Thomas Aquinas is not a Semi-Pelagian

À propos of nothing I would like to spend a bit of time putting forward Thomas Aquinas’ position on the relationship of nature and grace. The goal here is to exonerate Thomas of the charge of Semi-Pelagianism. This is a fairly common accusation protestants raise against the scholastics, and it would not surprise me if there were some pelagians running around in the later 14th or 15th century, but I do not think the charge sticks well against Thomas–not because I have some prior commitment to Thomas being right all the time–just because I don’t think it happens to be true.

We’ve discussed this topic here before. To recapitulate briefly the debate is about the relation of grace and original sin to the freedom of the will.

Pelagianism is the view that “original sin did not taint human nature (which, being created from God, was divine), and that mortal will is still capable of choosing good or evil without Divine aid . . . In short, humanity has full control, and thus full responsibility, for its own salvation . . .” Pelagianism was condemned by the Council of Carthage in 418.

Semi-Pelagianism accepts, against the Pelagians, that no one is capable of earning his own salvation and that everyone is born guilty as a result of original sin. However, against Augustine, they hold that the fallen nature retains sufficient integrity to will the beginning of faith (initium fidei) by itself without grace. Free will having started the process, God’s grace then brings it to a completion. Semi-Pelagianism was officially condemned by the Council of Orange in 529, although apparently this council was not well-known at Thomas’s time. At least Thomas does not seem to reference the heresy or its condemnation. Nevertheless, I think it is pretty clear that Thomas’s view on the relation between nature, grace, and the freedom of the will cannot be described as semi-pelagian.

Throughout his treatment of these topics, Thomas is relying upon the distinction between a perfect state of human nature which existed before the fall of Adam and the corrupted state of human nature post-fall. To explain the difference between the two states, let’s look first at Thomas’s understanding of the effects of sin in general.
For Thomas, sin involves a “triple loss”:

Now man incurs a triple loss by sinning, as was clearly shown above, viz. stain, corruption of natural good, and debt of punishment. He incurs a stain, inasmuch as he forfeits the lustre of grace through the deformity of sin. Natural good is corrupted, inasmuch as man’s nature is disordered by man’s will not being subject to God’s; and this order being overthrown, the consequence is that the whole nature of sinful man remains disordered. Lastly, there is the debt of punishment, inasmuch as by sinning man deserves everlasting damnation. (Summa Theologiae 1a2ae, q. 109, a. 8 body).

It isn’t completely clear to me whether Thomas sees a difference in the analysis of the effects of original sin and sins of commission. I’m pretty sure the above analysis at least covers the effect of sins of commission and it seems to fit well also with what little I know about Thomas’s view of original sin. Thomas, at any rate, follows Augustine in believing that infants are born with a liability to punishment even without having committed any sins of their own, which is why unbaptized babies go to (the nice part of) hell.

Now the assertion that Thomas is a Semi-Pelagian would imply that somehow Thomas believes that one can earn one’s own salvation by exercise of free will. This is the legacy of the Reformers critique against the catholic tradition. However note that the paragraph that follows the one quoted above completely rejects that suggestion.

Now it is manifest that none of these three can be restored except by God. For since the lustre of grace springs from the shedding of Divine light, this lustre cannot be brought back, except God sheds His light anew: hence a habitual gift is necessary, and this is the light of grace. Likewise, the order of nature can only be restored, i.e. man’s will can only be subject to God when God draws man’s will to Himself, as stated above (A[6]). So, too, the guilt of eternal punishment can be remitted by God alone, against Whom the offense was committed and Who is man’s Judge. And thus in order that man rise from sin there is required the help of grace, both as regards a habitual gift, and as regards the internal motion of God.” (Summa Theologiae 1a2ae, q. 109, a. 8 body).

According to Thomas even Adam before the fall needed grace (i.e. the infused virtues of faith, hope and love) to will supernatural good. We, in the fallen state, require these virtues first to heal our natures, then also to enable us to do meritorious works. (ST 1a2ae, q. 109, a. 2 body) Adam before the fall could have done the things that the law required and thus fulfilled it’s content without grace, but he could not have done the things that the law required in the proper way (i.e. out of love) without supernatural grace (ibid. a. 4 body) and without supernatural grace one cannot merit eternal life (ibid. a. 5 body). The effect of all of this is to undercut the worry that some protestants might have about Thomas allowing the will some amount of freedom while under the bondage of sin. Thomas does believe that sin doesn’t take away our power of free choice. (Indeed, how would God justly condemn us for sinning if we had no power to do otherwise?) But Thomas is clear that this power by itself–even in the case of Adam before the fall–is not capable of bringing on to salvation.

