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Title: From Psychological to Factual Use
Subtitle: Acting Intentionally in Ockham's Thought
Author(s): PELLETIER, Jenny
Journal: Recherches de Théologie et Philosophie Médiévales
Volume: 89    Issue: 1   Date: 2022   
Pages: 77-108
DOI: 10.2143/RTPM.89.1.3290729

Abstract :
William of Ockham discusses two types of use: factually using an external thing, such as eating an apple, and psychologically using something as a means to an end, such as willing to eat an apple in order to be healthy. While factual use has been studied at length because of its role in the controversy over Apostolic poverty in the 1320s, Ockham’s account of psychological use has been largely ignored. The purpose of the present article is to bring the two together. I argue that psychological and factual use are ontologically distinct from one another and that the former can cause the latter. When my psychological use of an apple causally results in my factual use of that apple, my eating of that apple can be construed as intentional (as the term is understood in contemporary theory of action). I argue that Ockham provides a causal and teleological explanation of distinctively human action by reference to his notion of psychological use and its connection to factual use.

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