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1. Why is it that human beings, and not animals
are only able to act morally
2. Define a human action.
3. Is freedom limited?
4. What’s the difference between freedom and
5. Does grace diminish freedom?
Freedom and the Catechism
• Generic Definition:
▫ ‘the ability to do what one likes’
• Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 1731)
▫ “Freedom is the power, rooted in reason and will,
to act or not to act, to do this or that, and so to
perform deliberate actions on one’s own
responsibility. By free will, one shapes one’s own
Human Freedom
• When you exercise your freedom, the action that
results makes a change or mark in the world
(positive or negative)
• You are also changed to your core
• In some ways, being free means we are not
complete: we have unrealized possibilities (the
future is not in our knowing)
• These possibilities make us free – we can
embrace the future, by giving our word today
and keeping it
Freedom for Thought...
• Think of any commitments or promises you have
made that impact or influence you future...
It’s Not Easy being Free!
• There is difficulty in living freely
▫ Sometimes living free feels like a burden
Freedom with Responsibilities
▫ Our freedom has the
capacity to turn away
and even alienate us
from God, ourselves
and others. This is
what we call SIN.
Freedom with Responsibilities
• Freedom comes with responsibilities:
▫ Freedom involves the core of human existence
(The story of Adam and Eve)
▫ Freedom can go contrary to its own source and
destroy itself – freedom’s reach is infinite
But is There Freedom?
• How do we explain the human ability to initiate
an action caused be exercising freedom?
▫ The core of an action may lie in the intention of
the agent - This is not observable (promises and
• Some philosophers say freedom does not exist
(no scientific evidence). They think everything
can be explained by a physical or chemical
process...that’s the concept of Naturalism
• How do we explain?
What is Naturalism?
• Naturalism would suggest that everything can be
explained by physical, biological, psychological,
social, and/or environmental processes
• It also understands the material universe as
unified and interconnected
What is Naturalism?
• Everything has a physical cause and a human
agent just tends to be a more complex physical
Humans and Naturalism
• Humans are part of the evolutionary process and
we are simply a part of the material universe (we
are not anything more)
• Everything, including humans are connected by
cause and effect
• Science rules here! Everything must be
explained by experimentation
• If something is true, then it must be proven with
concrete evidence
Naturalism Hierarchy
that is,
from the very
beginnings of
Example: Human Genome Project
• Genetic research, particularly in the Human
Genome Project lay claim that “It’s all in your
• The Human Genome Project (Human Blueprint)
shows that the human itself is not an ‘intended
itself’, but what sounds like a ‘genetically preprogrammed organism’
• Neural mechanics and genetic determinism
challenge the notion of ‘self’
• These schools of thought would say that there is
no human spirit or culture
• Humans and their activity are the result of
natural selection processes
Who is this guy?
Thales – A Father of
Remember this guy?
Naturalism and Freedom
• Freedom is an illusion, because actions are not
free; they are the result of brain processes
• Naturalism denies human freedom – it
maintains that your promises and commitments
do not come from
motives or intentions,
but from a genetic
Naturalism throws away Morality!
• Naturalism denies the possibility of ethics and
• Can you be responsible for your actions if what
you do is a natural physical process over which
you have no control?
Is it really all in here?
Naturalism throws away Justice!
 Think about legal concepts such as free will, guilt,
innocence, mitigating factors – what happens when
naturalism is concerned?
 What about our legal system and holding individuals
accountable for their actions? Would there be any people
guilty of committing crimes?
 Our understanding of the law is that guilt can only be
assigned to a human agent acting freely – but naturalism
argues there is no such thing as freedom.
Naturalism and Artificial Intelligence
• Artificial intelligence (abbr. AI) is the capability
of a device to perform functions that may be
associated with human intelligence (reasoning
and learning), through experience.
• AI is deep-rooted in the idea of naturalism
• The commonality between Naturalism and AI is
that they both focus greatly on the brain and
neural pathways.
Naturalism and Artificial Intelligence
• Personal identity is shaped by what you do.
• But what if you are not the agent?
• What if you are nothing more than a pile of
neural connections?
• What if nothing is truly ‘yours’?
• Derek Parfit says “You would be no more than
the existence of brain and body, and the
occurrence of a series of interrelated
physical and mental events.”