Now I imagine it is the word “merit” which would annoy most protestants reading Thomas’s account because Thomas does quite clearly speak about “meriting” salvation. However, it is not the case that he believes that a person by exercise of their free will can do enough good works to deserve to go to heaven. Rather, the “merits” we are speaking about are the ones which arise as a response to the work of the Holy Spirit moving us (presumably through the infusion of the theological virtues in baptism and the continual increase in grace through the eucharist).

If, however, we speak of a meritorious work, inasmuch as it proceeds from the grace of the Holy Ghost moving us to life everlasting, it is meritorious of life everlasting condignly. For thus the value of its merit depends upon the power of the Holy Ghost moving us to life everlasting according to Jn. 4:14: “Shall become in him a fount of water springing up into life everlasting.” And the worth of the work depends on the dignity of grace, whereby a man, being made a partaker of the Divine Nature, is adopted as a son of God, to whom the inheritance is due by right of adoption, according to Rom. 8:17: “If sons, heirs also.” (1a2ae, q. 114, a. 4 body).

In other words, Thomas’s position is not that you do good works to become worthy of salvation. Rather by grace one is made worthy as a partaker of the divine nature, in response to which one does meritorious works through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Now, it is clear that Thomas’s view is not the same as Luther’s. There is no notion here of being saved “by faith alone.” Rather, Thomas is actually being more faithful to Augustine in rejecting the idea that one can be saved by faith apart from works. (Cf. my short piece on Augustine’s De fide et operibus here.) I’m not sure that this means that Thomas’s view is really correct, but it seems to me that Thomas’s account is superior to Luther’s at least insofar as it doesn’t posit that disastrous dichotomy between Law and Gospel and it doesn’t make one want to kick the epistle of James out of the canon.

So, in short, I simply don’t see any way to argue that Thomas is a Semi-Pelagian and I think that if protestants would be a bit more patient in trying to tease out exactly what Thomas is getting at (which I admit is quite a chore) there might be something there that they would find helpful in assessing the cogency of their own understandings of salvation, faith, works, and the freedom of the will.

16 Responses to Thomas Aquinas is not a Semi-Pelagian

  1. dwcongdon says:

    I didn’t realize Protestants thought of Thomas as a semi-Pelagian. George Hunsinger has a nice four-fold way of looking at salvation, and he clearly separates Thomas from semi-Pelagianism. He places Augustine and Thomas in their own category between semi-Pelagianism and classical Protestantism. I think his typology, while oversimplistic of course, is mostly accurate.

  2. scholasticus says:

    I can’t find the text at the moment, but I believe Luther charges Aquinas with Pelagianism in the Disputation on Scholastic Theology. At any rate, it’s a comment I’ve heard several times from Protestant theologians not themselves closely familiar with Thomas’s own texts. And, as I said above, Thomas’s work is difficult and the notion of ‘merit’ taken just at face value would mislead one to thinking this.

    Arvin Vos “Aquinas, Calvin and Contemporary Protestant Thought” has a nice section on “The Origin of the Contemporary Protestant Perception of Aquinas on Nature and Grace” that explains some of the misinterpretations of Thomas’s position as arising from 16th century Thomists like Cajetan who twist Thomas around for polemical purposes in completely different debates. (cf. pp. 152-158)

  3. a thomist says:

    This is a very good analysis, and I think it could be bolstered up by a closer consideration of St. Thomas’ understanding of causality. St. Thomas could never pose a question about whether the good of salvation is a work of free will or divine causality, because for St. Thomas absolutely every good and every existent thing- whether of grace or nature- is being caused immediately by God himself. This is simply what “first cause” means. Consider the very first sentence of the Book of Causes, which St. Thomas quotes approvingly many times “the primary cause more inflows into the effect then the secondary universal cause”. This is the exact opposite of what we would imagine, because the primary cause is moving the secondary one.

