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Pre-coffee Kantian precursor

“No act is perfectly virtuous unless the will through that act wishes what is dictated by right reason just because it is dictated by right reason. For if the will should wish what is dictated by right reason, not because it is dictated, but because it is delightful, or because of something else, it would wish what is dictated merely upon its being shown, because of the apprehension, and without right reason. And consequently, that act would not be virtuous, because it would not be elicited in conformity with right reason: to wish what is dictated by right reason because of the fact that it is dictated. But now it is impossible that someone should wish something because of something else unless he wishes that other, since if he refuses or does not wish that other, he already wishes the something more because of itself than because of that other. Therefore, in order that I should virtuously wish what is dictated by right reason, I must necessarily wish right reason through the same act and not through another.” – William of Ockham, Commentary on the Sentences (trans. Walsh)

Published inLit & CritMedieval Philosophy

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