Duns Scotus on Time and Existence: The Questions on Aristotle's "on Interpretation"

Cover Art for 9780813226033, Duns Scotus on Time and Existence: The Questions on Aristotle's "on Interpretation" by John Duns Scotus
ISBN: 9780813226033
Publisher: The Catholic University of America Press
Published: 30 July, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Links Australian Libraries (Trove)
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Duns Scotus (c. 1265–1308) is one of a handful of gures in the history of philosophy whose signi cance is truly di cult to overestimate. Despite an academic career that lasted barely two decades, and numerous writings left in various states of incompletion at his death, his thought has been profoundly in uential in the history of western philosophy. The Questions on Aristotle’s ‘De interpretatione’ is an early work, probably written at Oxford in the closing decade of the thirteenth century. The questions, which have come down to us in two sets (‘Opus I’ and ‘Opus II’), most likely originated from Scotus’s classroom lectures on Aristotle’s text, a work now known by its Latin name, De interpretatione. The De interpretatione (or Perihermenias in the original Greek) was understood in the medieval university as a work of dialectic or logic, although the text itself deals with subjects we would nowadays consider to belong to the intersection of metaphysics and the philosophy of language: the semantics of time, existence, modality, and quanti cation. At its heart is the important and still philosophically relevant question of how we can talk about things which no longer exist, or which do not yet exist. The topics covered include reference and signi cation; existence and essence; truth and its relation to things. What is the relationship between existence in reality and existence in the understanding? Does the meaning of a name depend on the existence of the objects falling under it? Is the present time all that exists? If a proposition about the future can be true now, what now makes it true? The English translation includes an extensive commentary explaining and elaborating on some of the more di cult ideas Scotus develops in the work, placing them in the context of the teaching of logic and metaphysics in late-thirteenth century Europe.

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