinis; sed
sicut aliquid se habet in entitate et in actualitate, et sicut in
Dist. 2, Part III, Question Two 167

productions than there is in their respective productive

principles; in the divine, however, there remain two formally*
distinct sorts of principles, because just as the perfect memory in
some individual subject is a perfect principle of producing
naturally2i adequate knowledge in someone, so the will [is a
perfect principle of producing in someone] freely an adequate
love, namely love that is infinite and as a consequence produced
internally, because externally it could not produce infinite love
nor would the love produced be adequate to the productive power.
Therefore to these will correspond distinct principiations or
formally distinct productions.
168 Secondly, I prove that there are only two in this way: for all
plurality must be led back to unity or to as few as it can be.
Therefore, a multitude of [ways of] principiating* must be led
back to one kind of principiating or to as few as is possible. But
they cannot be reduced to one kind of principiation, because then
that principle would be principiating by opposite kinds of
principiation: it was proved before that in the divine there remain
two types of principiatingbelonging to the will and memory
that are formally distinct and are opposed to one another as
diverse, because of the opposite ways in which they principiate,*
namely, by the [necessary] way that nature acts and by the way
of free will.* Therefore, there will be a reduction to such [level of]
unity as is possible. It is possible, however, that the reduction be
to the two sorts of principiating. For all the notions of
principiating of one hierarchical order, e.g., [formed] after the
manner of nature which is determined to just one, or after the
manner of the will, which [can be inclined] to opposites, are
reduced to the first in each of these hierarchical orders, which are
[in this case] memory and will. Therefore there will be only two
formal ways of principiating of different sorts, and as a
consequence there will be only two productions.
169 But against this deduction I prove that the principiating
notions could be reduced to a single one as first. For all
perfections in the divine are reduced to the essence as to their
basis and an infinite sea of all perfections in the divine; but as
something has entity, also actuality, and as [it has] actuality, also

2i That is, necessarily and not freely.

168 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

actualitate et in actione et in ratione agendi vel activitate

unumquodque enim agit in quantum est in actu; omnis autem
entitas et actualitas maxime reducuntur ad essentiam unam et
maxime actum; ergo et omnes rationes principiandi et agendi
reducuntur ad illam ut ad primam rationem agendi.
170 Item, in creaturis nulla proprietas naturae est principium
communicandi naturam; aliter enim imperfectius esset prin
cipium communicandi perfectius; ergo similiter in divinis nulla
proprietas naturae illius erit principium communicandi essen
tiam; ergo essentia ut essentia est talis ratio communicandi.
171 Item, contra illud quod dicitur quod rationes principiandi
per modum naturae reducuntur ad primum illius coordinationis,
concedo. Et cum dicis quod primum talis coordinationis est
memoria ut memoria, nego; sed essentia in quantum essentia,
quia essentia, si principiat, principiat per modum naturae. Potest
autem principiare in quantum essentia, quia sicut est primum
declarabile, ita est primum expressivum et declarativum suae
declarationis, hoc autem est commune omnibus declarabilibus.
172 Ad primum75 concedo quod proprietates in divinis sunt
distinctae ab essentia et quodammodo posteriores ea, et
reducuntur ad eam ut ad priorem in entitate et actualitate; non
tamen sequitur ut ad eam sicut ad aliquid prius in ratione
principiandi reducantur. Quia in creaturis, etsi sit idem
principium essendi et agendi, prius tamen est principium essendi
quam agendi, quia esse praecedit agere. Ergo idem, ut principium
agendi, reducitur ad se ipsum ut principium essendi sicut ad
prius secundum rationem. Non tamen sequitur ex hoc quod
reducatur ad aliquid prius in ratione agendi. Sic in proposito
concedo quod reducantur omnes proprietates ad essentiam, et
omnes rationes agendi et principiandi ad eam ut ad rationem
essendi, sed non ut ad primam rationem agendi, quia illae
praedictae sunt primae rationes principiandi. Et alius est ordo in

75 Cf. supra n. 169.

Dist. 2, Part III, Question Two 168

action and the basis for acting, or activity, for every single thing
that acts, does so insofar as it is actual. But every entity and
actuality is most of all reduced to the one essence and to what is
maximally act; therefore also any basis for principiating and
acting is reduced to this as to the first basis of acting.
170 Also in creatures no property of nature is a principle for
communicating a nature; for otherwise the most imperfect agent
would be a principle for communicating what is more perfect;
therefore likewise in the divine no property of its nature will be a
principle of communicating the essence; therefore the essence qua
essence will be the reason why it is communicated.
171 Also, regarding that statement that the reasons for
principiating after the manner of nature are reduced to the first
of this order, I concede. But when you name memory qua memory
as what is first in such an order, I deny that; rather it is the
essence qua essence, because the essence, if it functions as a
principle, does so after the manner of nature. But it can function
as a principle insofar as it is an essence, because just as it is the
first thing that is able to be manifested, so it is also the first that
is expressive and declarative of what it manifests, but this is
common to all that is able to be manifested.
172 To the first [n. 169] I concede that properties in the divine
are distinct from the essence and to some extent posterior to it,
and are reduced to it as to what is prior in entity and actuality;
but it does not follow that they are reduced to it as to something
prior under the aspect of principiating. For in creatures, although
the principle of being and of acting is the same thing,
nevertheless the principle of being is prior to that of acting,
because 'to be' precedes 'to act.' Therefore the same thing qua a
principle of acting is reduced to itself qua a principle of being as
to what is first conceptually. But it does not follow from this that
it is reduced to something prior under the aspect of acting. So in
the case at hand I concede that all these properties are traced
back to the essence, and that every reason for acting and
principiating is reduced to it so far as their being is concerned but
not as regards their acting, because the aforesaid are
[themselves] primary reasons for functioning as principles. And
the order in principiating and the order of being or existing is not
169 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

essendo et alius in principiando. Essentia igitur divina habet

primitatem istam ad intellectum et voluntatem, sicut essentia ad
potentias et sicut ratio essendi ad rationem agendi.
173 Ad secundum:76 si accidens in creaturis esset immediatum
principium agendi et communicandi naturam, sicut quidam
dicunt, tunc minor est falsa. Si autem non est ita, sed substantia
est principium agendi, dicendum quod in creaturis proprietas ideo
non est principium communicandi naturam, quia est imperfectior
et distincta realiter a natura communicata; nec natura dat
proprietati rationem agendi. In proposito autem proprietas divina
aeque perfectum esse habet cum divina natura vel essentia, et
aeque perfecte rationem communicandi naturam, sicut si natura
communicaret et ipsa non esset.

174 Sed contra: in creaturis voluntas et intellectus sunt idem

cum essentia animae et non accidentia superaddita, secundum
unam opinionem, et tamen non sunt principia communicandi
naturam. Ergo similiter in divinis de proprietatibus respectu
divinae essentiae. Responsio: supposito quod sint idem cum
essentia animae in essendo, non tamen sunt aeque perfectae in
operando. Unde essentia non dat eis perfectam rationem
principiandi, quia actio et operatio earum est accidentalis eo quod
est operatio immanens, et ideo actio earum non terminatur ad
naturam communicatam. Sed oppositum huius est in proposito.
Nam proprietates divinae sunt aeque perfectae in essendo et
operando vel producendo cum essentia, et productiones earum
sunt eis consubstantiales, et ideo possunt terminum perfectum
aeque communicare.

175 Ad tertium77 dico quod essentia ut essentia non distinguitur

a memoria in ratione principiandi, sed essentia est aliquid
inclusum in memoria. Sicut illi de alia opinione dicunt quod
notitia simplex est pars exprimentis et formalis ratio exprimendi
notitiam declarativam, ita essentia est aliquid memoriae

Cf. supra n. 170.

