Thoughts On Freedom
"Man has free choice, or
otherwise counsels, exhortations, prohibitions rewards and punishments would be in
vain." This is called an enthymeme (a deductive argument) part of which is implied
rather than stated.
Even though a man has free choice,
some things are not a choice for man. Such as, "a natural desire" for
happiness, and even though that is not a choice, how man goes around to achieve this
happiness is his free choice.
"Without doubt it must be said
that man has free choice. Faith demands that we hold this position, since without free
choice one could not merit or demerit, or be justly rewarded or punished."
Aquinas distinguishes between
the free choice of man for us, and the natural instincts of the "brute animal." He says
that the "brute animal" does not have any free choice, but in place of free choice the animal has
an instinct to do something. For example, when a deer sees a wolf, the deer instinctively
runs away from the wolf, not by free choice, but of the natural instinct of fear for the wolf.