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Thomas Aquinas and Giles of Rome on the will.

ONE OF THE MORE INTERESTING IF TROUBLESOME DEBATES within medieval philosophy is the paradoxical question of whether St. Thomas Aquinas, arguably the most influential theologian the medieval Catholic Church produced, defends an account of moral responsibility that is consistent with the Christian faith. Debate regarding the orthodoxy of Aquinas's action theory has surfaced intermittently since at least the thirteenth century, attracting the attention of both supporters and detractors. The aboriginal dispute centered on whether Thomas's account of the will (voluntas) could provide an adequate foundation for moral responsibility. Medieval critics such as Henry of Ghent (d. 1293) and William de la Mare (d. 1290) charged that Aquinas's understanding of the will as a passive potency that always follows the judgments of practical deliberation led to cognitive determinism. For such critics, if the will were determined by the intellect, then it would lack freedom, and if it lacked freedom, then moral responsibility would fall by the wayside. To deny the will's independence from the intellect was, to such theologians, incompatible with Catholic teaching on moral responsibility. (1)

Medieval Thomists such as the Dominican master John of Paris (d. 1306), on the other hand, attempted to defend Aquinas against such charges. Adopting Thomas's notion of the passivity of the will, John nonetheless denied that such a position necessarily interferes with moral responsibility. He justified this stance on the grounds that an agent's freedom is only violated when it is necessitated contrary to its own nature. Because the will is naturally suited to follow practical deliberation, its necessitation by the intellect leaves its freedom intact. (2)

Something of this polemical spirit has reawakened in recent years among students of medieval philosophy. Ever since Odon Lottin raised the question in his pioneering studies on medieval ethics and moral psychology in the last century, scholars have taken a lively interest in whether Aquinas's considered view of the will was principally a voluntaristic or an intellectualistic one. On Lottin's account, Thomas did in fact defend the passivity of the will but only in his early works. In his mature writings, by contrast, he abandoned this position in favor of a more active conception of the will. (3) It should be noted that Lottin's theory initially garnered the support of some very eminent thinkers, Bernard Lonergan among them. (4)

The claim that Aquinas abandoned his early view of the will as found, for example, in the prima pars of the Summa theologiae for a later, more voluntaristic view of the will as found in De malo, question 6, however, is not without its troublesome implications. (5) Most notably, if Lottin's interpretation is right, it renders vital sections of the Summa, Thomas's masterpiece, the product of immaturity that must, as one contemporary scholar has pointed out, either be ignored or read with caution. (6) Furthermore, even if it is true that Aquinas introduces a radically new account of the will in De malo, Question 6 (c. 1270), one would naturally expect it to inform other late works--such as the prima secundae of the Summa--that were composed at approximately the same time. However, there is scant evidence that the prima secundae as a whole has a particularly voluntaristic orientation. (7)

Recent scholarship has evinced a reaction against Lottin's interpretation of Aquinas's moral psychology. Exegetes continue to dispute whether Aquinas was principally a voluntarist or an intellectualist but seem less interested, as a general rule, in the question of whether there occurred a development in his view of the will. Rather, they largely assume that he held a consistent position throughout his career, although what precisely that position amounts to is the source of disagreement. Recent interpretations have ranged from presenting Aquinas as a thoroughgoing intellectualist to a defender of erstwhile voluntarism and erstwhile intellectualism, depending on the context. (8) Others see Aquinas's moral psychology as altogether transcending categories such as voluntarism and intellectualism on the grounds that Thomas apparently resists assigning priority to either the intellect or the will in the act of choice. Instead, they maintain, he argues for a reciprocal account of causation between the two potencies, neither of which takes priority over the other. (9)

Undoubtedly motivated by a concern to defend Aquinas against the charge of cognitive determinism, other contemporary supporters have taken the view that Thomas's moral psychology is at root a voluntaristic one. They claim that he defends the view that the will controls the intellect to such a degree that it can, at least indirectly, determine its own act. Although by no means the sole proponent of this view, David Gallagher has defended it most forcefully and extensively. (10)

In the present paper I argue that the textual evidence does not support such a voluntaristic reading of Aquinas. For although it may plausibly be argued that Thomas's mature moral psychology contains the seeds of voluntarism, it is nonetheless, as it stands, fundamentally intellectualist. I contend that if one wishes to find textual evidence for the sort of voluntarism that is sometimes mistakenly attributed to Aquinas, they should turn instead to the writings of his famous pupil, Giles of Rome (1243/47-1316). For it was Giles, I want to claim, who actually developed Aquinas's intellectualistic action theory in the direction of voluntarism in an attempt to preserve both the rationality of human choice and the freedom of the will.

Before proceeding to make this case, it might be useful to clarify exactly how we intend to use the terms "voluntarism" and "intellectualism." Following Jeffrey Hause, I define an intellectualist as anyone who is committed to the view that the activities of the will are under the control of the intellect such that the will is incapable of acting independently of a prior determination of reason. (11) By the term "voluntarist," I understand anyone who maintains that the will can act independently of the intellect and, to some extent at least, control its own activities. (12) According to this view the will is to be considered, as another recent exegete has put it, an "independent cause of action." (13)


Throughout his works, Aquinas consistently maintains that the human will is a "rational appetite" (appetitus rationalis), that is, an inclination toward objects that are apprehended by the intellect as good or perfective of rational agents. (14) Now although Aquinas admits that the will can move itself in a qualified sense, he nonetheless regards it, in the first instance, as a passive potency and, more accurately, a moved mover. As such, it requires specific objects to reduce it from potency to act. (15) In this respect the will is like every other power of the soul in that it remains in potency until a mover actualizes it.

A salient feature of Aquinas's moral psychology in his later works is his belief that the actualization of a power happens in two ways: (1) with respect to its "exercise" (exercitium) and (2) with respect to its "determination" (determinatio) or "specification" (specificatio). On Thomas's account, (1) signifies the movement of a potency toward acting or not acting, while (2) represents its movement toward various actions or objects. The principle of the former is derived from the subject, while the principle of the latter is derived from the object. Take the case of sight. It is clear that rational agents can either use their capacity to see or not use it. They can also see white things or black things, or indeed a whole host of other colored objects. Now the act of either seeing or not seeing--the capacity for exercise--is under the control of the agent. What sort of object one will see in the event that one chooses to, however, depends on the nature of the object. If the object is white in all respects, then clearly I cannot choose to see it as black: the object itself specifies or determines what sort of cognitive act is taking place. But I do have control, so Thomas thinks, over whether I want to exercise my sight in the first place, that is, over whether I want to look at this particular white object or not. (16)

As far as this distinction applies to the intellect and the will, the two powers stand in a relationship of reciprocal causality. The will is the efficient cause of the intellect and the other powers of the soul. Accordingly, it moves itself and the intellect to its exercise. The explanation for this is that the principle of motion is derived from the end, which is the good and, as such, the object of the will. To the extent that the powers of the soul strive for their own perfection and goodness, therefore, their acts are subsumed under the will's control. This is not to assert that the will is immune to reason's influence. In sofar as it requires specific objects in order to be reduced to act, Thomas maintains that it must be preceded by a specifying act of the intellect. While the will moves the intellect to its exercise, then, the intellect moves the will as a specifying or formal cause. (17)

On Aquinas's account, whether a given object necessitates the will or not depends upon the object's nature. As was mentioned, the good is the object of the will. In order for a specific object to be chosen, then, it must be seen as good in some respect, if not in all respects. If the object as apprehended by the intellect is good in every respect--bonum et secundum omnem considerationem--then according to Aquinas the will must necessarily choose that object. This is because the object has no aspect under which it can be considered deficient and therefore rejected. In line with the Christian and Aristotelian traditions, Thomas explains that such a good is happiness (beatitudo). (18)

Now, if the object is a mixed good or one that is not perfectly good in every respect, then insofar as it is lacking in goodness there remains the possibility that the will can reject it. This is because the object can be seen from various points of view or what Aquinas calls "diverse considerations" (diversas considerationes). It can be judged good or bad and therefore, depending on the agent's point of view, either accepted or rejected by the will. (19) It should be noted, by way of anticipation, that Thomas's notions of consideratio, determination, and exercitium will each play a crucial role in Giles of Rome's own moral psychology.

