This is Benjamin Franklin's first political pamphlet. It argues that humans are not morally responsible for their choices if God is all powerful because if He is all powerful and controlling, He is responsible for the acts of humans when they do evil things. Franklin wrote this at a time when he was a young man in London and possibly engaging in things that he knew were wrong, so this pamphlet may have been written to justify his own behavior at the time. Later as an adult, Ben Franklin repudiated what he wrote here and burned whatever copies he had left.
Dissertation On Liberty And Necessity Benjamin Franklin
A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity,
I need not give you any Caution to distinguish the hypothetical Parts of the Argument from the conclusive: You will easily perceive what I design for Demonstration, and what for Probability only. The whole I leave entirely to you, and shall value my self more or less on this account, in proportion to your Esteem and Approbation. Unde Malum? The former is inconsistent with his before-given Attribute of Goodness, therefore the latter must be true. If a Creature is made by God, it must depend upon God, and receive all its Power from Him; with which Power the Creature can do nothing contrary to the Will of God, because God is Almighty; what is not contrary to His Will, must be agreeable to it; what is agreeable to it, must be good, because He is Good; therefore a Creature can do nothing but what is good. This Proposition is much to the same Purpose with the former, but more particular; and its Conclusion is as just and evident. But, as this Gentleman himself says, Sect.
A Dissertation On Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain
I have here, according to your Request, given you my present Thoughts of the general State of Things in the Universe. I need not give you any Caution to distinguish the hypothetical Parts of the Argument from the conclusive: You will easily perceive what I design for Demonstration, and what for Probability only. The whole I leave entirely to you, and shall value my self more or less on this account, in proportion to your Esteem and Approbation. If He is all-powerful, there can be nothing either existing or acting in the Universe against or without his Consent; and what He consents to must be good, because He is good; therefore Evil doth not exist. Unde Malum?
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