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THE GOOD WILL ACCORDING TO GERALD ODONIS, DUNS SCOTUS, AND WILLIAM OF OCKHAM The role of emotions in morality has long been a bone of contention between Kant's defenders and his critics. His critics insist that emotional inclinations and responses do have moral significance. They are not merely passions beyond our control; they are integral to our values and hence reflective of our moral character. Recent advocates of virtue theory, rallying under the banner of Aristotle, have joined in pouring scorn on Kant. Bystanders are sometimes invited to choose sides: Will we have an ethics of virtue, where our emotions can be cultivated, educated, and given a positive role in our moral lives, or will we have the good will ethic, where emotions can neither increase nor diminish our moral worth?1 In truth, we can have both. We can have an ethics of virtue where all moral goodness depends on the will. We need not choose between Aristotle and Kant, though we might well have to choose between competing medieval theories. While all are ethics ofvirtue, not all endorse Aristotle's conception of virtue. Whether emotional inclinations and responses have moral significance is open to debate. That very question occasioned considerable controversy in the later Middle Ages. The controversy may go unnoticed because much of it lies buried under a discouraging rubric: the location of the virtues .2 But let us not be discouraged. The location of the virtues is less *I am indebted to Professors James J. Walsh and Paul O. Kristeller for helpful comments on drafts of this study. 1 See, for example, Philippa Foot, "Virtues and Vices," Virtues and Vices and Other Essays in Moral Philosophy (Oxford: Blackwell, 1978) 12-14; Lawrence J. Blum, Friendship, Altruism and Morality (London: Routledge, 1980) 204-5. 2 More specifically, the usual question is: "Whether the moral virtues I20BONNIE KENT a problem of where virtue is than of what virtue is—of what it is to be a virtuous man. When a medieval tells üs where virtues are found, he tells us a good deal about his conception of human goodness. As we know, St. Thomas taught that justice lies in the will; temperance and courage lie rather in the sense appetite.3 At least some virtues must be posited in the seat of the passions because the proper emotional responses are deemed essential to human goodness. According to Thomas, the passions ofthe sense appetite can be brought into habitual conformity with reason, and when they are, they make a man better than he would be otherwise.4 Unlike Thomas, many Franciscans attributed all moral virtues to the will. Some granted that the sense appetite could acquire habits or inclinations resembling virtues, but those who did usually denied that such qualities are essential to virtue.5 Others declined to award even quasi-virtues to the sense appetite.6 On one broad point most are in the will as in a subject," or "Whether the moral virtues are in the sense appetite as in a subject." Sometimes the stated question is specific to the cardinal virtues, though the author will ordinarily draw conclusions about moral virtues in general. In commentaries on the Sentences, the location of the virtues is usually discussed in Book III, dist. 33. 3 Aquinas, Summa Theol., I—II, q. 56, a. 4-6; q. 59, a. 4; q. 60, a. 2; lili , q. 58, a. 9. 4 Aquinas, Summa Theol., I—II, q. 24, a. 3; q. 50, a. 3. 5 Bonav., Sent., lib. Ill, d. 33, a. un., q. 3 (ed. Quaracchi, III, 717; Ricardus de Mediavilla, Sent, lib. Ill, d. 33, a. 1, q. 1 (ed. Brescia 1591, III, 371; Frankfurt: Minerva, 1963); Scotus, Opus Oxon., lib. Ill, d. 33, q. un. (ed. Vives, XV, 448, 455); Franciscus de Mayronis, Sent., lib. Ill, d. 33, q. 2, a. 3 (ed. Venetiis 1520, f. 173rb; Frankfurt: Minerva, 1966); Ockham, Quaest. in III Sent., q. 11 (OTh VI, 358-62). Scholastic treatments of the location of the virtues are reviewed in Thomas Graf, De subiecto psychico gratiae et virtutum (Romae: Herder, 1935), vol. 1, pt. 2. For excerpts from Franciscan writings, see especially 144-8 (Peter...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1945-9718
Print ISSN
0080-5459
Pages
pp. 119-139
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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