• Teleology in the Thought of William of Ockham

      Sweetman, Robert; Zylstra, Stephen John; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2007-07)
      This thesis offers an account of William of Ockham's understanding of teleology in order to question the standard modernist history of the concept. Ockham does not rely on the Aristotelian analogy between art and nature to establish that all natural things seek an end. Nor does he simply relativize the analogy by considering all creatures as having their ends fixed by God. Instead, Ockham draws a sharp distinction between voluntary and natural agency, which results in two very different uses of final causality. On the one hand, the way in which final causes operate in voluntary agents cannot compromise their freedom. On the other hand, the way they operate in natural agents cannot explain their necessity. Ockham negotiates the radical difference between the causality of voluntary and natural agents by positing a new analogy altogether, comparing it to the difference between will and intellect.