Thursday, May 02, 2013

Aquinas for May II

Posse eligere malum, non est de ratione liberi arbitrii; sed consequitur liberum arbitrium, secundum quod est in natura creata possibili ad defectum.

"To be able to choose evil is not intrinsic to the concept of free will; but it follows from a free will insofar as it is in a created nature capable of failing."

De Veritate q. 24 art 3 ad 2


  1. Paul.G4:45 PM

    This is off-topic , but is there any way I can ask you a question? there is a certain argument in the science & religion discussion , that I would like to ask you about ( its a common argument)


  2. branemrys4:47 PM

    Sure. You can either ask it here, or, if you prefer, e-mail me at:

    bwatson2[at]austincc[dot]edu, with @ for [at] and . for [dot], obviously.


  3. thanks! i have sent you an e-mail

  4. Vishal Mehra1:50 AM

    Are we free only to the extent our intellect, being finite and fallen, does not always tell us where our good lies?

    Or can we go counter to the the good that the intellect tells us?. It seems more the case that free will refers to the freedom of the will from the intellect.

    Is it so that the question of free will is often or even generally confused with the question of physical determinism?

  5. branemrys7:11 AM

    It seems more the case that free will refers to the freedom of the will from the intellect.

    Aquinas is very opposed to this idea: on his view, free will has to begin in the intellect, and cannot be severed from it.

    He also doesn't think that we are only free because we are finite and fallen; the quotation in the post is part of an argument that free will does not require either finiteness or fallenness. The ability to choose evil is only incidentally part of free will at all: the most natural expression of free will is not choosing between good and evil but choosing between good and good.


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