Almanac – November 08

1308 – John  Duns Scotus died. Probably Scottish born and generally reckoned to be one of the three most important philosopher-theologians of the High Middle Ages, Scotus has had considerable influence on both Catholic and secular thought.

The doctrines for which he is best known are the “univocity of being,” that existence is the most abstract concept we have, applicable to everything that exists; the formal distinction, a way of distinguishing between different aspects of the same thing; and the idea of haecceity, the property supposed to be in each individual thing that makes it an individual.

Scotus also developed a complex argument for the existence of God, and argued for the Immaculate conception of Mary.

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1656 – Edmond Halley born. English astronomer, geophysicist, mathematician, meteorologist, and physicist who is best known for computing the orbit of the eponymous Halley’s Comet.

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1847 – Bram Stoker born.  Irish novelist and short story writer, best known today for his 1897 Gothic novel Dracula.

During his lifetime, he was better known as personal assistant of actor Henry Irving and business manager of the Lyceum Theatre in London, which Irving owned.

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1887 – Doc Holliday died.  American gambler, gunfighter and dentist of the American Old West, who is usually remembered for his friendship with Wyatt Earp and his involvement in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

In an 1896 article, Wyatt Earp said that “Doc was a dentist, not a lawman or an assassin, whom necessity had made a gambler; a gentleman whom disease had made a frontier vagabond; a philosopher whom life had made a caustic wit; a long lean ash-blond fellow nearly dead with consumption, and at the same time the most skillful gambler and the nerviest, speediest, deadliest man with a six-gun that I ever knew.”

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1965 – The Murder (Abolition of Death Penalty) Act 1965 is given Royal Assent, formally abolishing the death penalty in the United Kingdom.

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2011 – The potentially hazardous asteroid 2005 YU55 passed 0.85 lunar distances from Earth (about 324,600 kilometres or 201,700 miles), the closest known approach by an asteroid of its brightness since 2010 XC15 in 1976.

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