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MODIFIERS OF HUMAN ACTS


Introduction - ideal for man = to act deliberately = with perfect voluntariness | = intrinsic principles (knowledge and freewill) are employed - BUT this is not always the case it is not always possible = There are times when a degree of doubt or reluctance accompanies an act or our emotions take control of us, creating swift reactions and stirring our impulses - There are factors that can influence or really influences mans inner disposition towards certain actions - They affect the mental and emotional state of the person = therefore, they may increase or decrease voluntariness and consequently, the accountability PRINCIPLE: The greater the knowledge and freedom, the greater the voluntariness; and the greater the voluntariness, the greater the moral responsibility. Alfredo Panizo - Man does not act in a vacuum he is an organism; meaning to say, his movement is qualified as a response to certain stimulus - His total make-up is the sum of all his experiences = there are lots of factors around him that we should take into account. (For ex., personal background, education, social upbringing, religion, personal hopes, aims and dreams etc.) = they contribute to his development, to his choices and decisions and to his behavioral preference MODIFIERS OF HUMAN ACTS a) Ignorance b) Passions c) Fear d) Habit e) Violence a) IGNORANCE - Erroneous knowledge or simple lack of knowledge

2 - Absence of knowledge which a person ought to possess = Ignorance of FACT = Ignorance of LAW Ignorance of Law exempts no one - implies that one who has done wrong may not simply and directly claim ignorance as defense or justification or to be freed from sanction attached to the Law that was violated - implies that one should not act in the state of ignorance but always strive to dispel it 1) Vincible Ignorance - form of Ignorance which can be easily remedied through ordinary diligence and reasonable efforts 1.a) Affected Ignorance - a person possess this kind of Ignorance when a person employs positive efforts to be ignorant in order to be escape responsibility - it is Vincible Ignorance explicitly wanted = studied ignorance 2) Invincible Ignorance - kind of Ignorance which a person possesses without being aware of it or lack the means to rectify it PRINCIPLES: 1) Invincible Ignorance renders an act involuntary - a person is not liable or cannot be culpable if he is not aware of his ignorance or when there is no means of rectifying his ignorance 2) Vincible Ignorance does not destroy but voluntariness and the corresponding accountability over - when a person becomes aware of ones ignorance, he/she moral obligation to rectify it- and to act with this is a imprudence lessens the act has the form of

3) Affected Ignorance though it decreases voluntariness, increases the accountability over the resultant act - it interferes intellect decrease voluntariness - it is willed to persist increases accountability - refusing to rectify ignorance is malicious and malice is graver if ignorance is used as an excuse for not doing the right thing b) PASSION - Either tendencies towards desirable objects (positive emotions like love, desire, delight, hope, bravery etc) or tendencies away from

3 undesirable or harmful things (negative emotions like horror, sadness, hatred, despair, fear, anger etc) Passions psychic responses niether moral or immoral - however, man is bound to regulate his emotions and submit them to the control of reason 1) Antecedent Passions - precedes the act - predisposes a person to act 2) Consequent Passions - those that are intentionally aroused and kept - voluntary in cause; the result of the will playing the strings of emotion PRINCIPLES: 1) Antecedent Passions do not always destroy voluntariness but they diminish accountability for the resultant act - they weaken the will power without obstructing freedom completely - therefore, crimes of passion are always voluntary although accountability is diminished because it interferes with the freedom of the will 2) Consequent Passions do not lessen voluntariness but may even increase responsibility - consequent passions are direct results of the will which fully consents to them instead of subordinating them to its control c) FEAR - disturbance on the mind of the person being confronted by an impending danger or harm to himself, to his loved ones or to his property - one is compelled to decide to perform an act so as to avoid threat of future or imminent evil 1) Act done with fear - certain actions which by nature are dangerous or risky - in theses cases, fear is a normal response to danger - these actions are voluntary because the doer is in ful control of his faculties and acts inspite of fear - fear here is an instinct for self-preservation (we even fear new experiences or situations) ex. Being left alone in a strange place, being asked to speak before a group of people

4 2) Act out of fear or because of fear - fear here becomes a positive force compelling a person to act without careful deliberation - fear modifies the freedom of doing, inducing the person to act in a certain predetermined manner, even without his full consent Ex. A child studies/reads his books out of fear of his mother A man stops smoking fear of contracting cancer PRINCIPLES: 1) Acts done with fear are voluntary - acting inspite of his fear and is in full control of himself 2) Acts done out of fear are simply voluntary although conditionally involuntary - simply voluntary = person remains in control of his faculties - conditionally involuntary = if it were not for the presence of something feared, the person would not act or would act in another way - Intimidating or threatening as person with horror is an unjust act - Legally speaking, acts done out of fear invalid acts Ex. Contract made out of fear voidable later be annulled 3) Acts done because of intense fear or panic are involuntary - panic obscures the mind in this mental state, the person is not expected to think sensibly d) HABIT - permanent inclinations to act in a certain way - lasting readiness and facility born of frequently repeated acts or for acting in a certain manner - acquire the role of second nature moves a person to perform certain acts with relative ease Habit not easy to overcome or alter - requires a strong-willed person to correct a habit Voluntary Habits - those caused by the repetition of voluntary acts Involuntary Habits - a habit becomes such if the will is resolved to remove it and there is a struggle to overcome it PRINCIPLES:

5 1) Actions done by force of habit are voluntary in cause, unless a reasonable effort is made to counteract the habitual inclination - Bad Habits voluntary in cause because they are results of previously willed acts done repeatedly - as long as the habits are not corrected, evil acts done by force of habit are voluntary and accountable - can be not accountable if a person decides to fight his habit. For as long as the effort towards this purpose continues, actions resulting from such habit may be regarded as acts of man because the cause of such habit is no longer expressly desired e) VIOLENCE - any physical force exerted on a person by another free agent for the purpose of compelling the said person to act against his will Ex. Bodily torture, maltreatment, mutilation, etc PRINCIPLES: 1) External actions or commanded actions performed by a person subjected to violence, to which reasonable resistance has been offered, are involuntary and are not accountable - active resistance should always be offered to an unjust aggressor - if resistance is impossible and there is a serious threat to ones life, a person confronted by violence cab offer intrinsic resistance 2) Elicited acts, or those acts done by the will are not subjected to violence and are therefore voluntary Will a spiritual faculty therefore, not within the reach of violence - In history there are thousand heroes who suffered death instead of surrendering their will to their tormentors. Thos who succumbed and submitted to the wishes of their tyrants should not be considered as villains because they easily gave in to their tormentors because every man has his own limit of endurance