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De Potentia Absoluta et Ordinata: Contingency of Law and Distinction of Potencies in John Duns Scotus.

Carlos Eduardo de Oliveira


The availability of three different commentaries from John Duns Scotus on Peter Lombard’s Book of the Sentences, namely Lectura, Ordinatio, and Reportatio I-A, enables a possible revaluation of contemporary interpretations on the distinction of an absolute and an ordained power (or potency) proposed by Scotus. Being the Ordinatio a main guide for the exposition and the other two versions a helpful tool to enlightening each other’s arguments, I will return to some topics sustained by some of those interpretations, such as the association of both powers and de iure et de facto actions, the distinction of powers understood as a distinction of an operative model related to two ways of acting, and, finally, the association of that distinction with a theory of synchronic possibilities: I intend to show that, perhaps, those interpretations are not correct enough. I also aim to show that the text of the Reportatio I-B, currently without a contemporary edition, can be useful to illustrate some of the arguments of the mentioned discussion.


John Duns Scotus, Absolute and Ordained Power, De Iure and De Facto Actions, Manifest Power of the Will, Non-manifest Power of the Will.

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