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Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologica, Part I (Prima Pars) From the Complete American Edition.

« QUESTION 82 OF THE WILL - Page 89 QUESTION 84 HOW THE SOUL WHILE UNITED TO THE BODY UNDERSTANDS CORPOREAL THINGS BENEATH IT - Page 91 »

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Table of Contents:

QUESTION 83 OF FREE-WILL

(In Four Articles)

We now inquire concerning free-will. Under this head there are four
points of inquiry:

(1) Whether man has free-will?

(2) What is free-will--a power, an act, or a habit?

(3) If it is a power, is it appetitive or cognitive?

(4) If it is appetitive, is it the same power as the will, or
distinct?
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FIRST ARTICLE [I, Q. 83, Art. 1]

Whether Man Has Free-Will?

Objection 1: It would seem that man has not free-will. For whoever
has free-will does what he wills. But man does not what he wills; for
it is written (Rom. 7:19): "For the good which I will I do not, but
the evil which I will not, that I do." Therefore man has not
free-will.

Obj. 2: Further, whoever has free-will has in his power to will or
not to will, to do or not to do. But this is not in man's power: for
it is written (Rom. 9:16): "It is not of him that willeth"--namely,
to will--"nor of him that runneth"--namely, to run. Therefore man has
not free-will.

Obj. 3: Further, what is "free is cause of itself," as the
Philosopher says (Metaph. i, 2). Therefore what is moved by another
is not free. But God moves the will, for it is written (Prov. 21:1):
"The heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord; whithersoever He
will He shall turn it" and (Phil. 2:13): "It is God Who worketh in
you both to will and to accomplish." Therefore man has not free-will.

Obj. 4: Further, whoever has free-will is master of his own actions.
But man is not master of his own actions: for it is written (Jer.
10:23): "The way of a man is not his: neither is it in a man to
walk." Therefore man has not free-will.

Obj. 5: Further, the Philosopher says (Ethic. iii, 5): "According as
each one is, such does the end seem to him." But it is not in our
power to be of one quality or another; for this comes to us from
nature. Therefore it is natural to us to follow some particular end,
and therefore we are not free in so doing.

_On the contrary,_ It is written (Ecclus. 15:14): "God made man from
the beginning, and left him in the hand of his own counsel"; and the
gloss adds: "That is of his free-will."

_I answer that,_ Man has free-will: otherwise counsels, exhortations,
commands, prohibitions, rewards, and punishments would be in vain. In
order to make this evident, we must observe that some things act
without judgment; as a stone moves downwards; and in like manner all
things which lack knowledge. And some act from judgment, but not a
free judgment; as brute animals. For the sheep, seeing the wolf,
judges it a thing to be shunned, from a natural and not a free
judgment, because it judges, not from reason, but from natural
instinct. And the same thing is to be said of any judgment of brute
animals. But man acts from judgment, because by his apprehensive power
he judges that something should be avoided or sought. But because this
judgment, in the case of some particular act, is not from a natural
instinct, but from some act of comparison in the reason, therefore he
acts from free judgment and retains the power of being inclined to
various things. For reason in contingent matters may follow opposite
courses, as we see in dialectic syllogisms and rhetorical arguments.
Now particular operations are contingent, and therefore in such
matters the judgment of reason may follow opposite courses, and is not
determinate to one. And forasmuch as man is rational is it necessary
that man have a free-will.

Reply Obj. 1: As we have said above (Q. 81, A. 3, ad 2), the
sensitive appetite, though it obeys the reason, yet in a given case
can resist by desiring what the reason forbids. This is therefore
the good which man does not when he wishes--namely, "not to desire
against reason," as Augustine says.

Reply Obj. 2: Those words of the Apostle are not to be taken as
though man does not wish or does not run of his free-will, but
because the free-will is not sufficient thereto unless it be moved
and helped by God.

Reply Obj. 3: Free-will is the cause of its own movement, because by
his free-will man moves himself to act. But it does not of necessity
belong to liberty that what is free should be the first cause of
itself, as neither for one thing to be cause of another need it be
the first cause. God, therefore, is the first cause, Who moves causes
both natural and voluntary. And just as by moving natural causes He
does not prevent their acts being natural, so by moving voluntary
causes He does not deprive their actions of being voluntary: but
rather is He the cause of this very thing in them; for He operates
in each thing according to its own nature.

Reply Obj. 4: "Man's way" is said "not to be his" in the execution of
his choice, wherein he may be impeded, whether he will or not. The
choice itself, however, is in us, but presupposes the help of God.