Now although Aquinas maintains that the will relies on the intellect as a formal cause, he also defends the will's ability to move itself. Once reduced to act by the end, Aquinas contends that the will can move itself toward willing the means to that end. (20) That is, once we have reason for pursuing some object o, so Thomas thinks, we need provide no further justification for taking the steps necessary to achieve o. Aquinas seems to be right on this score for if the intellect has already determined o to be good, then it would clearly be superfluous to require another act of the intellect determining that the means to o are also good.

Despite Aquinas's conviction that the will can move itself to some degree, it appears to be his considered view that it is always subject, in the first instance, to the determining action of the intellect. And the trouble with such a claim is that it seems to suggest that Thomas is defending a form of cognitive determinism. But must it necessarily be the case that just because the will follows the determinations of the intellect, it is incapable of free action, that is, of being able to do otherwise? Scholars such as David Gallagher think not. Rather, they argue that Aquinas provides an account of the will that provides the foundations of freedom while preserving the rationality of choice.


Gallagher recognizes that, as a rational appetite, the will for Aquinas must always choose the good, real or apparent, that practical reason has judged best. However, if choice follows upon how goods appear to an agent yet the will has no control over such appearances, then it seems that rational agents must act in a deterministic fashion. (21) On the other hand, as Gallagher indicates, Thomas holds that human action is free because it springs from the will. (22) Given this second claim, Aquinas cannot, so Gallagher thinks, be considered a determinist. Accordingly, we must be careful not to interpret his understanding of rational appetite in "too simple" a fashion for "only a refined understanding of how rational cognition directs action can adequately explain that action's freedom." (23) On Gallagher's account, then, some degree of interpretation is required to reconcile the seemingly contradictory claims that Aquinas makes for the will.

Although Gallagher contends that Thomas's view of the will was held consistently throughout his career, he argues that it is principally in the later works that we find his most developed account of how the will can exist simultaneously as a passive, determined power and as the source of freedom. He finds the origins of this reconciliation in the distinction that Thomas drew between exercitium and specificatio in the De malo and the prima secundae. As far as the act of exercise is concerned, the will moves itself and the other powers of the soul after the manner of an efficient cause. As to the act of specification, the intellect moves the will as a formal cause.

Now recall that the degree to which the will is determined by the intellect is directly proportionate to the nature of the appetible object. If the object is the absolute good, it will necessitate the will. If the object is mixed--one that can be regarded as good and bad--then whether or not such an object attracts the will is going to depend on how it is considered by the intellect, for "if considered one way the will will choose to perform the act; if considered another way, the will will reject the act." (24) The point here is that one can see almost any object as either attractive or unattractive and therefore choiceworthy or not. If one is presented with an opportunity to commit adultery, for example, one's choice will probably depend on how one considers such an object. If one focuses on the pleasurable aspect of committing adultery, then one will likely choose to commit the act; if one focuses on its immoral aspect, then one will likely choose not to do so. It all depends on how one concludes one's deliberations.

So far, Gallagher's reading of Aquinas is relatively uncontroversial. Still, he quite rightly realizes that the crux of the matter is how precisely the intellect comes to consider a mixed object under one aspect or the other, for how one answers this question will determine whether one is defending a voluntaristic account of human action or not. It is precisely at this juncture, in fact, that Gallagher thinks Aquinas inserts a voluntaristic move into his account of choice. According to Gallagher, Thomas must believe that the will is able to control how the intellect considers the appetible object. If the will can not control how practical reason reaches its conclusions, "we will fall into intellectual determinism; the will's act is specified by the intellect, and the act of the intellect simply occurs according to its natural operation, i.e., it judges according to what appears best to it, appearances it cannot control." (25)

Although the will always follows the final judgment of the intellect, this fact does not necessarily entail that Thomas is defending a form of determinism according to Gallagher. This is because the causal chain that leads to the will's final choice for an object originates in some prior act of the win. Because Thomas claims that the will exercises the intellect's act he must also think, Gallagher contends, that it controls the aspect under which the intellect considers the objects that it presents to the will. It may be true that the will follows the judgments of the intellect, but in the final analysis such necessity does not really compromise the will's ability to determine itself. This is because the judgments of the intellect are, in the first instance, subject to the command of the will. (26) It makes very little difference to the will's autonomy whether it necessarily follows the conclusions of practical reason, for ultimately such conclusions were just based on a prior determination on the part of the will itself. According to Gallagher, then, Thomas maintains that
 An act of choice is specified by the object which reason supplies.
 But which object reason supplies, or better, under which aspect a
 particular action is judged, depends upon how the will exercises
 the intellect's act in its regard. So if a person commits murder,
 it is because he judged the murder to be a good thing to do,
 presumably for its utility. But it was not necessary that that
 consideration of the murderous act govern his act of choice. He
 was free to consider the act as morally wicked and to be avoided:
 had he done so, he would not have committed the murder. Since the
 specification of the will's act depends upon the intellect's
 consideration of it, and since that consideration depends upon the
 will, the will comes to have control over the specification of its
 own act. (27)

At this stage, the crucial question becomes the following. Is it Aquinas's belief that the act of the will that exercises the intellect to focus on the good aspect of murder rather than its bad aspect spontaneous or merely the outcome of a prior judgment of the intellect? Given his motivation to defend Aquinas from the charge of cognitive determinism, Gallagher is obliged ultimately to ascribe to Aquinas not only that the will can control or influence how the intellect evaluates or considers appetible objects but also that it can do so autonomously. Gallagher rightly recognizes the necessity of allowing the will to act independently of the intellect if Thomas is to break the causal chain, otherwise he will not have eliminated determinism from his account of choice but merely pushed it back a stage in the deliberative process. And although such a move clearly threatens the rationality of choice, in the final analysis Gallagher reluctantly concludes that, on his reading of Thomas, the will controls the intellect, at some point in the elective process, independently of a prior determination of reason. (28)

Although Gallagher's reading of Thomas seems at first sight plausible, the textual evidence does not ultimately support it. Indeed, Aquinas explicitly resists the notion that the will can move itself independently of a prior determination of the reason, "for although [man] is master of deliberating or not deliberating, it is necessary that this occur by means of a previous deliberation." (29) In other words, even if the will has the ability to control how the object is ultimately regarded by the intellect, nonetheless, any such act has to have been itself determined by a prior judgment of the intellect. This is because, as Thomas puts it, "it is necessary that apprehension (apprehensio) precede every movement of the will, but not necessary that a movement of the will precede every apprehension." (30)

It is crucial to stress that he advocates this position both as regards specification and as regards exercise, for "even with regard to its being moved to exercise its act, it is necessary to posit that the will is moved by some external principle." (31) Such an "external" principle is deliberation (consilium). (32) Rational agents are able to will or not will, act or not act, owing to "the power of reason' (cuius ratio ex ipsa virtute rationis accipitur). (33) The intellect both determines whether the will should elicit an act or not and also what it should will. Thomas is quite clear, then, that the will never specifies its own act, even indirectly. Rather, so he thinks, specification is the responsibility of the intellect.

