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The Univocity Debate in a Nutshell

From Lecture #3 in my video course for Based Deleuze:

Aquinas wanted to say that — he did say, famously, in the Summa Theologica — if we say God is wise, and then we say that Socrates is wise, we're not really saying the same thing. We're saying what is a kind of analogy. That's the argument. And that was the dominant viewpoint but then this guy John Duns comes around and he's like, hold up homie. It ain't like that. Actually, when we use words to describe God and we use words to describe earthly things, those words actually mean the same exact thing, and that's okay. In fact, it's even a good thing.

To this day, scholars and theologians debate, what are the implications of these different perspectives? And you have some people today, like Radical Orthodoxy, a group of theologians, mostly in Britain, who are anti-Duns Scotus. And they say that Duns Scotus was one of the big problems that led to the weakening of Christianity and the development of secular culture. By saying that we speak of God and we speak of earthly things in the same words, that mean the same things, this was the belittling of God and a kind of arrogant elevation of earthly things that ultimately allowed us, as a species, to have done with the idea of God. That's one of the arguments put forward by the Radical Orthodox people.

But then there are also interesting theologians today who make the opposite argument... That Duns Scotus was accurate, and had salutary implications, even for Christianity.

One comment on “The Univocity Debate in a Nutshell”

  1. I used to be a staunch Thomist back in the day before leaving Christianity altogether. But still curious about what salutary implications could come out of scotism...

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