Scotus: Will, Freedom, and Reason


in The Development of Ethics: Volume 1

Published in print September 2007 | ISBN: 9780198242673
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680519 | DOI:

Series: Development of Ethics

Scotus: Will, Freedom, and                         Reason

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This chapter explores John Duns Scotus' views on will, freedom, and reason, in combination with Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas intends his position to be: faithful to Aristotle, philosophically plausible, and theologically adequate. Scotus and William of Ockham share Aquinas' aims, but believe they can improve on his position. First, they argue that their position, as opposed to Aquinas' position, is really supported by Aristotle, or at least fits Aristotle no less well than the Thomist position fits it. In particular, Scotus' discussion of Aristotle on rational capacities and of the relation of virtue to the rational and non-rational parts raises legitimate questions about the soundness of Aquinas' interpretation. Some of these mediaeval criticisms of Aquinas underlie objections to the Aristotelian outlook that are sometimes regarded as distinctively modern. In this regard, the chapter also discusses Scotus' objections and how he defends them.

Keywords: John Duns Scotus; will; freedom; reason; Thomas Aquinas; Aristotle; William of Ockham; virtue; rationality

Chapter.  16705 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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