Anselm Of Canterbury Anselm concludes that one requires two wills to be free by arguing that to be free is to have an ability. In this paper I will argue that Anselm believes that this ability is incompatible with an Aristotelian doctrine of the will and that to have this ability, we must have at least two wills. Only in such a model is one free. Then I will argue that the agent who abandons justice differs from the one-willed creature Anselm considers in chapter 13,because the latter is not acting freely, whereas the former is acting freely. In the 3rd meditation of Meditations on First Philosophy, Descartes thinks he has proved the existence of God.
Given that God is good, and that he exists, Descartes must now explain why we make mistakes. He argues that we make mistakes because we make judgments about ideas that are not clear and distinct. If we refrained from making judgments in those cases, we would not make any errors. This raises a puzzle: Granted that we can constrain our will when we dont have clear and distinct ideas, can we constrain our will when we do have clear and distinct ideas? Or are we compelled to judge on things of which we have clear and distinct ideas? If the latter is the case, then it appears we dont have a free will which would raise serious issues about responsibility for sin and so forth. According to the Aristotelian doctrine of the will, our will is directed towards a single end, which is happiness. All deliberation that one makes will be in regards to the means to this single end.
There can be no mistake in the direction of the will. If a mistake is made, it will be in the deliberation process or in the execution of the desired means to the end. In either case, the mistake will be such that one has no control over it. Otherwise if one did have control over it then one would simply deliberate the potential mistake. But, Anselm thinks, since mistakes are made, and they must be explained in terms of the will since everything is done according to the will, then it would appear that there must be some sort of malfunction in the way in which we were designed by God.
But he assumes that God did not make an error in the creation of man because doing so would make God less that perfect. The general worry in the Aristotelian doctrine of the will is that since there is a single end, then we cant make opposite judgments because there is only a single will. We are compelled to act on our will, and that would rule out the possibility of free will, and responsibility that goes along with free will. In chapter 4, Anselm explains this problem in discussing how the Devil sinned. He writes, T.
But no one keeps justice except by willing what he ought, and no one deserts justice except by willing what he ought not. S. No one doubts this. T. Therefore, by willing something that he was not supposed to will at that time, he deserted justice and thereby sinned. S.
This follows. But I ask: What did he will? T. Whatever he already had in his possession he was supposed to will. S. Yes, he was supposed to will what he had received from God, and he did not sin by willing that.
T. Therefore, he willed something which he did not already have and was not supposed to will at that time. S. I cannot deny that this follows. T. But [the Devil] was able to will nothing except what is just or beneficial.
The thought is that if we have one end which is happiness, then everything we will is willed in accordance with this end. Therefore, if the Devil deserted justice, he did it by willing in accordance with this single end. That being the case, how could his deserting of justice have possibly been a sin, since it was done in accordance with the will he had been given by God? The only way the Devil could have sinned was by acting contrary to his will, which Anselm thinks is impossible if you only have one will. What is necessary but absent in the Aristotelian model is the liberty of indifference. The liberty of indifference is to be able to make a contradictory judgment or refrain from judgment, even in the face of a powerful inclination. That is to say that even when the idea is presented to the will by the intellect with clarity and distinctness, the will is not compelled to judge and can judge otherwise. In the Aristotelian model, however, mistakes that are made involve irrationality because there is only one will. Therefore, in order for a mistake not to involve irrationality, Anselm thinks we need two wills. Otherwise it would appear as though we make irrational mistakes because we are not rational enough, which would indicate that God erred in his creation of man. By will, Anselm does not mean two distinct instruments for willing.
Rather, he proposes that the will have two inclinations. One inclination is the do what makes us happy because we seek happiness, and the other inclination is to do what is right because it is right. The fact that there are two wills makes it possible that we might choose one over the other. This view makes the liberty of indifference possible because acting contrary to one will does not make it necessary that we be making an irrational mistake. The Anselmian model of two wills allows one to be free because in certain cases we have the ability to choose one inclination over the other. In the Aristotelian model, since we could only do what we will to do, there is essentially no freedom to choose since there is only one will.
Freedom implies that there be an ability to choose between two choices, which entails responsibility. In chapter 5, the teacher says to the student, “You are certain that if the good angels were not able to sin, then they kept justice not by their own ability but by necessity. It would follow that they no …