77 Cf. supra n. 171.
Dist. 2, Part III, Question Two 169

the same. Therefore the divine essence has this [sort of] primacy
with respect to the intellect and will: [namely,] that of an essence
to it potentialities and that of the reason for being to the reason
for acting.
173 To the second [n. 170] if an accident in creatures would be
immediately the principle of acting and of communicating the
nature, as certain ones claim, then the minor is false. If however
it is not so, but substance is the principle of acting, then it must
be said that in creatures a property is not a principle for
communicating a nature, because it is less perfect and really
distinct from the nature communicated; neither does nature give
to the property the aspect of acting. However, in the case at hand
the divine property has being that is as perfect as the one of the
divine nature or essence, and an ability of communicating nature
that is as perfect as in the case if the nature [itself]
communicated and [the divine property] did not exist.
174 But to the contrary: in creatures the will and intellect are
the same thing as the essence of the soul and are not added as
accidents, according to one opinion, and nevertheless they are not
principles for communicating the nature. Therefore it is the same
way in the divine regarding the properties with respect to the
divine essence. Reply: granted that they are the same as the
essence of the soul so far as being or existing goes, they are still
not equally perfect in operating. Hence the essence did not give to
them a perfect basis for principiating, because their action and
operation is accidental by reason of the fact that it is an
immanent operation, and therefore their action does not result in
communicating a nature. But in the case at hand the opposite
occurs. For the divine properties are as perfect in being and in
operating or producing as the essence, and their productions are
of the same substance as they, and therefore they can have
equally perfect terms in communicating.
175 To the third [n. 171] I say that the essence qua essence is
not distinguished from the memory as a reason for principiating,
but the essence is something included in the memory. Just as
those of the other opinion say that simple knowledge is a part of
what is doing the expressing and is the formal reason for
producing the declarative knowledge, so the essence is something
170 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

paternae, quia est primum declarabile, et ideo est expressissima

notitiae declarativae tanquam principium formale exprimendi.
Unde essentia ut essentia vel est memoria vel aliquid memoriae,
quia voco 'memoriam' intellectum habentem essentiam ut
obiectum actu intelligibile sibi praesens. Unde essentia, ut
distinguitur a memoria, nullam actionem habet. Nam uni-
versaliter omnis naturae intellectualis prima operatio est eius ut
habet memoriam, quia prima operatio talis naturae est
intelligere, quod certum est gigni a memoria. Quod autem
essentia concurrat ad rationem completam memoriae patet, et
non solus intellectus infinitus, quia aliter Verbum divinum aeque
esset verbum lapidis sicut Verbum essentiae divinae, eo quod
intellectus infinitus infinite intelligit lapidem sicut essentiam
suam. Et ideo si solus intellectus suus formaliter, non includendo
essentiam divinam secundum rationem eius formalem, esset tota
memoria, Verbum divinum ex vi processionis suae ita esset
verbum lapidis sicut essentiae divinae, quod falsum est, quia
Verbum divinum est primum declarativum essentiae eius, non

[III. Ad rationes principales]

176 Ad rationes principales. Ad primam78 rationem

Commentatoris dicendum quod tantum negat contra Avicennam
de animalibus perfectis ut de homine,79 quia ista quae maiorem
perfectionem requirunt in causa quam perfectionem in causa
aequivoca, cuiusmodi sunt perfecta generata, ista non possunt
produci sine alia causa, scilicet particulari. Quia tamen rationes
suae probant tam de perfecto quam de imperfecto, ideo dictum
Avicennae verum est et secundum philosophiam, et dictum

78 Cf. supra n. 145.

7il Avicenna, De nat. animal. XV, c. 1 (OPh, 59rb-va); cf. Ord. I, dist. 2, n.
Dist. 2, Part III, Question Two 170

of the paternal memory, because it is the first thing able to be

manifested and therefore, as the formal principle of expression, is
in the highest degree expressive of declarative knowledge. Hence
the essence as essence is either the memory or something of the
memory, because I call 'memory' the intellect having the essence
as object, actually intelligible and present to it. Hence the
essence, as distinguished from the memory, has no action. For
universally every first operation of an intellectual nature is of it
as that which has memory, because the first operation of such a
nature is to understand, which is certain to be begotten from
memory. But that it is the essence, and not the infinite intellect
alone, that is needed for the complete notion of memory is
evident, because otherwise the divine Word would be equally a
word of a stone as it is a Word of the divine essence, for the
infinite intellect just as infinitely understands a stone as it
understands its own essence. And therefore if its intellect alone
would be formally the entire memory, not including the divine
essence according to its formal aspect, the divine Word, as it
proceeded, would be as much a word of a stone as it would be of
the divine essence; which is false, because the divine Word is the
first manifestation of its essence and not of a stone.

Reply to the initial arguments

176 To the arguments at the beginning. To the first reason of the

Commentator [n. 145] it must be said that he only denies this [as
regards human generation, because he is arguing] against what
Avicenna said of perfect animals such as man,22 because those
that require perfection in the cause that is greater than the
perfection found in an equivocal causesuch as perfect generated
beingscannot be produced without some other, i.e., particular
cause. But because these arguments of his prove as much about
perfect as about imperfect, therefore the dictum of Avicenna is
true and in accord with philosophy, as the dictum of the

22 Avicenna assumed that man could be generated equivocally in De nat.

animal. XV, c. 1.
171 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

Commentatoris est contra Augustinum, III De Trinitate, cap. 9, 80

genitum aequivoce etc.

177 Et si dicatur quod unus generatus per putrefactionem non

generat univoce, tamen de plantis non potest hoc negari. Similiter
patet hoc in inanimatis: ignis enim generatus motu excussionis de
lapide vel ex reflexione radiorum solis aequivoce generatur,
tamen ignis generatus univoce generat ignem. Patet etiam hoc in
animatis, quia generata aequivoce generant sibi similia sive
univoce. Quod patet ex figura membrorum et ex motu et ex
organis sive instrumentis ad motum et ex obiectis sive corruptivis
sive salvativis, quae omnia concludunt unitatem speciei.
178 Ad rationem igitur Commentatoris, qui videtur ignorasse
distinctionem materiae, I Physicorum81 et V Metaphysicae82 ubi
dicitur quod materia est ex quo fit aliquid cum insit, quando dicit
quod forma determinata requirit materiam determinatam, et
forma eiusdem speciei materiam eiusdem speciei, verum est de
materia quam perficit. Sed tunc minor est falsa, quia ista materia
in fine generationis aequivocae sive per putrefactionem, est
eiusdem rationis cum materia univoce generatorum.
179 Ad probationem dico quod aequivocatio est ibi de materia, id
est, de opposito vel composite corrupto. Licet igitur generetur ex
aere et ex aqua materia, non tamen propter hoc aequivoce est
ignis, secundum Aristotelem VII Metaphysicae,83 ubi dicit quod in

80 August., De Trin. III, c. 8, n. 13 (CCSL 50, 139-40; PL 42, 875-6).

81 Aristot. Physica I, c. 9 (192a 31-2).
82 Aristot. Metaph. V (A), c. 2 (1013a 24-5).
8:1 Aristot, Metaph. VII (Z), c. 7 (1032a 11-2).
Dist. 2, Part III, Question Two 171

Commentator is against what Augustine says in Bk. IIl, chapter 9

of The Trinity23 about being equivocally generated, etc.
177 And if one says that one generated by putrefaction does not
generate univocally, nevertheless about plants this cannot be
stated. Similarly this is evident regarding inanimate things, for
fire generated by striking the stone or from the reflection of rays
of the Sun is generated equivocally, but the generated fire
generates fire univocally. There is also evidence of this in animate
things, because what is generated equivocally generates
univocally things similar to it. This is evident from the shape of
limbs, and from the way they move, and from organs or
instruments of motion, as well as from objects, whether harmful
or beneficial [to animals so produced], which all infer a unity of
178 As for the argument of the Commentatorwho seems to be
ignorant of the definition of matter in Physics I and Metaphysics
V where it is said that matter is that from which something comes
to be when it is in itwhen he says that the determinate form
requires determinate matter and a form of the same species
[requires] the matter of the same species, this is true about
matter which it perfects. But then the minor is false, because the
matter formed as a result of equivocal generation, or through
putrefaction, is of the same sort as the matter in things univocally
179 As a proof I say that an equivocation is there about matter,
that is, about one side of, or a partial composite.24 Therefore
although matter may be generated from air and from water, this
does not result in fire being equivocal, according to Bk. VII of the
Metaphysics, where he says that in artificial things the same can

