Kornacka Katarzyna
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45(2009)2 - Articles

Katarzyna Kornacka

Rationality of will as a structural dominant in William of Ockham?s ethical thought

  • language: Polish


The most controversial problem of Ockham?s philosophical thought is his moral theory. In the 19th century Ockham?s ethics was regarded as an extremely voluntaristic approach. Nowadays, on the contrary, there are more and more thinkers who see Ockham as a rationalistic ethicist. They affirm that Ockham?s moral views do not correspond at all with voluntarism of his metaphysical theory. Therefore, it seems justified to reinterpret his ethics once more.

The article is based on the research of Ockham?s philosophical and theological works. His largest political work, Dialogue, is also taken into consideration.

The results show that Ockham?s ethical system can be called neither voluntaristic nor rationalistic exclusively, because of his special understanding of will. The will in Ockham?s thought is purely rational. Although its main feature is autonomy, its main aim remains to respect the dictates of right reason. The acts in which the will follows right reason?s choices are morally good.