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FREEDOM OF THE HUMAN

PERSON

IPHP LECTURE 6
Introduction
• Look at freedom from the intellectual, political,
spiritual, and economic aspects.
• Understanding freedom is part of our
transcendence.
• Freedom consists of going beyond situations such
as physical or economic.
• For instance, students can be young and poor, but
they can still pursue their dreams of becoming a
doctor, teacher, or a stage actor.
• Critical thinking is an important tool toward
freedom and truth
Realize that “ All Actions Have
Consequences”
• Aristotle
The power of volition – if there were no intellect, there
would be no will. The task of practical intellect is to
guide will by enlightening it.
The will of humanity is an instrument of free choice. It is
the power of everyone to be good or bad, worthy or
worthless. This is borne out by:
o Our inner awareness of an aptitude to do right or
wrong;
o The common testimony of all human beings;
o The rewards and punishment of rulers; and
o The general employment of praise and blame.
Realize that “ All Actions Have Consequences”

• Moral acts are in our power and we are


responsible for them.
• Character or habit is no excuse for immoral
conduct
e.g. Attending class is a student’s
responsibility, should the student cut class, then
he/she is responsible for the consequences of
his actions.
Realize that “ All Actions Have Consequences”

As a result, he/she must be held responsible for


any accident or failure in grades that will befall on
him/her.
The student may regret what he/she had done,
but all the regrets in the world will not call it back.
The point is the student should not have cut
class in the instance
When the matter is sifted down, the happiness
of every human being’s soul is in his own hands, to
preserve and develop, or to cast away.
Realize that “ All Actions Have Consequences”

• For Aristotle, a human being is rational.


• Reason is a divine characteristic, humans have
the spark of the divine.
• Reason can legislate, but only through will can
its legislation be turned into action.
• Our will is an instrument of free choice.
Realize that “ All Actions Have Consequences”

• St. Thomas Aquinas


Love is freedom – of all the creatures of God,
humans have the unique power to change
themselves and the things around them for the
better. St. Aquinas considers humans as moral
agents, we are both the spiritual and body
elements; the spiritual and material.
Our spirituality separates us from animals; it
delineates moral dimension of our fulfillment in an
action.
Realize that “ All Actions Have Consequences”

• St. Thomas Aquinas


Through our spirituality, we have a conscience,
whether we choose to be “good” or “evil” becomes our
responsibility.
Man has a supernatural, transcendental destiny. This
means he can rise above his ordinary being or self to a
highest being or self.
In the plan of God, a person has to develop and
perfect himself by doing his daily tasks. If man perseveringly
lives a righteous and virtuous life, he transcends his mortal
state of life and soars to an immortal state of life.
Realize that “ All Actions Have Consequences”

• St. Thomas Aquinas


The power of change cannot be done by man
alone, but is achieved through cooperation with
God.
Between humanity and God, there is an
infinite gap, which God alone can bridge through his
power.
Perfection by participation means that it is a
union of humanity with God. Change should not
just promote any private advantage but the good of
the community.
Realize that “ All Actions Have Consequences”

• Fourfold classification of law: the eternal law,


natural law, human law, and the divine law.
• Natural law applies only to humans, first
principle and precept of natural law is that
good is to be sought after and evil avoided(
self-preservation)
• Since the law looks to the common good as its
end, it is then conceived primarily with
external acts and not with interior disposition.
Realize that “ All Actions Have Consequences”

• A person should not be judged through his


actions alone but also through his sincerity
behind his acts.
For example, if someone does not lie to his
parents so they will increase his allowance, then
the reason for his goodness stems not because
he does not want to lie because it will hurt them
but because he knows that there is a reward for
being so.
Realize that “ All Actions Have Consequences”

Another example, the same goes with government


officials who use full media coverage when they
help their constituents so that people would vote for
them.
• Both natural and human laws are concerned with
ends determined by humanity’s nature.
• However, since a human being is in fact, ordained
to an end transcending his nature, it is necessary
that he has a law ordering him to that end, and
this is the divine law or revelation.
Realize that “ All Actions Have Consequences”

• The divine law is divided into old (Mosaic) and


the new (Christian) that are related as the
immature and imperfect to the perfect and
complete.
• We have, however, now passed beyond
philosophy, since this rests on reason and
experience alone; the analysis of the divine
law is the function of theology.
Realize that “ All Actions Have Consequences”

