John Duns Scotus
Duns, Berwickshire, Scotland
|Died||8 November 1308 (aged 41–42)
Cologne, Electorate of Cologne
|Main interests||Metaphysics, Theology, Logic, Epistemology, Ethics|
|Notable ideas||Univocity of being, Haecceity as a principle of individuation, Immaculate conception of Virgin Mary|
Blessed John (Johannes, Ioannes) Duns Scotus, O.F.M. (c. 1266 – 8 November 1308) is generally reckoned to be one of the three most important philosopher-theologians of the High Middle Ages. Scotus has had considerable influence on both Catholic and secular thought. The doctrines for which he is best known are the "univocity of being," that existence is the most abstract concept we have, applicable to everything that exists; the formal distinction, a way of distinguishing between different aspects of the same thing; and the idea of haecceity, the property supposed to be in each individual thing that makes it an individual. Scotus also developed a complex argument for the existence of God, and argued for the Immaculate conception of Mary.
He was given the medieval accolade Doctor Subtilis (Subtle Doctor) for his penetrating and subtle manner of thought.
Little is known of Scotus apart from his work. His date of birth is thought to have been between 23 December 1265 and 17 March 1266, based on his ordination to the priesthood in the Order of Friars Minor (the Franciscans) at Saint Andrew's Priory in Northampton, England, on 17 March 1291. The minimum age for ordination at the time was 25 and it is generally assumed that he would have been ordained as soon as it was permitted. That his contemporaries called him Johannes Duns, after the medieval practice of calling people by their Christian name followed by their place of origin, suggests that he came from Duns, in Berwickshire, Scotland.
According to tradition, Scotus was educated at the Franciscan studium at Oxford, a house behind St Ebbe's Church, in a triangular area enclosed by Pennyfarthing Street and running from St Aldate's to the Castle, the Baley and the old wall, where the Franciscans had moved when the University of Paris was dispersed in 1229–30. At that time there would have been about 270 persons living there, of whom about 80 would have been Franciscans.
Scotus appears to have been in Oxford in 1300–01, taking part in a disputation under the regent master, Philip of Bridlington. He began lecturing on Peter Lombard's Sentences at the prestigious University of Paris towards the end of 1302. Later in that academic year, however, he was expelled from the University of Paris for siding with Pope Boniface VIII in his feud with Philip the Fair of France, over the taxation of church property.
Scotus was back in Paris before the end of 1304, probably returning in May. He continued lecturing there until, for reasons that are still mysterious, he was dispatched to the Franciscan studium at Cologne, probably in October 1307. According to the 15th-century writer William Vorilong, his departure was sudden and unexpected. He was relaxing or talking with students in the Prato clericorum or Pre-aux-Clercs – an open area of the Left Bank used by scholars for recreation – when orders arrived from the Franciscan Minister General; Scotus left immediately, taking few or no personal belongings.
Scotia me genuit. Anglia me suscepit. Gallia me docuit. Colonia me tenet. (trans. "Scotland brought me forth. England sustained me. France taught me. Cologne holds me.")
He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on March 20, 1993. The story about Scotus being buried alive, in the absence of his servant who alone knew of his susceptibility to coma, is probably a myth[according to whom?]. It was reported by Sir Francis Bacon in his Historia vitae et mortis.
Scotus’ great work is his commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, which contains nearly all the philosophical views and arguments for which he is well known, including the univocity of being, the formal distinction, less-than-numerical unity, individual nature or ‘thisness' (haecceity), his critique of illuminationism and his renowned argument for the existence of God. His commentary exists in several versions. The standard version is the Ordinatio (also known as the Opus oxoniense), a revised version of lectures he gave as a bachelor at Oxford. The initial revision was probably begun in the summer of 1300 – see the remarks in the Prologue, question 2, alluding to the Third Battle of Homs in 1299, news of which probably reached Oxford in the summer of 1300. It was still incomplete when Scotus left for Paris in 1302. The original lectures were also transcribed and recently published as the Lectura.
The two other versions of the work are Scotus' notes for the Oxford lectures, recently published as the Lectura, the first book of which was probably written in Oxford in the late 1290s, and the Reportatio parisiensis (or Opus parisiense), consisting of transcriptions of the lectures on the Sentences given by Scotus when he was in Paris. A reportatio is a student report or transcription of the original lecture of a master. A version that has been checked by the master himself is known as a reportatio examinata.
