ND   JMC : History of Medieval Philosophy / by Maurice De Wulf

335. Conclusion. -- The characteristic and original element in the philosophy of Duns Scotus, and the key to the understanding of his system, is its "formalism". It is this that colours his peripateticism, impregnates his whole system and makes it one consistent whole. It is this, too, that sets him over not only against St. Thomas, but also and equally against the representatives of the earlier Franciscan school.{1} It was this, finally, that plunged him into a pathless ocean of metaphysical speculation which he confused, while exploring it, by creating fictitious, misleading and superfluous beacon-lights -- in defiance of a precept which he himself pretended to approve of: Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem.

{1} We heartily endorse this judgment of Père Portalié on the relations of Scotism to Augustinism: "It has often been said that Duns Scotus, in opposing Thomism. fallowed 'in the wake of Augustinism'. This is only partially true. For Scotus is himself also a peripatetic. No doubt he seems in places to be under the influence of certain theories of St. Augustine: he defends the pre-eminence of will over intelligence and the plurality of forms in things. But are these fundamental teachings of Augustinism? Are they in fact Augustinism at all, at least if we take account of the form they have in the thought of the subtle doctor?" (Dict. Théol. Cath., s.v., Historical development of Augustinism, t. i., col. 2512).

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