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The Development of Ethics: Volume 1From Socrates to the Reformation$
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Terence Irwin

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780198242673

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198242673.001.0001

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Scotus: Will, Freedom, and Reason

Scotus: Will, Freedom, and Reason

(p.653) 25 Scotus: Will, Freedom, and Reason
The Development of Ethics: Volume 1


Oxford University Press

This chapter explores John Duns Scotus' views on will, freedom, and reason, in combination with Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas intends his position to be: faithful to Aristotle, philosophically plausible, and theologically adequate. Scotus and William of Ockham share Aquinas' aims, but believe they can improve on his position. First, they argue that their position, as opposed to Aquinas' position, is really supported by Aristotle, or at least fits Aristotle no less well than the Thomist position fits it. In particular, Scotus' discussion of Aristotle on rational capacities and of the relation of virtue to the rational and non-rational parts raises legitimate questions about the soundness of Aquinas' interpretation. Some of these mediaeval criticisms of Aquinas underlie objections to the Aristotelian outlook that are sometimes regarded as distinctively modern. In this regard, the chapter also discusses Scotus' objections and how he defends them.

Keywords:   John Duns Scotus, will, freedom, reason, Thomas Aquinas, Aristotle, William of Ockham, virtue, rationality

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