Review Of "Weakness Of The Will In Medieval Thought: From Augustine To Buridan" By R. Saarinen

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This clear, well-written book focuses on medieval discussions of Aristotle's famous treatment of "weakness of will" (akrasia) in Book VII of the Nichomachean Ethics. Special attention is given the writings of Albert the Great, Thomas Aquinas, Walter Burley, Gerald Odonis, and John Buridan. These discussions are much more detailed and interesting than previously surmised, particularly so because they take account of Augustine's well-known treatment of a somewhat similar problem under the heading of "unwilling action" (invitus facere). These two classical sources, with sometimes similar and sometimes disparate analyses, cross-fertilized medieval thinking in intricate and productive ways. In spite of the general relevance of the subject matter, this complex study will be fully appreciated only by advanced students of medieval thought. Saarinen is professor at the Institute for Ecumenical Research in Strasbourg, France. He has published on ecumenical themes as well as on the Lutheran Reformation and late medieval philosophy. Graduate; faculty.


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