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The Physics of Duns ScotusThe Scientific Context of a Theological Vision$
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Richard Cross

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198269748

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198269748.001.0001

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The Reality of Time

The Reality of Time

(p.239) 13 The Reality of Time
The Physics of Duns Scotus

Richard Cross

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the strengths and weaknesses of Scotus's account on time. Firstly, Scotus's account of angelic motion provides him with the tools to give an account of the flowing now principle. Secondly, Scotus's account of H-unity allows him to give a clear account of the unity of time. Thirdly, Scotus's use of the medieval distinction between permanence and succession allows him to get closer than Aristotle to a distinction between A- and B-series time. Lastly, Scotus sees the desirability of modal reductionism over any more straight forward reductionism. This allows him to avoid the concept of Newton's absolute time, and Aristotle's identification of time from the actual rotation of the outermost heavenly sphere. The main limitations of his account includes the reduction of time to the B-series, and the obscure medieval concepts of the aevum and evieternity to explain the temporality of permanent items.

Keywords:   aevum, evieternity, A-series, B-series, angelic motion, flowing now, reduction of time, absolute time, modal reductionism

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