Thomas Aquinas on Our Freedom to Use Our Habitus

  • Can Laurens LöweEmail author
Part of the Historical-Analytical Studies on Nature, Mind and Action book series (HSNA, volume 7)


This paper considers Thomas Aquinas’s claim that we can use certain habitus at will. Focusing on moral habitus, this claim is interpreted as a claim about the freedom human beings have with regard to their character traits: they can freely choose to act or not act according to their character traits. After giving a brief account of how, for Aquinas, character traits influence our actions via our emotions, the paper examines whether this freedom is of a libertarian or of a compatibilist kind. A libertarian reading is defended on the basis of certain remarks of Aquinas’s about the act of contrition.


Thomas Aquinas Human freedom Habitus Character traits Contrition 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy, College of Liberal ArtsPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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