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Ethics notes8-freedom.doc - 7. Freedom and moral habits 7.1...

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7. Freedom and moral habits7.1Nature of freedomMan knows that he is free and continuously experiences his capacity to choose when he mustmake a judgement. He realises that his decision will betotally personal and untransferable.It isthe person himself whom must freely decide. Freedom is a property of the human being e.g. I canchoose to eat this dish or not. Freedom is therefore the characteristic of the human person thatpermits him to direct his own acts towards attaining a given goal that he has chosen thanks to thefact that he has intellect and will. Man’s freedom lies in the fact that he has intellect and will:because he can know the truth and love the good, he can tend towards attaining the good goal ina free act.Freedom has its root in the intellect, through which we know the end or goal. By this we meanthat for a person to be able to direct himself towards his end, he has to possess it somehow; thisisonly possible through knowledge. When we know the goal better, our freedom will be moreperfect e.g. why I should attend Ethics classes when I have come to study IT or business. But ifyou understand that the goal of Ethics is to make me a better person, I know this and I want it,then I come to class freely and in that way I am not here out of no choice but because I want to.Apart from knowing the goal it is importantto know the means through which we can obtain thegoal. Man may not choose these means but he needs to know them so that the will can moveitself freely to love them.Freedom also lies in the will. It is not enough to know a goal in order to love it: the will mustdetermine itself to love it. Freedom is not indifference towards good and evil, rather, it is apositive inclination towards the good.The person always chooses something good although thisdoes not mean that he always chooses well: it is possible to choose evil. However evil is notloved in itself. One chooses evil because of loving a good thing in a disorderly way. The willchooses something that is presented to it as good, although its goodness is limited.It is due to the will that the person can develop the capacity to love that permits him to movehimself towards what seems to be most good. The human being needs to develop and to1
strengthen the capacity to love as this makes him freer: it strengthens the energy to move himselftowards better goals, even if there are difficulties.The development of freedom depends on the strengthening of the will’s capacity to love the goodand the intellect’s capacity to know the truth.After analysing voluntary actions which make up human conduct, now it is time to consider thathuman conduct is free, that is, a true expression of self determinationof the person. Ethicsconsiders freedom from the initial distinction between human acts and acts of man. If man wasnot free or had no self-mastery (i.e. he was pre-determined), Ethics would have no object. Ethicscan study moral aspects of freedom basing its method and object on moral experience. Freedom

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Term
Fall
Professor
N/A
Tags
Philosophy of life, selfdetermination

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