Thomas's contention that the will can move itself in a qualified sense forms part and parcel of his characterization of the will as a movens motus--a moved mover. Because he assigns to the will the ability to move itself and the other powers of the soul as an efficient cause, he cannot be considered an extreme intellectualist. Still, on Thomas's account, the will can never act independently of a prior judgment of reason, either as regards exercise or as regards specification. If the will desires one object over another, this is because reason has apprehended it as better and specified or determined the will's act accordingly. Furthermore, whether or not the will exercises its act or the other powers of the soul is also determined by a prior act of the intellect. Aquinas therefore rejects any pure form of voluntarism. The objects that the will chooses are always in the first instance determined by the intellect, as is whether the will proceeds to its act or not.

Such views as the foregoing preclude attributing to Aquinas the claim, crucial to any voluntarist account of human action, that the will can move itself spontaneously from some innate perfection or formal capacity for freedom. Indeed, Aquinas explicitly rejects the notion that the will is formally free. Rather, he notes, "the whole formal character (ratio) of freedom depends upon the manner of knowing." (34) On Aquinas's account, then, the will clearly lacks the sort of autonomy and independence from the determination of the intellect that is an essential feature of any form of voluntarism. Therefore, Aquinas cannot, as Gallagher would have it, be considered a voluntarist as regards the self-motion of the will. Rather, as Hause has shown, he should be regarded as a thoroughgoing intellectualist. (35) Gallagher may well be correct in supposing that Thomas initiated the project of attempting to harmonize the self-motion of the will with the rationality of choice. Giles of Rome, however, completed it.


A pupil of Aquinas during the latter's second regency at Paris, Giles of Rome was himself appointed Regent Master of Theology in 1287, becoming the first Augustinian Hermit to hold a chair at the University of Paris, the leading center of theological learning in the later Middle Ages. (36) Along with Henry of Ghent and Godfrey of Fontaines (d. 1306/09), Giles is widely recognized to have been one of the most prominent theologians in the period between Aquinas and Scotus. Accordingly, he was very much involved in the debates concerning the freedom of the will that emerged in the wake of the infamous series of doctrinal condemnations that occurred at the University of Paris in 1277. (37)

In his Quodlibet III, disputed in 1288, Giles of Rome asked ex professo whether the will could move itself. (38) The question itself was a significant one, for it reflected a concern that had come to occupy a prominent place in the philosophical debates of the late thirteenth century. Prior to the condemnations of 1277, when Aquinas had addressed the issue, it was still possible to argue without recrimination that although the will can move itself with respect to the means, it is nonetheless determined by the intellect as regards the act of specification. On Aquinas's account, as we saw above, the will is in the first instance a passive potency, a "moved mover" (movens motus) subject to the determining action of the intellect.

After 1277 it became heretical to endorse any form of cognitive determinism at the University of Paris. Of the 219 "manifest and damnable errors" (manifesti et exsecrabiles errores) condemned as contrary to the faith by Stephen Tempier, the Bishop of Paris, and his commission of theologians, the passivity of the will seems to have generated particular cause for concern. (39) The articles touching on the will were chiefly aimed at suppressing the identification of the will as a power that necessarily follows the conclusions of practical reason, teachings that were inspired by Aristotle and endorsed in varying degrees by such near contemporaries as Aquinas and Siger of Brabant. (40) The view approved by the condemnations, on the other hand, encapsulated the neo-Augustinian or voluntaristic understanding of human action associated with such theologians as Henry of Ghent. (41) As we indicated at the outset, for these thinkers any real influence assigned to the intellect over the will represented a threat to received notions of ethical responsibility. Perceived to be at stake, then, was the preservation of human moral responsibility from the putative determinism of Aristotelian and by extension Thomistic, cognitive determinism. When Giles of Rome asked whether the will could move itself, he was therefore responding to a debate that had far-reaching consequences.

One of the central challenges facing Giles was how to reconcile the act-potency axiom with the self-motion of the will. (42) The act-potency axiom claims that whatever is moved must be moved by something extrinsic to it or, as the medievals put it, omne quod movetur ab alio movetur, a notion they derived from Aristotle's Physics. (43) Such a view effectively excludes the possibility of self-motion since in order for something to move itself, it would have to be in act and not in act at the same time and in the same respect, and this would violate the principle of noncontradiction. But if self-motion is impossible, both logically and metaphysically, then everything, including the will, must be reduced to act by an exterior principle. Voluntarists often objected to such compromising of the will's autonomy. Some, such as Scotus, would later simply reject the act-potency axiom outright in order to defend the autonomy of the will. (44) Others, such as Henry of Ghent, would put tight restrictions on it, arguing that the principle applies soley to physical beings, immaterial substances such as the will being exempt. (45)

Giles of Rome was sufficiently loyal to Aristotle to preserve the act-potency axiom by applying it to all things, the will included. He attempted to argue in favor of both the act--potency axiom and the freedom or self-motion of the will by adopting, I will argue, Aquinas's mature moral psychology and developing it in a voluntaristic direction. I depart, then, from modern exegetes who have implied that because Giles was a pupil of Aquinas, he must therefore have been an intellectualist. (46) I claim that Giles's moral psychology, though indebted to Aquinas, is essentially voluntaristic in nature, for although he assigns a prominent role to the intellect in order to defend the rationality of choice, he nonetheless regards the will as an independent cause of action.

According to Giles, to attribute self-motion to the will is at the same time to assign agency to it. Now an agent can influence a patient in one of three ways. It activates (activat) it when it reduces it from potency to act and determines (determinat) or necessitates (necessitat) it when it causes the patient to act in a specific way. Last, an agent brings violence to bear upon (violentat) a patient when it uses compulsion to cause it to act in a way that is contrary to the patient's nature. Because the will cannot be compelled to act, the only types of motion that are properly applicable to it are activation and determination. (47)

Giles follows Aquinas in arguing that there are two types of goods that attract the will: the absolute good or happiness (beatitudo) and mixed or contingent goods, which are associated with the means to happiness. Because the absolute good has no undesirable aspect under which it can be rejected by the will, it necessarily causes a volition when apprehended. That is, when the appetible object is good from all points of view (sub omni ratione boni), as is the case with happiness, the will is necessitated (necessitatur) to choose it since the intellect can only present it to the will under a desirable description. (48) With respect to happiness, then, the will is both actuated and determined.

Now the will's necessitation by the final end was a claim that virtually all late thirteenth-century thinkers, voluntarists and intellectualists alike, accepted. (49) The prominent voluntarist Richard of Middleton, for example, concedes it, as does Henry of Ghent. (50) For this in fact was not merely an Aristotelian position but one that could be found quite readily in the Christian authorities. Voluntarists such as Henry of Ghent differed from intellectualists only in that they regarded the necessary orientation of the will toward the final end as a free act deriving from an intrinsic perfection in the will itself. (51) Aquinas, by contrast, holds that the will necessarily desires the final end because there is no defect according to which it can be rejected.

That the will is determined to choose the final end as apprehended by the intellect, then, was not a claim to which thirteenth-century voluntarists particularly objected. They parted company most radically with Aquinas over the relationship between the will and the intellect regarding the means to happiness, that is, with regard to those mixed goods over which rational agents can make choices. Intellectualists such as Aquinas argued that the will, being a rational appetite, is dependent on the intellect for all of its acts. Voluntarists, by contrast, argued that the will must be able to act independently of the intellect--to some degree, at any rate--if human freedom is to be preserved.

Because Giles is committed to preserving the rationality of choice and therefore the act-potency axiom, he constructs a theory of human action that involves, much like Aquinas, reciprocal causality between the will and the intellect. (52) In the first instance, the will requires actualization by the intellect for "unless the intellect were previously in act, the will would never be in act." (53) Now if the object is happiness, as we indicated, then it will necessarily determine the will. As we saw, the will cannot fall to desire or be moved by the absolute good. When apprehended, then, such an object both actuates and determines the will. With respect to mixed goods, by contrast, the will must determine itself.

