Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Q83 A2: Whether free choice is a power?

Yes. Free choice is a power because free choice is indifferent to good and evil choice, wherefore it is impossible for free choice to be a habit.

Liberum arbitrium est potentia quia liberum arbitrium indifferenter se habet ad bene eligendum vel male, unde impossibile est quod liberum arbitrium sit habitus.

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 choice denominated an act, it would not always remain in man.

Consuetum est potentiam significari nomine actus. Et sic per hunc actum qui est liberum iudicium, nominatur potentia quae est huius actus principium. Alioquin, si liberum arbitrium nominaret actum, non semper maneret in homine.

Although free choice in its strict sense denotes an act, in the common manner of speaking we call free choice, 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 choice 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.

Quamvis liberum arbitrium nominet quendam actum secundum propriam significationem vocabuli, secundum tamen communem usum loquendi, liberum arbitrium dicimus id quod est huius actus principium, scilicet quo homo libere iudicat. Principium autem actus in nobis est et potentia et habitus; dicimur enim aliquid cognoscere et per scientiam et per intellectivam potentiam. Oportet ergo quod liberum arbitrium vel sit potentia vel sit habitus, vel sit potentia cum aliquo habitu. Quod autem non sit habitus, neque potentia cum habitu, manifeste apparet ex duobus.

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 choice. But there is not natural habit in us with respect to those things which come under free choice, 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 choice, as we have said of the desire of happiness (Q82, A1; Q82, A2). Wherefore it is against the very notion of free choice 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.

Primo quidem, quia si est habitus, oportet quod sit habitus naturalis; hoc enim est naturale homini, quod sit liberi arbitrii. Nullus autem habitus naturalis adest nobis ad ea quae subsunt libero arbitrio, quia ad ea respectu quorum habemus habitus naturales, naturaliter inclinamur, sicut ad assentiendum primis principiis; ea autem ad quae naturaliter inclinamur, non subsunt libero arbitrio, sicut dictum est de appetitu beatitudinis. Unde contra propriam rationem liberi arbitrii est, quod sit habitus naturalis. Contra naturalitatem autem eius est, quod sit habitus non naturalis. Et sic relinquitur quod nullo modo sit habitus.

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 choice is indifferent to good and evil choice; wherefore it is impossible for free choice to be a habit. Therefore it is a power.

Secundo hoc apparet, quia habitus dicuntur secundum quos "nos habemus ad passiones vel ad actus bene vel male", ut dicitur in II Ethic., nam per temperantiam bene nos habemus ad concupiscentias, per intemperantiam autem male; per scientiam etiam bene nos habemus ad actum intellectus, dum verum cognoscimus per habitum autem contrarium male. Liberum autem arbitrium indifferenter se habet ad bene eligendum vel male. Unde impossibile est quod liberum arbitrium sit habitus. Relinquitur ergo quod sit potentia.

Bernard says (De Gratia et Lib. Arb. 1,2) that free choice is "the soul's habit of disposing of itself." 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.

Bernardus etiam dicit quod liberum arbitrium est "habitus animae liber sui". Bernardus autem accipit habitum non secundum quod dividitur contra potentiam, sed secundum quod significat habitudinem quandam, qua aliquo modo se aliquis habet ad actum. Quod quidem est tam per potentiam quam per habitum, nam per potentiam homo se habet ut potens operari, per habitum autem ut aptus ad operandum bene vel male.

Free choice is defined as "the faculty of the will and reason." Sometimes faculty denominates a facility of power, which is due to a habit. But faculty sometimes also denominates a power ready for operation: and in this sense faculty is used in the definition of free choice.

Liberum arbitrium dicitur esse facultas voluntatis et rationis. Facultas quandoque nominat facilitatem potestatis, quae quidem est per habitum. Facultas nominat quandoque potestatem expeditam ad operandum. Et sic facultas ponitur in definitione liberi arbitrii.