By the time of Scotus, these 'commentaries' on the Sentences were no longer literal commentaries. Instead, Peter Lombard's original text was used as a starting point for highly original discussions on topics of theological or philosophical interest. For example, Book II Distinction 2, about the location of angels, is a starting point for a complex discussion about continuous motion, and whether the same thing can be in two different places at the same time (bilocation). In the same book, Distinction 3, he uses the question of how angels can be different from one another, given that they have no material bodies, to investigate the difficult question of individuation in general.
Scotus wrote purely philosophical and logical works at an early stage of his career, consisting of commentaries on Aristotle's Organon. These are the Questions on Porphyry's Isagoge and Aristotle's Categories, Peri hermeneias, and De sophisticis elenchis, probably dating to around 1295. His commentary on Aristotle's Metaphysics was probably written in stages, the first version having started around 1297, with significant additions and amendments possibly after the completion of the main body of the Ordinatio. His Expositio on the Metaphysics was lost for centuries but was recently rediscovered and edited by Giorgio Pini.
In addition, there are 46 short disputations called Collationes, probably dating from 1300–1305; a work in natural theology (De primo principio), and his Quaestiones Quodlibetales, probably dating to Advent 1306 or Lent 1307.
A number of works once believed to have been written by Scotus are now known to have been misattributed. There were already concerns about this within two centuries of his death, when the 16th-century logician Jacobus Naveros noted inconsistencies between these texts and his commentary on the Sentences, leading him to doubt whether he had written any logical works at all. The Questions on the Prior Analytics (In Librum Priorum Analyticorum Aristotelis Quaestiones) were also discovered to be mistakenly attributed. In 1922, Grabmann showed that the logical work De modis significandi was actually by Thomas of Erfurt, a 14th-century logician of the modist school. Thus the claim that Martin Heidegger wrote his Habilitationsschrift on Scotus is only half true, as the second part is actually based on the work by Erfurt.
Reputation and influence 
Owing to Scotus' early and unexpected death, he left behind a large body of work in an unfinished or unedited condition. His students and disciples extensively edited his papers, often confusing them with works by other writers, in many cases leading to misattribution and confused transmission. Most thirteenth-century Franciscans followed Bonaventura, but the influence of Scotus (as well as that of his arch-rival William of Ockham) spread in the fourteenth century. Franciscan theologians in the late Middle Ages were thus divided between so-called Scotists and Ockhamists. Fourteenth century followers included Francis of Mayrone (d. 1325), Antonius Andreas (d. 1320), William of Alnwick (d. 1333), and John of Bassolis (d. 1347), supposedly Scotus' favourite student.
His reputation suffered during the English reformation, probably due to its association with the Franciscans. In a letter to Thomas Cromwell about his visit to Oxford in 1535, Richard Layton described how he saw the court of New College full of pages from Scotus's work "the wind blowing them into every corner". John Leland described the Oxford Greyfriar's library in 1538 (just prior to its dissolution) as an accumulation of 'cobwebs, moths and bookworms'.
Despite this, Scotism grew in Catholic Europe. Scotus' works were collected into many editions, particularly in the late fifteenth century with the advent of printing. His school was probably at the height of its popularity at the beginning of the seventeenth century; during the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries there were even special Scotist chairs, e.g. at Paris, Rome, Coimbra, Salamanca, Alcalá, Padua, and Pavia. It flourished well into the seventeenth century, and its influence can be seen in such writers as Descartes and Bramhall. Interest dwindled in the eighteenth century, and the revival of scholastic philosophy, known as Neo-Scholasticism, was essentially a revival of Thomistic thinking. The twentieth century, however, has seen a resurgence of interest in Scotus, particularly among secular philosophers such as Peter King, Gyula Klima, Paul Vincent Spade and others.
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Today, Scotus is considered one of the most important Franciscan theologians and was the founder of Scotism, a special form of Scholasticism. He came out of the Old Franciscan School, to which Haymo of Faversham (d. 1244), Alexander of Hales (d. 1245), John of Rupella (d. 1245), William of Melitona (d. 1260), St. Bonaventure (d. 1274), Cardinal Matthew of Aquasparta (d. 1289), John Peckham, Archbishop of Canterbury (d. 1292), Richard of Middletown (d. about 1300), etc., belonged. He was known as "Doctor Subtilis" because of the subtle distinctions and nuances of his thinking. Later philosophers in the sixteenth century were less complimentary about his work, and accused him of sophistry. This led to his name, "dunce" (which developed from the name "Dunse" given to his followers in the 1500s) to become synonymous for "somebody who is incapable of scholarship".