Reply Obj. 5: Quality in man is of two kinds: natural and
adventitious. Now the natural quality may be in the intellectual
part, or in the body and its powers. From the very fact, therefore,
that man is such by virtue of a natural quality which is in the
intellectual part, he naturally desires his last end, which is
happiness. Which desire, indeed, is a natural desire, and is not
subject to free-will, as is clear from what we have said above (Q.
82, AA. 1, 2). But on the part of the body and its powers man may be
such by virtue of a natural quality, inasmuch as he is of such a
temperament or disposition due to any impression whatever produced by
corporeal causes, which cannot affect the intellectual part, since it
is not the act of a corporeal organ. And such as a man is by virtue
of a corporeal quality, such also does his end seem to him, because
from such a disposition a man is inclined to choose or reject
something. But these inclinations are subject to the judgment of
reason, which the lower appetite obeys, as we have said (Q. 81, A.
3). Wherefore this is in no way prejudicial to free-will.

The adventitious qualities are habits and passions, by virtue of which
a man is inclined to one thing rather than to another. And yet even
these inclinations are subject to the judgment of reason. Such
qualities, too, are subject to reason, as it is in our power either to
acquire them, whether by causing them or disposing ourselves to them,
or to reject them. And so there is nothing in this that is repugnant
to free-will.
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SECOND ARTICLE [I, Q. 83, Art. 2]

Whether Free-Will Is a Power?

Objection 1: It would seem that free-will is not a power. For
free-will is nothing but a free judgment. But judgment denominates an
act, not a power. Therefore free-will is not a power.

Obj. 2: Further, free-will is defined as "the faculty of the will and
reason." But faculty denominates a facility of power, which is due to
a habit. Therefore free-will is a habit. Moreover Bernard says (De
Gratia et Lib. Arb. 1,2) that free-will is "the soul's habit of
disposing of itself." Therefore it is not a power.

Obj. 3: Further, no natural power is forfeited through sin. But
free-will is forfeited through sin; for Augustine says that "man, by
abusing free-will, loses both it and himself." Therefore free-will is
not a power.

_On the contrary,_ Nothing but a power, seemingly, is the subject of
a habit. But free-will is the subject of grace, by the help of which
it chooses what is good. Therefore free-will is a power.

_I answer that,_ Although free-will [*Liberum arbitrium--i.e. free
judgment] in its strict sense denotes an act, in the common manner of
speaking we call free-will, that which is the principle of the act by
which man judges freely. Now in us the principle of an act is both
power and habit; for we say that we know something both by knowledge
and by the intellectual power. Therefore free-will must be either a
power or a habit, or a power with a habit. That it is neither a habit
nor a power together with a habit, can be clearly proved in two ways.
First of all, because, if it is a habit, it must be a natural habit;
for it is natural to man to have a free-will. But there is not
natural habit in us with respect to those things which come under
free-will: for we are naturally inclined to those things of which we
have natural habits--for instance, to assent to first principles:
while those things to which we are naturally inclined are not subject
to free-will, as we have said of the desire of happiness (Q. 82, AA.
1, 2). Wherefore it is against the very notion of free-will that it
should be a natural habit. And that it should be a non-natural habit
is against its nature. Therefore in no sense is it a habit.

Secondly, this is clear because habits are defined as that "by reason
of which we are well or ill disposed with regard to actions and
passions" (Ethic. ii, 5); for by temperance we are well-disposed as
regards concupiscences, and by intemperance ill-disposed: and by
knowledge we are well-disposed to the act of the intellect when we
know the truth, and by the contrary ill-disposed. But the free-will
is indifferent to good and evil choice: wherefore it is impossible
for free-will to be a habit. Therefore it is a power.

Reply Obj. 1: It is not unusual for a power to be named from its act.
And so from this act, which is a free judgment, is named the power
which is the principle of this act. Otherwise, if free-will
denominated an act, it would not always remain in man.

Reply Obj. 2: Faculty sometimes denominates a power ready for
operation, and in this sense faculty is used in the definition of
free-will. But Bernard takes habit, not as divided against power, but
as signifying a certain aptitude by which a man has some sort of
relation to an act. And this may be both by a power and by a habit:
for by a power man is, as it were, empowered to do the action, and by
the habit he is apt to act well or ill.

Reply Obj. 3: Man is said to have lost free-will by falling into sin,
not as to natural liberty, which is freedom from coercion, but as
regards freedom from fault and unhappiness. Of this we shall treat
later in the treatise on Morals in the second part of this work
(I-II, Q. 85, seqq.; Q. 109).
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THIRD ARTICLE [I, Q. 83, Art. 3]

Whether Free-will Is an Appetitive Power?

Objection 1: It would seem that free-will is not an appetitive, but
a cognitive power. For Damascene (De Fide Orth. ii, 27) says that
"free-will straightway accompanies the rational nature." But reason
is a cognitive power. Therefore free-will is a cognitive power.

Obj. 2: Further, free-will is so called as though it were a free
judgment. But to judge is an act of a cognitive power. Therefore
free-will is a cognitive power.

Obj. 3: Further, the principal function of free-will is to choose.
But choice seems to belong to knowledge, because it implies a certain
comparison of one thing to another, which belongs to the cognitive
power. Therefore free-will is a cognitive power.