• Eternal law –the decree of God that governs all


creation
- That Law which is the Supreme reason
cannot be understood to be otherwise than
unchangeable and eternal.
• Natural law is the human “participation” in the
eternal law and is discovered by reason.
- based on “first principles”, the principle of
sufficient reason states that nothing exists without
a sufficient reason for its being and existence.
Realize that “ All Actions Have Consequences”

• Aristotle – the purpose of a human being is to be


happy, one has to live a virtuous life.
• Humans have to develop to the full their powers
– rational, moral, social, emotional, and physical
here on earth.
• St. Thomas follows the same line of thinking, but
points to a higher form of happiness possible to
humanity beyond this life, and that is perfect
happiness that everyone seeks but could be
found only in God alone.
Realize that “ All Actions Have Consequences”
• St. Thomas – chose and proposed Love rather
than Law to bring about the transformation of
humanity.
• For love is in consonance with humanity’s free
nature, for Law commands and complete; love
only calls and invites.
• St. Thomas – emphasizes the freedom of
humanity but chooses love in governing
humanity’s life.
• Since God is Love, then Love is the guiding
principle of humanity toward self-perception and
happiness – his ultimate destiny.
Realize that “ All Actions Have Consequences”

• St. Thomas Aquinas: Spiritual Freedom


- establishes the existence of God as a first
cause.
- humans have the unique power to
change themselves and things around them for
the better.
- humans are both material and spiritual;
we have a conscience because of our
spirituality; God is Love and Love is our destiny.
Realize that “ All Actions Have Consequences”

• Jean Paul Sartre: Individual freedom


- Sartre’s philosophy is considered to be a
representative of existentialism.
- the human person is the desire to be God:
the desire to exist as a being which has its sufficient
ground in itself.
- there are no guideposts along the road of
life. The human person builds the road to the
destiny of his/her choosing; he/she is the creator.
Realize that “ All Actions Have Consequences”

• Sartre’s existentialism stems from this principle:


existence precedes essence.
 The person, first, exists, encounters himself and
surges up in the world then defines himself
afterward. The person is nothing else but that
what he makes of himself.
 The person is provided with a supreme
opportunity to give meaning to one’s life. In the
course of giving meaning to one’s life, one fills the
world with meaning.
Realize that “ All Actions Have Consequences”

 Freedom is, therefore, the very core to the door to


authentic existence. Authentic existence is
realized only in deeds that are committed alone,
in absolute freedom and responsibility and
which, therefore, the character of true creation.
 The person is what one has done and is doing.
 On the other hand, the human person who tries
to escape obligations and strives to be en-soi (i.e.
excuses, such as “I was born this way” or “I grew
up in a bad environment”) is acting on bad faith
(mauvais foi).
Realize that “ All Actions Have Consequences”

• Sartre emphasizes the importance of free


individual choice, regardless of other people
to influence and coerce our desires, beliefs
and decisions.
• To be human, to be conscious, is to be free to
imagine, free to choose, and be responsible
for one’s life.
Realize that “ All Actions Have Consequences”

• View Sartre’s video “existence precedes


essence”
• Optional video “The Birth Lottery does not
define you”
CRITIQUE
1. Explain Sartre’s belief: “Human being is free,
human being is freedom.”
2. Can the world with all its power, grandeur, and
glory satisfy to the fullest measure our desire for
perfect and everlasting happiness? Explain your
answer.
3. Explain: For Aristotle, “rationality is not merely
passive but a function to be performed”
4. Reaction paper on “The birth lottery does not
define you.”
Realize that “ All Actions Have Consequences” II

• Thomas Hobbes – Theory of Social Contract


Law of Nature (lex naturalis) – a precept or
general rule established by reason, by which a
person is forbidden to do which is destructive of
his life or takes away the means of preserving
the same; and to omit that which he thinks it
may best be preserved.
Realize that “ All Actions Have Consequences” II

• According to Hobbes
1. First law of Nature – given our desire to get
out of the state of nature and thereby
preserve our lives, we should seek peace.
2. Second Law of Nature – we mutually divest
ourselves of certain rights (such as the right
to take another person’s life) so as to achieve
peace.
Realize that “ All Actions Have Consequences” II

• The mutual transferring of these rights is


called a contract and is the basis of the notion
of moral obligation and duty.
e.g. If one agrees to give up his right to
punch you, you give up your right to punch him.
You have then transferred these rights to each
other and thereby obligated not to hurt each
other.
Realize that “ All Actions Have Consequences” II

