JOHN DUNS SCOTUS
a different kind of realist
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imagine the universe where there were only two completely identical hydrogen atoms
that are completely identical, chemically pure, no imperfections... same temp, came
into existence at the same time, next to each other. they are identical in all
how can we say they are different?
- can't measure them because there is no greater reference point.
- location, they take up different space.
- there is no possible way to distinguish between them but you can say there are two
- liebniz calls this the problem of indiscernibles
THIS IS A PROBLEM OF WHAT AN INDIVIDUAL IS
a universal is something that can be predicated of many
the universal in this tiny universe is HYDROGEN.
we cant tell the differences between them because there are no quantitative
how do we go from these two identical things to a universal?
scotus says you can do this without quality differences
how do we approach hydrogen such that it is predicated of many
location, quantity, relation...
these are the only three we can come up with
all three of these are ACCIDENTS.
AQUINAS would answer this question using QUANTITY
INDIVIDUATION -the move from the universal to the individual
universals - PREDICATED OF MANY
"Less than numerical unity."
if we can understand this we can understand scotus.
LOOK AT PORPHYRY'S TREE IS A UNIVERSAL A REAL THING? A NAME?
WHAT ARE INDIVIDUALS SUCH AS THEY HAVE BEEN INDIVIDUATED?
what is it to be an individual such that it can be individuated?
less than numerical unity has a powerful explanatory capacity.
how does 'less than numerical unity' give us an accoutn of the universals
HINT: SCOTUS IS A REALIST, universals are real.
there is a unity we can attribute to each level of the tree
WHAT IS IT TO BE A NUMERICAL UNITY? if you can answer this question you can answer the
question of individuation.
socrates has subjective parts that are unified in "socrates"
the parts are not a "this"
these are not the right kind of unity
THE INDIVIDUAL CANNOT BE PREDICATED OF ANYTHING ELSE.
the individual is only itself.
there is not another thing under socrates that is unified in the right kind of way
because of browny.
numerical unity is a 'this'
browny can exist without his hoof, socrates can exist without his hand.
in aristotle's system, if a hand is separated it is no longer a hand because it cannot
carry out its operation.
what becomes important is INDIVISIBILITY
SOCRATES, BROWNY, TIM are all NUMERICAL UNITIES because they are
a thing cannot be subjected further to the point where their parts are not them when
they are separated.
the difference between the individual and the specie right above it is crucial.
SOMETHING INDIVISIBLE GETS YOU A THIS
SOCRATES IS A THIS, BROWNY IS A THIS a real numerical unity gives you a being, something that "is"
A NUMERICAL UNITY IS SOMETHING THAT REALLY EXISTS.
the universals cannot be numerical unity.
UNIVERSALS MUST BE LESS THAN NUMERICAL UNITY...?
FOR SCOTUS THERE ARE OTHER TYPES OF UNITY, for nominalists there are not, there are
only ideas we impose upon things.
we can approach this:
what is an individual such that it is individuated
or what is a universal such that it can be individuated (be predicated of many) in
such a way that we can keep something of a realism and not turn into nominalists?
UNIVERSALS ARE LESS THAN NUMERICAL UNITY. IT IS NOT AS STRONG AS A NUMERICAL UNITY
SOCRATES is fully HUMAN all the way through but he is not HUMANITY, he is fully an
animal yet he is not animality, and so on.
so what is a universal. something that is less than numerical unity.
THESE UNITIES THAT ARE LESS THAN NUMERICAL UNITY ARE NOT AS UNIFIED THE KIND OF UNITY
THAT FALLS TO INDIVIDUALS.
indivisability is what we use to demarcate what is an individual.
something with less than a numerical unity will be real, just not as real. universals will
have a kind of existance that is full as an individual.
but isn't REAL a binary, real or not real!?
particulars exist in a really robust way. they are unified very tightly together such
that it is indivisible. since unity is a principle that determines the way things
exist, than something that is less than numerical unity, they are real in a less than
your humanity is real but not quite as real as you