23 Augustine, The Trinity III, c, 8 n. 13: "Because it was through the [wicked
angels] that the magicians made frogs and serpents when opposing the servants
of God, for they themselves did not create them. For certain seeds of all the
things which are generated in a corporeal and visible fashion lie hidden in the
corporeal elements of this world... For unless there was some such power in these
elements things would not be born so frequently from the earth which have not
been sowed there, nor would so many animals be born whether on land or in the
sea, without any previously commingling of male and female, and yet they
develop and by copulating bring forth others, even though they themselves have
been born without any copulation of parents."
M A free rendering of an obscure phrasing.
172 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

artificialibus eadem possunt generari ab arte et sine arte; sic in

naturalibus quaedam possunt generari univoce per propagati-
onem et aequivoce per putrefactionem secundum quod in materia
est possibilis induci talis dispositio ad talem formam, quae est
similis in specie, inducendam.
180 Ad secundum84 dico quod effectus productus secundum istas
condiciones, ut in pluribus vel raro, potest comparari ad duas
causas, univocam et aequivocam, ut musca ad muscam et ad
solem. Vel potest idem effectus cum suo opposite, id est cum sua
non generatione, comparari ad eandem causam ut ad solem. Si
primo modo inquiratur an musca generata generetur necessario,
aut ut in pluribus aut raro vel in minori parte, a musca generante
vel a sole, dicendum quod nec a sole nec a musca necessario,
necessitate absoluta, quia omne agens naturale potest impediri
respectu productionis sui effectus. Sed dico quod ut in pluribus
producitur per propagationem univoce, et in minori parte sive
raro per putrefactionem et aequivoce, quia frequentius musca vel
mus propagat muscam vel murem quam sol ea generet per
putrefactionem. Sed tamen ex hoc non sequitur 'ergo sol producit
ista a casu, quia non ut in pluribus': sicut mus propagans,
praesente materia debita, virtute seminali eius in maiori parte
producit murem, ita certe et necessario sol in materia disposita et
proportionata actioni suae producit tale animal per
putrefactionem. Unde non ex hoc dicitur aliquid 'raro, id est, a
casu' produci, quia rarius producitur ab una causa quam ab alia,
vel quia raro et in minori parte producitur. Tunc enim diceretur
magis sol eclipsari a casu quam quod lapis cadens frangat caput
quia frequentius accidit lapidi cadere et laedere caput quam
eclipsari. Non ergo sequitur 'aliquid raro producitur a sua causa,
ergo a casu'. Si tamen talis effectus rarus, posita causa,
certitudinaliter eveniat licet raro ponatur talis causa.

w Cf. supra n. 146.

Dist. 2, Part III, Question Two 172

be generated by art and without art. So too in natural things

certain things can be generated univocally through propagation
and equivocally through putrefaction, according to which it is
possible to induce in matter a disposition to a certain form that is
similar [to the other] in species.
180 To the second [n. 146] I say that an effect produced
according to these conditions, either in most cases or rarely, can
be traced back to two causes, one univocal, the other equivocal, as
the fly to a fly or to the sun. Or the same effect with its opposite,
that is, with its non-generation, can be compared to the same
cause, such as to the Sun. If in the first case it is asked whether
the fly generated is generated necessarily by the fly or by the
Sun, either in most cases or rarely and to a lesser extent, it must
be said that neither by the Sun nor by the fly is it necessary, by
any absolute necessity, because every natural agent can be
impeded as regards the production of its effect. But I say that,
just as in most cases it is produced by univocal propagation, so
also in a few cases or rarely by putrefaction and equivocally,
because more frequently a fly or a mouse propagates a fly or a
mouse than the Sun generates one through putrefaction. But
nevertheless from this it does not follow "therefore the Sun
produces it by chance, because it does not [produce it] in most
cases." Just as in most cases a propagating mouse, given the
appropriate matter, produces a mouse by its seminal power, in
the same way the Sun certainly and necessarily produces such an
animal by putrefaction in suitable matter that is disposed
towards its action. Hence this does not mean that something is
produced 'rarely, that is, by chance,' because things are more
rarely produced by one cause than by another or because [some
things] are produced only rarely and in a few cases. For then it
could be said that the eclipse of the Sun is more by chance than a
falling stone cracking the head, because falling stones hurt the
head more frequently than eclipses occur. Therefore it does not
follow "something is rarely produced by its cause, therefore it is
produced by chance." But if such an effect is rare, granted the
cause is posited, the event will [still] take place with certainty,
although such a cause is posited rarely.
173 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

181 Si autem effectus cum suo opposito comparetur ad eandem

causam, et quaeratur an mus vel musca frequentius producatur a
sole, posita actione eius circa materiam debitam, quam suum
oppositum, dico quod frequentius generatur mus vel musca,
posita actione solis circa materiam debitam quam non generatur.
Nam sicut naturale agens per propagationem, si producat
monstrum, a casu illud producit, sic si sol respectu materiae
muris debitae non producat murem, a casu est. Unde aliquid
dicitur produci a casu ab aliqua causa si, frequenter posita causa,
effectus non eveniat, ut ad fossionem terrae frequenter non
accidit inventio thesauri.
182 Ad tertium dico quod memoria potest comparari sive
intellectus ad actum suum elicitum vel ad actus aliarum
potentiarum quorum est directivum sive ad actus aliorum quos
dirigit: sicut patet in artificialibus et in agibilibus in quibus non
solum intellectus proprium actum elicit, sed sicut regula actus
aliorum dirigit. Si modo primo accipiatur memoria, sic non
distinguitur in principiatione a natura, eo quod intellectus vel
memoria mere naturaliter elicit actum intellectionis sive
cognitionis. Si enim intellectus haberet apud se unde posset
producere opposita, adhuc actio respectu unius esset mere
naturalis. Si secundo modo, quia non dirigit nisi concurrente alia
potentia, scilicet libertate voluntatis determinante, sicut scientia
secundum Commentatorem, IX Metaphysicae85 non determinatur
nisi concurrente alia potentia, id est, prohaeresi, et sic memoria
se habet ad opposita et non est naturalis. Sed talis memoria non
est principium productivum in divinis ad intra, sed principium
liberum producendi creaturas tantum, sive res extra. Primo
autem modo, scilicet per modum naturae, est principium
producendi Verbum in divinis, qui modus competit memoriae
respectu notitiae genitae.

Hr> Averroes, Metaph. IX, com. 3-4 (ed. Iuntina VIII, 228v-229r).
Dist. 2, Part III, Question Two 173

181 If however the effect with its opposite is compared to the

same cause and it is asked whether the fly or mouse is produced
more frequently by the Sun, if it acts on suitable matter, than its
opposite [i.e., not produced], I say that under these conditions
more frequently is the mouse or fly generated than not. For just
as a natural agent, if through propagation it produces a monster,
produces it by chance, in the same way, if the Sun, acting on the
matter suitable for a mouse, does not produce a mouse, it is by
chance. Hence something is said to be produced by chance by
some cause if the cause is there frequently and the effect does not
occur, as frequently digging in the earth does not guarantee the
finding of a treasure.
182 To the third [n. 147] I say that memory or intellect can be
compared either to its elicited act or to the acts of other powers,
which it guides, or to the acts of other [things], which it directs.
This is evident in artificial things and in things that can be done,
in which not only does the intellect elicit its own act, but as a rule
directs the acts of other powers. If memory is taken in the first
way, then it is not distinguished in principiation from nature,
because the intellect or the memory elicits an act of intellection or
cognition purely naturally. For if the intellect were to have within
itself the ability to produce the opposite, still its action with
respect to one would be merely natural. If in the second way,
because it only directs in concurrence with another potency,
namely with the freedom of the will as determinative, as science
according the Commentator in Bk. IX of the Metaphysics is only
determined with the concurrence of another potency, that is,
through choice, then memory has itself [effecting] the opposite
and it is not natural. But a memory of this sort in the divine is
not a productive principle internally, but a free principle that
only produces creatures or external things. In the first way,
however, namely after the manner of nature, it is a principle of
producing the Word in the divine, which is a mode that suits the
memory as regards the knowledge generated.
174 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

[Quaestio 3
Utrum in Deo possint esse plures productiones
intrinsecae eiusdem rationis]

183 Utrum in Deo possint esse plures productiones intrinsecae

eiusdem rationis.

Quod sic videtur:

Idem principium in creaturis potest esse sufficiens
principium respectu plurium productionum eiusdem rationis.
Patet de calore respectu plurium calefactionum. Ergo multo
magis idem principium infinitum potest habere plures produc
tiones eiusdem rationis.

