ND   JMC : History of Medieval Philosophy / by Maurice De Wulf

152. Psychology and Ethics. -- Without writing any special treatise on the subject, St Anselm deals with isolated questions of psychology, and in a spirit often distinctly reminiscent of St. Augustine. He places an essential distinction between sensible and intellectual faculties; he makes a triple division of the latter into memory, intelligence and love{1} he refers to the sense-origin of ideas without however grappling with the difficulties of the problem; he outlines the theory of cognitional determinants (species intentionales) without giving them the erroneous meaning imputed to him by some historians; he dwells with emphasis on the immediate knowledge which the soul has of its own existence ("Semper sui meminit anima," Monol., 46; cf. St. Augustine, 102, 3); in explaining intellectual knowledge, he assigns to God, as the light of truth, an efficiency that is not easy to understand. Although he seems unaware of the application of the hylemorphic theory to the composite human being, he is nevertheless deeply convinced of the unity of the latter in its twofold nature, material and spiritual. About the origin of the soul he is doubtful.

The ethics of St. Anselm are mainly theological. He explains the transmission of original sin after the manner of Odo of Toumai, and he adopts the theories of St. Augustine on evil and on predestination.{2} He devoted much thought to the problem of free will and has left us two treatises on the subject. He defines freedom as the power of preserving rectitude of will for its own sake.{3}

{1} Monologium, c. xxxiii.

{2} De concordantia proescientiae, predestinationis et gratiae cum libero arbitrio.

{3} "Libertas arbitrii est potestas servandi rectitudinem voluntatis propter ipsam rectitudinem" (De lib. arb., I).

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