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Scott MacDonald

Norma K. Regan Professor in Christian Studies

Scott MacDonald

218 Goldwin Smith Hall

Educational Background

  • BA Cornell 1978
  • BD St. Andrews 1981
  • PhD Cornell 1986



Scott MacDonald's research interests include medieval philosophy (especially Augustine and Aquinas), philosophical theology, and issues in philosophy of mind, moral psychology, and the philosophy of action — especially those concerned with free will, moral responsibility, and practical reasoning. He is currently working on themes in the later works of Augustine: the ConfessionsDe trinitate, and the Genesis commentaries.


  • Classics
  • Medieval Studies Program
  • Philosophy
  • Religious Studies Program

Graduate Fields

  • Classics
  • Medieval Studies
  • Philosophy


  • Medieval philosophy (especially Augustine and Aquinas)
  • Philosophical theology
  • Philosophy of mind and cognition
  • Moral psychology and the philosophy of action — especially issues related to free will, moral responsibility, and practical reasoning


Spring 2022


  • Aquinas’s Moral Theory: Essays in Honor of Norman Kretzmann, editor (with Eleonore Stump). Cornell University Press, 1999
  • Being and Goodness: The Concept of the Good in Metaphysics and Philosophical Theology, editor. Cornell University Press, 1991
  • “Foundations in Aquinas’s Moral Theory,” Social Philosophy and Policy 25:1 (Winter 2008). Pp. 350-67. (Published simultaneously in Objectivism, Subjectivism, and Relativism in Ethics, edd. Ellen Frankel Paul, Fred D. Miller, Jr., and Jeffrey Paul. Cambridge University Press, 2008. Pp. 350-67.)
  • “The Paradox of Inquiry in Augustine’s Confessions,” forthcoming in Metaphilosophy 39:1 (January 2008)
  • “Augustine and Platonism: The Rejection of Divided-Soul Accounts of Akrasia,” in Uses and Abuses of the Classics: Western Interpretations of Greek Philosophy, edd. Jorge J. E. Gracia and Jiyuan Yu. Ashgate Publishing, 2004. Pp. 75-88
  • “Petit Larceny, the Beginning of All Sin: Augustine’s Theft of the Pears,” Faith and Philosophy 20 (2003). Pp. 393-414 [Reprinted in Augustine’s Confessions: Critical Essays, ed. William E. Mann (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006), Pp. 45-69]
  • “Aquinas’s Ultimate Ends: A Reply to Grisez,” American Journal of Jurisprudence 46 (2001), Symposium on Natural Law and Human Fulfillment. Pp. 37-49
  • “The Divine Nature,” a chapter in the Cambridge Companion to Augustine, edd. Eleonore Stump and Norman Kretzmann. Cambridge University Press, 2001. Pp.  71-90 [Reprinted in Augustine’s Confessions: Critical Essays, ed. William E. Mann (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006), Pp. 85-105]
  • “Gilbert of Poitiers’ Metaphysics of Goodness,” Recherches de Théologie et Philosophie médiévales July, 1999. Pp. 57-77
  • “Practical Reasoning and Reasons-Explanations: Aquinas’s Account of Reason’s Role in Action,” in Aquinas’s Moral Theory, edd. Scott MacDonald and Eleonore Stump. Cornell University Press, 1999. Pp. 133-60
  • “Aquinas’s Libertarian Account of Free Choice,” Revue Internationale de Philosophie 52 (1998). Pp. 309-28
  • “Primal Sin,” in The Augustinian Tradition, ed. Gareth B. Matthews. University of California Press, 1998. Pp. 110-39
  • “What is Philosophical Theology?” in The Presumption of Presence, edd. Peter McEnhill and George B. Hall. Scottish Academic Press, 1996. Pp. 61-84