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Stephen D. Dumont
University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame, IN 46556-4635)
The Two Affections of Will: From Anselm of Canterbury (d. 1109) to John Duns Scotus (d. 1308)

This project traces the history of the theory of the 'two affections of the will' from its first occurrence in Anselm of Canterbury to its most influential development in John Duns Scotus. The distinction places within the will two inclinations, one for happiness and the other for justice, establishing the will as a self-moving, autonomous power and the locus of morality. In its particular formulation by Scotus, who makes the affection for justice the primary sense of freedom, the doctrine of the two affections is seen to have broken from the eudaimonistic ethics of the Greeks. I reconstruct the largely ignored history of the two affections as it was inserted into the mainstream debates over free will in the thirteenth century, which then served as a main source for Scotus’s own theory. I give a historically more accurate interpretation of the two affections theory in Scotus and address its commonly assigned role in his ethics as rendering the moral law naturally accessible.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
History of Philosophy

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2013 – 6/30/2014