Res Philosophica 99 (2):169-185 (2022)

Scholastic debates about the activity of our final end—happiness—become famously heated in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, with intellectualists claiming that the primary activity through which we are joined to God is intellective ‘vision’ and voluntarists claiming that it is love. These conversations represent only one set of medieval views on the subject, however. If we look to contemplative sources in the same period—even just those of the Rome-based Christian tradition—we find a range of views on our final end that runs the gamut from ‘self-less union with an unknowable God’ to ‘embodied fulfilment of human nature.’ In this article, I argue that these differing conceptions push their holders to develop a correspondingly wide range of attitudes toward the human faculty of reason, particularly with respect to its value in helping us achieve our ultimate end. Medieval thinking on this topic is thus much more complex—and offers more points of connection with contemporary philosophical theology—than is typically recognized.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  History of Philosophy
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DOI 10.11612/resphil.2218
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