Cognitive Issues in the Long Scotist Tradition

February 11, 2021 - February 13, 2021
Faculty of Theology, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, South Bohemia University

Kněžská 8
České Budějovice CZ 37001
Czech Republic

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Studying the history of Scotism means gaining insight into an intellectual current that lasted for almost half a millennium and for a time even was part of a global scholastic culture. The Scotist tradition is founded on the philosophical and theological teachings of the Franciscan master John Duns Scotus (ca. 1265–1308) in Oxford and Paris. On a whole range of issues, Scotus challenged his most distinguished scholastic predecessors, such as Thomas Aquinas and Henry of Ghent. His way of thinking soon became a viable Franciscan alternative to the school formations of other religious orders, first of all the Dominicans who mostly followed Aquinas. The Scotist school developed into one of the most diffused scholastic schools of the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance. It continued to develop and even experienced considerable growth in the 17th century, paradoxically in a period that popular historiography tends to define through its very opposition to scholasticism. In Catholic Europe, the Scotist tradition did not come to an end until the mid-18th century. Outside of Europe, Scotism thrived in the Hispanic colonies of South America, a phenomenon that has been known for some time even though it is only now beginning to attract the attention it deserves.

This present conference is devoted to discussions of cognitive issues in the long Scotist tradition. To overcome the departmentalized state of research on Scotism, the conference aims to bring together scholars working on medieval, renaissance and early modern philosophy. The common focus lies on cognitive issues typically discussed in treatises on the soul and its faculties (or commentaries on Aristotle’s De anima), in epistemological sections of other parts of philosophy, as well as in various theological contexts. We welcome papers dealing with sensory perception (e.g., intentionality, self-awareness, and skepticism), intellectual cognition (e.g., the nature, divisions, and adequate object of the intellect), the epistemology of the sciences (e.g., their various degrees of certainty), and cognitive aspects of theology (e.g., discussions of prelapsarian, angelic, or divine cognition). All papers must explore material from the rich Scotist tradition, from the immediate wake of Scotus’s teaching in the early 14th century until the final stage of the Scotist tradition in the 18th century. With this unusual approach, we wish to throw new light on the often postulated, but too seldom researched, historical influence of Scotus’s doctrines, at the same time keeping an eye out for unexpected developments within the Scotist tradition not necessarily traceable to Scotus himself, but rather, e.g., to discussions among his early followers. We also welcome investigations into the interaction between Scotism and other scholastic traditions (e.g., Thomism, Aristotelianism, and Jesuit scholasticism) as well as into Scotist influences on non-scholastic thought (Descartes et al.).

Practical information

The conference will be hosted by the Faculty of Theology at the University of South Bohemia, situated in the historical city centre of České Budějovice (Budweis). In 2016 the Faculty of Theology hosted a successful international conference on the Jesuit philosopher and theologian Pedro Hurtado de Mendoza (1578–1641) and has for a long time been the working place for a number of scholars with a primary research focus on Baroque-age scholasticism. The conference is part of our project “Theory of Cognition in Baroque Scotism (20-01710S)” funded by the Czech Science Foundation.

There will be approximately 15 papers à 50 min. (discussion included). Accommodation will be provided for all participants. The conference language is English.

Call for papers

Proposals for papers (descriptions of no more than ca. 200 words) must be submitted to both organizers by the end of July 2020. Please add info on your relevant publications and/or current projects and academic affiliation.


Prof. Daniel Heider: [email protected]

Dr. Claus A. Andersen: [email protected]

Call issued 20 February 2020

Faculty of Theology, University of South Bohemia, Kněžská 8, 37001 České Budějovice, Czech Republic

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July 31, 2020, 5:00am CET

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