Philosophy 220 – Philosophical Thinking
On Free Choice of the Will
This book by St Augustine contains many philosophical arguments. St Augustine was a Latin speaking philosopher born in what is now modern day Algeria. He was one of the most prolific philosophers with hundreds of surviving works attributed to him (having survived the passage of time). The book On Free choice of the will contains may divine references with the central argument concerning free will as a gift from god, a gift which leads to humans becoming evil due their own inherent flaws. Free will is a large theme in the book. I will be critically analyzing Augustine’s argument that ‘… a mind that is in control, one that possesses virtue, cannot be made a slave to inordinate desire by anything equal or superior to it, because such a thing would be just, or by anything inferior to it, because such a thing would be too weak’1 . I will be looking at the weaknesses and strengths of this argument and conclude how convincing his argument is.
Augustine’s first argument about the mind being made a slave to inordinate desire contains many flaws its states “Each mind possesses the same degree of excellence and any thing that would attempt such a thing will have fallen from justice and become weaker” 2(originally said by Evodius but Augustine agrees to it) in this he is essentially saying that any mind attempting to enslave another mind to an inordinate desire will have become unjust and in the process weaker meaning it cannot control the superior mind. The first problem with this argument is the premise that all minds posses the same degree of excellence, this notion is completely wrong as it would be illogical to assume that all humans are intellectually equal. The fact that the foundation of the argument is wrong could serve to debase the entire argument as it is a paramount (and erroneous) notion upon which the argument is...