    The problem with attempts to understand St. Thomas- both in this question and in the question of predestination- is that we come to the discussion with a too material and carnal understanding of causality, which is largely due to a failure to transcend the imagination.

  4. a thomist says:

    Again, to be clear, St. Thomas would find it unthinkable that free will and the divine causality constituted two radically autonomous principles of good actions, such that one could question “was existent thing X (whether by nature or grace) from the divine will or the human will?”. This opinion is molinism, or if that offends the molinists, I will at least insist that it is totally opposed to the teaching of St. Thomas. This is why I would argue that the whole dispute since Luther’s time is mired down because it starts by positing a false opposition between the human and divine will, and then sees it necessary to deny one or the other.

  5. scholasticus says:

    @thomist

    Thanks for the comments! I’ve never worked on the LIber de causis but I found this statement puzzling.

    “Omnis causa primaria plus est influens super causatum suum quam causa universalis secunda. ”

    You understand causa primaria to be God, but my guess would have been that God was the secondary universal cause here and not the primary one. God is a universal cause in the sense that God’s creative activity is the condition of the possibility of any other causes taking place. But, if, for example, I generate a son, I am the primary efficient cause of my son, because I’m the one who gives him form. (Acc. to my understanding of St. Thomas’ embryology, Mom would be a material cause).

    For support of my interpretation, cf. in II Sent. d. 1, a. 4 (Whether something other than God causes anything?):

    “Deus immediate omnia operatur, et quod res singulae proprias operationes habent, per quas causae proximae rerum sunt, non tamen omnium, sed quorumdam: quia enim, ut dictum est, {secundum fidem non ponitur creatura aliqua aliam in esse producere per creationem,} nec virtute propria nec aliena; ideo omnium illorum quae per creationem in esse exeunt, solus Deus immediate causa est.”

    “All things are worked immediately by God, and because single things have their proper operations by which they are proximate causes of things, yet not of all things but a certain thing: namely because, as it is said, {according to faith it is not appointed to a creature to produce another by creation,} neither by its own virtue, nor by a different virtue; for that reason of all of those things which go out into being by creation, only God is the immediate cause.”

    (The material enclosed within {} I am not sure I have properly translated.)

    Three things to note in this passage:

    First, individuals can be the proximate causes of other individuals, but not of all things generally, only other particular individuals.

    Second, only God can be a universal cause.

    Third, God is called an immediate cause, but creatures are called proximate causes, which seems odd. If God is the immediate cause of all things, then one would expect creatures to be secondary or remote causes, yet Thomas calls them proximate causes.

    I’m not sure how to untangle this little riddle. On the one hand, we want to affirm that God is the cause (in some sense) of everything except evil/privation. On the other hand, we want to affirm that in some sense I am the one causing my choices, because otherwise I am rewarded or punished for those choices arbitrarily. For instance, in Thomas’s theory of predestination God reprobates some people by refusing to give them grace. They deserve damnation because of their own free choices, but they only receive eternal damnation because of God’s choice to withhold grace from them:

    “Therefore, as predestination includes the will to confer grace and glory; so also reprobation includes the will to permit a person to fall into sin, and to impose the punishment of damnation on account of that sin” (ST 1a, q. 23, a. 3).

    This strikes me as enormously problematic and I simply don’t see how emphasizing God’s role as the immediate cause of all good things will solve this problem. It seems to me that if we want to uphold the idea that God wills the salvation of everyone–and I think we should on biblical grounds–then we are going to have to accept the possibility of a competition between divine and human causation that will allow God to be operating causally upon me, but in such a way that I still have the possibility of contradicting his will by the operation of my own, (which would make God a secondary, but not a primary cause of my willing evil).

    The third option is universalism.

  6. a thomist says:

    I’s pressed for time, so thi response will be rushed, but…

    God is the primary cause. Proclus gives examples a few axioms later: the first cause is existence and the cause of existence, and when it retracts his causal power, all other causal power immediately vanishes.

