Catholic FAQ


Latest Threads
newest posts



Go Back   Catholic Answers Forums > Forums > Apologetics > Philosophy
 

Welcome to Catholic Answers Forums, the largest Catholic Community on the Web.

Here you can join over 400,000 members from around the world discussing all things Catholic. Membership is open to all, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, who seek the Truth with Charity.

To gain full access, you must register for a FREE account. Registered members are able to:
  • Submit questions about the faith to experts from Catholic Answers
  • Participate in all forum discussions
  • Communicate privately with Catholics from around the world
  • Plus join a prayer group, read with the Book Club, and much more.
Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free. So join our community today!

Have a question about registration or your account log-in? Just contact our Support Hotline.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search Thread Display
  #1  
Old Sep 4, '12, 4:57 pm
Ben Sinner Ben Sinner is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: April 7, 2010
Posts: 533
Religion: Catholic
Default Can a person ever lose their free will?..

..like if they get possessed or something. Or is it that humans always have free will...just can be "shared" sometimes?
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old Sep 4, '12, 5:38 pm
roveau's Avatar
roveau roveau is offline
Regular Member
Prayer Warrior
Book Club Member
 
Join Date: June 17, 2009
Posts: 1,754
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Can a person ever lose their free will?..

Perhaps also if they become insane or get dementia where they can no longer determine their own fate or be responsible for their decisions or actions.
__________________
May the Lord Jesus Christ bless you,
Rove, OFS
Our Lady of the Rosary Pray for usSt Francis of Assisi Pray for us
---God may be calling you to the Third Order of St Francis - Ordo Franciscanus Saecularis---
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old Sep 4, '12, 6:23 pm
George Stegmeir George Stegmeir is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: November 21, 2009
Posts: 2,666
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Can a person ever lose their free will?..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Sinner View Post
..like if they get possessed or something. Or is it that humans always have free will...just can be "shared" sometimes?
When one is addicted to a drug, such as heroin, the craving for the drug trumps all other human needs, and these cravings overide free will.
When one has such an addiction, one is truely in the arms of Satan!
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old Sep 4, '12, 6:36 pm
ChibiViolet's Avatar
ChibiViolet ChibiViolet is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: July 20, 2011
Posts: 2,830
Religion: Roman Catholic
Default Re: Can a person ever lose their free will?..

In the case of possession, them demon/demons would have temporary control the the person, meaning they would only be able to control the person at certain times.
__________________
"If I'm not in a state of Grace, I pray the Lord to put me there, and if I am in a state of Grace, I pray the Lord to keep me there."--St. Joan of Arc

"The Eucharist is the supreme proof of the Love of Jesus. After this, there is nothing more but Heaven."--St. Peter Julian Eymard
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old Sep 4, '12, 6:47 pm
empther's Avatar
empther empther is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: July 8, 2004
Posts: 2,349
Religion: Catholic loyal to the Pope, don't even try to change me!
Default Re: Can a person ever lose their free will?..

Forget about drugs, insanity and things like that.

Can a person lose their free will? Yes. The New Testament warns about becoming slaves of our sin.

There are some prisoners who are so violent they must be kept in single cells all the time. They would kill any roommate.
They may look insane because they act so differently from "normal" people. But I've seen interviews of them on the cable shows. They often speak clearly and sensibly. They can even be pleasant to interview, from the reporter's perspective. Yet, when they can get their hands on somebody they will try to kill them.

I think some of them have so committed themselves to evil that there is no turnings back. They must do evil according to the lifestyle they've chosen.
I like to see one example of one of these people having a change of heart and becoming a good person. Has it ever happened? I don't know, but I haven't seen it yet. Seems like such a person would be on all the talk shows. Books would be written about him.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old Sep 5, '12, 11:34 am
Aelred Minor's Avatar
Aelred Minor Aelred Minor is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: June 2, 2011
Posts: 4,264
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Can a person ever lose their free will?..

I'm surprised by all the "yes" answers that have been given by Catholics.

The correct answer is "no." A person never loses his or her free will.

To explain why, I think it's best to clarify what free will is.

It is a typical mistake of modern philosophy to begin with the subject when one should really begin with the object, and this leads to wrong conclusions. Let's avoid that mistake and begin with the object of choice: some good which the will may choose or not choose.