We must be careful not to confuse actuation with determination on Giles's scheme. Because the will requires an object in order to act, it needs the intellect to actuate it regardless of what good, mixed or absolute, is under consideration. (54) Actualization by the intellect is also necessary if Giles is to avoid violating the act-potency axiom for, as he says, "if something were to cause an actuation in itself on its own, then it would be in act and in potency in the same respect, and that is impossible." (55) What Giles completely rejects is the claim that the intellect can determine the will's act with regard to mixed goods, that is, that it can cause a volition for a specific object. He therefore draws a very clear distinction between actuation and determination: the former is associated in the first instance with a simple presentation of the object, while the latter is identified with specification.

Giles constructs, then, the following account of human action as it relates to mixed objects. In the first instance, the understood object must actuate the will. This initial actualization cannot be a proper desire for the object since this would amount to a determination of the will's act. The first act of the intellect that reduces the will from potency to act, then, is a very weak sort of actualization. Indeed it amounts to a simple stimulation of the will merely to consider whether the object should be regarded as good or bad and accordingly chosen or rejected at a later stage in the deliberative process. Indeed, Giles calls this initial volition that the intellect causes in the will a "volition of consideration" (volitio considerationis), and it amounts to a neutral presentation of the mixed object under both its aspects: good and bad. (56)

It is crucial to bear in mind that at this initial stage the will's act has not yet been specified, that is, that its choice has not yet been determined in relation to the object under consideration. Why is it that the intellect, if it can actuate the will, cannot in the first instance determine it as well? Because in order for the intellect to determine the will's act, it would have to regard the object as specifically good. It is Giles's view, however, that the intellect is incapable of evaluating objects. This is because "with respect to all of its first acts it is moved naturally, or quasi-naturally, so that what comes to us at first in the mind is not in our power, but from a presentation of sensible things." (57) Because mixed goods by definition have desirable as well as undesirable aspects and since the intellect is incapable of ranking these, it follows that what the intellect presents to the will in its first actuation is simply the object under both its aspects.

Take the act of fornication (fornicatio) as an example. Such an object can be considered in the first instance as both good since pleasurable and as bad since disordered. Giles calls this state of neutrality a "forked consideration" (consideratio bifurcata). To resolve this state of indetermination, it is necessary for the will, which is "the master of its own act" (domina sui actus) and therefore has control over how the object is ultimately to be considered, to determine itself. It does this by willing to rest in (sistere) or refrain from (desistere) the forked consideration or by willing to think more about the pleasure attached to sexual intercourse than the disordered nature of the act, or vice versa. In other words, it determines the intellect to take a specific stance toward fornication by focusing on one aspect more than the other. Depending on the direction in which it determines the intellect, it allows itself either to be moved by the object or not. (58) Notice the striking similarities between the foregoing account and Gallagher's voluntaristic reading of Aquinas. (59)

With respect to mixed goods, then, there exists in the first instance a native indeterminacy in the intellect such that the will, if it is to act at all, must determine itself. For if it is the case that the intellect cannot determine the will, then it would seem that it is the business of the will to do so itself. As Giles puts it, "if the will is not necessitated by the means, and they cannot determinately (determinate) move the will, then in order to be moved by the means, it is necessary that the will determine itself." (60)

The foregoing theory is largely rooted in Giles's theory of command, the ability of which belongs to the will. Although the intellect plays the crucial role of articulating the desires and aversions of the will, nonetheless it is ultimately the will, so Giles thinks, that has power (dominium) and command (imperium) over the other potencies of the soul. Giles likens the relationship between the intellect and the will in this context to that of an "advisor" (consiliarius) to a "king" (rex). Just as an advisor articulates the wishes of the king, so too does the intellect articulate the desires of the will. (61) The relationship can also be viewed, according to Giles, as that of a servant who carries a lamp (lucerna) before his master. In such a relationship, the will relies on the intellect to illuminate the direction it wants to take. The intellect, however, proceeds only in the direction that the will commands it. (62) The foregoing are very common voluntarist metaphors. They can be found, with minor variations, in contemporaries such as the Franciscan theologians Walter of Bruges (d. 1307) and Richard of Middleton (d. 1308) and, perhaps most notably, in Henry of Ghent. (63)

Giles's claim that the will commands the other powers of the soul is in turn rooted in his theory of self-determination, a capacity that the will possesses due to its position as "the ruler of the kingdom of the soul" (domina in regno animae). (64) But it is crucial to have a clear idea of what precisely Giles means when he argues that the will is capable of determining itself. Does he mean simply that the will can determine itself based on a prior determination of the intellect, or is this act of the will that determines how the intellect is going to regard any mixed good a truly spontaneous one? How this question is answered will settle whether Giles is ultimately defending a voluntarist account of human action or an intellectualist one, as Thomas does.

Although Giles takes the act-potency axiom very seriously, he does in the final analysis maintain that the will's act of self-determination is spontaneous, that is, that it occurs independently of the intellect. Indeed, Giles insists that once reduced to act, the will possesses in the first instance a certain dominium over its own acts and the other potencies of the soul prior to any determination of the intellect. According to Giles, the will determines itself first to will to consider the good or bad aspect of the object and then determines the intellect. Depending on how the will directs the intellect, so Giles thinks, the intellect will conclude its deliberations. As Giles puts it: "the power of being able to remain in one [aspect] and desist from the other, or of being able to remain and focus more on one than the other should be ascribed to the will, which has in the first instance (prius) dominium over its own operation and, through this, has dominium over the other operations [of the soul]." (65) In Quodlibet IV, Giles furthers this account. There we discover that the will's ability to determine itself is the result of a formal or intrinsic freedom, albeit presupposing a presentation of the apprehended form. (66) The key point here, however, is Giles's insistence that the act of the will that determines how the intellect evaluates the object under consideration is completely autonomous.

To sum up, then: according to Giles, prior to being presented with a mixed good, the will is completely passive or entirely (omnino) in potency. Once the object has been apprehended in a neutral fashion--as a forked consideration--the will is activated such that a volition of consideration is caused in it. At this stage, the will is no longer in potency, but neither has the content of its act been specified yet. Rather, it is activated in the sense that it now has the ability to consider the alternative aspects of the object that the intellect indifferently places before it. Once reduced to act by the end, in other words, "it does not entirely exist as a passive potency, but in a certain way as a ruling (dominativa) one insofar as it can determine itself." (67) Presented by the intellect with the mixed object under both its aspects, the will then has an intrinsic power to direct the intellect to place more weight on the object's good or bad aspect or, indeed, to remain completely neutral with respect to the object. Depending on how the will directs the intellect's attention, either a volition or a nolition will ensue. In this sense, the will indirectly specifies its own act. Because Giles thinks that it is ultimately the will that possesses the innate freedom to control how the object is regarded by the intellect, the conclusion is inescapable that he is defending a voluntaristic account of human action.


The careful reader will recognize Giles's indebtedness to St. Thomas. First, the mechanism of consideratio that is so central to Giles's action theory has its source in Aquinas, who introduced the concept in the Summa contra gentiles and developed it in the prima secundae in order to explain how the will is able to exercise control over the intellect. (68) In the earlier work Aquinas makes it clear that the will is able to move the intellect to its exercise and even influence how it specifies objects. This is due to the fact that it can control how the intellect considers appetible objects, a notion that bears a striking resemblance to Giles's own theory. It is instructive to compare the two accounts:
SCG III, chap. 10 Quodlibet III, q. 15

nam in potestate ipsius voluntatis et quia voluntas est domina
est velle et non velle. sui actus, in potestate eius
Itemque est in potestate ipsius est sistere in hac consideratione
ratio actu consideret, bifurcata vel sistere in
vel a consideratione desistat; una et disistere ab alia, vel
aut quod hoc vel illud magis sistere in una quam in
consideret. alia, potest enim omnino disistere
 velle cogitare de inordinatione
 et solum velle cogitare
 de delectatione.