184 Contra:
Productio adaequata suo principio productivo est tantum
una numero; sed sic est in divinis, quia quaelibet productio est
infinita sicut et principium productivum; ergo quaelibet productio
in divinis est una numero, et sic non possunt esse plures eiusdem

[I. Ad quaestionem]

185 Ista quaestio, licet secundum processum Magistri habeat

locum suum distinctione 7 III libri,86 ubi quaeritur an sint vel
possint esse in divinis plures filii, quia tamen praecedentia non
essent sufficienter declarata sine ista, ideo hic propono eam. Ad
quam dicunt omnes quod non.

[A. Rationes Henrici Gandavensis earumque


186 Et ratio aliquorum ad hoc declarandum est ista: fecunditas

unius rationis totaliter exhausta per unam productionem in
aliquo principio productivo non extendit se ad aliam
productionem nec ad alium terminum productionis quam ad
terminum productionis quae exhauriebat totam perfectionem

m Petrus Lombardus, Sent. lll, d. 7, c. 1, n. 10 (SB V, 62).

Dist. 2, Part III, Question Three 174

Question Three
Could there be more than one internal production
of the same sort in God?

183 Could there be several internal productions of the same kind

in God?
It seems that there can be.
The same principle in creatures is sufficient for several
productions of the same kind, as is evident about heat with
regard to several heatings. Therefore all the more can the same
infinite principle have several productions of the same kind.
184 To the contrary.
A production adequate to the productive principle is only
one in number; so it is in the divine, because each production is as
infinite as the productive principle; therefore each production in
the divine is one in number, and thus there cannot be several of
the same sort.

To the question

185 According to the way the Master proceeds, the place for this
question is in distinction 7 of the third book, where it is asked
whether there are or could be several sons in the divine, but
because the preceding would not be sufficiently made clear
without this, therefore I raise the question here. To which all
[theologians] say: No!

Henry of Ghent's reasons and their refutation

186 And the reason some give for this is set forth in this way.
The fecundity of one sort, totally exhausted through the one
production in some productive principle, does not extend to
another production nor to any term of the production, other than
the term that has exhausted the entire perfection of the
175 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

productivi principii. Talis est quaecumque productio ad intra in

divinis quia est infinita; ergo etc.
187 Contra: haec ratio non valet, quia omnes transferentes
secundum aliquam similitudinem transferunt. Illud autem
vocabulum 'exhauriri' accipitur a corporalibus ubi aliquid dicitur
exhauriri ab alio quando extrahitur ab alio et non manet in eo,
sicut quando aqua exhauritur de puteo et non manet in eo, dicitur
exhauriri. Sic non potest intelligi in divinis quod fecunditas
alicuius principii productivi sit totaliter exhausta. Ergo si
similitudo sit in aliquo vera, hoc est quia principium productivum
habens unam productionem non manet fecundum vel
productivum respectu alterius actus, sed tunc nihil probat quia
petitur conclusio in praemissa.
188 Alia ratio ponitur talis: productio habens terminum
adaequatum et semper stans, non compatitur secum aliam
eiusdem rationis; sed talis est quaelibet productio ad intra in
divinis; ergo etc.
189 Sed nec ista ratio multum valet, quia aut intelligunt
maiorem de adaequatione intensiva vel extensiva. Si de
extensiva, tunc petitur in minori, scilicet quod quaelibet in divinis
productio sit ad tot extensa per adaequationem ad quot potest
extendi. Si de intensiva, tunc propositio ista iam non est plana,
scilicet quod productio habens terminum adaequatum non
compatitur secum aliam eiusdem rationis, nisi quia ista productio
respectu termini semper stat.
190 Sed si per impossibile cessaret, posset principium in aliam
productionem eiusdem rationis, et per consequens principium
productivum quantum est ex se posset in aliam productionem
eiusdem rationis. Et tunc arguo: principium productivum habens
unam productionem adaequatam, si, quantum ex se est, potest in
aliam productionem eiusdem rationis, necessario exit in actum
respectu illius productionis, si illa alia sit ita necessaria sicut ista
in quam ponitur exire, quia non est maior ratio quare exit in
unam quam in aliam quantum est ex parte sui. Sed secundum
Dist. 2, Part III, Question Three 175

productive principle. Such is the case with any internal

productions in the divine, because it is infinite; therefore etc.
187 On the contrary: this argument is not valid, because all
figurative expressions transfer their meaning on the basis of some
similarity. This verbal expression 'to be exhausted,' however, is
taken from corporeal things where something is said to be
exhausted by another when all is drawn out of it by the other and
nothing remains in it, as when water is drawn out of a well and
nothing remains in it, the well is said to be exhausted. But this
understanding cannot hold in the divine, i.e., that the fecundity of
some productive principle is totally exhausted. Therefore, if the
similarity is in some sense true, it is because the productive
principle having only one production does not remain fecund or
productive with regard to another act, but then nothing is really
proved because the conclusion is begged in the premise.
188 Another reason given is this: a production having an
adequate term and always remaining is not allowed to have with
it another of the same sort; but such is each internal production
in the divine; therefore, etc.
189 But neither is this argument of much value, because they
understand the major either in the sense of intensive, or in the
sense of extensive adequacy. If it is about extensive adequacy,
then the minor begs the question, namely that in the divine each
production adequately extends to just so many as it is able to. If it
is about intensive adequacy, then this propositionnamely, that
a production having an adequate term is not permitted to have
another production of the same sort along with itis only clear if
this production always remains as regards its term.
190 But if, to assume the impossible, it would cease, the
principle would be capable of another production of the same sort,
and as a consequence the productive principle so far as itself is
concerned could have another production of the same sort. And
then I argue: a productive principle having one adequate
production, if, in so far as itself goes, it can have another
production of the same sort, necessarily acts with respect to that
production, if that other is as necessary as this, which it has
produced, because there is no greater reason why it produced one
rather than the other so far as itself is concerned. But according
176 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

praedictam rationem, principium productivum potest in

productionem aliam ab illa in quam exivit quantum est ex parte
sui, et ita est ista necessaria sicut illa in quam exivit. Ergo
necessario exit vel potest exire in utramque productionem
eiusdem rationis. Confirmatur per exemplum: si enim sol
semper staret in illuminatione una sibi adaequata; et quia ista
cessante potest in aliam, ideo dum causat unam illuminatione m,
quantum est ex se, potest in aliam. Et si alia illuminatio est ita
necessaria sicut prima, aeque posset, quantum est ex parte sui, in
utramque. Sic ergo est in proposito.
191 Nec ergo adaequatio intensiva nec extensiva nec etiam
permanentia aeterna alicuius productionis nec fecunditas
exhausta concludunt in divinis impossibilitatem plurium
productionum eiusdem rationis. Debet enim concludi non solum
quod semper stante una non posset in aliam, sed quod quocumque
posito vel remoto non posset in aliam, ita quod si haec non esset
adhuc non posset in aliam.

[B. Opinio Scoti]

192 Ideo dico ad quaestionem quod tantum est una productio

numero unius rationis in divinis, ita quod si ponatur per
impossible vel incompossibile quod haec productio non esset, non
posset in aliam productionem illud principium productivum.
Huius ratio est quia quidquid est in divinis, est de se hoc et ideo
nihil in divinis potest plurificari quod sit unius rationis.
193 Arguitur ergo sic: quidquid est de se hoc, impossible est
quod plurificetur, sed quidquid est in divinis unius rationis est de
se hoc; igitur etc. Maior est evidens, quia quod non potest ab alio
determinari, vel est de se unum, vel in quantum est ex se potest
esse in infinitis.
194 Minor probatur, quia si aliquid in divinis non sit de se hoc,
ergo de se potest esse in pluribus. Sed quod potest distingui in
Dist. 2, Part III, Question Three 176

to the aforesaid reason, a productive principle could on its part

have resulted in a production other than that, in which it actually
resulted. Therefore, it necessarily results in, or could result in
either production of the same sort. This is confirmed by an
example: for even though the Sun always remained in one
illumination adequate to itself, stillbecause in the case if that
ceased it would be able to shine again, while causing one
brilliant light it could cause another so far as itself is concerned.
And if the other illumination would be just as necessary as the
first, it could equally, so far as itself is concerned, shine with
either light. It is so in the case at hand.
191 Therefore, none [of these things] in the divineintensive or
extensive adequacy, or even eternal permanency of some
production, or the exhausted fecunditywould imply the
impossibility of several productions of the same sort. For one
would have to conclude not only that if one always remained, it
would not be capable of another, but that, no matter whether any
one whatsoever was posited or removed, it would not be capable
of another, so that, if this one ceased to exist, it still would not be
capable of another.