• However, one cannot contract to give up his


right to self-defense or self preservation since
it is his sole motive for entering any contract.
• The rational pursuit of self-preservation is
what leads us to form commonwealth or
states; the laws of nature give the conditions
for the establishment of society and
government.
Realize that “ All Actions Have Consequences” II

3. Third law of nature – that human beings


perform their covenant made. Without this law
of nature, covenants are in vain and but empty
words; and the right of all human beings to all
things remaining, we are still in the condition of
war. This law is the fountain of justice.
When there has been no covenant, no
action can be unjust. However, when a covenant
has been made, to break it is unjust.
Realize that “ All Actions Have Consequences” II

• The laws of nature are unable to achieve the


desired end by themselves alone; that is,
unless there is coercive power able to enforce
their observance by sanctions.
• That is to say, they must appoint one man ( or
woman), or assembly of human beings, to
bear their person.
Realize that “ All Actions Have Consequences” II

• Hobbes is referring to an absolute monarchy . The


power of the sovereign being is unlimited but the
subjects are absolved from their duty of
obedience to the sovereign, not only if he has
relinquished his sovereignty but also if he has the
will to retain his power but cannot protect his
subjects any longer.
• If the sovereign no longer possesses effective
power, the subject returns to the state of nature,
and a new sovereign can be set up.
Realize that “ All Actions Have Consequences” II

• Jean-Jacques Rousseau – elaborated the


theory of human nature in his book , “The
Social Contract”.
• The “EDSA Revolution” is an example, though
an imperfect one, of what the theory of
Contract is all about.
• According to Rousseau and Hobbes, the state
owes its origin to a social contract freely
entered into by its members.
Realize that “ All Actions Have Consequences” II

• The two philosophers differed in their


interpretations;
• Hobbes developed his idea in favor of absolute
monarchy, while Rousseau interpreted the
idea in terms of absolute democracy and
individualism.
• They have one thing in common, i.e., human
beings have to form a community to protect
themselves from one another.
Realize that “ All Actions Have Consequences” II

• Because the nature of human beings is to


wage war against one another, and since by
nature, humanity tends toward self-
preservation, then it follows that they have to
come to a free mutual agreement to protect
themselves.
Realize that “ All Actions Have Consequences” II

• Hobbes – to end the continuous and self


destructive condition of warfare, humanity
founded the state with its sovereign power of
control by means of a mutual consent.
• Rousseau – believes that a human being is
born free and good. Now, he is in chains and
has become bad due to the evil influence of
society, civilization, learning and progress.
Realize that “ All Actions Have Consequences” II

• Hence , from these come dissension, conflict,


fraud, and deceit. Therefore, aa human being
lost his original goodness, his primitive
tranquility of spirit.
• In order to restore peace, bring his freedom
back, and as he returned to his true self, he
saw the necessity and came to form the state
through the social contract whereby everyone
grants his individual rights to the general will.
Realize that “ All Actions Have Consequences” II

• The term ‘Social contract’ is not an actual


historical event. It is a philosophical fiction, a
metaphor, and a certain way of looking at a
society of voluntary collection of agreeable
individuals.
• The constitution and the bill of rights constituted,
as an instance of a social contract, however, is not
a metaphor but an actual agreement and actually
‘signed’ by the people or their representatives
(Solomon and Higgins 1996).
Realize that “ All Actions Have Consequences” II

• The “1986 EDSA Revolution” was not a bloody


one. People gathered in EDSA to voice their
disenchantment peacefully and through
mutual effort, successfully ousted Marcos. This
had inspired changes not only in our own
country but also in Eastern Europe’s
Perestroika.
• Hobbes and Rousseau: Political Freedom

Sovereign/Ruler
(State)

Freedom
(General will or
mutual
transferring of
rights)

Citizens
(Individual Rights)

There must be a common power or government which the


plurality of individuals (citizens) should confer all their powers
and strength into (freedom)one will (ruler).
Guided Learning
1. Watch a video presentation of the EDSA Revolution
and/or life of Mahatma Gandhi. Based on the film answer
the following questions:
a. How can reason be translated to action?
b. If there were no intellect, there would be no will.
Explain.
c. What is a social contract and how is it reflected
in the People Power (EDSA Revolution)?
2. Reflective Journals:
Journal 1: In your view, what consists ‘free choice’?
Cite examples in the current situation.
Journal 2: Are you a slave to something (e.g.
technology)? Why or why not?