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The question regarding man today is whether man is simply a natural object like any other, the qualities of which can be explained in the same way as those of a maple tree or computer program, and if not, whether he has a particular substantive essence—a necessary character that makes him what he is—or whether he is the being that freely defines what he is with no constraint except acceptance of his own power of choice.

The Catholic view, of course, is that man is different from other objects in nature, and that he has a specific essence that defines the goals for him that constitute his good.