Abstract Two distinguishing marks of voluntaristic conceptions of human action can be found already in the 12th century, not only in the work of Bonaventura's successors: 1. the will is free to act against reasons's dictates; 2. moral responsibility depends on this conception of the will's freedom. A number of theologians from the 1130s to the 1170s accepted those claims, which have been originally formulated by Bernard of Clairvaux. Robert of Melun elaborated them in a systematical way and coined the (...) terminological distinctions which were controversely discussed in the following centuries. The paper edits and interprets some of his texts about voluntary action. Furthermore, it shows that Bernard's and Robert's ideas have been transported by their intellectualist critics in the 13th century. (shrink)
Starting from Aquinas’s natural law theory, the article discusses in which way one can ground an ethical theory relying on the concept of personal autonomy. This is possible because natural law, as a law of reason, determines the ends for which every individual human being reasonably may strive. In this context, it is also possible to justify the role of morality in human life. This is due to the nature of man as a social animal whose natural ends include a (...) life in a human community. From this one can infer the two principles, not to harm others and to attribute his right to everybody. The application of those rules, as of any other rule of natural law, depends upon the person of the agent and his historical and social situation. (shrink)
The article argues against the view that Peter Abelard’s ethical theory had no lasting influence in its time. It establishes that Abelard’s Parisian successor Robert of Melun adopted his views and elaborated upon them. According to Robert, in his day it was commonly assumed that sin is action against one’s own conscience. Like Abelard, he held that intention alone makes the difference between good and bad actions. Robert had, however, a more elaborate theory of the will than did Abelard, and (...) Robert discussed the relationship between the will and intention. Robert’s most relevant texts on these topics are edited on the basis of all available manuscripts, and their textual relationship is discussed. (shrink)
Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics is the text which had the single greatest influence on Aquinas's ethical writings, and the historical and philosophical value of Aquinas's appropriation of this text provokes lively debate. In this volume of new essays, thirteen distinguished scholars explore how Aquinas receives, expands on and transforms Aristotle's insights about the attainability of happiness, the scope of moral virtue, the foundation of morality and the nature of pleasure. They examine Aquinas's commentary on the Ethics and his theological writings, above (...) all the Summa theologiae. Their essays show Aquinas to be a highly perceptive interpreter, but one who also brings certain presuppositions to the Ethics and alters key Aristotelian notions for his own purposes. The result is a rich and nuanced picture of Aquinas's relation to Aristotle that will be of interest to readers in moral philosophy, Aquinas studies, the history of theology and the history of philosophy. (shrink)
This volume contains fourteen papers on Aristotelian and non-Aristotelian medieval accounts of weakness of will, many of which have not yet been the object of scholarly writing. The papers give insight into a variety of accounts of practical rationality that were directly or indirectly influential on modern thinkers. The temporal framework of the volume exceeds the Middle Ages on both ends by including Aristotle and authors from the Renaissance and the Reformation.
This collection of 17 essays gives an overview about Proclus’ philosophical method, his doctrine of the soul and his metaphysics. While it contains new insights into Proclus’ thought, it can serve too as introductory text into Proclean philosophy.