Abelard, Heloise, and Ockham: The Intentional-Self Meme

  • Maureen P. Heath


The risqué love affair between Abelard and his student Heloise may be the legacy most people are aware of, but these two helped birth the intentional-self meme. This chapter argues that Christianity is radically intentionalist, as Heloise stated in one of her letters, “It is not the deed but the intention of the doer which make the crime.” Indeed, our modern legal system is based on criminal intent and motive, as well as the deed itself. A discussion of Abelard’s and William of Ockham’s writings reveals how the basis of our individual natural rights was set in the twelfth century.

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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maureen P. Heath
    • 1
  1. 1.FairfaxUSA

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