Aquinas: Freedom


in The Development of Ethics: Volume 1

Published in print September 2007 | ISBN: 9780198242673
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680519 | DOI:

Series: Development of Ethics

Aquinas: Freedom

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Thomas Aquinas is an implicit compatibilist rather than a soft determinist. He does not affirm causal determinism, and the aspects of his position that commit him to implicit compatibilism do not commit him to implicit determinism. Reasons that he might offer for rejecting determinism do not affect his compatibilism about freedom, if they do not affect his account of the sufficient conditions for freedom. His defence supports his attempted reconciliation of human free will with the Christian doctrines of original sin and divine grace. The chapter's discussion of Aquinas on free will has included considerable repetition of questions discussed earlier, in the account of his views on the will, happiness, the passions, deliberation, and election. This repetition has tried to make clear the main point of his account of free will. Free will raises no further questions besides those already answered in understanding rational agency. On this point, Aquinas develops and applies the reductive strategy attributed to him.

Keywords: Thomas Aquinas; determinism; compatibilism; freedom; free will; happiness; passions; deliberation; election

Chapter.  11140 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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