Now aside from certain minor differences, both Giles and Aquinas seem to be suggesting the same thing in the foregoing passages, namely, that the will can control not only its own acts but also those of the intellect. The language used is even similar enough to suggest a direct influence. The will controls the intellect as to whether "to consider" (considerere) anything at all or to "desist" (desistere) from such a consideration. This is because it has the "power" (potestas) to direct the intellect to consider one thing or another. That is, the will has power over not only whether the intellect exercises its act or not but also over how the intellect exercises its act. Aquinas, of course, does not posit the mechanism of a "forked consideration" for that is Giles's own innovation. Furthermore, the text illustrating Aquinas's point is innocent of examples while Giles's employs the specific case of fornication to illustrate his overall point. Nonetheless, the notion of consideratio seems to be used in a very similar way in each of their action theories: to explain the fact that the will has a significant degree of power over how the intellect evaluates its objects.

Considered in isolation, the foregoing text of Thomas is open to a voluntarist reading. Indeed, it is precisely to such texts that scholars such as David Gallagher point in order to defend the claim that Aquinas advanced a voluntaristic moral psychology. (69) As we indicated above, however, Aquinas does not in the final analysis defend voluntarism at all. To do so, he would have had to maintain not only that the will is able to control the intellect's exercise and direct its attention to this or that but that such control occurs independently of a prior judgment of the reason. That is, he would have to have held that the will has power over its own act due to some form of intrinsic freedom. Of course, this was the sort of move that Giles had to make in order to develop Aquinas's action theory into a voluntaristic one. As for Thomas, he posits no such formal freedom in the will. Indeed, as we saw above, he holds that every act of the will must have been at some point determined by a prior evaluative judgment of the intellect.

Giles's notion of consideratio was not the only concept that he adopted from Aquinas. Indeed, as early as the thirteenth century Henry of Ghent noticed other striking similarities between Giles's action theory and that of Aquinas. Specifically, Henry claimed that Giles's distinction between actuatio and determinatio was merely a refinement of the Thomistic distinction between specificatio and exercitium, respectively. (70) Once reduced to act by the end--that is, "actuated" for Giles and "specified" for Thomas--both thinkers argue that the will can move itself--"determine" or "exercise" its act--with respect to the means. Whatever the terms, Henry sees the two accounts as being virtually identical. (71) For both Giles and Thomas the win is a moved mover. Regardless of the fact that the win can move itself in some respects, for both thinkers the win must be put into motion in the first instance by the intellect. (72)

Now Henry was undoubtedly correct to detect the influence of Aquinas on Giles. Because Giles is committed to defending the rationality of human choice, he accepts the applicability of the act-potency axiom to the dynamics that govern the relationship between the intellect and the will. He accordingly adopts from Aquinas the view that the will is partially a passive power, but that once actuated, or reduced to act by the end, it is able to determine itself. According to both Giles and Thomas the intellect and the will exercise, in short, a reciprocal type of causality over one another. The trouble with Henry's assessment is its lack of appreciation for the extent to which Giles made several crucial adjustments to Aquinas's theory in order to develop his predecessor's intellectualistic action theory into a voluntaristic account of choice.

Perhaps the central difference between Giles's and Thomas's accounts is that for the latter, the act of specificatio really does mean that the intellect has evaluated the appetible object through a process of deliberation and determined it to be good or bad. For Giles, however, although actuatio is an act of the intellect that puts the will into motion, it is an act that is prior to any determination that the object is either good or bad. In fact, actuation in the first instance simply causes, for Giles, a volition of consideration for a mixed object that has been presented by the intellect under both its aspects. On Giles's account, determination, the evaluation of the object as choiceworthy or not, occurs at the level of the will due to its intrinsic freedom and capacity to control the intellect. Though similar, Aquinas's exercitium is much more limited in scope. For Thomas, the will's ability to exercise itself and the other potencies of the soul must always be determined by a specifying act of the intellect. This is chiefly because Aquinas, unlike Giles, rejects the notion that the will is formally free.


Aquinas's theory of volitional self-motion undoubtedly contains the seeds of a voluntaristic action theory. His assertion that the will can reduce itself from potency to act with respect to the means to happiness is clearly a departure from any extreme form of intellectualism, which would typically hold for the complete passivity of the will. However, in order for Aquinas's theory to be considered a species of voluntarism, however moderate, he would have had to argue that the will is able to move itself, in some instances at least, independently of the intellect. As we have seen, however, there is no evidence that Aquinas made such a claim. His pupil Giles of Rome, however, did.

Giles's attempt to reconcile the rationality of human action with the freedom or spontaneity of the will is, of course, not without its difficulties. His goal was clearly to develop a solution to the perennial problems that face any pure versions of voluntarism or intellectualism by effecting a middle course. He undoubtedly realized that to defend any extreme form of voluntarism, which by definition insists on the complete independence of the will from antecedent causes, jeopardizes the rationality of choice and hence the purposive nature of human action. It also seems to require giving up the rather important notion that I can have control over my actions for if my inner states--such as my volitions--have no causes, then they clearly cannot be caused by anything or anyone, including me. For these reasons, Giles insisted that the will must be actuated in the first instance by the intellect.

Giles also recognized, however, that any extreme intellectualistic account of the will is equally fraught with undesirable consequences. For while a defense of the view that the will is a rational appetite that always follows the conclusions of practical deliberation preserves the rationality of choice, it appears at the same time to jeopardize the freedom of the will and therefore moral responsibility. Hence Giles's motivation for insisting on will's ability to determinine itself.

That said, Giles made an important and interesting contribution to the debate over human freedom at a crucial period in the development of the win from a passive potency to an active one, much as it is commonly conceived of today. Whether his moderate voluntarism, which borrows elements from the moderate intellectualism of Aquinas, contains fewer problems than its more extreme rivals or merely creates new ones, must remain the subject of another study.

(1) For secondary literature on the ethical controversies of the late thirteenth century, compare Bonnie Kent, Virtues of the Will: The Transformation of Ethics in the Late Thirteenth Century (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1995); J. B. Korolec, "Free Will and Free Choice," in The Cambridge History of Later Medieval Philosophy, ed. Norman Kretzmann, Anthony Kenny, and Jan Pinborg (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), 629-41; Odon Lottin, Psychologie et morale aux XIIe et XIIIe siecles, 6 vols. (Louvain-Gembloux: Abbaye du Mont Cesar, 1942-60); F. X. Putallaz Insolente liberte: controverses et condamnations au XIIIe siecle (Fribourg: Editions Universitaires de Fribourg, 1995); Antonio San Cristobal-Sebastian, Controversias acerca de la voluntad desde 1270 a 1300 (Madrid: Editorial y Libreria, 1958); Ernst Stadter, Psychologie und Metaphysik der menschlichen Freiheit: Die ideengeschichtliche Entwicklung zwischen Bonaventura und Duns Scotus (Munich: F. Schningh, 1971); and Martin W. F. Stone, "Moral Psychology After 1277: Did the Parisian Condemnations Make a Difference to Philosophical Discussions of Human Agency?" in After the Condemnations of 1277. Philosophy and Theology at the University of Paris in the Last Quarter of the Thirteenth Century. Miscellanea Mediaevalia 28 (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2001), 795-826.

(2) John of Paris, Commentary on the Sentences, bk. 2, q. 5, in Jean de Paris, O.P., Commentaire sur les "Sentences": Reportation, Livre II, ed. J. Muller, Studia Anselmiana 52 (1964): 180. Compare also Kent's Aristotle and the Franciscans: Gerald Odonis' Commentary on the Nicomachean Ethics (Ph.D. diss., Columbia University, 1984), 134-7, and Virtues of the Will, 106-8; and Lottin, Psychologie et morale 1:300.

