Freedom and Aquinas
Peter Kreeft: The Meaning of Freedom in Aquinas; August 2019 (video)
This will be a bit disjointed; just trying to capture thoughts that resonated with me. Some of my thoughts are mixed in here. I suggest if something doesn’t sound quite right, it is likely my thought and not Kreeft’s.
Paraphrasing / summarizing Aquinas: The reason a thing is good is not simply because God wills it; rather, God wills it because it is good. In other words, the will of God is an absolute, and the intrinsic reasonability of the good is also an absolute.
An excellent argument for free will, from Aquinas (but also what C.S. Lewis uses in Mere Christianity): If there is no such thing as free will, then all moral language – all praising, blaming, rewarding, punishing, counseling, commanding, and the very concept of justice, are meaningless.
Aquinas would quote Augustine more than he did Aristotle. Two types of freedom: one, the liberty to arbitrate within yourself to make a choice between alternatives, and two, the freedom from everything that takes away from all your freedom – basically, the freedom from addiction. And the master addiction is to sin.
The whole point of free will is to gain something positive – happiness, joy, flourishing (beatitudo). In today’s world, we find many errors regarding freedom, and Aquinas offers many arguments to refute these. One error is determinism. If you don’t believe in free will, then you are left with determinism.
Another error is a higher determinism: fate, necessity – history follows that line. Then a view that has done enormous harm: voluntarism: the will doesn’t have to listen to the intellect, that authority doesn’t have to listen to reason. This started with William of Ockham and continued with Luther.
Another error is its politicization. You get this in every tyranny and in totalitarianism. Another error is the opposite of this error: pure individualism; I am responsible only to myself and no o
Article from LewRockwell