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Within this paper, I will discuss the necessity of free will as Aquinas saw it. I will attempt to show why Aquinas feels that the will does not desire instead of having to or because it should but rather it simply wants to.
I will also attempt to show why humans are able to make free choices where as other creatures cannot and then I tell you why Aquinas feels that animals act out of instinct rather than free will.
Over time thinkers tried to narrow down the meaning of free will and in doing so discovered various meanings for free will. First, St. Augustine felt that creatures acted out of instinct rather than taking rational steps to derive at a solution and that the will makes one sin as well as to enjoy life. But, Aquinas felt that there is a certain type of connection for the will to be free i.e. the will basically does what it chooses to do through a critical thought process. Thus meaning that the previous thinkers
excluding Aquinas felt that man does not have free will.
Let’s start with objection number one from The Summa Theologica. Most think that man does not have free will. They think that “ free will does what he wills. Objection number two states that “whoever has free will has in his power to will or not to will, or to do or not to do”
owever, it is thought that this is not within mans power (Rm. 9-16). Next is objection number three which brings us to “what is the cause of itself” which is said to mean that what is not moved by another is not free. Objection number four is “whoever has free will is master of his own actions “ Please remember that man is not the master of his own actions (Jer.10:23) Objection number five states that it is “natural for us to follow some particular end therefore leading all of these objections to mean that we are not free. St. Thomas Aquinas believes argued that the objections above are not true. Aquinas shows us that man is one of the first things that God made and because of that man is left to his own devices i.e. free will. It can be said that because man can react to situations in life he has free will. When compared to rocks, dirt and stationary things that do not have a life we have free will. But when we talk about whether brute animals havefree will these animals act out of total instinct rather than through a careful thought process.
Free will is because it wants to be and not because it is. Since God gave man free will it is safe to say that God does not prevent man from making either the right or wrong decisions. It is simply left to the discretion of the
individual. Since most human beings have an innate ability to know right from wrong the correct choice is often made. Which leads us again to the theory that man has free will.
With free will man can motivate himself which can lead to a certain happiness.
Man has qualities and they are “natural and the adventitious. These parts sometimes take on the role of one another. The natural portion of man is controlled by man’s intellect this portion is considered again free will. The body is controlled by animal instincts as well and at
times this instinct will try to be the dominate factor of the will however, this is when the free will, will, will the instinct into doing what it wants to do. Man has the ability to reason where as brute animals do not have this ability.
In conclusion these qualities that man has prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that man ha free will and uses it quite often. Keep in mind that these qualities contain judgement and reasoning capabilities that completes the circle free will for man.