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Catholic Dictionary




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.)