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DUNS SCOTUS'S THIRD "VOLITIONAL POSTURE" AND A CRITIQUE OF THE PROBLEM OF MORAL INDIFFERENCE IN OUR TIME Prior to Scotus,1 the question of the nature of the distinction between willing and nilling had remained essentially unasked, and the response, consequently, undeveloped. Until Scotus, it was taken for granted by theologians, almost universally, that goodness once considered must be willed, and evil once considered must be nilled—that is to say, actively rejected by the will. An object, like most objects, which is intrinsically good, but with some admixture of evil, some privation in itself, or some danger to the wilier, can be either The texts from Ordinatio I, dist. 3, pars 1, q.i used in this article are taken from the Vatican edition: Doctoris Subtilis et Mariant, Ioannis Duns Scoti, Ordinis Fratrum Minorum, Opera Omnia, Studia et Cura Commissionis Scotisticae edita (Civitas Vaticana: typis Polyglottis Vaticanis, 1954), 3:1-48. The English translations of these texs are taken from Allan B. Wolter, O.F.M., Duns Scotus Philosophical Writings, translated with an Introdction and notes by Allan B. Wolter, O.F.M. (Indianapolis: Hacket Publishing Company, 1987) 14-33, where the texts are cited as coming from Scotus' Opus Oxoniense. (For an explanation of why scholars have settled on die title Ordinatio for this work, see pp. xxiii-xxiv of Wolter's introduction.) Since his Latin text of these passages (taken from Codex A, f. 25ra-27rb) varies only insignificantly from die text found in die Vatican edition, it can be used easily to verify the citations in die current article. The Vatican edition of Scotus' Opera Omnia not yet completed, however, the Latin texts from Ordinatio TV, suppl. dist. 49, q. ix used in this article are taken from Allan B. Wolter, O.F.M., Duns Scotus on the Will and Morality, translated with an Introduction by Allan B. Wolter, O.F.M. (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1986) 182-197. Wolter's translations of these texts have been used along with the Latin, which Wolter has also taken from Codex A (ff. 281va-282va). The Latin texts are to be found in the notes appended to Wolter's English translations. The texts of Ordinatio I, dist. 3, pars 1, q. i will be cited by die Vatican edition's paragraph numbers, as well as by Wolter's pagination in Duns Scotus Philosophical Writings; die latter hereafter appears as: Wolter (PW). Accordingly, a passage from paragraphs 58-61 of Ordinatio I, dist. 3, pars 1, q. i is cited as: Ordinatio I, dist. 3, pars 1, q. i, 1158-61. Wolter (PW), 26-29. Since Wolter's Latin is relied upon for Ordinatio TV, suppl. dist. 49, q. ix, citations of these passages are made according to die pagination in Duns Scotus on the Will and Morality, which is hereafter cited as: Wolter (WM). Since the Latin and die English in Wolter (WM) appear on odd-even pages, citations are given to dual page numbers, as, for example: Wolter (WM), 194/195. 77 Franciscan Studies 58 (2000) 78RICHARD H. BULZACCHELLI willed or nilled, depending upon how it is considered by the willing subject. But evil qua evil can never be willed and must always be nilled; and good qua good can never be nilled, but must always be willed. Thus, for nearly all thinkers prior to Scotus,2 the will is only capable of two possible postures. For Scotus, however, this is not the case. Instead, he postulates a third term which is the negation of both willing and nilling.3 The willing-nilling distinction as conceived by Scotus in his radical employment of this third term, represents an entirely original step in the philosophy of freedom. In this article we will investigate the nature of the willing-nilling distinction in light of Scotus's third volitional posture*, and will ask what implications Scotus's treatment of this issue may have for our current culture of moral indifference, in which moral positions contrary to our own sensibilities are considered with a disinterested neutrality, rather than an outright repudiation, as had been the case until recently in history. Accordingly, this article is divided...


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