Published online by Cambridge University Press: 23 December 2021
This essay focuses on a concept that plays a central role in Duns Scotus’s metaphysics—essential order. It starts by considering Duns Scotus’s presentation of essential order in the De primo principio, where essential order is said to obtain between two beings, x and y, where x is essentially prior to y and y is essentially posterior to x. But Duns Scotus makes use of essential order in several other contexts as well, including his hylomorphism, chemistry, action theory, metaethics, and even ecclesiology. In these other contexts, the notion of essential order is not clearly defined, and it is not always obvious how its deployment is supposed to map onto the canonical definition of essential order offered in the De primo principio. This essay takes a step toward this systematization by analyzing Duns Scotus’s use of essential orders outside of the De primo principio, letting the De primo principio discussion both inform and be informed by these other contexts.