Even a reading of three books of William's massive Magisterium divinale et sapientiale makes it clear that William knew well the teaching of Aristotle and Avicenna, and that he often relied upon their arguments to prove his points. From the first chapters of De trinitate throughout De universo and De anima William's most philosophical arguments depend in large part upon Avicennian metaphysics. Such a dependence is well illustrated by the importance William placed upon Avicenna's maxim that nature operates in the manner of a servant. William proceeded, however, to use this same principle against his teacher Avicenna, pointing out in a variety of circumstances when Avicenna and the other Aristotelians' failed to correctly apply the nature/servant principle to their own philosophy. Interestingly enough, although the principle provides William with the essential attribute of nature, that nature acts without choice, William often uses the principle to prove both the freedom and power of God, as evident in his creative act, and that rational creatures are free servants of his will.18
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