The opinion of Scotus

192 Therefore, I say to this question that there is numerically

only one production of the same sort in the divine, so that were
one to assume the impossible or incompatible, i.e., that this
production ceased to exist, there could not be another production
by this productive principle. The reason for this is that because
whatever is in the divine is of itself just a 'this'; therefore, nothing
in the divine can be multiplied that is of one sort.
193 Then it is argued in this way. Whatever is of itself just a
'this' cannot possibly be multiplied, but whatever exists in the
divine that is of one sort, is of itself just 'this'; therefore, etc. The
major is evident, because what cannot be determined by another,
is either of itself just one, or insofar as it is of itself, is able to be
in an infinite number of things.
194 The minor is proved, because if something in the divine
were not just a 'this,' then it could be of itself in many. But what
177 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

plura, non determinat certum numerum in quot sit. Ergo aliquid

in divinis potest esse in infinitis nisi aliunde determinetur.
Oportet ergo ponere in divinis quo determinetur ad plura unius
rationis et de illo quaerendum est: aut illud determinans est
aliquid unius rationis, aut alterius rationis et alterius. Si primo
modo: aut illud determinans est de se hoc, aut plurificabile. Si est
de se hoc, eadem ratione standum fuit in primo et habetur
propositum. Si sit plurificabile, ergo, cum quantum ex se est non
determinetur ad certum numerum, potest esse in infinitis et
proceditur in infinitum. Oportet ergo dicere quod determinetur ad
plura unius rationis per aliqua alterius et alterius rationis. Et
tunc quaero de uno illorum: aut est de se hoc, aut non. Si non,
ergo potest esse in infinitis quantum est de se nisi determinetur
aliunde. Si est de se hoc, pari ratione standum fuit in primo. Sic
ergo dico quod ratio in divinis, quare non possunt esse plures
productiones unius rationis, est quia quaelibet productio divina
de se est hoc, et omnia alia quae sunt ibi.

[II. Ad argumentum principale]

195 Ad rationem in contrarium87 dicendum quod in creaturis

eiusdem principii productivi possunt esse plures productiones
unius rationis, quia nullum productum in creaturis est de se hoc.
Et ideo nec aliqua productio terminata ad tale productum vel tale
principiatum est de se hoc, quia sic principiatio et productio illius
producti essent de se haec. Sic autem est in proposito ubi
productum est de se hoc, et ideo principiatio vel productio erit de

H7 Cf. supra n. 184.

Dist. 2, Part III, Question Three 177

can be spread out into many, does not determine a specific

number of beings in which it can exist. Therefore, something in
the divine can be in an infinity of things unless it is otherwise
determined. It is necessary therefore to assume in the divine
something by which it is determined to several of one sort,
concerning which one must ask: either this determining agent is
something of one kind, or it is of one sort and another [i.e., two]. If
the first is the case then either that determinant is of itself just a
'this' or it can be multiplied. If it is of itself just 'this,' then for the
same reason one could stop with the first way and what I propose
is granted. If it can be multiplied, then, since so far as itself is
concerned it is not determined to any certain [finite] number, it
can be in infinite things and goes on ad infinitum. Therefore one
would have to say that it is determined to several things of one
sort through something of one and another sort [i.e., of two sorts].
And then I ask about one of these: either it is of itself just a 'this'
or else it is not. If not, therefore it can be in an infinity so far as
itself is concerned, unless it is determined from somewhere else.
If it is of itself just this individual, for the same reason one could
stop with the first way. This is why I say that the reason that in
the divine there cannot be several productions of the same sort is
that each divine production is of itself individual, as well as
everything else that is to be found there.

To the initial argument

195 To the argument in the beginning to the contrary [n. 184]

one must say that in creatures there can be several productions of
one sort by the same productive principle, because no product in
creatures is of itself individual. And therefore nor is any
production limited to just such a product, or something resulting
from a principle, just 'this' of itself, because in this way the
production of this product, as well as the function of acting as a
principle, would be just 'this' of itself. But it is this way in our
proposal where the product is of itself just 'this,' and therefore the
production or the function of acting as a principle is of itself just
'this.' For the unity is greater or at least as great in the
productive principle as it is in the product and the same holds for
178 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

se haec, quia maior est unitas vel saltem tanta in principio

productivo sicut in producto et principiato sive in termino.

[Quaestio 4
Utrum sint tantum tres personae in natura divina]

196 Utrum sint tantum tres personae in natura divina.

Videtur quod non:
"Quaecumque uni et eidem simpliciter sunt eadem, inter se
sunt simpliciter eadem";88 personae divinae sunt huiusmodi, ergo
etc. { Maior probatur quia alias omnis forma syllogistica
pervertitur quae concludit ex unitate unam de alia eo quod idem
197 Item, quod tantum duae, probatio: quia aequalis dignitas est
esse a se et ab alio in divinis; ergo cum esse a se tantum
conveniat uni, et ab alio esse tantum uni conveniet.
198 Item, quod sint quattuor personae, probatur: relationes
oppositae commultiplicantur; ergo spirationi passivae et
generationi passivae correspondentes erunt duae oppositae
constituentes sicut istae constituunt.

199 Contra:
I loan. 5[, 7]: Tres sunt qui testimonium dant in caelo, Pater
et Filius et Spiritus Sanctus.

[I. Ad quaestionem]

200 Quae hic dicta sunt a philosophis vel ab haereticis sunt

sophismata et possunt solvi naturali ratione, ut illud quod dicit
Commentator XII Metaphysicae, com. 6390 ubi allegatur quod
attributis,91 et huiusmodi alia quae adducunt.
201 Ad quaestionem igitur respondeo. Ostendo primo quid sit
tenendum pro veritate; secundo ostendam modum quo veritas
ista sit declaranda.

HH Euclides, Elementa I (ed. H.L.L. Busard, 33).

B,l Textus intra in uno tantum codice continetur, sed ad n. 225 (q.v.)
necessarius videtur.
90 Non invenimus.
91 Quod attributis: sic omnes paene codd., cum bene interpretari non possit.
Dist. 2, Part III, Question Three 178

what is functioning as a principle in respect to what results


Question Four
Can there be but three persons in the divine?

196 Can there be only three persons in the divine?

It seems not to be the case: "All things whatsoever that are
identical to one and the same thing are identical to each other."
The divine persons are such; therefore etc. { The major is
proved: because otherwise every form of the syllogism is
perverted, which concludes from the unity [of the middle term]
that one is identical with the other because they have the same
middle term.}25
197 Also, proof that they are only two: to be of oneself and from
another in the divine has equal dignity; therefore since to be of
itself pertains to but one person, then to be from another also will
pertain to just one person.
198 Also, proof that there would be four persons. Opposite
relationships are mutually multiplied; therefore corresponding to
passive spiration and to passive generation are two opposite
persons constituted as these two [viz. Son and Holy Spirit] are [by
opposite relationships].
199 To the contrary I John 5[:7]: "There are three that testify in
heaven, Father, Son and Holy Spirit."

To the question

200 What has been said by the philosophers or heretics here are
sophisms and can be solved by natural reason, as what the
Commentator discusses in Bk. XII of the Metaphysics, comment
63 where he speaks about various allegations and such other
things as they bring up.
201 Therefore, I reply to the question. I show first what must be
held as the truth; second, I show the way to clarify this truth.

25 This text seems to be needed for n. 225; see note to the Latin.
179 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I -A

[A. Art. 1: Pro veritate quid sit tenendum]

202 Circa primum ad probandum conclusionem esse veram,

ostendo primo quod duae personae sint productae. Tertio,92 quod
tantum duae sint productae. Primum probo sic: duae sunt
productiones intrinsecae in divinis; sed utraque productione
producitur aliqua persona distincta a producente, quia "nihil est
quod se ipsum gignat vel producat ut sit". Non sunt autem
distincta essentialiter, quia eadem sunt essentialiter. Ergo sunt
distincta personaliter, quia sunt productiones perfectae, et
tantum unica persona unica productione. Ergo tantum sunt duae
personae productae. Nec potest esse nisi una productio unius
rationis, quia principio productivo unius rationis non
correspondet nisi una productio unius rationis. Sed in divinis sunt
tantum duo principia productiva, intellectus et voluntas, ut
ostensum est prius, et utrumque est tantum unius rationis in se,
et productio utrique correspondens erit unius rationis. Sed non
possunt esse productiones plures unius rationis, ut ostensum est
supra; ergo etc. Et sic tantum duo termini producti.

