Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




In this dissertation I will consider how two 13th century theologians, William of Auxerre (1156-1231) and St. Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274), explored the question, "Whether the same thing can be known (demonstratively) and (believed by faith)" (utrum idem sit scitum et creditum). Both denied that this was possible, but they differed in the relative epistemic priority of faith and knowledge. Aquinas thought that demonstrative knowledge has epistemic priority over faith: for example, if someone knows a proof for God's existence, then they know that God exists, and it is impossible for them to have faith that God exists. Aquinas is a knowledge-prioritarian. William, on the other hand, thought that faith has epistemic priority over knowledge: if someone has faith that God exists, then even if they know a proof for God's existence, they have faith, and not knowledge, that God exists. William is a faith-prioritarian. William holds to this view because he thinks that the virtue of faith does not involve trusting authority, but rather seeing God for oneself. This allows it to have epistemic priority over demonstrative knowledge.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.