McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts
Marie L. Baird
Cassian, contingency, credo ut intelligam, determinism, epistemology, Eriugena, fides quaerens intellectum, kenosis, metaphysics, necessity, potentiality and actuality, prayer, rectus ordo, scholasticism, soteriology, tautology, time and eternity
Implicit in the writings of St Anselm of Canterbury is a distinct conception of the cooperative integration of primary and secondary causality. An exploration of this topic in Anselm's theology will reveal its unique contribution to the understanding that faith, hope and grace affirm the authenticity of human freedom, and serve as an intermediate connection between primary causality (eternal, divine omniscience) and secondary causality (temporal, human experience). This dissertation places specific emphasis on Anselm's De concordia, a treatise in which he seeks to facilitate a clear and rational understanding of how foreknowledge, predestination and grace are compatible with human freedom. Drawing from Anselm's thought on this topic and considering its treatment by others, especially Augustine and Boethius, this study proposes three theories which articulate the logical compatibility of eternal knowledge and free choice: (1) cognitive causality, (2) divine foreknowledge understood as predestination, and (3) the duality of epistemological perspectives. These proposed theories are unique interpretations of what is implicit in Anselm's thought. Their purpose is to facilitate a rational conception of what has been intellectually encountered for centuries as a dilemma, and to demonstrate that compatibility between eternal omniscience and human free will is arrived at through sound reasoning.
An anthropological framework will serve throughout this study as the theoretical foundation and methodology for advancing these interpretations of Anselm. This framework lays emphasis on three basic features, or capacities, of the human person: the epistemic, the ethical, and the existential. The compatibility between foreknowledge and free will, in the context of an epistemological distinction between the eternal, divine perspective and the temporal, human perspective, will be articulated in terms of these three capacities -- knowing, doing, and being -- as the core components of human experience (secondary causality). The emphasis moves throughout this dissertation from speculative theory to its practical relevance for human experience, occurring within the overall context of salvific becoming. The authenticity of human freedom, then, is not only arrived at through abstract conceptions concerning its logical compatibility with foreknowledge, but is also revealed as imperative for authenticity in all three human capacities, and so for the person's salvific becoming.
Wallace, K. (2008). Primary and Secondary Causality in the Thought of St. Anselm: A Speculation on Divine Omniscience, Predestination and Grace in the Context of Human Freedom and Spirituality (Doctoral dissertation, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/1326