_On the contrary,_ The Philosopher says (Ethic. iii, 3) that choice
is "the desire of those things which are in us." But desire is an act
of the appetitive power: therefore choice is also. But free-will is
that by which we choose. Therefore free-will is an appetitive power.

_I answer that,_ The proper act of free-will is choice: for we say
that we have a free-will because we can take one thing while refusing
another; and this is to choose. Therefore we must consider the nature
of free-will, by considering the nature of choice. Now two things
concur in choice: one on the part of the cognitive power, the other
on the part of the appetitive power. On the part of the cognitive
power, counsel is required, by which we judge one thing to be
preferred to another: and on the part of the appetitive power, it is
required that the appetite should accept the judgment of counsel.
Therefore Aristotle (Ethic. vi, 2) leaves it in doubt whether choice
belongs principally to the appetitive or the cognitive power: since
he says that choice is either "an appetitive intellect or an
intellectual appetite." But (Ethic. iii, 3) he inclines to its being
an intellectual appetite when he describes choice as "a desire
proceeding from counsel." And the reason of this is because the
proper object of choice is the means to the end: and this, as such,
is in the nature of that good which is called useful: wherefore since
good, as such, is the object of the appetite, it follows that choice
is principally an act of the appetitive power. And thus free-will is
an appetitive power.

Reply Obj. 1: The appetitive powers accompany the apprehensive, and
in this sense Damascene says that free-will straightway accompanies
the rational power.

Reply Obj. 2: Judgment, as it were, concludes and terminates counsel.
Now counsel is terminated, first, by the judgment of reason;
secondly, by the acceptation of the appetite: whence the Philosopher
(Ethic. iii, 3) says that, "having formed a judgment by counsel, we
desire in accordance with that counsel." And in this sense choice
itself is a judgment from which free-will takes its name.

Reply Obj. 3: This comparison which is implied in the choice belongs
to the preceding counsel, which is an act of reason. For though the
appetite does not make comparisons, yet forasmuch as it is moved by
the apprehensive power which does compare, it has some likeness of
comparison by choosing one in preference to another.
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FOURTH ARTICLE [I, Q. 83, Art. 4]

Whether Free-will Is a Power Distinct from the Will?

Objection 1: It would seem that free-will is a power distinct from the
will. For Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii, 22) that _thelesis_ is one
thing and _boulesis_ another. But _thelesis_ is the will, while
_boulesis_ seems to be the free-will, because _boulesis,_ according to
him, is will as concerning an object by way of comparison between two
things. Therefore it seems that free-will is a distinct power from the
will.

Obj. 2: Further, powers are known by their acts. But choice, which is
the act of free-will, is distinct from the act of willing, because
"the act of the will regards the end, whereas choice regards the
means to the end" (Ethic. iii, 2). Therefore free-will is a distinct
power from the will.

Obj. 3: Further, the will is the intellectual appetite. But in the
intellect there are two powers--the active and the passive.
Therefore, also on the part of the intellectual appetite, there must
be another power besides the will. And this, seemingly, can only be
free-will. Therefore free-will is a distinct power from the will.

_On the contrary,_ Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iii, 14) free-will
is nothing else than the will.

_I answer that,_ The appetitive powers must be proportionate to the
apprehensive powers, as we have said above (Q. 64, A. 2). Now, as on
the part of the intellectual apprehension we have intellect and
reason, so on the part of the intellectual appetite we have will, and
free-will which is nothing else but the power of choice. And this is
clear from their relations to their respective objects and acts. For
the act of _understanding_ implies the simple acceptation of
something; whence we say that we understand first principles, which
are known of themselves without any comparison. But to _reason,_
properly speaking, is to come from one thing to the knowledge of
another: wherefore, properly speaking, we reason about conclusions,
which are known from the principles. In like manner on the part of
the appetite to "will" implies the simple appetite for something:
wherefore the will is said to regard the end, which is desired for
itself. But to "choose" is to desire something for the sake of
obtaining something else: wherefore, properly speaking, it regards
the means to the end. Now, in matters of knowledge, the principles
are related to the conclusion to which we assent on account of the
principles: just as, in appetitive matters, the end is related to
the means, which is desired on account of the end. Wherefore it is
evident that as the intellect is to reason, so is the will to the
power of choice, which is free-will. But it has been shown above (Q.
79, A. 8) that it belongs to the same power both to understand and to
reason, even as it belongs to the same power to be at rest and to be
in movement. Wherefore it belongs also to the same power to will and
to choose: and on this account the will and the free-will are not two
powers, but one.

Reply Obj. 1: _Boulesis_ is distinct from _thelesis_ on account of a
distinction, not of powers, but of acts.

Reply Obj. 2: Choice and will--that is, the act of willing--are
different acts: yet they belong to the same power, as also to
understand and to reason, as we have said.

Reply Obj. 3: The intellect is compared to the will as moving the
will. And therefore there is no need to distinguish in the will an
active and a passive will.
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