You wrote: If instinctual means an automatic response, then there is no fault. If instinctual means a natural inclination, then there can be fault, but only in the response. The emotion of anger is fine. The response to that emotion is problematic.
Theodoric, while emotions are interesting, they're really not part of what I was talking about. The passion (one of the seven classical passions) anger can bring about angry emotions, but I would not class the emotions caused by the passion to be anger itself.
The way that I am using the word instinctual is "that which pertains or relates to instinct." It is an adjectival term used to modify the unjust and irrational response, which is the subject of the third definition I gave. The temptation to unjust and irrational response when riding the passion anger is heightened by concupiscence and a person's natural inclinations toward rash action (if he have such). When an individual is motivated by his natural inclination to act rashly, to give into such an action is "second-nature," exactly as with instinct.
The response, being the subject of discussion, would in fact be disordered if one were to act unjustly based solely upon natural inclination once the passion of anger is excited.
You wrote: I don't know if it's an equivocation. Seems like three closely related elements of the same emotion. The definitions seem like straw men. If you define anger as an "irrational and unjust" response, then yes, it will fail. But I'd think that anger is neither good or bad, but what we do with it. Even if a natural impulse or inclination is "irrational and unjust", it doesn't mean we need to act on that impulse without reassessing. The emotion of anger draws our attention to something we perceieve as inappropriate, perhaps even inclines us to react a certain way. We fume inside, but that extreme emotion still just demands an awaeness of the cause and source.
Two of the definitions are types of response, one is a passion. I fail to see how emotion has been confused into the mix.
Anger can certainly be defined to be a neutral occurrence. That is how semantics works. You merely need to provide the semantical definition which you wish to discuss and then stick with it. :) I personally find it more in conformity with the use of the word in English to treat the word as an equivocation with several different meanings.
I think that ultimately you and I are saying the same thing, I merely get the sense that my definitions are not communicating to you the sense they give to me.
You wrote: If our free will overcomes our passion that the response to that emotion will always be acceptable. Perhaps anger as in "he reacted with anger" is an eqivocation, but the operative word there is reacted. The reaction was bad, but the emotion was just an internal awareness.
It's like evil thoughts - they only become sinful when we do something with them: dwell on them, entertain them or act on them. The thoughts, although evil in content, are umpulse and therefore not freely chosen. Without that free will there can be no sin or fault.
I don't buy into the notion that reacting in anger is by necessity to be judged evil. Again, I believe that anger is only disordered if one allows it to prevent rational thought or to oppose/contradict the object/s of the supernatural virtues.