Skip to main content
Saying ‘No’ to God: The Emergence of Metaphysical Freedom
Dalhousie Review (2003)
  • Sharon M. Kaye, John Carroll University

The writer traces the emergence of metaphysical freedom in medieval philosophy. She argues that, although medieval thinkers wished to attribute personal choice to human beings, they faced many challenges to this notion. She describes the attempts of Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, and John Duns Scotus to develop restricted accounts of metaphysical freedom, and William of Ockham's creation of an unrestricted account. She contends that, for medieval philosophers, the test of whether one has control over one's own fate was whether one could say “no” to God. She adds that Ockham was willing to make dramatic accommodations in his theology, science, and ethics in order to preserve this dignity for human beings.

Publication Date
Spring 2003
Citation Information
Sharon M. Kaye. "Saying ‘No’ to God: The Emergence of Metaphysical Freedom" Dalhousie Review Vol. 82 Iss. 1 (2003)
Available at: