The Life and Works of Ioannes Duns Scotus

The Life and Works of Ioannes Duns Scotus

June 27, 2021 Off By Felso

Duns Scotus, a Franciscan theologian and philosopher, is one of the leading figures of the Middle Ages, especially the Scholastic period, together with Thomas Aquinas, who was born before him, and Guilelmus de Ockham, who was born after him. The way he expressed his thoughts was graceful; but this path has made him a philosopher that is also difficult to understand; For this reason, he was nicknamed Doctor Subtilis, which means a meticulous, meticulous doctor.

We know very little about his life. However, as is easily understood from the Scotus in his name, he was born in Scotland. He was born circa 1265 in Duns, Scotland. He started to receive Franciscan education from 1278 and joined the Franciscan order as a priest in 1291. In 1288, the sect sent Scotus, who continued his education at Oxford University, to the University in Paris and allowed him to continue his education there. Therefore, there are two phases in Duns Scotus’ philosophy and writings: Oxford and Paris periods.

He gave lectures at the University of Paris, consisting of commentaries on Petrus Lombardus’ Sententiae. He received the title of Magister (Teacher) in 1307. Although he went out of Paris a few times as an officer, he mainly continued his teaching work in Paris. He held the Franciscan chair at the University of Paris as an active lecturer until 1307. He was sent to his Franciscan home in Cologne, Germany, for educational purposes, where he died at the age of 42. Although he died at a very young age, the works he left behind are serious. Duns Scotus, a philosopher who was the initiator of the Scotus movement, especially influenced the people of thought after him with his thoughts in the field of metaphysics. Although Duns Scotus is a theologian like Thomas Aquinas and shares the same faith with him, he differs deeply from Thomas Aquinas, especially with his philosophical thoughts in the field of existence. Therefore, it should be noted that Scotusism exists in a different field from Thomasism (Maurer, 1982: 220; Aspell, 1999: 243; Dumont, 2006: 353; Harris, 1959: 1-37).

In line with the studies Duns Scotus compiled from his lectures on Sententiae while at Oxford University, he wrote a work called Opus Oxoniense or Ordinatio (Ordinance). He brought together his comments on the Sententiae he gave at the University of Paris in another work called Reportata Parisiense or Opus Parisiense (Paris Work).

He brought it together in another work. Among other works of Duns Scotus, we consider important: Quaestiones in Libros Aristotelis De Anima (Questions on Aristotle’s Books of De Anima); De Prima Principio (About the First Principles); Collationes (Comparative Readings); Quaestiones Subtilissimae in Metaphysicam Aristotelis (Very Fine Questions on Aristotle’s Metaphysics).

Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook