Bernard of Clairvaux on the Nature of Human Agency

Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 64 (1):297 - 317 (2008)
Abstract
There has been a great deal of interest in medieval action theory in recent years. Nonetheless, relatively little work has been done on figures prior to the so-called High Middle Ages, and much of what has been done has focused on better-known thinkers, such as Augustine and Anselm. By comparison, Bernard of Clairvaux's treatise, De gratia et libero arbitrio has been neglected. Yet his treatise is quoted widely by such important scholars as Philip the Chancellor, Alexander of Hales, and Albertus Magnus. Some historians of philosophy argue that his writings inspired the voluntarist movement that developed in the 1270s. Thus, Bernard must be seen as an important influence upon later medieval theories of action. In this paper, I examine the basic structure of his interesting account of human action and its freedom and conclude by raising some further issues connected to his work. /// Nos últimos anos assistiu-se a uma retoma do interesse pela teoria medieval da acção. Apesar disso, poucos estudos têm versado sobre os pensadores anteriores à assim chamada Alta Idade Média, para além de que esses estudos se debruçam sobretudo sobre os filósofos mais conhecidos, como é o caso de Agostinho e de Anselmo. Comparativamente, o tratado de S. Bernardo de Claraval, De gratia et libero arbítrio, não tem suscitado muita atenção crítica. Contudo, numerosos pensadores citaram este tratado, entre eles Filipe o Chanceler, Alexandre de Hales, e Alberto Magno. Vários histonadores da filosofia têm avançado a tese de que os escritos de Bernardo influenciaram o movimento voluntarista que se desenvolveu nos anos 1270. Nesse sentido, as ideias de Bernardo de Claraval tiveram um certo impacto sobre as teorias da acção que haveriam de aparecer mais tarde. No presente artigo, a autora examina as ideias do pensador medieval sobre a acção humana e a sua liberdade, terminando com o levantar de algumas novas questões sobre o tratado de Bernardo de Claraval.
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