    God is the universal cause, but not the merely the cause of the thing qua universal. God is not the cause of “existence in general” and then a man the cause of “this existent man”. This too would be molinism, and to my thinking it is opposed to both good sense and to the doctrine of St. Thomas, for as soon as the causal power of God is removed, the whole effect, even down to its particularity, is completely and immediately removed. The distinction between “proximate” and immediate is a good one to describe these causes, for proximate means “nearest”, whereas God’s causality is most immediate, interior and powerful. God is not called proximate BECAUSE he is more interior and intimate than even my own causality of my own son, immo, even more than my soul is the cause of myself. Compared to the intimacy of the divine causality, my causality can be nothing more than the “nearest” cause, i.e. the proximate one. for example, I can’t explain why my son is human, for I am not the cause of him qua human (for then I would have had to cause myself) and for similar reasons, I didn’t cause him to exist, nor am I causing him to exist now.

    I don’t want to emphasize God’s role in causality in in the sense of drawing more attention to God per se, but to understand the nature of the divine causality and its relation to a single effect. Since Molina, all sides have tended to see causes as completely autonomous in a radical sense, as though men could be the absolutely first cause of being within some order. Descartes picks up on this idea with his odd and startling insistence that his will, qua will, is univocally one with the divine will.

  7. freder1ck says:

    so, according to Thomas, I cannot will anything autonomously, without that is, God’s sustaining and permissive will. To understand myself rightly, I must not eliminate God from the root of my self.

  8. Bobby Grow says:

    Shane,

    one important thing that you have failed to address is the role of habitus, and the corrollary, Thomas’ “created grace”, that this played in Aquinas’ framework of salvation. If grace is a created “accident” that God provides man, man still must initiate and “activate”, as it were this infusio gratiae. I think the consequence of this, is that while God can still be seen, categorically as the cause of grace, man still must “chose” to cooperate with this grace in order to “merit” or attain salvation. I think Thomas then is still semi-Pelagian.

  9. scholasticus says:

    Hi Bobby,

    I think you are right to say that on Thomas’s view you must cooperate with grace to be saved, what I deny, however, is that this amounts to semi-pelagianism. I think we covered most of this material in our previous discussion about the notion of ‘cooperation’ and ‘synergism’ in the comment thread on Augustine on faith and works.

    To reprise from that discussion:

    3 canons of the council of Orange that define the heresy of semi-pelagianism
    1. Original sin affects only the body, but leaves the freedom of the will unimpaired. Canon 1
    2. The initium fidei comes by nature, not by grace. Canon 5**

    Canon 18 also says, “That grace is not preceded by merit. Recompense is due to good works if they are performed; but grace, to which we have no claim, precedes them, to enable them to be done.”

    I think Thomas would agree with all three of these canons, even though I am not positive that he has actually read them and is working to make sure he is in accord with them. I think it’s more likely that the strong Augustianian current in Thomas’s thought has protected him from falling into this error.

    Now to answer the implicit objection you [DWCongdon, from previous thread] make about synergism being unbiblical, I cannot disagree more strongly. (Synergo is a verb used at a very important place in the NT, as we shall see). So here is a little bit of biblical evidence to quell your uneasy radically protestant mind (and some of it is Pauline even):

    Phil 2.12: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” meta phobou kai tromou ten heaton soterion katergazesthe. The BDAG gives as meanings of katergazomai: “1. to bring about a result by doing someth., achieve, accomplish, do”; “2. to cause a state or condition, bring about, produce, create”; “3. to cause to be well prepared, prepare someone”; “4. to be successful in the face of obstacles, overpower, subdue, conquer”. Any of those meanings should contradict your position.

    “Thus faith, if it does not have works, is dead. . . . Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works (he pistis sunergei tois ergois), and by works was faith made perfect? Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.”

    Once again the BDAG defines Synergeo as “to engage in cooperative endeavor, work together with, assist, help.”

    I think synergism is a perfectly acceptable position, so long as the synergy is understood at the level of the augmentum fidei and not the initium.

    I can’t speak to the concern about merit beyond the little I said in the body of the post above. However, I think I can add to my previous discussion about the notion of ‘habit’.

    Ok, so ‘habitus’ in Latin means “state” and it is one of the ten kinds of predicates that can be applied to a subject. For example, “Socrates is ill” is to predicate the state of illness of Socrates. That’s the general logical sense of the word. However, it seems to me that there is also a more precise use in the realm of moral philosophy and theology, where a habitus is sort of an intermediate state between an pure actuality and a pure potentiality.

