Anselm on eudaemonism and the hierarchical structure of moral choice

Religious Studies 41 (3):249-268 (2005)
Because Anselm of Canterbury argues that the morally responsible created agent must have the option to choose between justice and benefit, many scholars conclude that he is a proto-Kantian, pitting duty against self-interest and natural inclination. This is mistaken. Anselm proposes a hierarchical schema, prefiguring that of Harry Frankfurt, in which the inclination for justice constitutes a second-order desire that one's first-order desires for benefits should be moderated to conform to God's will. I defend this interpretation through careful textual analysis, then show that Anselm's hierarchical analysis is not subject to some of the criticisms one might raise against Frankfurt's.
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DOI 10.2307/20008597
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