A Century in Mathematics in America by Peter Duren PDF

By Peter Duren

ISBN-10: 0821801384

ISBN-13: 9780821801383

ISBN-10: 082180152X

ISBN-13: 9780821801529

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Such and similar subtleties rendered metaphysical disputations toward the turn of the fourteenth century increasingly difficult to follow; so much so that some critics denounced them as not only needless, but utterly nonsensical. For example, an early defender of Aquinas’ views against Henry’s and Scotus’ criticism, Thomas Sutton (ca. 1250–1315), a Dominican theologian in Oxford, flatly rejected Henry’s and Scotus’ distinctions, arguing that only the two kinds of distinctions (real and conceptual) used by Aquinas can make any good sense.

But it also has to be kept in mind that the sweeping condemnations were rather far removed from the much more sophisticated discussions of the same issues, both before and after the condemnation itself. Thus, Henry of Ghent’s own position on the problem of the multiplication of immaterial substances was based on his decidedly non-Aristotelian conception of individuation in terms of the existence of creatures, whether material or immaterial, which then opened up the field for the even more influential alternative conception of John Duns Scotus, in terms of an ultimate individual substantial difference, his famous “haecceity” (haecceitas, “this-ness,” which distinguishes individuals within the same lowest species, just as a specific difference distinguishes several species of the same genus).

For besides the obvious numerical distinction that there is between two distinct things, these conceptual developments demanded the distinction of other sorts of distinctions as well. Earlier we touched on the distinction of different ways of conceiving of the same thing in connection with the solution to the problem of the apparent conflict between the multiplicity of divine ideas and the simplicity of divine essence. But the same type of solution applied to the apparent conflict between the multiplicity of true divine attributes and the simplicity of divine essence.

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A Century in Mathematics in America by Peter Duren


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