Independent Accidents: Scotus and Ockham

Marilyn McCord Adams

in Some Later Medieval Theories of the Eucharist

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780199591053
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595554 | DOI:
Independent Accidents: Scotus and Ockham

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Scotus and Ockham both deny that reified quantity can play any role in the individuation of material substances or their accidents. Moreover, they interpret Aristotle as saying, not that only substances are agents properly speaking, but that only individuals are. This chapter analyzes their recalculations of accident-independence and the causal roles that the eucharistic accidents play. Scotus weighs up considerations from the essential orders of dependence and eminence and sees no reason why — by Divine power — qualities as much as quantities could not exist without inhering in a subject. Ockham argues against the reification of quantity on philosophical grounds and so holds that bread-qualities exist independently after consecration. Both invoke Divine power to explain changes issuing in new substances. Scotus makes the same move with respect to condensation and rarefaction of the eucharistic accidents, but Ockham's own view accounts for this easily in terms of the locomotion of quality parts.

Keywords: Scotus; Ockham; individuation; material substances; accident-independence; bread

Chapter.  12588 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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