Now there are two kinds of goods, which we might call universal and partial or infinite and finite. God is the only universal good, the good concerning which there is nothing which is not good. Every other good is finite and therefore partial. Even if it contains no moral or physical evil, at the very least its goodness is limited, and that limitation constitutes an element of not-good ("evil" in a certain philosophical definition of the word, but not necessarily the sort of moral or physical evil which we usually associate with it, so I prefer to call it simply "not-good.")

Now, when the will of a creature is confronted with a (the) universal good, it finds nothing not-good about it and so infallibly chooses that universal good. This occurs only in the Beatific Vision, when God in His Essence is intellectually revealed to the creature. In every other case the good which the intellect presents to the will is finite, and is therefore a compound of good and not-good. This is true even of creaturely ideas concerning God, since those ideas, prior to the Beatific Vision, contain a great deal of obvious incompleteness and mystery, and these constitute not-goods. Unlike universal good which infallibly attracts the consent of the will when revealed to the intellect, finite goods are met with an initial indifference by the will. That is, finite goods do not infallibly attract a free creature's will the way universal good does, because in every finite good which might be chosen is also contains some not-good.

This indifference with which we meet finite goods is the reason the will can be described as free. Since the will is not irresistibly pulled towards a finite good, the choice of that good is a contingent rather than a necessary act. This being true of any finite good, it is even possible for the will to choose a lesser finite good in preference to a greater one, and this accounts for the possibility of sin.

Of course, none of this is to say that we won't often be pulled by our passions towards one good or away from another, or led by grace to a particular good, but neither our passions nor grace take away the contingent nature of our choice of finite goods, and so neither ever take away free will.

There may be times in which a human being physically acts in a way without consciously choosing that action. Perhaps the most extreme instances of addiction and insanity include this, for all I know. It would certainly be the case when a demon chooses a human being's words and actions rather than him- or herself.

Also there are times in which the intellect is mistaken in its appreciation of goodness, and this is probably the more common scenario in which an insane (perhaps schizophrenic) person may inculpably commit some great evil, having intellectually misidentified good and not-good in a way a mentally healthy person would not have. But in neither case is the freedom of the will taken away.

In the case of the Beatific Vision (which is frequently cited, though not in this thread I think, as a case of loss of free will), because of our primary focus on the object of the choice rather than on the subject who chooses we can now see how the irresistible nature of the choice in favor of God in this case does not destroy free will. God, intellectually seen as He really is, is a universal good and so not subject to the initial indifference of the will which is the basis of free will in creatures. It is true that, as a consequence of the Beatific Vision, it is also impossible that the creature would choose a finite good the choice of which would necessitate the rejection of the universal good, but this is due to the nature of the universal good rather than to a change in how the human or angelic will responds to finite goods. It still remains true that finite goods are met with initial indifference by the will, and so it remains true that the wills of angels or humans are free even after the Beatific Vision.
__________________
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness." I will rather boast most gladly of my weakness, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Last edited by Aelred Minor; Sep 5, '12 at 11:51 am.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old Sep 5, '12, 12:31 pm
tonyrey tonyrey is offline
Forum Elder
 
Join Date: March 30, 2009
Posts: 17,167
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Can a person ever lose their free will?..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aelred Minor View Post
I'm surprised by all the "yes" answers that have been given by Catholics.

The correct answer is "no." A person never loses his or her free will.

To explain why, I think it's best to clarify what free will is.

It is a typical mistake of modern philosophy to begin with the subject when one should really begin with the object, and this leads to wrong conclusions. Let's avoid that mistake and begin with the object of choice: some good which the will may choose or not choose.

Now there are two kinds of goods, which we might call universal and partial or infinite and finite. God is the only universal good, the good concerning which there is nothing which is not good. Every other good is finite and therefore partial. Even if it contains no moral or physical evil, at the very least its goodness is limited, and that limitation constitutes an element of not-good ("evil" in a certain philosophical definition of the word, but not necessarily the sort of moral or physical evil which we usually associate with it, so I prefer to call it simply "not-good.")

Now, when the will of a creature is confronted with a (the) universal good, it finds nothing not-good about it and so infallibly chooses that universal good. This occurs only in the Beatific Vision, when God in His Essence is intellectually revealed to the creature. In every other case the good which the intellect presents to the will is finite, and is therefore a compound of good and not-good. This is true even of creaturely ideas concerning God, since those ideas, prior to the Beatific Vision, contain a great deal of obvious incompleteness and mystery, and these constitute not-goods. Unlike universal good which infallibly attracts the consent of the will when revealed to the intellect, finite goods are met with an initial indifference by the will. That is, finite goods do not infallibly attract a free creature's will the way universal good does, because in every finite good which might be chosen is also contains some not-good.

