The moderating will in John Duns Scotus

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Title: The moderating will in John Duns Scotus
Authors: Delahoossaye, Gerard
Date: 2004
Abstract: The thesis examines what counts as a moral act for John Duns Scotus when he considers the two innate affections (or propensities) of the will, the affection for the advantageous (affectio commode) and the affection for justice (affectio iustitiae). The affection for the advantageous inclines us to love an object as suitable to us. This affection tends naturally to produce excessive desires. The affection for justice inclines us to love its object for its own sake. In Scotus' various treatments of natural law, he does not indicate that the only moral motives are selfless motives. Selfless motives seem necessary only in certain circumstances. Friendship is one such circumstance. Scotus claims otherwise, however, in his various treatments of the will's two affections. We never act morally from self-interest alone---that is, on motives provided by the affection for the advantageous alone. But since we cannot long choose apart from the affection for the advantageous, living a moral life depends upon using the affection for justice to moderate (or order) the excesses of the propensity for the advantageous. The most sustained application of the will's two affections is found in Ordinatio II, distinction 6, question 2. The first half of the thesis provides a commentary on this crucial text. We discover that moral disorder has three basic moments. The first moment is the decision to love ourselves inordinately; the second, the decision to love a particular good inordinately; the third, the decision to hate God or neighbor as threats to our unjust desires. We also discover that Scotus has two ways of explaining each of the three moments of moral disorder. He can explain them in terms of the will's two affections, but he can also explain them in terms of the will's two positive acts, the love of desire (velle-concupiscentiae ) and the love of friendship (velle-amicitiae). By an act of the love of desire, we want or wish or choose an object for the sake of something else. By an act of the love of friendship, we want or wish or choose the good of an object for its own sake. This explanation better accounts for the first moment of moral disorder, in fact, than does the former. In Chapter Three, we examine the alterations that Scotus would need to make to his conception of natural law morality in order to accommodate it to the two affections. In Chapter Four, we flesh out Scotus' stipulation in Ordinatio II, distinction 6, question 2, that no sin proceeds from the affection for justice. The work done in this thesis is a necessary first step to further critical analysis of Scotus' treatment of the will's two affections.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/29094
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-19591
CollectionTh├Ęses, 1910 - 2010 // Theses, 1910 - 2010
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