When Anselm inquires into the nature of freedom, he most often talks about free choice (liberum arbitrium) or the freedom of choice (libertas arbitrii); however, he clearly and consistently distinguishes between these and free will (voluntas libera) or freedom of the will (libertas voluntatis), a distinction which has consistently been overlooked by his modern interpreters. Freedom of choice is a capacity for righteousness (iustitia), which all rational beings enjoy; yet it is a semi-conditional capacity, the exercise of which does not necessarily depend on them exclusively. Freedom of the will, on the other hand, is coextensive with actual righteousness, as is the will's aseity that goes with it. None but the righteous enjoy freedom of the will, while for the unrighteous, free choice is an idle capacity and being the ultimate originator of their will is only a dream. Anselm, then, puts for ward two rather different accounts of what will-related freedom consists in for the righteous and for the sinners, respectively. This decidedly anti-Pelagian outlook does not, however, necessarily compromise his libertarianism.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 19-30
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.