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Paper Topic:

Augustine

FREE WILL

2007

In Book II of his book , On Free Choice of the Will , St . Augustine (1993 ) writes

Now He has revealed to us , through His Holy Scriptures , that there is in a man a free choice of will . But how He has revealed this I do not recount in human language , but in divine . There is , to begin with , the fact that God 's precepts themselves would be of no use to a man unless he had free choice of will , so that by performing them he might obtain the

promised reward

In this passage Augustine asserts that man has free will . God 's love for us is such that it would not make sense without free will since God wants us to love him back freely . Without free will - or the freedom to love God out of our own free will - then the scriptures would not make sense

First of all , the concept of free will ' can be defined as that philosophical term of art for a particular sort of capacity of rational agents to choose a course of action from among various alternatives (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy , 2005 . The various alternatives pertain to the choice between good and evil . Augustine 's concept of free choice of the will ' assumes that the will is free and seeks to determine how we choose between good or evil . For Augustine there can be no denying that we have a will (1993 . This is supported by the Catechism of the Catholic Church which provides that Endowed with a spiritual soul , with intellect and with free will , the human person is from his very conception ed to God and destined for eternal beatitude (1711

The free will referred to here is one which is not to material things , which can easily be lost due to things beyond our control , such as death , or hurricanes . When a person uses his free will to choose evil , then this means this person has allowed their passions and desire for material things to rule their lives . Their sense of meaning is driven by these material things . On the other hand , a person who uses his free will to choose good will ultimately gain everything since there is no fear of losing material things . This lack of fear is because a person opting for good does not have any attachment to worldly things (Murray , 2004

But how does one act or choose freely ? Freedom of action necessarily covers moral responsibility . Free will has also been said to be compatible with determinism because freedom is essentially just a matter of not being hindered in certain ways when one acts or makes a choice (Strawson , 1998 . Under normal circumstances , an individual is able to act and choose freely - there is , for instance , no gun pointed to their heads to compel them to make their own choice or decision . Normal circumstances provide that people are not coerced by irresistible threat , violence , undue pressure , intimidation , or psychological compulsion , in...

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