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Scotus is generally considered to be a realist (as opposed to a nominalist) in that he treated universals as real. He attacks a position close to that later defended by Ockham, arguing that things have a common nature – for example the humanity common to both Socrates, Plato, and Plutarch.
Univocity of Being 
He followed Aristotle in asserting that the subject matter of metaphysics is "being qua being" (ens inquantum ens). Being in general (ens in communi), as a univocal notion, was for him the first object of the intellect. Metaphysics includes the study of the transcendentals, so called because they transcend the division of being into finite and infinite and the further division of finite being into the ten Aristotelian categories. Being itself is a transcendental, and so are the "attributes" of being — "one," "true," and "good" — which are coextensive with being, but which each add something to it.[original research?]
The doctrine of the univocity of being implies the denial of any real distinction between essence and existence. Aquinas had argued that in all finite being (i.e. all except God), the essence of a thing is distinct from its existence. Scotus rejected the distinction. Scotus argued that we cannot conceive of what it is to be something, without conceiving it as existing. We should not make any distinction between whether a thing exists (si est) and what it is (quid est), for we never know whether something exists, unless we have some concept of what we know to exist.
Duns elaborates a distinct view on hylomorphism, with three important strong theses that differentiate him. He held: 1) that there exists matter that has no form whatsoever, or prime matter, as the stuff underlying all change, against Aquinas (cf. his Quaestiones in Metaphysicam 7, q. 5; Lectura 2, d. 12, q. un.), 2) that not all created substances are composites of form and matter (cf. Lectura 2, d. 12, q. un., n. 55), that is, that purely spiritual substances do exist, and 3) that one and the same substance can have more than one substantial form — for instance, humans have at least two substantial forms, the soul and the form of the body (forma corporeitas) (cf. Ordinatio 4, d. 11, q. 3, n. 54). He argued for an original principle of individuation (cf. Ordinatio 2, d. 3, pars 1, qq. 1–6), the "haecceity" as the ultimate unity of a unique individual (haecceitas, an entity's 'thisness'), as opposed to the common nature (natura communis), feature existing in any number of individuals. For Scotus, the axiom stating that only the individual exists is a dominating principle of the understanding of reality. For the apprehension of individuals, an intuitive cognition is required, which gives us the present existence or the non-existence of an individual, as opposed to abstract cognition. Thus the human soul, in its separated state from the body, will be capable of knowing the spiritual intuitively.
Formal distinction 
Like other realist philosophers of the period (such as Aquinas and Henry of Ghent) Scotus recognised the need for an intermediate distinction that was not merely conceptual, but not fully real or mind-dependent either. Scotus argued for a formal distinction (distinctio formalis a parte rei), which holds between entities which are inseparable and indistinct in reality, but whose definitions are not identical. For example, the personal properties of the Trinity are formally distinct from the Divine essence. Similarly, the distinction between the 'thisness' or haecceity of a thing is intermediate between a real and a conceptual distinction. There is also a formal distinction between the divine attributes and the powers of the soul.
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Scotus was an Augustinian theologian. He is usually associated with voluntarism, the tendency to emphasize God's will and human freedom in all philosophical issues. The main difference between Aquinas' rational theology and that of Scotus' is that Scotus believed certain predicates may be applied univocally – with exactly the same meaning – to God and creatures, whereas Aquinas insisted that this is impossible, and that only analogical predication can be employed, in which a word as applied to God has a meaning different from, although related to, the meaning of that same word as applied to creatures. Duns struggled throughout his works in demonstrating his univocity theory against Aquinas' analogy doctrine.
Existence of God 
The existence of God can be proven only a posteriori, through its effects. The Causal Argument he gives for the existence of God says that an infinity of things that are essentially ordered is impossible, as the totality of caused things that are essentially caused is itself caused, and so it is caused by some cause which is not a part of the totality, for then it would be the cause of itself; for the whole totality of dependent things is cause, and not on anything belonging to that totality. The argument is relevant for Scotus' conception of metaphysical inquiry into being by searching the ways into which beings relate to each other.
Scotus argued against the version of illuminationism that had been defended earlier in the century by Henry of Ghent. In his Ordinatio (I.3.1.4) he argued against the sceptical consequences that Henry claimed would follow from abandoning divine illumination. Scotus argued that if our thinking were fallible in the way Henry had believed, such illumination could not, even in principle, ensure "certain and pure knowledge."
