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Chapter 4 studies three theories of free will of the late thirteenth century: two that are midway between intellectualism and voluntarism, and one that is strictly intellectualist. Giles of Rome starts from the intellectualist assumption that the cognized object causes the will’s act, but makes a voluntarist concession in assuming that the will controls which aspects of the object end up moving the will. John of Morrovalle (also known as John of Murro) starts from the idea that the will moves itself, but makes the intellectualist concession that the cognized object causes a disposition in the will that predisposes the will in making a choice. Godfrey of Fontaines rejects both solutions and argues that the cognized object alone causes the will’s act. While Giles and Morrovalle grant the will some direct control of its choices, Godfrey considers control necessarily mediated by practical deliberation. In the last analysis, Godfrey leaves the question of how we control our deliberation unanswered.
Chapter 9 examines explanations of the angelic fall by voluntarists and thinkers holding an intermediary theory of free will. These nonintellectualist accounts agree – contrary to intellectualists – that there was deficient willing before there was deficient cognition. For some voluntarists, the discussion of angelic sin serves above all as confirmation of their own theories of free will (e.g., Henry of Ghent) or as proof that their adversaries are wrong (e.g., John Pecham). Others go further and try to give a plausible account of how the evil angels could intentionally make their choice (Peter Olivi), and to explain how their will could be defective while their cognition was unflawed (Duns Scotus). Among thinkers professing an intermediary theory of free will, the chapter considers Giles of Rome, whose account of angelic sin fits nicely with his general theory of the relation of ignorance and evil, and Peter Auriol, whose explanation of angelic sin does not sit comfortably with his theory of free will.
The introduction discusses the interrelated notions of translation and reception and introduces the main topic of the book: namely, the ways in which vernacular readers appropriated the legacy of Aristotle in Italy between 1250 and 1500. Given the deep-rooted and widespread presence of Aristotle in medieval and Renaissance culture, the vernacular reception of the philosopher’s works offers a productive lens through which to reconsider the proactive role of translation in the construction and refinement of communicative tools able to disseminate the philosophical tradition among wider communities of readers. As such, the introduction reflects on the cultural implications of the theory and practice of vernacular translation in the period, arguing that its function is better understood when considered as part of a wide-ranging reception process involving not only the translators, but also their readers, who, in various ways, contribute actively to the process itself.
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