According to Augustine, Human beings are endowed with a power that he calls the will. He emphasizes the will to being the center of freedom. Unlike other philosophers, who are determinists, Augustine, who has a libertarian view, sees our will as free choice. So for whatever we may choose to do, we become solely responsible for our actions which are caused by external factors instead of internal ones.
From a determinism perspective, there is a order called the casual chain, where at the time that a choice is made, the state of mind and or characteristic of a person may have is the cause of a previous condition and eventually links back before the person s life. Augustine does not believe that our choices are determined by internal factors because the responsibility of those choices are beyond our control and alleviates us from such a thing. Therefore freedom no longer exists because the choice was made from within.
This is compatibilism; determinism is compatible with human freedom and moral responsibility, and Augustine rejects this. Augustine sees human beings having metaphysical freedom: the freedom to make decisions and control what to choose with any determination that is outside one s control. He points out that with out our metaphysical freedom we would be end up living in a boring and planned world. Our metaphysical freedom exercises the choices that causes evil and causes of genuine good. Which will go back to where he says that we are solely responsible for our actions, whether it is the act of evil or the act of goodwill.
Another way Augustine sees freedom is freedom in the sense of moral autonomy. His theory on this is the freedom that one desires while being enslaved or the freedom one experiences because one does not have a master. Augustine took little attention to this sense of freedom and puts this level of freedom at the bottom of the freedom chain. Other philosophers take freedom in the sense of autonomy as a moral concept which means that when a person becomes an adult, in a moral sense, they become their own boss.
Creating your own rules that would govern your actions instead of someone else enforcing their rules upon you. Augustine does argue this by stating that you can t rule over something or someone that is equal to yourself because to truly rule means to have the ultimate superiority over you which is no other but the truth, who is God. The laws we should follow are the eternal laws that were set forth by our God. We as adults know what the eternal laws are from the upbringing from childhood and the desires and beliefs we ve become accustomed to.
The laws and the morals that we believe are the results of other people s opinions. As teachers or higher officials in government, we take what they say as the solid truth and the way things have to be, our confidence within them will never dwindle just for that fact. Our surroundings and society will determine what is morally correct and vice-versa. We are never free from laws or rules because they make up our lives. In the autonomy sense of freedom, isn t really being free but free within authoritative or eternal law.