    Take an illiterate child. Assume this child has the innate ability to learn to read. While illiterate, the child is merely in potentiality to be literate, but he is not actually literature. Now, if you teach the child to read he acquires a habitus, literacy. When he is engaged in the act of reading he is fully actualizing his ability to read. However, what if he goes to sleep? The sleeping child is not illiterate–he still possesses the habitus to read, even if that habitus is not being actualized. In other words, the child is still a reader, even when not actually engaged in the act of reading just in virtue of the habitus he possesses.

    Now, to apply this to grace. When you are born you are guilty of original sin, your nature is wounded (but not utterly destroyed) and so on. You are ‘illiterate’ to grace, so to speak. However, then you are baptized which effects your justification, heals your nature and infuses you with the theological virtues. At this point you now have a ‘habitus’ because the holy spirit is working inside you to give you the possibility to do good works. This does not mean that every action you do is actually good. You can refuse to cooperate with grace, in which case the habitus remains merely on the level of the potential. Or you can cooperate and activate the habitus by doing good works.

    Now, if there is nothing wrong with speaking of cooperation, I can’t see anything wrong with this notion of habitus. Conversely, if you can make the case that any sort of synergism at all will boil down to semi-pelagianism, Thomas’s position is in big trouble. However, I don’t see what the objection to cooperation is.

  10. freder1ck says:

    To someone who sees salvation and damnation as predetermined solely by God’s election, Aquinas will always be semipelagian. Note that for Aquinas human creaturely (natural) freedom is itself rooted in God’s sustaining and permissive grace.

    Hans Urs von Balthasar explained merit this way:
    Before you exert yourself, be aware that before God every exertation is but a game accepted in grace, a game that is not of itself important but that grace draws into the sphere of the important. Allow the tension of your efforts to be unfolded by the relaxed abandonment of a child’s helpless faith.

  11. Bobby Grow says:

    Shane,

    thank you, I don’t disagree with your analysis on synergo and cooperation post initium; and your response seems different than what you communicated in your article, at least what I understood you to be saying. Here’s what you said:

    In other words, Thomas’ position is not that you do good works to become worthy of salvation. Rather by grace one is made worthy as a partaker of the divine nature, in response to which one does meritorious works through the power of the Holy Spirit.

    It seems like you blur the distinction between augmentum fidei and initium relative to justification; or at least Aquinas does😉 . Even if created grace is the initium, in the thomistic framework, augmentum becomes the instrumentation that serves as the touchstone for attaining eternal life–which makes the appropriation of eternal life contingent upon “my” actions–albeit in a state of grace.

    The reason I say this reduces to semi-Pelagianism, is that it is still up to the person to “activate” the habitus of grace, and this process of habituating in grace becomes meritorious toward my salvation. If a person so chooses not to habituate, or “activate” grace augmentum then this person will not receive eternal reward or life.

    Anyway, whether one wants to label this semi-Pelagian or semi-Augustinian in my mind does not change the fact that Aquinas provides a soteriological framework that is informed by the magesterium the church vs. the ministerium of scripture (the Prot. canon😉 relative to the issue of soteriology (cf. Gal. 2:16; etc.).

    Thanks for the interaction, Shane.

  12. scholasticus says:

    This was a longish response I left at BobbyGrow’s place:

    @Gojira,

    Two observations:

    First, we should get our exegetes to come out and do some spade work on words like hagiazo, dikaioo, soteria, etc. to try to get some clarity on what exactly the more general notions and the specific actions are. My partially educated guess would be that salvation and justification are blurred together in Paul. I know the reformers make a strong distinction between the two, but I don’t know if you’d really find that in the NT itself.

    Second, I worry that in the laudable desire to avoid pelagianism the Reformers have caused a new problem with monergism because monergism seems to make the relation between human and divine agency competitive.

    I believe the logic goes like this
    (1) If I act to do X of my own free will, then God is not acting to do X and vice versa. (Competitive account)
    (2) I cannot effect my own salvation/justification/sanctification by an act of my free will. (Pelagianism is a heresy.)
    (3) Therefore, God alone is acting to effect my salvation/justification/sanctification.

    Now, I think Thomas response would be to deny (1). In other words, if you have a non-competitive account of divine/human action, then you can still hold on to synergism without compromising to pelagianism.

