Reading Response Philosophy of Human Nature
Text: Augustine- On Free Choice of the will book 1
Free will/good will
Three major points made by the author
Evil can be used in two ways- when someone has done evil and when someone has suffered evil. Since God is good, God does no moral evil; however, because God is just, God punishes the wicked and thus causes the evil of punishment. People are the cause of their own evildoing. Furthermore, because learning is good a thing, we do not learn evil. It is people’s inordinate desires that drive their evildoings. There are two laws- eternal law and temporal law. Both laws are good and guarantee people to live perfectly. To live perfectly and well, we need to know that we are alive, that we live with reason and understanding. And when the impulses of the soul are guided by reason, a person is perfectly ordered- eternal law. However, it is possible that the reason or mind does not rule. According to Augustine, this can only happens if a person’s own will and free choice make the mind a companion of cupidity. It is up to us to decide whether we want out will to be good or bad, and whether we desire things we can lose or we can’t lose.
Thesis (What is the central point of the reading? Use no more than three sentences.):
Augustine claims that people do evil by the free choice of our will.
So if God is all good and omnipotent, then why will God allow anyone to do evil by the free choice of their will? If we are images of God, and God is all good and omnipotent, shouldn’t we be all good and not act in ways that conflicts with God’s image?
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