Moral Intention

Ian Wilks

in The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Philosophy

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780195379488
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Moral Intention

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  • History of Western Philosophy
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This article notes that two medieval philosophers achieve centrality in the history of moral intention: Peter Abelard and William of Ockham, who alike adopt the strong position of claiming that only moral intention, not ensuing action, is a suitable basis for moral judgment. This shared thesis is pivotal in their respective moral theories and produces between them what deserves to be considered a fairly distinctive strand of moral theory within the larger setting of medieval thought. The article considers the early evidence for strands of moral theory in the writings of St Augustine and St Anselm, and then observes it as it achieves full expression in the writings of Abelard and Ockham.

Keywords: moral theory; Peter Abelard; William of Ockham; moral intention; moral judgment; St Augustine; St Anselm

Article.  9083 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Moral Philosophy

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