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Chapter 4 - Duns Scotus on how God causes the created will’s volitions

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 December 2021

Giorgio Pini
Affiliation:
Fordham University, New York
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Summary

This essay focuses on the way the first cause’s action relates to the action of created causes, with a particular focus on the action of created wills. Since medieval thinkers considered God an active causal source of all existents, they believed that God must in some way actively cause the actions of created causes, including the acts of the will. Duns Scotus’s thought on this matter is particularly interesting because, as is widely recognized, he was committed to a robust understanding of the created will’s freedom. This essay argues that Duns Scotus struggled to figure out how God could be involved in causing the operation of such a spontaneously and autonomously operating cause. He wrestled with two different theories, and ultimately could not make up his mind. This essay reconstructs Duns Scotus’s analysis of competing positions while tracking the developments in his thought.

Type
Chapter
Information
Interpreting Duns Scotus
Critical Essays
, pp. 78 - 101
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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