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The exercise of our power of choice is the foundation of all possible ethics. The latter is the corner-stone of politics. Kant defined modernism as our liberation from the chains of our own choice.

Man always tries to establish a law.
Man always tries to transgress a law.

Choice is based on free will. Augustine (354 - 430) distinguished between "will" ("voluntas" - French "volonté") and "free will" ("liberum arbitrium" - French "libre arbitre").

When using liberum arbitrium, the bishop of Hippo had the conscious capacity of choosing between good and evil in mind, while he conceived the will as the core of the moral personality. To be moral, a choice must be made without coercion (wholly free). This can only be the case if the power to do so is undetermined. This means free will slips through the necessities imposed by Nature.

"Philosophy must therefore assume that no true contradiction will be found between freedom and natural necessity in the same human actions, for it cannot give up the idea of nature any more than that of freedom." - Kant, I. : Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, 3:56.

Consciousness, or the set of meaningful sensate, cognitive, affective and voluntaristic acts ("cogitationes"), constitutes -always in a given context or "Lebenswelt"- experience as a "prise de conscience" of an ordered material and informational whole. This is the First Person perspective, a reality-for-me, a conscience wholly intimate but seat of my freedom.

Freedom is always limited by the freedom of other (free) agents. And this frontier is the architecture of responsibilities erected with the masterplan of a fair ethics. Freedom and responsibility walk hand in hand.

Social, political and juridical systems constitute outer compromizes accepted by majority-rule. Psychology, neurology, philosophy, spirituality, etc. offer inner bridges.


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initiated : 11 XI 2004 - last update : 20 XI 2017
© Wim van den Dungen