- When one of those that come together is incompatible with certainty, then certainty cannot be achieved. For just as from one premise that is necessary and one that is contingent nothing follows but a contingent conclusion, so from something certain and something uncertain, coming together in some cognition, no cognition that is certain follows (Ordinatio I.3.1.4 n.221).
Immaculate Conception 
Perhaps the most influential point of Duns Scotus' theology was his defense of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. At the time, there was a great deal of argument about the subject. The general opinion was that it was appropriately deferential to the Mother of God, but it could not be seen how to resolve the problem that only with Christ's death would the stain of original sin be removed. The great philosophers and theologians of the West were divided on the subject (indeed, it appears that even Thomas Aquinas sided with those who denied the doctrine, though some Thomists dispute this). The feast day had existed in the East (though in the East, the feast is just of the Conception of Mary) since the seventh century and had been introduced in several dioceses in the West as well, even though the philosophical basis was lacking. Citing Anselm of Canterbury's principle, "potuit, decuit, ergo fecit" (God could do it, it was appropriate, therefore he did it), Duns Scotus devised the following argument: Mary was in need of redemption like all other human beings, but through the merits of Jesus' crucifixion, given in advance, she was conceived without the stain of original sin. God could have brought it about (1) that she was never in original sin, (2) she was in sin only for an instant, (3) she was in sin for a period of time, being purged at the last instant. Whichever of these options was most excellent should probably be attributed to Mary. This apparently careful statement provoked a storm of opposition at Paris, and suggested the line 'fired France for Mary without spot' in the famous poem "Duns Scotus's Oxford," by Gerard Manley Hopkins.
Scotus' argument appears in Pope Pius IX's 1854 declaration of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, "at the first moment of Her conception, Mary was preserved free from the stain of original sin, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ." Scotus' position was hailed as "a correct expression of the faith of the Apostles".
Another of Scotus' positions also gained official approval of the Roman Catholic Church his doctrine on the universal primacy of Christ became the underlying rationale for the feast of Christ the King instituted in 1925.
During his pontificate, Pope John XXIII recommended the reading of Duns Scotus' theology to modern theology students.
Awards and honors 
In 2011, John Duns Scotus was honored by the University of Oxford, his alma mater, as one of its 100 most distinguished members from 10 centuries. Other honorees included William of Ockham, Erasmus of Rotterdam, Saint Thomas More, John Locke,Adam Smith, Christopher Wren, Lawrence of Arabia, Oscar Wilde, J.R.R. Tolkien and living university members Rupert Murdoch, Bill Clinton, Stephen Hawking and Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. For the cover of the 2011 Prospectus, Oxford University named 100 streets in Oxford historical centre after these graduates. Westminster Way was renamed for John Duns Scotus.
See also 
- Oxford Franciscan school
- Matterza early depictions of the Immaculate Conception in three generations
- "The Examined Report of the Parish Lecture, Reportatio I-A, Volume 1", edited and translated by (†) Allan B. Wolter, OFM and Oleg Bychkov. Franciscan Institute Publications, 2004978-1-57659-122-2. ISBN 978-1-57659-193-2
- "The Examined Report of the Parish Lecture, Reportatio I-A, Volume 2", edited and translated by (†) Allan B. Wolter, OFM and Oleg Bychkov. Franciscan Institute Publications, 2008. ISBN 978-1-57659-150-5
- Lectura (Early Oxford Lectures)
- Opus Parisiense or Reportata parisiensia (Paris Lectures)
- Ordinatio or Opus Oxoniense (Oxford Lectures)
- Tractatus de Primo Principio (Treatise on the First Principle) Latin Version English Translation
- Questions on the Metaphysics of Aristotle Latin text
- Quaestiones Quodlibetales
- De Rerum Principio (Of the Beginning of Things) An inauthentic work once attributed to Scotus.
- Cuestiones Cuodlibetales. In Obras del Doctor Sutil, Juan Duns Escoto. Ed. Felix Alluntis. Madrid: Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos, 1963.
- Opera Omnia. ("The Wadding edition") Lyon, 1639; reprinted Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1968.
- Opera Omnia. ("The Vatican edition") Civitas Vaticana: Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis, 1950–.
