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The doctrine of the primacy of the will. This takes on a variety of forms: 1. that in God his will takes precedence over his intellect, with the result that truth and goodness are what they are because God wants them that way (Duns Scotus); 2. that one's will, including one's freedom, is what makes that person distinctively human (St. Augustine); 3. that the world is the representation of the will, a blind and aimless cosmic power (Schopenhauer); 4. that each person's free will determines for the individual what is morally good or bad (Kant); 5. that what mainly constitutes a human person is his or her lifetime exercise of free will (Existentialism). (Etym. Latin voluntarius, at one's pleasure, intentional, freely desired.)
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.