The Interconnection Between Langland, Scotus, and Ockham
This chapter introduces the three key philosophical positions illuminating Will’s sojourn: natural rights, intuitive cognition, and a voluntarism founded upon the will’s freedom to act against reason’s dictates and initiate a moral action. After discussing their applicability to the sojourn, a discussion of Scholasticism’s historical import provides a foundation to show the innovation of Scotus and Ockham. Their epistemology and theories of the will establish new ways of conceiving cognitive surety and how this knowledge aids in generating charitable acts. Isolating one theory from another one limits their full meaning, for each acquires a greater significance when understood in relation to the other. This matrix of thought generates a profound understanding of the individual, namely Will, and what he is capable of achieving. Their interdependence not only serves as a vital hermeneutic for Piers but also proves that a literary expression of philosophy works bilaterally, fostering a deepened awareness of the other discipline. The text’s overriding question, thus, lies not in how faith drives Will’s search forward, but which choices respond most efficaciously to God’s goodness.