How Anselm Separates Morality from Happiness

American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly (forthcoming)
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Contemporary scholarship is divided over whether Anselm maintains a version of Eudaemonism. The debate centers on the question of whether the will for justice only moderates the will for happiness or, instead, provides a distinct end for which to act. Because of two key passages, various scholars hold that Anselm maintained elements of medieval Eudaemonism. In this article, I argue that Anselm separates morality from happiness, and I provide a sketch of his alternative view. First, I argue against some recent perspectives that Anselm maintained Eudaemonism. To do so, I provide a non-Eudaemonist reading of the two key passages and show how Eudaemonist readings are lacking in different respects. Second, I examine what this argument means for Anselm’s understanding of happiness and moral obligation. While there are some Eudaemonist themes in Anselm’s thinking, he flatly denies and revises aspects of the system.

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Parker Haratine
University of South Carolina at Aiken


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