Nature, Will and Virtue: Anti-Naturalist Features of John Duns Scotus's Ethics

Michal Chabada

Abstract


The aim of the paper is to identify anti-naturalist features in Duns Scotus's ethics. The prerequisite is to clarify the meaning of the term naturalism. In theoretical philosophy metaphysical, scientific-methodological and semantic-analytical naturalism can be distinguished. In practical philosophy naturalism is present in the ethics of virtue, which, in achieving a good life, considers the emotional-affective part of man to be a relevant element of ethical reasoning. The ethics of rules can be regarded as an opposite to the ethics of virtue, one in which emotionality is irrelevant. On the basis of an analysis of some of Duns Scotus's works, the author argues that his ethics is antinaturalistic in these aspects: the understanding of will in opposition to nature; the separation of morality and bliss; a secondary role of emotion in ethical reasoning; a universally binding imperative of love to God; will as the seat of moral virtues. The connection between bliss, virtue and nature, according to Scotus, loses internal cohesion, the natural and the moral good do not converge, which is reflected in the ‘denaturalisation’ of morals.  Having identified the anti-naturalist features of Scotus's ethics, the author concludes that his ethics is closer to the ethics of rules.

Keywords


nature; will; ethics of virtue; ethics of rules; naturalism; John Duns Scotus

https://doi.org/10.5817/pf19-2-1966

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Published by the Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic.
ISSN: 1212-9097