203 Sed dices: una et eadem persona potest produci utraque

productione. Contra: impossible est eandem personam duabus
productionibus totalibus et perfectis accipere esse, quia si hac
productione accipit esse, totaliter et perfecte est, circumscripta
omni alia. Et si accipit esse alia productione totaliter et perfecte,
non est sine ea; ergo simul est et non est; hoc est impossibile.

204 Tertio ostendo quod sit aliqua persona non producta per
eandem rationem qua probatur quod sit aliquod ens primum.
Cum enim sit aliqua persona producta, non producit se nec
producitur a nihilo, ergo producitur ab alia, et non est processus
in infinitum. Ergo est aliqua persona omnino non producta et
prima, sicut probatum fuit in quaestione de productione rerum ad
extra in quibus est aliquod primum in entibus ex ordine

92 Tertio: sic codd.

Dist. 2, Part III, Question Four 179

Article One
What must be held as true?

202 As for the first, to prove the conclusion is true, I show first
that two persons are produced. Third,26 I show that only two
persons are produced. The first I prove in this way. There are two
intrinsic productions in the divine, but each production produces
one person distinct from the one producing, since there is nothing
that begets itself or produces itself; however, they are not distinct
essentially, because they are the same essentially; therefore they
are distinct personally, because they are perfect productions, and
only a single person is produced by a single production. Therefore,
there are only two persons produced. Moreover, there can be only
one production of the same sort, because only one production of
the same sort corresponds to a productive principle of the same
sort. But in the divine there are only two productive principles,
intellect and will, as was shown earlier: each is only one sort of
thing in itself, and the production that corresponds to each is only
one sort of thing in itself. But there cannot be several productions
of one sort, as has been shown above, therefore, etc. And in this
way there are only two terms produced.
203 But you may object that the same person could be produced
by each production. To the contrary. It is impossible that it is
the same person that receives being by two total and perfect
productions, because if it receives being by this production, it
totally and perfectly exists apart from any other production. And
if it receives being from another production perfectly and totally,
it does not exist without that [other production]; therefore it both
is and is not, which is impossible.
204 Thirdly I show that there is some person that is not
produced: by the same argument by which it is proved that some
being is first. For since some person is produced, that person
neither produced itself nor was it produced from nothing;
therefore it is produced by another and there is no process ad
infinitum. Then there is some person that is in no way produced
and is first, as was proved in the question about the production of
things externally in which there is some first entity among beings

26 "Third": thus MSS.

180 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

causarum. Sic similiter est hic in ordine productionis et originis

ad intra. Omnium enim inferiorum secundorum necesse est esse
aliquod primum sive ab aliquo primo, in quaestione de primitate

[1. Opinio Henrici Gandavensis

a. Expositio opinionis]

205 Quarto, quod illa persona non producta sit tantum unica;
probat quidam doctor quod unitas innascibilis sive personae a se
probatur sicut unitas Dei sive sicut Deus est unus. Et confirmatur
hoc per Hilarium, De synodis,93 qui dicit quod qui ponit duos
innascibiles ponit duos deos. In littera vide auctoritatem.94
206 Praeterea, probat hoc idem per rationem, quia si sunt plura
a se, hoc erit vel absolute plura vel relative; non absolute, quia
non est nisi una natura; si relative, ergo vel dicuntur mutuo
relative inter se vel non mutuo. Si mutuo, hoc falsum est, quia
nulla esset ibi oppositio relativa, quia nulla ratio originis vel
productionis inter ea. Si autem sint plura relative dicta non
mutuo, hoc est dupliciter: vel ad alia priora secundum se quibus
ista sunt posteriora, et sic ista non erunt prima a se. Vel per
respectum ad alia eis posteriora, et hoc est impossibile, quia non
distinguerent tales relationes illas duas personas a se, sicut nec
Pater nec Spiritus Sanctus distinguuntur relatione posteriori ad
Patrem et Spiritum Sanctum. Ratio enim distinguens vel
distinctiva necessario prior est distincto.

M Hilarius, De synodo n. 59-60 (PL 10. 521).

l11 Petrus Lombardus, Sent. I, d. 31, c. 2, n. 8 (SB IV, 228).
Dist. 2, Part III, Question Four 180

from the order that exists in causes. It is similar here in the order
of productions and of origins internally. For of all lesser
secondary entities there has to be some entity that is first or is
itself from something that is first, [as was proved] in the question
about the primacy above.

The opinion of Henry of Ghent

Explanation of the opinion

205 Fourth, that there is only one person that is not produced; a
certain doctor proves that the unity of being unbegotten or of a
person being only from himself (a se) is proved, just as the unity
of God or that God is one [is proved]. And this is confirmed by
Hilary in De synodis, who says that he who posits two
unbegottens posits two gods. See the authoritative citation in the
text [of Peter Lombard].
206 Furthermore, he proves the same through [an argument
from] reason, because if there are several that are not from
another this will be either from what is absolutely several or
relatively such; it is not from what is absolutely several, because
there is only one nature; if it is relatively several, therefore either
they are asserted mutually of one another or not mutually. If
mutually, this is false, because there is no relative opposition
there, since there is no [possibility] that each originated from, or
was produced by, the other. If, however, they are said to be
relatively several, but not mutually, this is twofold: either in
relation to something by itself prior [to them], to which they are
posteriorand in this way they will not be first of themselvesor
in relation to something posterior to them; and this is impossible,
because such relations would not distinguish those two persons
from each other, just as neither the Father nor the Holy Spirit are
distinguished by a relation posterior to the Father and Holy
Spirit. For the distinguishing reason is necessarily prior to the
181 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

[b. Contra opinionem Henrici]

207 Sed contra hoc arguo, scilicet quod istae rationes non
declarant propositum, quia unitas Dei probatur ex perfectionibus
simpliciter convenientibus Deo et essentiae divinae. Sed
paternitas nullam perfectionem dicit, sed proprietatem relativam.
Ergo ex unitate Dei non potest argui primitas personae Patris
sive unitas primae personae in divinis.
208 Item, unitas ostensa de Deo est indivisibilitatis et simplici-
tatis; unitas autem personae est unitas solitudinis; ergo cum
unitate indivisibilitatis sive simplicitatis stat communicabilitas,
et sic ad unitatem personae innascibilis oportet probare unitatem
solitudinis et incommunicabilitatis.
209 Ad dictum Hilarii,95 dico quod verum est de facto quod qui
concedit duos innascibiles, et duos deos; sed ostensa unitate
divinae essentiae non propter hoc ostenditur unitas personae
primae sive innascibilis.
210 Ad rationem,96 quando dicitur quod si sunt supposita
relativa dicuntur mutuo inter se vel non, dico quod mutuo
relative dicuntur inter se, non tamen sequitur 'ergo dicuntur
mutuo relatione originis', quia tunc esset petitio principii. Idem
enim est dicere quod duo dicantur mutuo relatione originis inter
se, et quod non sint ambo a se vel primo, eo quod una ab altera
211 Item, si detur alia propositio, scilicet quod non dicantur
mutuo relative inter se, non sequitur quin possint esse duae
personae a se relationibus constitutae. Ad probationem de
spiratione,97 non est simile, quia Spiritus Sanctus est spiratus
passive a duobus ita active. Hic ponerentur duae proprietates.
212 Istam ergo conclusionem persuadeo sic: quidquid in divinis
est unius rationis est de se hoc, quia da quod non, sed quod sit
indifferens ad plura quantum est de se, nec determinat sibi
certum numerum suppositorum; potest quantum ex se est esse in

lir' Cf. supra n. 205.