(3) Lottin's first foray into the question of whether Aquinas changed his mind on the will appeared in "La date de la Question Disputee De Malo de Saint Thomas d'Aquin," Revue d'histoire ecclesiastique 24 (1928): 373-88. Here, Lottin argued that Aquinas's moral psychology demonstrated a shift from an intellectualistic action theory in the early works, for example, in Summa contra gentiles III, q. 89 and Summa theologiae (hereafter "ST") I, q. 82, a. 4, to a voluntarist one in the later De malo, q. 6 and ST I-II, q. 9, a. 4. Several years later, Lottin modified this position slightly, though he did not abandon the notion that Thomas had revised his view of the will. On the revised account, Thomas changed his mind about the will at some point between the very early De veritate and the prima pars of the Summa theologiae so that, whereas the early work demonstrates a strong inclination toward cognitive determinism, the latter work presents the will as moving itself after the manner of an efficent cause, the intellect acting merely as a formal cause that presents the will with its objects. Compare Lottin, "Liberte humaine et motion divine de s. Thomas d'Aquin a la condamnation de 1277," Recherches de theologie ancienne et medievale 4 (1932): 1-33.

(4) Compare Bemard Lonergan, "St. Thomas's Thought on Gratia Operans," Theological Studies 3 (1942): 534. See also, George P. Klubertanz, "The Unity of Human Activity," The Modern Schoolman 27 (1949-50): 94.

(5) For the dating of Thomas's works, compare Jean-Pierre Torrell, Saint Thomas Aquinas. Vol. I: The Person and His Work (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1996), 330-61.

(6) Daniel Westberg, "Did Aquinas Change His Mind About the Will?" The Thomist 58 (1994): 49.

(7) Ibid., 48-9.

(8) For contemporary interpretations of Aquinas as an intellectualist, see, for example, Jeffrey Hause, "Thomas Aquinas and the Voluntarists," Medieval Philosophy and Theology 6 (1997): 167-82, and Robert Pasnau, Thomas Aquinas on Human Nature: A Philosophical Study of Summa theologiae Ia, 75-9 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 214-33. For the view that Aquinas resorts to both voluntarism and intellectualism as needed, compare John Bowlin, "Psychology and Theodicy in Aquinas," Medieval Philosophy and Theology 7 (1998): 129-56.

(9) Daniel Westberg, Right Practical Reason: Aristotle, Action and Prudence in Aquinas (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994), 89-94, and "Did Aquinas Change His Mind?" 51-8.

(10) David Gallagher, "Free Choice and Free Judgement in Thomas Aquinas," Archiv fur Geschichte der Philosophie 76 (1994): 247-77. See also Norman Kretzmann and Eleonore Stump, "Absolute Simplicity," Faith and Philosophy 2 (1985): 353-82. For an analysis and discussion of these and other recent attempts to interpret Aquinas as a voluntarist, compare Hause, "Thomas Aquinas and the Voluntarists," 171-7.

(11) Hause, "Thomas Aquinas and the Voluntarists," 168.

(12) Ibid.

(13) Bowlin, "Psychology and Theodicy," 129.

(14) Summa theologiae I-II, q. 8, a. 1 (Rome: Commissio Leonina, 1882-), 6:68: "voluntas est appetitus quidam rationalis. Omnis autem appetitus non est nisi boni. Cuius ratio est quia appetitus nihil aliud est quam inclinatio appetentis in aliquid. Nihil autem inclinatur nisi in aliquid simile et conveniens. Cum igitur omnis res, inquantum est ens et substantia, sit quoddam bonum, necesse est ut omnis inclinatio sit in bonum." (Hereafter, parenthetical references after citations of Aquinas's works refer to the volume and page number of the Leonine edition.) Compare also ST I, q. 80, a. 2.

(15) ST I-II, q. 9, a. 4 (6:78): "secundum quod voluntas movetur ab obiecto, manifestum est quod moveri potest ab aliquo exteriori. Sed eo modo quo movetur quantum ad exercitium actus, adhuc necesse est ponere voluntatem ab aliquo principio exteriori moveri ... ipsa movet seipsam, inquantum per hoc quod vult finem, reducit seipsam ad volendum ea quae sunt ad finem. Hoc autem non potest facere, nisi consilio mediante." For Aquinas's claim that the will is a "moved mover" (motus movens) see ST I, q. 80, a. 2.

(16) ST I-II, q. 9, a. 1 (6:74): "intantum aliquid indiget moveri ab aliquo, inquantum est in potentia ad plura: oportet enim ut id quod est in potentia, reducatur in actum per aliquid quod est actu; et hoc est movere. Dupliciter autem aliqua vis animae invenitur esse in potentia ad diversa: uno modo, quantum ad agere et non agere; alio modo, quantum ad agere hoc vel illud.... Indiget igitur movente quantum ad duo: scilicet quantum ad exercitium vel usum actus; et quantum ad determinationem actus. Quorum primum est ex parte subiecti, quod quandoque invenitur agens, quandoque non agens: aliud autem est ex parte obiecti, secundum quod specificatur actus." See also De malo, q. 6 (22:149).

(17) Ibid.: "voluntas movet intellectum quantum exercitium actus.... Sed quantum ad determinationem actus, quae est ex parte obiecti, intellectus movet voluntatem."

(18) ST I-II, q. 10, a. 2 (6:86): "si proponatur aliquod obiectum voluntati quod sit universaliter bonum et secundum omnem considerationem, ex necessitate voluntas in illud tendit, si aliquid velit: non enim poterit velle oppositum ... ideo illud solum bonum quod est perfectum et cui nihil deficit, est tale bonum quod voluntas non potest non velle: quod est beatitudo."

(19) Ibid: "Si autem proponatur sibi aliquod obiectum quod non secundum quamlibet considerationem sit bonum, non ex necessitate voluntas fertur in illud.... [Q]uaelibet particularia bona, inquantum deficiunt ab aliquo bono, possunt accipi ut non bona: et secundum hanc considerationem, possunt repudiari vel approbari a voluntate, quae potest in idem ferri secundum diversas considerationes."

(20) ST I-II, q. 9, a. 3 (6:77): "ad voluntatem pertinet movere alias potentias ex ratione finis, qui est voluntatis obiectum. Sed ... hoc modo se habet finis in appetibilibus, sicut principium in intelligibilibus. Manifestum est autem quod intellectus per hoc quod cognoscit principium, reducit seipsum de potentia in actum, quantum ad cognitionem conclusionum: et hoc modo movet seipsum. Et similiter voluntas per hoc quod vult finem, movet seipsam ad volendum ea quae sunt ad finem."

(21) Gallagher, "Free Choice and Free Judgment," 247-8.

(22) Ibid., 247.

(23) Ibid., 248.

(24) Ibid., 266.

(25) Gallagher, "Free Choice and Free Judgment," 267.

(26) Ibid.

(27) Ibid., 267-8.

(28) Ibid., 276-7.

(29) STI-II, q. 109, a. 2, ad 1 (7:291): "quod deliberet vel non deliberet, et si huius etiam sit dominus, oportet quod hoc sit per deliberationem praecedentem."

(30) ST I, q. 82, a. 4, ad 3 (5:304): "Omnem enim voluntatis motum necesse est quod praecedat apprehensio; sed non omnem apprehensionem praecedit motus voluntatis."

(31) ST I-II, q. 9, a. 4 (6:78): "Sed eo modo quo movetur quantum ad exercituium actus, adhuc necesse est ponere voluntatem ab aliquo principio exteriori moveri." Compare n. 15 above.

(32) Ibid.

