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Full Version: What is the Difference: Aquinas, Bonaventure, Scotus et. al.?
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What is the real difference between the philosophies of these men? I hear people bat about saying that they don't like Thomas being the "default" Catholic philosophy, and saying that they favor some other philosophy.

I am only familiar with Aquinas' philosophy, mostly through reading secondary sources at that with a little bit of primary reading. (I grasp, to a greater or lesser degree, the four causes, the Thomistic perspective on the human soul and the passions, some of the demonstrations of God's existence, and the act-potency metaphysics, Thomistic realism.)

I know that St. Bonaventure was St. Thomas' contemporary, but what was the real difference between their two philosophies/theologies? Is it because that Thomas incorporated a lot more of Aristotle?

Scotus I know only for his defense of the Immaculate Conception. Is this all that he is known for?

I am not thoroughly well versed in philosophy and have no formal training, but for anyone who comments, please don't "dumb it down" too much.
From what I've read, the difference between St Bonaventure and St Thomas is the basis of Aristotelian metaphysics. Bonaventure adopted the idea of men being hylomorphic composites, but overall he was much more neoplatonic than Aquinas. In a way, he follows the Augustinian mode of theology while introducing some elements of Aristotle. The most notable of his views is that of vestiges: where Bonaventure believed that God could be known through the vestiges, or footprints, He left on creation. On top of that, Bonaventure emphasized the necessity of religious convictions when proving God's existence through reason and believed that all things only make sense when contextualized through the Word, Jesus Christ. He believed that theology was the science to which all other sciences should be subordinated to.

Bonaventure also appears to have adhered to the view that not all things within theology can be known through pure reason, citing the emphasis on Wisdom as the means through which we seek contemplation, attaining the highest form of knowledge of God.

I encourage you to take a look at this article, as Pope Benedict describes the differences much better than I can.