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THE RELATION BETWEEN INTELLECT AND WILL IN FREE CHOICE ACCORDING TO AQUINAS AND SCOTUS IT IS COMMON KNOWLEDGE that important differences exist between Thomistic and Scotistic theories of free choice. In another paper I have tried to show that these differences are important for moral theory.1 Yet it seems to me that the points on which these theories agree are at least as important as those on which they differ. The basic difference between the theories has often been described as a contrast between an intellectualist view (Thomistic) and a voluntarist view (Scotistic). Significantly, Scotistic commentators seem to have been less satisfied than Thomists with this characterization. Some have claimed that this labelling is unfair to Scotus and obscures his views. Yet a difference can be exaggerated in two directions, and it may be that this labelling has also obscured Aquinas's position. In fact, it may be that exaggerating the contrast has led some commentators to explain Aquinas's views in a way that is a.pt to be mistaken for intellectual determinism.2 The purpose of this pa.per is to determine exactly where Aquinas and Scotus differ on free choice, and where they do not. I will first examine Scotus's position and then Aquinas's. 1 "Aquinas and Scotus on Liberty and Natural Law," Proaeedings of the Ameriaa;n Oatholio Philosophical Assoaiation, 1982. 2 A very incautious dictum tossed about has been, " The intellect specifies the will." See below, p. 335f, for an account of the ambiguity in this expression. The common resort to the mutual causality of intellect and will does not answer the problem raised by this passage. The problem is this: if the intellect specifies that this object rather than that be willed, then the choice is not free but intellectually determined. If the objection is stated in precisely this way, I think it can be answered only by denying the antecedent. Yet Thomists have often been loath to deny it, for fear of falling into "voluntarism." 821 PATRICK LEE Scotus on Free Choice In the central texts where Scotus discusses the relationship between intellect and will in an act of choice he asks: "Whether the act of will is caused in the will by an object moving it or by the will moving itself? " 3 The first time he addressed this question, which is recorded in the Opus Oxoniense (Bk. II, d. 25) , he maintained that the known object (or intellect) has no intrinsic causal role in the act of will at all, but is only a sine qua non-not intrinsically causing, but something whose effect is required for the effect in question (here, the act of will) .4 The will alone was cause, and total cause, of the act of will: "Nothing but the will is the total cause of the act of willing in the will: " 5 Yet later in his life he altered this position, and we have the record of that alteration in some manuscripts of later writings. Carl Balic edited these manuscripts for publication, and attested to both their authenticity and their significance.6 In these later texts Scotus says there are three possible answers to the question: first, that only the known object is the cause of the act of will; second, that only the will is the cause of its act (his earlier position) ; or third, that the will and object concur in causing the act of will. He adopts here the third position. s Scotus, Opus Omoniense, Bk. II, d. 25, q. un., Vives ed., vol. 13, 196a; see also next note. Two incisive articles on Scotus's position are: Bernardine M. Bonansea, "Duns Scotus's Voluntarism," in J. Ryan and B. Bonansea, (eds.), John Duns Scotus, 1265-1965 (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America, 1965), pp. 83-121; Lawrence D. Roberts, "Indeterminism in Duns Scotus' Doctrine of Human Freedom," Modern Schoolman, 51 (1973), 1-16. 4 Ibid., n. 18-19, vol. 13, 210-212. s "Dico ergo ad quaestionem quod nihil aliud a voluntate est causa totalis volitionis in voluntate." (Op. Om., II, d. 25, n. 22, vol. 13, 222b.) 6 C. Balic, Les commentaires de J. Duns Scot sur...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2473-3725
Print ISSN
0040-6325
Pages
pp. 321-342
Launched on MUSE
2017-05-15
Open Access
No
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