lMi Cf. supra n. 206.
97 Cf. supra n. 206.
Dist. 2, Part III, Question Four 181

Against the opinion of Henry of Ghent

207 But against this I argue, namely that these reasons do not
explain the case at hand, because the unity of God is proved from
the unqualified perfections that pertain to God or the divine
essence. But paternity does not assert any perfection, but rather a
relative property. Therefore from the unity of God one cannot
argue to a primacy of the person of the Father or to a unity of the
first person in the divine.
208 Also, the unity shown about God is that of indivisibility and
simplicity, but the unity of the person is a unity of solitude;
therefore, the unity of indivisibility or simplicity is consistent
with communicability, and one has to prove the unity of solitude
and incommunicability as regards the unity of the first person,
who is not begotten.
209 As for the dictum of Hilary [n. 205] I say that it is factually
true that one who concedes two unbegottens, also concedes there
are two gods. But given the unity of the divine essence, this does
not show that the first person is unique or not begotten.
210 To the argument from reason, [n. 206] when it is said that if
there are relative supposits they are asserted mutually of
themselves or not, I say that they are asserted mutually of one
another; but it does not follow 'therefore they are said to originate
mutually,' for this begs the question. For it is the same thing to
say 'a mutual relationship of origin exists between them' and
both are not absolute or first,' because one [proposition] implies
the other.
211 Also if the other proposition is given, namely that they are
not asserted as mutually related between each other, it does not
follow that there could not be two persons by themselves
constituted by relations. To the proof about spiration,* [n. 206] it
is not similar, because the Holy Spirit is spirated* passively from
two that spirate actively. Here two properties would be posited.
212 This conclusion, therefore, I argue persuasively in this way:
whatever in the divine is of one sort is of itself just 'this,' because
given that it is not, but that it is indifferent to several so far as
itself is concerned, nor is it determined of itself to any certain
number of supposits, it can be of itself in an infinite number if it
182 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I -A

infinitis nisi aliunde determinetur. Et si est necesse esse, in

infinitis est. Et ideo ponitur tantum una persona producta unius
rationis. Ergo cum persona non producta sit unius rationis et non
eiusdem rationis cum persona producta, sequitur quod sit tantum
una et de se haec. Et ex hoc infero quod cum sint tantum duae
personae productae et una non producta, sequitur quod sint
tantum tres personae in natura divina.

[B. Art. 2: Quomodo Veritas ista sit declaranda]

213 Quantum ad secundum principale, quomodo possumus

praedictam veritatem intelligere sine contradictione, scilicet
Trinitatem personarum cum unitate essentiae, declaro quadru-
214 Primo ex communicabilitate naturae in creaturis, ubi
perfectionis est quod natura potest pluribus suppositis
communicari, sed quod non possit eis communicare sine sui
divisione, hoc est imperfectionis in ea. Auferendo igitur quod est
imperfectionis in creatura, et attribuendo Deo quod est
perfectionis, erit natura divina pluribus suppositis indivisibiliter
communicata, supposito prius quod natura posset quantum est ex
se esse in pluribus suppositis et communicari eis per identitatem.
215 Declaro sic. Communicabile alicui dicitur dupliciter: uno
modo per identitatem, ita quod illud cui communicatur sit ipsum
ut universale communicatur singulari. Secundo modo per
informationem, ita quod ipsum cui communicatur sit in ipso non
ipsum, ut forma communicatur materiae ita quod materia est
actu ens per formam. Natura autem quaecumque quantum est ex
se, est communicabilis utroque modo pluribus suppositis, quorum
quodlibet sit ipsum, et etiam ut quo, tanquam forma, quo
suppositum vel singulare sit ens quiditative.
216 Facio igitur breviter talem rationem: natura quaecumque
est communicabilis per identitatem pluribus; ergo et natura
divina, quia hoc convenit naturae creatae ex perfectione sua. Sed
Dist. 2, Part III, Question Four 182

is not otherwise determined. And if it were necessary being, it

would actually be in an infinite number. And therefore only one
person is posited that is of the same sort. Therefore since the
person not produced is of one sort, but not of the same sort as the
person produced, it follows that there is only one, moreover, such
that it is of itself just 'this.' And from this I infer that since there
are only two persons produced and one not produced, it follows
that there are only three persons in the divine nature.

Article Two
How this truth can be explained.

213 As for the second main point, how the aforesaid truth can be
understood without contradiction, namely a Trinity of persons
with a unity of essence, I explain in four ways.
214 First from the communicability of nature in creatures where
it is a matter of perfection that nature can be communicated to
several supposits. But that it cannot be communicated to them
without division, this is a matter of imperfection. Therefore, by
taking away what is a matter of imperfection in creatures and by
attributing to God what is a matter of perfection, there will be a
divine nature indivisibly communicated to several supposits,
supposing first that the nature, insofar as itself is concerned, can
be in several supposits and be communicated to them by way of
215 I explain it in this way: 'communicable* to something' is said
in two ways: in one way through identity, so that that to which it
is communicated becomes it, as the universal is communicated to
the singular. The second way is through an informing so that that
to which it is communicated is in it, but not it, as form is
communicated to matter so that matter is a being in act through
form. But any nature whatsoever inasmuch as it is of itself, is in
both ways communicable to several supposits, each of which is it,
and also, as it were, [informed] by it, as by a form, by which a
supposit or a singular is quidditatively a being.
216 Therefore, briefly I make this argument: any nature
whatever is communicable to several through identity; therefore
also the divine nature, because this pertains to a created nature
183 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

natura divina non est divisibilis, ut patet ex quaestione de unitate

Dei. Ergo communicabilis sine sui divisione.
217 Secundo hoc idem declaro ex ratione incommunicabilis
suppositi qui non dicit imperfectionem simpliciter, quia perfectio
simpliciter non determinat sibi rationem suppositi, quia tunc non
esset ipsum melius in quolibet quam non ipsum. Suppositum
enim de se non includit de se perfectionem simpliciter in ista
essentia, quia perfectio simpliciter non convenit nisi quiditati,
alias deesset aliqua perfectio simpliciter humanitati in Christo.
Ergo non oportet quod ratio suppositi in ista natura includat per
identitatem omnem rationem entis. Ergo cum ratione suppositi in
ista natura potest stare alia ratio distincta in alio supposito ut
218 Tertio hoc idem declaratur ex ratione infinitatis divinae. Et
pono exemplum familiarius de anima intellectiva quae tota est in
toto et tota in qualibet parte, ita quod in anima perfectionis est
quod sine sui divisione det esse totale pluribus partibus corporis,
eo quod tota in toto etc. Et in hoc excedit omnes formas
materiales quae certam partem corporis perficiunt.
219 Tria autem sunt imperfectionis in anima intellectiva prout
perficit corpus. Primo quod dat esse per informationem materiae;
secundum quod non dat totale esse corpori, sed esse partiale ut
esse intellectum; tertium quod plures partes eiusdem totius quas
perficit, sunt distinctae realiter eo quod non dat partibus
distinctis alicuius tertii esse. Ergo ablatis istis imperfectionibus,
reservando quod est perfectionis in ea, possibile est manuduci in
aliam essentiam quae det esse totale, non per informationem,
pluribus distinctis quae non sunt partes alicuius totius et quae
Dist. 2, Part III, Question Four 183

as a matter of its perfection. But the divine nature is not divisible,

as is evident from the question about the unity of God. Therefore,
it is communicable without its division.
217 Secondly, I explain the same from the notion of an
incommunicable* supposit, which does not assert unqualified
imperfection, because unqualified perfection does not determine
for itself the notion of the supposit, because then it would not be
better for it to be in something than not to be in it.27 For the
supposit itself does not include of itself unqualified perfection in
this essence, because unqualified perfection pertains only to a
quiddity; otherwise some unqualified perfection would be wanting
to the humanity of Christ. Hence, it is not necessary that the
notion of a supposit in this nature include through identity every
notion of being. Therefore, together with the notion of a supposit
in this nature another distinct notion can coexist, as distinct, in
another supposit.
218 Thirdly, this same is explained from the notion of divine
infinity. And I provide a more familiar example of the intellective
soul, which is wholly in the whole and wholly in each part, so that
in the soul what is a matter of perfection is the fact that without
division it gives total being to the several parts of the body, so
that it is whole in the whole, etc. And in this way it exceeds all
the material forms, which perfect certain parts of the body.
219 But there are three elements of imperfection in the
intellective soul as it perfects the body. First is that it gives being
through an informing of the matter; the second that it does not
give total being, but partial being to the body, such as 'intellectual
being'; thirdly, that the several parts of the same whole, which it
perfects, are really distinct [parts of this whole], in that it does
not give being to the distinct parts of something third. Therefore,
taking away these imperfections and preserving what is of
perfection in it, it is possible to think of another essence that,
without informing, would give total being to several distinct
things that are not part of some whole and which would be

