Duns Scotus on the Will as Rational Potency


Scotus understands the will as a “rational potency” and not as an “intellectual appetite”.

Scotus maintains that a person can know with certainty the right thing to do and still not do it. The intellect presents information to the will and the will can cooperate or not cooperate. This means that for Scotus the will is a “rational potency” and not an “intellectual appetite”.

The intellect always contributes by presenting an object to the will.

The will never acts without the intellect. Scotus holds that without the intellect, the will would be incapacitated. Nonetheless, once the intellect presents an object to the will, it is “internalized” by the will and from there the will acts how ever it decides. Nothing outside the will determines its choice. The will is the sole rational potency.

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