• Thomas M. Ward

Scotism about Possible Natures

My latest journal article is now published by The Philosophical Quarterly. The title is "Scotism about Possible Natures," and it develops a view I find in Scotus, about how God is related to the kinds of things there can be. For example, there can be (and are) giraffes, and there can be (but aren't) unicorns. A standard theistic answer to the question why there are giraffes but not unicorns is that God made a world in which giraffes but not unicorns would come to be. This new paper starts with a different sort of question: why are unicorns and giraffes among the things that can be? What explains that these natures are, so to speak, available to God to include in a world of his choice? This view I develop holds that God's creativity has a big role to play in such an explanation.

I'm pasting the abstract of the paper below. You can link to the paper itself here.

Abstract: I motivate and develop a view, found in John Duns Scotus, concerning God's explanatory role in the possibility of possible natures. A possible nature is a nature which can be instanced. The view is that possible natures have their possibility due to the coherence of their simple parts, but the simples which make up natures are themselves ex nihilo productions of divine intellect.

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