a Anselm's definition of a simple or unqualified perfection is such that in

anything possessing it, it would be better to have it than not to have it (quidquid
melius est esse quam non esse; Proslogion c. 5). Scotus shortens the definition to
'better it than not it.'
184 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

erunt per se subsistentes. Et sic potest intelligi una essentia

numero esse in tribus personis.
220 Quarto declaratur hoc ex ratione perfectionis simpliciter sic:
perfectio simpliciter in quolibet supposito est quae melior ipsa
quam non ipsa. Sed quod determinatur ex se ad unum
suppositum non primum unius naturae non potest esse melius
cuilibet cum hoc supposito quam non ipsum. Ergo non est
perfectionis etc.
221 Probatio maioris. Sed quare dixi in maiori 'in quolibet
supposito'? Quia perfectio carnis non est melior omni supposito,
ergo natura debet suppositum determinare. Sed quomodo est
'melior quam non ipsa', id est, quolibet cum ipsa incompossibili?
Quia negatio eiusdem de se est melior incompossibili sibi.
222 Probatio minoris: quia aliquid si in natura aliqua
determinetur ex se ad unum certum suppositum, est de se
incompossibile cuilibet supposito absoluto. Sed tale non est melius
quam non ipsum, nec est natura melior cum ipso quam non ipso.
Ergo non dicit aliquid perfectionis in natura et per consequens
non repugnat rationi suae, scilicet cuilibet essentiae, esse in
pluribus. Ergo quidquid est in Deo quiditative non determinatur
ad unum suppositum.
223 Ex his quattuor declarationibus possumus manuduci ad
intelligendum unitatem essentiae divinae cum personarum

[II. Ad rationes principales]

224 Ad primam98 rationem dicendum quod nunquam ex

identitate duorum in tertio concluditur identitas illorum inter se,
nisi talis identitas ad tertium sit qualem concludis extremi de
extremo, et tunc non sequitur inconveniens.
225 Ad probationem qualiter est identitas essentiae in persona,
dico quod est eadem identitate personae. Ipsa autem essentia non
est eadem in se identitate subsistentiae sed identitate esse vel

9H Cf. supra n. 196.

Dist. 2, Part III, Question Four 184

subsisting per se. And in this way one can understand how the
essence that is one in number can be in three persons.
220 Fourth, this is explained from the notion of unqualified
perfection in this way. Unqualified perfection in any supposit is
whatever is 'better it than not it.' But what is determined of itself
to one supposit (that is not the first) of one nature, cannot be
'better it than not it' as regards any other thing whatsoever that
has this supposit. Therefore, it is not a matter of perfection, etc.
221 Proof of the major. But the reason why I have said in the
major 'in any supposit,' is because the perfection of flesh is not
better in every supposit, therefore the nature must have
something to do with delimiting the supposit. But how is 'it better
than not it' in anything incompatible with it? Indeed, its negation
or absence is by itself better in what is incompatible with it.
222 Proof of the minor: if in some nature something is
determined of itself to one certain supposit, it is of itself
incompatible with any absolute supposit. But such is not 'better it
than not it' nor is nature better with it than not it. Therefore, it
does not assert something of perfection in the nature. As a
consequence, it is not repugnant to its notion, and hence to any
essence, to be in several. Therefore, whatever is in God
quidditatively is not delimited to one supposit.
223 From these four explanations we can be led to an
understanding of the unity of the divine essence with the Trinity
of the persons.

To the initial arguments

224 To the first argument [n. 196], it must be said that never
from the identity of two to a third is the identity of them among
themselves inferred, unless the identity to a third is of such a sort
as exists in the case of the extremes, and then incongruity does
not follow.
225 To the proof: as to the way the identity of the essence is in
the person, I say that the essence is the same thing as the person
by identity.28 But the essence itself is not the same in itself by
reason of an identity of subsistence* but by an identity of being or

28 I.e., the person is identified with the essence, not vice versa.
185 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

essentiae vel ad se esse. Et sic sequitur identitas extremorum vel

personarum, non tamen identitas subsistentiae sicut non fuit in
medio extremorum, scilicet in essentia quae est media respectu
personarum. Quaelibet autem persona habet unitatem subsis
tentiae in se et identitatem essentiae inter se; 'ergo habent
identitatem subsistentiae inter se' non sequitur. Variatur enim
medium sicut si diceres 'essentia est Pater, essentia est Filius,
ergo Filius est Pater' non sequitur quia concludis Filium esse
Patrem, non identitate essentiae sed subsistentiae. Medium
autem non erat idem cum extremis, in identitite essentiae, et sic
variatur medium cum extremis in hoc sophismate 'essentia enim
in Patre est eadem subsistentiae Patris, et essentia in Filio eadem
subsistentiae Filii' et ideo non sequitur.
226 Ad secundum" quando dicitur quod esse a se tantum
convenit uni personae, igitur esse ab alio tantum conveniet alteri
quia sunt aequales dignitate si sic tantum sunt duae personae in
divinis, respondeo quod est figura dictionis, quia non sequitur 'est
aeque nobilis vel aequalis dignitatis cum alio, ergo est tantum
hoc'. Commutatur enim quale in hoc aliquid. Non enim ex
nobilitate vel dignitate est quod plurificetur principium vel ens
etiam ab alio, sed hoc est ex natura principiorum.
227 Ad tertium100 dicendum quod non sequitur quod sint
quattuor personae quia relationes commultiplicantur. Non enim
est verum quod commultiplicentur nisi quoad relationes, non
quantum ad supposita vel absoluta. Non est simile quod si duae
relationes producti, scilicet generatio passiva Filii et spiratio
passiva Spiritus Sancti quae sunt distinctae relationes in se, non
possunt esse in uno et eodem supposito sive in eadem persona,
quod101 propter hoc duae relationes distinctae producentis non

89 Cf. supra n. 197.

100 Cf. supra n. 198.
101 Quod superfluum. Lege: ...quod, si ... non possunt propter hoc ... non
Dist. 2, Part III, Question Four 185

of essence or of being as an absolute (ad se). And in this way the

identity of the extremes or persons follows, not however an
identity of subsistence as it was not the middle term of the
extremes, namely in the essence which is the medium as regards
the persons. But each person has a unity of subsistence in itself
and [the persons] share an identical essence among themselves;
[however] 'therefore they have an identity of subsistence among
themselves1 does not follow. For the medium is varied, just as, if
you were to say 'the essence is Father, the essence is Son,
therefore the Son is the Father,' this does not follow because the
conclusion that the Son is the Father follows not from an identity
of essence but of subsistence. The medium, however, was not of
the same sort as the extremes, in respect to the identity of
essence, and thus the medium and the extremes are of different
kinds in this sophistical argument 'for the essence in the Father
is the same as the subsistence of the Father, and the essence in
the Son is the same as the subsistence of the Son' and therefore it
does not follow.
226 To the second [n. 197] when it is said that to be of itself only
pertains to one person, therefore to be from another only pertains
to another, because if in this way there are only two persons in
the divine, they are of equal dignity, I respond that it is a fallacy
of a figure of speech, because it does not follow 'it is equally noble
or equal in dignity with another, therefore, it is only this [that is
equally noble].' For one changes 'of this sort' into 'this something.'
For it is not from nobility or dignity that the principle or being is
multiplied by another, but this is from the nature of the
227 To the third [n. 198] it must be said that it does not follow
that there are four persons because the relations are mutually
multiplied. For it is not true that they are mutually multiplied,
except insofar as relations are concerned, not as regards the
supposits or absolutes. [And] one cannot draw parallels [in such
cases, e.g., saying that] because two relations of the product,
namely the passive generation of the Son and the passive
spiration of the Holy Spirit, which are distinct relationships in
themselves, cannot be in one and the same supposit or in the
same person, on this account neither can two distinct relations of
186 John Duns Scotus, Reportatio I-A

possunt esse in eadem persona, scilicet generatio et spiratio

activa in Patre.
Dist. 2, Part III, Question Four 186

producing be in the same person, namely generation and active

spiration in the Father.
[Distinctio 3
Quaestio 1
Utrum Deus sit naturaliter cognoscibilis
ab intellectu viatoris]

1 Circa distinctionem tertiam quaeritur primo utrum Deus sit

naturaliter cognoscibilis ab intellectu viatoris.

Videtur quod non:

III De anima:1 sicut sensibilia ad sensum, sic phantasmata
ad intellectum; sed sensus non sentit nisi sensibilia; ergo