American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 97, Issue 3, Summer 2023

Michael Szlachta
Pages 311-337

Unde huic fictioni non est respondendum
Thomas Aquinas and the Necessitation of the Will

William de la Mare suggests in his Correctorium fratris Thomae that it is possible to read Aquinas as saying that the will is necessitated by the intellect. Early defenders of Aquinas thought that this was nonsense (a fictio). However, I analyze Aquinas’s corpus and show that he has a consistent view of the relationship between the will and the intellect according to which the will is indeed necessitated by the intellect, not absolutely but conditionally: it is necessary that, if the intellect apprehends some object as good, then the will wills that object. However, I also argue that, although Aquinas is committed to the necessitation of the will by the intellect, it does not follow that the will lacks alternate possibilities.