- Opera Philosophica. St. Bonaventure, NY: The Franciscan Institute:, 1997–2006:
- Vol. I: Quaestiones super Porphyrius Isagoge et Aristoteles Categoriae, Franciscan Institute Publications, 1999. ISBN 978-1-57659-121-5
- Vol. II: Quaestiones super Peri hermeneias et Sophistici Elenchis (along with)Theoremata, Franciscan Institute Publications, 2004, ISBN 978-1-57659-122-2.
- Vol. III-IV: Quaestiones super libros Metaphysicorum Aristotelis
- Vol. V: Quaestiones super Secundum et Tertium de Anima. Franciscan Institute Publications, 2006. ISBN 978-0-8132-1422-1.
- John Duns Scotus, A Treatise on God as First Principle. Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press 1982. A Latin text and English translation of the De Primo Principio. Second edition, revised, with a commentary by Allan Wolter, (First edition 1966).
- John Duns Scotus, Contingency and Freedom. Lectura I 39, transl., comment. and intro. by A. Vos Jaczn, H. Veldhuis, A.H. Looman-Graaskamp, E. Dekker and N.W. den Bok. The New Synthese Historical Library 4. Dordrecht/Boston/London: Kluwer, 1994.
- John Duns Scotus, A treatise on Potency and Act. St. Bonaventure, NY: The Franciscan Institute 2000.
- Questions on the Metaphysics of Aristotle Book IX. Introduction and Commentary. Latin text and English translation by Allan B. Wolter, St. Bonaventure, NY: The Franciscan Institute 2000.
- Questions on the Metaphysics of Aristotle by John Duns Scotus. St. Bonaventure, NY: The Franciscan Institute, 1997–1998.
- A. Vos, H. Veldhuis, E. Dekker, N.W. den Bok and A.J. Beck (ed.). Duns Scotus on Divine Love: Texts and Commentary on Goodness and Freedom, God and Humans, Aldershot: Ashgate 2003.
- Mary Beth Ingham, CSJ, Scotus for Dunces: An Introduction to the Subtle Doctor, Franciscan Institute Publications, 2003.
- Mary Beth Ingham, CSJ, The Harmony of Goodness: Mutuality and Moral Living According to John Duns Scotus, Franciscan Institute Publications, 1997.
- Thomas Shannon, The Ethical Theory of John Duns Scotus, Franciscan Institute Publications, 1995.
- Allan B. Wolter, OFM and Blane O'Neil, OFM, John Duns Scotus: Mary's Architect, Franciscan Institute Publications, 1993.
- Edited by Oleg Bychkof and Mary Beth Ingham, John Duns Scotus,Philosopher: Proceedings of 'The Quadruple Congress' on John Duns Scotus Subsidia 3, Franciscan Institute Publications, 2010.
- "John Duns Scotus, Philosopher": Proceedings of 'The Quadruple Congress' on John Duns Scotus Subsidia 5, Franciscan Institute Publications, 2011.
- Introduction with Latin text and English translation and notes by (†) Allan B. Wolter, OFM, John Duns Scotus. Early Oxford Lecture on Individuation, Franciscan Institute Publications, 2005.
- Introduction with Latin text and English translation and notes by (†) Allan B. Wolter, OFM, John Duns Scotus. Four Questions on Mary, Franciscan Institute Publications, 2000.
- Introduction with Latin text and English translation and notes by (†) Allan B. Wolter, OFM, John Duns Scotus. Political and Economic Philosophy, Franciscan Institute Publications, 2001.
- Introduction with Latin text and English translation and notes by (†) Allan B. Wolter, OFM, "John Duns Scotus. A Treatise on Potency and Act. Questions on the Metaphysics of Aristotle Book IX", Franciscan Institute Publications, 2000.
- Edited By Allan B. Wolter, Scotus and Ockham Selected Essays, Franciscan Institute Publications, 2003.
- Together with Thomas Aquinas and William of Ockham. See e.g. the Plato.Stanford.edu articles "Duns Scotus" and "William of Ockham"
- Williams 2002, p. 2
- Brampton, C. K. (1964). "Duns Scotus at Oxford, 1288–1301". Franciscan Studies 24 (Annual II): 5–20.
- Although Vos (2006, p. 23) has objected that ‘Duns’ was actually his family name, as someone from Duns would have been known as ‘de Duns’.
- Vos 2006 p. 27. See also Roest, Bert (2000). A history of Franciscan education (c. 1210-1517). Brill. pp. 21–24. ISBN 978-90-04-11739-6.