This indifference with which we meet finite goods is the reason the will can be described as free. Since the will is not irresistibly pulled towards a finite good, the choice of that good is a contingent rather than a necessary act. This being true of any finite good, it is even possible for the will to choose a lesser finite good in preference to a greater one, and this accounts for the possibility of sin.

Of course, none of this is to say that we won't often be pulled by our passions towards one good or away from another, or led by grace to a particular good, but neither our passions nor grace take away the contingent nature of our choice of finite goods, and so neither ever take away free will.

There may be times in which a human being physically acts in a way without consciously choosing that action. Perhaps the most extreme instances of addiction and insanity include this, for all I know. It would certainly be the case when a demon chooses a human being's words and actions rather than him- or herself.

Also there are times in which the intellect is mistaken in its appreciation of goodness, and this is probably the more common scenario in which an insane (perhaps schizophrenic) person may inculpably commit some great evil, having intellectually misidentified good and not-good in a way a mentally healthy person would not have. But in neither case is the freedom of the will taken away.

In the case of the Beatific Vision (which is frequently cited, though not in this thread I think, as a case of loss of free will), because of our primary focus on the object of the choice rather than on the subject who chooses we can now see how the irresistible nature of the choice in favor of God in this case does not destroy free will. God, intellectually seen as He really is, is a universal good and so not subject to the initial indifference of the will which is the basis of free will in creatures. It is true that, as a consequence of the Beatific Vision, it is also impossible that the creature would choose a finite good the choice of which would necessitate the rejection of the universal good, but this is due to the nature of the universal good rather than to a change in how the human or angelic will responds to finite goods. It still remains true that finite goods are met with initial indifference by the will, and so it remains true that the wills of angels or humans are free even after the Beatific Vision.
If we no longer had free will after we die we would be incapable of spiritual love - which is a sine qua non of life in heaven. Support for this view comes from an unlikely quarter. Sartre pointed out that "we are necessarily free" - although, being an atheist, he never explained how we are free.

Freedom is our distinguishing characteristic as a person. Without it we would lose our identity. The Christian belief that God created us in His image implies that we never cease to be persons with free will - even in hell.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old Sep 5, '12, 2:17 pm
wanstronian wanstronian is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: June 30, 2009
Posts: 1,862
Religion: None
Default Re: Can a person ever lose their free will?..

"Free will" as most people understand it is almost certainly an illusion anyway, so there may in fact be nothing to lose.
__________________
I prefer a provisional truth based on the best available evidence, to an absolute truth dogmatically expounded in contravention of the best available evidence.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old Sep 6, '12, 10:16 pm
Rhubarb Rhubarb is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: December 21, 2004
Posts: 339
Religion: Agnotstic
Default Re: Can a person ever lose their free will?..

Depends on your definitions. Many of my actions are decided by outside forces and therefore in those instances I've no free will. I'm at work right now at a job I hate and not confortable at home because I rather like being able to pay rent and my grocery bill.

I'm not "mind controlled" or compelled to be at stupid work. But there are definately forces I cannot control that make me be here.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Go Back   Catholic Answers Forums > Forums > Apologetics > Philosophy

Bookmarks

Thread Tools Search Thread
Search Thread:

Advanced Search
Display

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



Prayer Intentions

Most Active Groups
8351Meet and talk,talk talk
Last by: svid2
5091CAF Prayer Warriors Support Group
Last by: eschator83
4411Devotion to the Sorrowful Mother
Last by: daughterstm
4037OCD/Scrupulosity Group
Last by: eschator83
3859SOLITUDE
Last by: Prairie Rose
3680Let's empty Purgatory
Last by: daughterstm
3268Poems and Reflections
Last by: tonyg
3248Petitions Before the Blessed Sacrament
Last by: grateful_child
3218Catholic Vegetarians & Vegans
Last by: memphian
3085For seniors and shut- ins
Last by: flower lady



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 5:26 pm.

Home RSS Feeds - Home - Archive - Top

Copyright © 2004-2014, Catholic Answers.