(33) ST I-II, q. 13, a. 6 (6:103): "homo non ex necessitate eligit. Et hoc ideo, quia quod possibile est non esse, non necesse est esse. Quod autem possibile sit non eligere vel eligere, huius ratio ex duplici hominis potestate accipi potest. Potest enim homo velle et non velle, agere et non agere: potest etiam velle hoc aut illud et agere hoc aut illud. Cuius ratio ex ipsa virtute rationis accipitur. Quidquid enim ratio potest apprehendere ut bonum, in hoc voluntas tendere potest. Potest autem ratio apprehendere ut bonum non solum hoc quod est velle aut agere; sed hoc etiam quod est non velle et non agere. Et rursum in omnibus particularibus bonis potest considerare rationem boni alicuius, et defectum alicuius boni, quod habet rationem mali: et secundum hoc, potest unumquodque huiusmodi bonorum apprehendere ut eligibile, vel fugibile."

(34) De veritate q. 24, a. 2 (22:685): "tota ratio libertatis ex modo cognitionis dependet."

(35) Hause, "Thomas Aquinas and the Voluntarists," 177-81.

(36) For the most detailed biography of Giles, see Francesco Del Punta, Sylvia Donati and Concetta Luna, "Egidio Romano," in Dizionario biografico degli italiani (Roma: Istituto della Enciclopedia italiana, 1993), 42:319-41. For an abbreviated version of this article in English, compare "Giles of Rome," in The Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. Edward Craig (London: Routledge, 1998), 4:74. The most recent biography of Aquinas is Torrell's Saint Thomas Aquinas. Compare also James Weisheipl's Friar Thomas d'Aquino: His Lire, Thought and Works (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1974).

(37) On the condenmations of 1277, see John F. Wippers "The Condemnations of 1270 and 1277 at Paris," Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies 7 (1997): 169-201; and Johannes M. M. H. Thijssen, Censure and Heresy at the University of Paris: 1200-1400 (Philadelphia: The University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998), 40-56. A detailed analysis of the propositions on the will themselves can be found in Roland Hissette's comprehensive Enquete sur les 219 articles condamnes a Paris le 7 mars 1277 (Louvain: Publications Universitaires, 1977), 230-63. For a discussion of the condemnations as they relate to ethics and the will, see Kent, Virtues of the Will, 76-9.

(38) Giles of Rome, Quodlibet III, q. 15: "Utrum voluntas possit movere seipsum" (Louvain, 1646; reprint, Frankfurt am Main: Minerva, 1966), 176. All references to the Quodlibets are from this edition.

(39) Chartularium Universitatis Parisiensis, ed. Heinrich Denifle and Emile Chatelain, 4 vols. (Paris, 1889-97), 1:542. A new edition and commentary on the condemnations can be found in David Piche La condamnation parisienne de 1277 (Paris: J. Vrin, 1999).

(40) Although Siger was hardly an extreme determinist, as Christopher Ryan has argued in "Man's Free Will in Siger of Brabant," Mediaeval Studies 45 (1985): 155-99, he clearly assigned to human reason the dominant role in human action and moral responsibility. Compare his Quaestiones in Metaphysicam, bk. 8, q. 1, in Philosophes Medievaux, ed. William Dunphy (Louvain-la-Neuve: Editions de l'Institut Superieur de Philosophie, 1981), 24:386. For a recent overview of Siger's theory of human action, compare Stone, "Moral Psychology After 1277," 797-801.

(41) For Henry's theories on the will, see, among others, the studies of Raymond Macken: "La doctrine de S. Thomas concernant la volonte et les critiques d'Henri de Gand." in Tommaso d'Aquino nella storia del pensiero (Naples: Edizioi domenicane italiane, 1976), 84-91, and his "Heinrich von Gent im Gesprach mit seinen Zeitgenossen uber die menschliche Freiheit," Franziskanische Studien 59 (1977): 125-82.

(42) I take this expression from Wippel's "Godfrey of Fontaines and the Act-Potency Axiom," Journal of the History of Philosophy 11 (1973): 299-317. Compare also The Metaphysical Thought of Godfrey of Fontaines (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1981).

(43) Physics 7.1.241b34-245b2.

(44) Compare Roy Effler, John Duns Scotus and the Principle "Omne quod movetur ab alio movetur" (St. Bonaventure, N.Y.: Franciscan Institue Publications, 1962).

(45) See Roland Teske, "Henry of Ghent's Rejection of the Principle: "Omne quod movetur ab alio movetur," in Henry of Ghent: Proceedings of the International Colloquium on the Occasion of the 700th Anniversary of His Death (1293), ed. W. Vanhamel (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1996), 279-308.

(46) Among those who have presented Giles as an intellectualist of one form or another are Kent, Virtues of the Will, 37; Korolec, "Free Will and Free Choice," 637; J. de Blic, "L'intellectualism moral chez deux aristoteliciens de la fin du XIIIe siecles," in Miscellanea moralia in honorem eximii Domini Arthur Janssen, 2 vols. (Louvain: E. Nauwelaerts, 1948), 1:45-76; and Stephen D. Dumont, "Time, Contradiction and Freedom of the Will in the Late Thirteenth Century," Documenti e studi sulla tradizione filosofica medievale 3, no. 2 (1992): 578-9.

(47) Giles of Rome, Quodlibet III, q. 15 (p. 177): "Activat quidem, quando agens est tale in actu quale est patiens in potentia. Tunc hoc quidem potest agere: illud vero pati, ut ex I. De generatione in cap. De activis et passivis haberi potest. Eo enim ipso quod agens sit tale in actu quale est patiens in potentia, assimilat sibi passum et activat ipsum faciendo ipsum actu tale. Secundo agens non solum activat passum sed etiam necessitat et determinat passum quia approximatis sibi ad invicem agente et patiente necesse est agens agere, et patiens pati. Determinate ergo, et cum quadam necessitate comparatur patiens ad agens. Rursus violentatur patiens per agens quia actiones et passiones in istis naturalibus non possunt nisi ex contrariis in contraria. Patiens ergo quod agenti in fine est simile in principio est naturaliter contrarium, ita quod passio sit a dissimili et de contrario in principio de simili autem et de convenienti in fine. Et quid patiens in principio naturaliter est contrarium agenti, non potest fieri simile nisi expolietur ab eo quod est ei secundum naturam contrarium et quia hoc non potest fieri sine violentia, ideo bene dictum est, quod agens violentat patiens."

(48) Ibid. (p. 178): "quando intellectus offert ei aliquid sub omni ratione boni, voluntas necessitetur ab illo et de necessitate velit illud, sicut de necessitate vult finem. Nihil enim potest voluntas repuere nisi sub ratione mali. Nec potest aliquid velle nisi sub ratione boni."

(49) Scotus is the famous exception to this. He granted that we could not will misery per se, but he did think that we could fail to will happiness. Compare John Duns Scotus, Ordinatio, bk. 4, d. 49, qq. 9-10 (Paris: Vives, 1891-95), 21:332-3.

(50) Richard of Middleton, Quaestiones disputatae, ed. Odon Lottin, in Psychologie et morale 1:296, and Henry of Ghent, Quodlibet IX, q. 5, ed. Raymond Macken (Leuven: University Press, 1983), 13:135.

(51) As Henry states in Quodlibet IX, q. 5 (13:135), voluntas wills the final end "freely" (libere), albeit by a "certain immutable necessity": "Solum enim finale bonum cognitum per intellectum aperta visione tantum habet ponderis inclinantis, alliciendo, non violentando voluntatem, ut libere velit illud, quod tamen quadam immutabili necessitate non potest non velle illud."

(52) On the reciprocal relationship between the will and the intellect according to Aquinas, compare ST I-II, q. 17, a. 1 (6:185): "actus voluntatis et rationis supra se invicem possunt ferri, prout scilicet ratio ratiocinatur de volendo, et voluntas vult ratiocinari; contingit actum voluntatis praeveniri ab actu rationis, et e converso." On Aquinas's view that the will must be moved by an exterior principle, compare ST I-II, q. 9, a. 4 (6:78).

(53) Giles of Rome, Quodlibet III, q. 15 (p. 177): "nisi intellectus fieret prius in actu numquam voluntas fieret in actu."

