Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Question on Duns Scotus, Freedom, etc

Benedict XVI recently spoke on Duns Scotus, noting certain valuable points but also the following criticism:
Duns Scotus "underlines freedom as a fundamental quality of the will, introducing a voluntaristic tendency that developed in contrast to the so-called "Augustinian and Thomist intellectualism". For St Thomas Aquinas, who follows St Augustine, freedom cannot be considered an innate quality of the will, but, the fruit of the collaboration of the will and the mind. Indeed, an idea of innate and absolute freedom placed in the will that precedes the intellect, both in God and in man, risks leading to the idea of a God who would not even be bound to truth and good. The wish to save God's absolute transcendence and diversity with such a radical and impenetrable accentuation of his will does not take into account that the God who revealed himself in Christ is the God "Logos", who acted and acts full of love for us. Of course, as Duns Scotus affirms in line with Franciscan theology, love transcends knowledge and is capable of perceiving ever better than thought, but it is always the love of the God who is "Logos" (cf. Benedict XVI, Address at the University of Regensburg, 12 September 2006). In the human being too, the idea of absolute freedom, placed in the will, forgetting the connection with the truth, does not know that freedom itself must be liberated from the limits imposed on it by sin."
Gerard Manley Hopkins, Walker Percy, and Walter Ong also see the self as something that is essentially unknowable and the center of the free person. I wonder if one could say that freedom is a potential of the will which can only be actualized in a confrontation of the mind with the true. What do you think?
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