Friday, October 09, 2009

Scotus on Superfriendship

...[C]harity can be properly called friendship. I do not take it entirely in the strict sense in which the Philosopher uses the term when he speaks of it. If we somehow extend the meaning he had in mind so that it applies to God, we can say that charity is something more excellent than friendship. For this excess in the object does not take away anything of perfection in it, but only removes what is imperfection. Therefore this excess does not invalidate our proposal. Uprightness indeed in what is lovable and a return of love in the beloved are per se conditoins in the lovable object. But equality in these things is only a concomitant condition, and not a matter of perfection. Indeed, charity is not more perfect if it is only a return of love. God, however, has both grounds for being loved, namely, the fact that he returns our love as well as that more excellent amiability or goodness in itself, and with him there can be a friendship that is called "superfriendship." And if one argues that equality is also a basis for friendship, that is true, but it always presupposes some honorable good that deserves to be loved for its own sake, and this is the primary reason why something is amiable. Equality is a basis for friendship strictly speaking, but excellence is an even greater reason for a similar or even more perfect habit than a friendship, and here I call such a habit "charity."

Duns Scotus on the Will & Morality, Wolter, ed. & tr. CUA Press (Washington, D.C.: 1997) pp. 285-286.

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