The Difference Between Scotus And Turretin In Their Formulation Of The Doctrine Of Freedom -- By: B. Hoon Woo
WTJ 78:2 (Fall 2016) p. 249
The Difference Between Scotus And Turretin
In Their Formulation Of The
Doctrine Of Freedom
B. Hoon Woo is Professor of Dogmatics and Dean of the Department of Theology at Kosin University in Busan, South Korea.
In their contribution to The Reformed Thought on Freedom: The Concept of Free Choice in Early Modern Reformed Theology, E. Dekker, A. J. Beck, and T. T. J. Pleizier contend that although Turretin is not an innovator among Reformed thinkers on the doctrine of freedom, he contributes two things to the discussion: first, Turretin expands the discussion on necessity; second, he introduces a multi-layered concept of indifference. Their assessment of Turretin is basically correct, but more can be said regarding Turretin’s differences with Scotus on the concepts of necessity and indifference. The authors fail to show where Turretin differs from Scotus in the doctrine of freedom and even appear to regard Turretin’s position as the same as that of Scotus on this issue.1 The present article, however, will argue that Turretin’s explanation of freedom differs from that of Scotus, and that Turretin accomplished his aim by developing the concepts of necessity and indifference. It will show that the difference between Scotus and Turretin can be observed clearly in their reception of Aristotle’s work regarding this issue.
This study will proceed chronologically. The first section will examine Aristotle’s conception of freedom in Int. 9, which is cited in Scotus’s Lect. 1.39, and in Eth. nic. 3 and 6, which are quoted in Turretin’s Institutes, Tenth Topic.2
WTJ 78:2 (Fall 2016) p. 250
Van Asselt, Bac, and te Velde are inclined to think that Aristotle only argues for “diachronic contingency,” which means “a contingency with change and a necessity with changelessness.” They seem to regard Aristotle as a determinist. This article shows, however, that Aristotle also holds to “synchronic contingency,” which implies that “for one moment of time, there is a true alternative for the state of affairs that actually occurs.”3 The second section, after a short survey of the reception of Aristotle in the Middle Ages,4 will deal with Scotus’s reception of Aristotle in his formulation of the doctrine of freedom. Antonie Vos argues that Scotus created the concept of synchronic contingency in western intellectual history.5 Knuuttila also points to a very similar view.You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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