(54) Ibid.: "numquam enim voluntas per se et directe actuat seipsam sed bonum apprehensum est quod causat volitionem in voluntate, et quod actuat eam."

(55) Ibid.: "si eniin aliquid in seipso secundum seipsum causaret actuationem, tunc illud secundum idem esset actus et potentia, quod est impossibile."

(56) Ibid. (p. 179): "Res ergo apprehensa prius causat in voluntate volitionem considerationis."

(57) Giles of Rome, Quodlibet III, q. 15 (p. 178): "intellectus enim, quantum ad omnem suum primum actum, movetur naturaliter, vel quasi naturaliter: ita ut non sit in potestate nostra, quid nobis veniat primo in mente, sed ex oblatione sensibilium."

(58) Ibid.: "cum apprehenditur id quod est ad finem vel cum apprehenditur quod non habet omnem rationem boni, ut puta cum intellectus apprehendit ... fornicationem, eam apprehendit ut bonum ratione delectationis et ut malam ratione inordinationis. Et quia voluntas est domina sui actus in potestate eius est sistere in hac consideratione bifurcata vel sistere in una et desistere ab alia, vel magis sistere in una quam in alia. Potest enim omnino desistere velle cogitare de inordinatione et solum velle cogitare de delectatione."

(59) See n. 27 above.

(60) Giles of Rome, Quodlibet III, q. 15 (p. 177): "Voluntas ergo, si non necessitetur ab his quae snt ad finem non possunt determinate movere voluntatem, oportet quod voluntas determinet seipsam."

(61) Giles of Rome, In secundum librum sententiarum, d. 24, q. 1, a. 1 (Venice: 1581; reprint, Frankfurt am Main: Minerva, 1968), 243: "Sed si dicatur quod imperare non est voluntatis sed rationis, et quia cuius est imperare, eius est dominari. Ideo si imperare est rationis, dominari erit rationis. Dicemus quod formare verba imperii vel formare verba dominii est rationis, et est proferre huiusmodi verba intrinsecus est rationis quia nulla potentia animae format vel profert verba intrinseca nisi intellectus vel ratio. Tamen hoc non obstante, imperare et dominari est voluntatis. Habebit enim se in hoc casu intellectus ad voluntatem sicut consiliarius ad regem. Consiliarius quidem sciens voluntatem regis secundum voluntatem illam potest formare et proferre verba imperii et dominii. Illud tamen imperium et dominium secundum quod verba proferuntur et formantur non est consiliarii sed regis. Et rex dicitur esse praeceptor et imperator et dominus non consiliarius."

(62) Ibid.: "Est enim consiliarius quidam serviens regi portans lucernam ante regem et ostendens sibi vias per quas debet rex incedere. Sic et intellectus est quidam serviens voluntati et protans lucernam ante voluntatrm, iudicans de via hac vel de illa secundum quam debet incedere voluntas. Quo iudicio facto, remanet actio in voluntate ut eligat ex illo iudicio viam quae placet sibi. Imperium et dominium secundum se pertinent ad voluntatem, licet formare et proferre verba illius dominii vel imperii possint pertinere ad intellectum."

(63) Compare Richard of Middleton, Quaestiones disputatae (p. 298): "Ratio ergo se habet ad voluntatem sicut serviens qui portat lucemam ante domihum suum ... dominus imperat quod valeat quo vult.... Intellectus movet voluntatem ostendendo et suadendo; hoc non est proprie movere voluntatem, sed disponere ad motum voluntatis; sed voluntas movet seipsam per modum efficientis et intellectus per modum imperii." See also Henry of Ghent, Quodlibet I, q. 14, ed. Raymond Macken (Leuven: Unversity Press, 1979), 5:90: "quod dirigens superius est directo, dicendum quod est dirigens auctoritate, sicut dominus servum: ille est superior: sic voluntas dirigit intellectum; vel ministerialiter sicut servus dominum, praeferendo lucemam de nocte ne dominus offendat: tale dirigens est inferius et sic intellectus dirigit voluntatem, unde a dirigendo et intelligendo potest ipsum voluntas retrahere quando vult, sicut dominus servum." Walter of Bruges, Quaestiones disputatae, q; 6, in Les Philosophes Belges, ed. Ephrem Longpre (Louvain-laNeuve: Editions de l'Institut Superieur de Philosophie, 1928), 10:60. On this topic, see also Roland Teske, "The Will as King Over the Powers of the Soul: Uses and Sources of an Image in the Thirteenth Century," Vivarium 32 (1994): 62-71.

(64) Giles of Rome, Quodlibet III, q. 15 (p. 180): "Voluntas est ... domina in regno animae et dicitur movere seipsam quia seipsam determinat, et in potestate eius est sic vel sic se habere."

(65) Ibid. (p. 179): "voluntas ... prius determinet seipsum et postea determinet intellectum vel aliam potentiam quamcumque, nam primo determinat se ut velit considerare de hoc et nolit considerare illud vel ut magis velit considerare hoc quam illud. Et secundum quod determinatum est velle in voluntate sic sit executio in intellectu.... Istud ergo dominium posse sistere in uno et desistere in alio vel posse sistere et attendere plus ad unum quam ad aliud voluntati est attribuendum quae dominium prius habet in operationem propriam et per eam habet dominium in opertationes alias causat enim in se ipsam volitionem."

(66) Giles of Rome, Quodlibet IV, q. 21 (p. 258): "Dicamus ergo quod hoc sit esse liberi arbitrii: formaliter posse determinare seipsum ad agendum vel non agendum. Unde dictum est quod voluntati insit libertas ... ex seipsa formaliter."

(67) Giles of Rome, Quodlibet III, q. 15 (p. 180): "facta autem in actu per finem et volendo considerare de his quae sunt ad finem, non se habet omnino ut potentia passiva sed se habet aliquo modo ut dominativa in quantum potest se determinare."

(68) Gallagher, "Free Choice and Free Judgment," 259-60. See also n. 19 above.

(69) Ibid.

(70) Lottin, Psychologie et morale 1:317 n. 2.

(71) Henry of Ghent, Quodlibet XII, q. 26, ed. Jos Decorte (Leuven: University Press, 1987), 16:143: "Dicunt ergo isti quod voluntas quoad determinationem actus, quam alii appellant quoad exercitium actus, quia se ipsam per liberum arbitrium determinat et exercitat, secundum dictum modum bene dicitur voluntas movere se ipsam, quia potest se ipsam ad actum volendi dicto modo determinare in volendo."

(72) Henry of Ghent objected to both Giles's and Aquinas's accounts because he regarded any real influence by the intellect over the will as tantamount to destroying the will's freedom. Although he concedes that the will cannot act without some prior sort of knowledge, the argued that the form of motion that the intellect exerts over the will is purely "metaphorical" (metaphorice). For Henry, the intellect moves the will only insofar as it shows it the apprehended good and therefore acts merely as a sine qua non cause of choice. For Henry, the crucial fact to bear in mind is that once the intellect has presented the appetible good to the will, the latter moves itself. Compare Henry of Ghent, Quodlibet I, q. 14 (p. 89): "Neque adhuc proprie ratio movet, sed ipsum obiectum movens per se rationem ad cognoscendum et per hoc se ostendendo tamquam bonum, metaphorice movet volentem ad appetendum." For Henry's theory of sine qua non causality, see his Quodlibet IX, q. 5 (p. 139). Also see Kent, Virtues of the Will, 137-43; and Lottin, Psychologie et morale 1:274-7.

Correspondence to: Department of Philosophy, McGill University, Leacock Building, 855 Sherbrooke St. W., Montreal, Quebec, H3A 2TZ, Canada.

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Author:Eardley, P.S.
Publication:The Review of Metaphysics
Date:Jun 1, 2003
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