Duns Scotus’s Debate with William Peter Godinus over the Principle of Individuation

Project Description:

This project is a digital edition of the debate between Duns Scotus and William Peter Godinus. The text survives in only one manuscript. We offer an edited transcription of this text with the corresponding portion of the manuscript in parallel. One reason for the interest in this text is that it is one of the only texts in which Duns Scotus directly confronted the Thomistic theory of individuation.

1. The Genre of the Dispute

The debate between Duns Scotus and William Peter Godinus is a series of objections and replies without a clear magisterial determination providing a final answer to the question. The reason for this is that the debate is from the inception exercises of an unknown master at Paris. The debate is a Quaestio magistralis, held in the aula of the bishop’s palace. According to the medieval statutes of the university of Bologna, this debate began with a senior master proposing a question and advancing arguments on behalf of his thesis. One of the junior masters, indeed, the most recent one (“iunior inter iuniores”), was supposed to reply the arguments of the senior master and the exchange lasted several turns. Godinus had been promoted to master in 1304 and was sent to the papal court in 1306, giving us the academic year 1305-6 as the date of the dispute. Godinus served as the senior master, and the recently promoted Duns Scotus was the junior master.

2. The Author of the Dispute

The Quaestio is a record of a debate without a single master presiding. Thus, the author is both Duns Scotus and William Peter Godinus. There is no surviving information regarding the identity of the scribe who copied down the debate, nor is there evidence that either Duns Scotus or Godinus ever saw or revised the text. It might well be a pure report (reportatio) of the debate. The text is contained in an English manuscript that contains mostly material by Dominicans. Thus the copy in which the debate survives may have originated in a Dominican studium in England.

3. The Edition

The text of the dispute survives in one manuscript, Erfurt, Universitätsbibliothek, Dep. Erf. CA 2o 369, ff. 72vb-75rb, under the title “Utrum materia sit principium individuationis.” The manuscript, which has been described, is composed of three fascicles (ff. 1-93, 94-147, 148-201) and was written after 1350. The fascicle containing the text edited here also contains quodlibetal and ordinary questions by Thomas of Sutton, a question by Thomas Wylton disputed against Durandus, Additiones by Durandus to his commentary on the Sentences, and various other questions disputed against Durandus. Clemens Stroick published the first edition of the text in 1974. In the text of the debate between Scotus and Godin, there are marginal annotations (Will. peti, sco9) signalling when there is a change of speaker. We have retained these annotations as headings in the current edition. Stroick reported only three of them, all referring to Scotus. The edition of Stroick contained numerous errors and apparently deliberate changes to the text found in the manuscript that it should no longer be used. Some illustrative—but by no means exhaustive—examples follow, based on the paragraphs numbers of the present edition:

Despite these errors and changes to the text, however, we have on occasion adopted Stroick’s reading, noting that we do so in a note.

The photographs of the manuscript have been provided by the Digitale Historische Bibliothek Erfurt/Gotha according to the IIIF (International Image Interoperability Framework) Protocols.

The text should be cited according to paragraph number.

4. Abbreviations and Editorial Conventions

<...> text added by editors

[...] text deleted by editors

†...† text judged corrupt by editors

E = Erfurt, Universitäts- und Forschungsbibliothek Erfurt, Dep. Erf. CA. 2° 369, fol. 72vb-76ra

Stroick = Clemens Stroick, “Eine Pariser Disputation vom Jahre 1306...“

AL = Aristoteles Latinus

AviL = Avicenna Latinus

CCSL = Corpus christianorum, series Latina

ed. Leon. = Sancti Thomae de Aquino opera omnia, ed. Commissio Leonina

PhM = Philosophes médiévaux

5. Bibliography

Aristoteles, De generatione et corruptione (AL IX.1), ed. Joanna Judycka. Leiden: Brill, 1986.

—, Metaphysica (AL XXV 3.2), ed. G. Vuillemin-Diem. Leiden: Brill, 1995.

—, Physica (AL VII 1.2), ed. F. Bossier and J. Brams. Leiden: Brill, 1990.

Augustinus, Confessionvm libri XIII (CCSL XXVII), ed. Lucas Verheijen. Turnhout: Brepols, 1990.

—, De Trinitate libri XV (CCSL L-La), ed. W. J. Mountain. Turnhout: Brepols, 1968.

Avicenna, Liber de philosophia prima sive scientia divina V-X (AviL), ed. S. van Riet. Louvain: Peeters 1980.

Dumont, Stephen D., “Duns Scotus’s Life in Context,” in Interpreting Duns Scotus, ed. G. Pini, 8-43. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021.

Goris, Wouter, “Does Unity Entail Distinction? Godinus And Scotus On The Principle Of Individuation,” in The Lectura Thomasina in its Context. Philosophical and Theological Issues, ed. Andreas Speer, Andrea Colli, and Francesca Bonini, 189-207. Leuven: Peeters, 2020.

Hamesse, Jacqueline. Les Auctoritates Aristotelis (PhM XVII). Louvain: Publications universitaires, 1974.

Hissette, Roland. Enquête sur les 219 articles condamnés à Paris le 7 Mars 1277 (PhM XXII). Louvain: Publications universitaires, 1977.

Pattin, Adriaan, “Le liber de causis. Édition établie à l’aide de 90 manuscrits avec introduction et notes,” Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 28 (1966), 90-203.

Pelster, Franz. “Thomas von Sutton O. Pr., ein Oxforder Verteidiger der Thomistischen Lehre: II. Lehrmethode und Lehrrichtung des Thomas von Sutton,” Zeitschrift für katholische Theologie 46 (1922), 361-401.

Stroick, Clemens, 1974. “Eine Pariser Disputation vom Jahre 1306: Die Verteidigung des Thomistischen Individuationsprinzips gegen Johannes Duns Scotus durch Guillelmus Petri de Godino, O.P.,” In Thomas von Aquino: Interpretation und Rezeption: Studien und Texte, ed. Willehad Paul Eckert, 559-608. Mainz: Matthias-Grünewald, 1974.

Thomas de Aquino, Sentencia libri De anima (ed. Leon. XLV.1). Paris: J. Vrin, 1984.

—, Sentencia libri Metaphysicorum, ed. M. R. Cathala. Torino: Marietti, 1926.

—, Summa theologiae I (ed. Leon. V). Roma: Typographia polyglotta s. c. de propaganda fide, 1889.

—, Quodlibet (ed. Leon. XXV.2). Paris: Les Éditions du Cerf, 1996.

—, Super Boetium De Trinitate (ed. Leon. L). Paris: Les Éditions du Cerf, 1992.

6. License

The Project can be cited as: W. Goris and G. Smith, "Duns Scotus’s Debate with William Peter Godinus over the Principle of Individuation" <>

The Edition alone can be cited as: Scotus-Godinus, Quaestio magistralis, ed. W. Goris and G. Smith [paragraph number], <>

Duns Scotus’s Debate with William Peter Godinus over the Principle of Individuation by Wouter Goris and Garrett Smith (Scotus Archiv, Bonn) is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

7. Acknowledgements

Project Direction and Edition: Wouter Goris and Garrett Smith

Site Design and Development: Julien Schat, Mehmet Unat, Marieke Berkers