- Vos 2006 p. 27
- Narratur de Doctori Subtili qui in Prato clericorum, visa Generalis Ministri obedentia, dum actu Regens esse in scholis Parisiensibus, aut pauca aut nulla de rebus habita dispositione, Parisis exivit ut Coloniam iret, secundum ministri sententiam. William Vorilong, Opus super IV libros Sententiarum II, d. 44, q. 1 f. 161va.
- Bacon, Francis (1638). Historia Vitae et Mortis.
- Latin text: "Haec de ordinatione ven. Fratris J. duns de ordine fratrum Minorum, qui floruit Cant Oxon et Parisius et obiit in Colonia." – quoted in Little 1932, p. 571, citing Callebaut 1928.
- Pini, Giorgio (2005). "Univocity in Scotus’s Quaestiones super Metaphysicam: The Solution to a Riddle" (PDF). Medioevo 30: 69–110.
- See e.g. Wolter 1995, p.76 and passim
- See the introduction to the critical edition: Duns Scoti Quaestiones in librum Porphyrii Isagoge et Quaestiones super Praedicamenta Aristotelis (Opera philosophica, I), xxix–xxxiv, xli–xlii.
- Pini, Giorgio (2005). "Univocity in Scotus’s Quaestiones super Metaphysicam: The Solution to a Riddle" (PDF). Medioevo 30: 69–110., although this is speculative
- Thomas Williams (2009). "John Duns Scotus", Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (online).
- Ashworth 1987
- R.P.E. Longpre
- Courtenay, William (January 2012). "Early Scotists at Paris: A Reconsideration". Franciscan Studies 69 (1): 175–229. doi:10.1353/frc.2012.0009.
- R.W. Dixon, History of the Church of England from the Abolition of the Roman Jurisdiction, 1:303
- Catto, Jeremy, "Franciscan Learning in England, 1450–1540", in The Religious Orders in Pre-Reformation England, ed. Clarke 2002
- Opus Oxoniense I iii 1–2, quoted in Grenz 2005, p. 55
- Honderich p. 209
- Pasnau, Robert (2011). "Divine Illumination". The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
- Ordinatio III, d.3, q.1
- "The Life of Blessed John Duns Scotus". EWTN.
- Bos, Egbert P. (1998). John Duns Scotus: Renewal of Philosophy. Acts of the Third Symposium organized by the Dutch Society for Medieval Philosophy Medium Aevum. Amsterdam: Rodopi. ISBN 978-90-420-0081-0.
- Frank, William A.; Wolter, Allan B. (1995). Duns Scotus, Metaphysician. West Lafayette: Purdue University Press. ISBN 978-1-55753-072-1.
- Gracia, Jorge J. E.; Noone, Timothy B. (2003). A Companion to Philosophy in the Middle Ages. Cambridge: Blackwell Pub. ISBN 978-0-631-21672-8.
- Grenz, Stanley (2005). The Named God And The Question Of Being: A Trinitarian Theo-ontology. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press. ISBN 978-0-664-22204-8.
- Honderich, Ted (1995). "Duns Scotus". The Oxford Companion to Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-866132-0.
- Kretzmann, Norman; Kenny, Anthony; Pinborg, Jan; Stump, Eleonore (1982). The Cambridge History of Later Medieval Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-36933-6.
- Vos, Antonie (2006). The Philosophy of John Duns Scotus. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. ISBN 978-0-7486-2462-1.
- Williams, Thomas (2002). The Cambridge Companion to Duns Scotus. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-63563-9.
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- Site of the International Scotistic Commission (Rome, Italy)
- Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: "John Duns Scotus"
- Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: "John Duns Scotus"
- Catholic Encyclopedia article on John Duns Scotus
- Site about Duns Scotus of the Research Group John Duns Scotus (Utrecht, NL)
- Thomas Williams' pages on Scotus
- The Realist Ontology of John Duns Scotus with an annotated bibliography
- Article by Parthenius Minges on Scotists and Scotism at the Jacques Maritain Center
- Local history site of Blessed John Duns Scotus' birthplace, Duns, Berwickshire, Scotland
- Online Galleries, History of Science Collections, University of Oklahoma Libraries High resolution images of works by Duns Scotus in .jpg and .tiff format.
- Duns Scotus at IMDB, 90-minute feature film by TVCO (2011), starring Adriano Braidotti and directed by Fernando Muraca
- Rome Reports, 2 minute video clip, behind the scenes during filming