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Catholic Dictionary




The system of scholastic philosophy expounded by the Franciscan philosopher Duns Scotus (1264-1308). The root difference between Scotism and the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-74) is that, whereas the latter gives knowledge and reason the first place in his system, Scotus gives the primacy to love and the will. Thus, in Scotism the natural law depends on the will of God and not on the divine mind. It is therefore, absolutely speaking, not immutable. Moreover, in the Scotist scheme, the essence of heavenly beautitude consists not in vision but in the love of God. The Scotist position on a number of doctrines of faith has been thought by some critics to come quite close to the double standard of truth of the Moslem Averroës (1126-98), namely, that which is true in theology may be false in philosophy.