Thursday, 25 September 2008

Scotus and the separation of philosophy from theology

Caputo continues to surprise me! See, for example, this note:

When historians look around to determine where to point the finger for this disaster [the sidelining of faith and theology and the rise of atheism, cf. Caputo 33] even Thomas Aquinas, who gave reason its own play, became suspect. But if the idea was to pinpoint the precise moment when philosophy, and hence reason, began to twist free from theology, John Duns Scotus (d. 1308), the great Franciscan master, is a still more interesting suspect. That is because Scotus was the first philosopher to hold that both God and creatures come 'under' the common idea of 'being,' which is at root the same sort of thinking that led Descartes to say that both God and creatures both come 'under' the principle of causality. That implies a certain shrinking down of God to fit under the canopy of reason and hence the subordination of theology to the jurisdiction of philosophy. Thomas Aquinas, however, was a deeply theological thinker from this point of view because he held that compared to the very being of God, the idea of being in general was just an abstraction. (Caputo, Philosophy and Theology 76, n. 5)
Will Caputo go the whole hog and trace the influence of Scotus on Heidegger, and perhaps cast light on Heidegger's diatribes against 'onto-theology'?

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