    I think the noncompetitive argument might go something like this:

    (1) The fact that I am act to do X by my own free will does not necessarily mean that God is not acting or vice versa.
    (2) I can never effect my own salvation by an act of my free will.
    (3) Therefore, my action might possible be involved in God’s effecting of my salvation.

    To repeat the point quite emphatically–the way in which our actions would be involved would have to do with the augmentum (the continuing process of living under grace) and not with the initium fidei (which comes about through God’s action alone).

    “But wait a minute Shane,” you might say, “where is all of this in the Bible?” I’m glad you asked.

    “Therefore my beloved just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now even more in my absence with fear and trembling work out (katergazesthe) your own salvation; for it is God who is at work in you to will and to work for his own good pleasure.” (Phil 2,12-13)

    If you have a competitive account of divine and human interaction à la the first argument above, v. 12 seems like heresy because Paul gives a command “work out your salvation” (katergazesthe is a 2nd person plural imperative). If the competitive account were true, v. 12 would also directly conflict with v. 13 because in the very same thought Paul says that God is the one at work. If, on the other hand, Paul holds a non-competitive account of divine/human action, then a command to work out your own salvation in cooperation with God makes perfect sense.

    Thus, I submit that Thomas’s account is to be preferred above that of the reformers on the grounds that it makes better sense of Paul.

  13. scholasticus says:

    @bobby,

    Once again you are quite right–the infusion of grace in baptism (which for Thomas is intimately connected to justification/salvation) as a baby will not guarantee that you cannot still go to hell by your sinful acts during life. But now we are moving on to other issues.

    I said that Thomas wasn’t a semi-pelagian and now you are trying to bring Preserverence into the discussion. I agree that it’s a relevant question, but we’d probably need to explore this later elsewhere (and with generous attention to the exegesis, I suspect).

    I also think the other objection you raise about soteriology fails as an objection to Thomas because he clearly rejects the view that you are trying to impute to him, namely that one could be saved by virtue of doing the works of the law. Thomas is clear that nobody can merit eternal life of their own efforts, as I pointed out in the body of the main post above. One can merit salvation “condignly” in virtue of the Holy Spirit’s operation–not the operation of human nature (whether corrupt or uncorrupted).

    cheers!

    shane

  14. Bobby Grow says:

    Shane,

    I might be willing to acqueisce on the label semi-Pelagian, and opt for the label semi-Augustinian for Thomas. Of course, as a Protestant, my beef, as you astutely note isn’t so much with how we label Aquinas; but with the soteriology he articulates and how that jives with the Prot. canon. I see the categorical distinction that Aquinas makes, and that might keep him, shrewdly from Pelagianism proper–but I still believe, once again, his soteriology is deficient . . . but that is fodder for another day and post.

    cheers to you,

    Bobby

  15. scholasticus says:

    ““Nor should it be argued that the semi-Pelagianism against which the early Reformers reacted was either a result of Aristotelianism or a product of Thomas Aquinas’s theology. Given the presence of Augustinian and semi-Pelagian theories of grace throughout the Middle Ages, it is less than accurate to locate the cause of semiPelagianism in the recovery of Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics in the early thirteenth century.

    Nor is it an acceptable use of the term to identify Thomas’s view of cooperation of the will after first grace as semi-Pelagian. Indeed, Frost’s definition here is simply incorrect: semi-Pelagianism, strictly defined, is a theology according to which the unregenerate human will cooperates with God by taking the first step in salvation.b Nor did Aquinas apply an Aristotelian conception of human ability to follow the good to his doctrine of the gracious beginning of salvation. Indeed, Aquinas insisted that no meritorious acts, whether “half” or full merit (meritum de congruo and meritum de condigno), were possible before grace and that all meritorious acts after grace were fully such (de condigno) only on grounds of the work of grace itself, not on grounds of the ability of the human agent. In other words, Aquinas’s Sum ma is quite Augustinian in its assumption that salvation occurs by grace alone.” Mueller, p. 3 qtd. above.”

    From Richard Mueller, “Scholasticism, Reformation, Orthodoxy and the Persistence of Christian Aristotelianism,” Trinity Journal, 1998: 3.

  16. scholasticus says:

    Halden has also weighed in on this debate now. At bobbygro’s place the conversation has drifted towards a question about the relation of intellect and will, which I will perhaps explore further in a future post.

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