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How Is Strength of the Will Possible? Concerning Francis of Marchia and the Act of the Will

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Francis of Marchia dealt at length in several different contexts with the nature of the will and willing. Here I examine just one of those discussions: the possibility for the will to go against reason's final judgment, a topic related to weakness of will and the source of sin. Marchia is clearly of a voluntaristic bent, holding that the will can indeed act against the determination of reason. After examining Marchia's argumentation for his position, I explore some of the background to Marchia's view in a distinctively later medieval understanding of the human mind as a system of internal acts and dispositions, with the possibility that several of them belong to the same faculty simultaneously. This increasingly complex conceptualisation of the mind mirrors a new, more complex conceptualization of the "Self".


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