By Michael Frede

ISBN-10: 0520268482

ISBN-13: 9780520268487

The place does the inspiration of unfastened will come from? How and whilst did it advance, and what did that improvement contain? In Michael Frede's appreciably new account of the historical past of this concept, the concept of a unfastened will emerged from strong assumptions concerning the relation among divine windfall, correctness of person selection, and self-enslavement as a result of mistaken selection. Anchoring his dialogue in Stoicism, Frede starts with Aristotle--who, he argues, had no inspiration of a unfastened will--and ends with Augustine. Frede indicates that Augustine, faraway from originating the assumption (as is frequently claimed), derived such a lot of his considering it from the Stoicism built by means of Epictetus.

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Extra resources for A Free Will: Origins of the Notion in Ancient Thought (Sather Classical Lectures)

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So Aristotle’s virtuous person could act otherwise only in an attenuated sense, namely, in the sense that the person could act otherwise, if he had not turned himself into a virtuous 30 / Aristotle on Choice without a Will person by making the appropriate choices at a time when he could have chosen otherwise in a less attenuated sense. Unfortunately, this more robust, less attenuated, sense is not a sense Aristotle is particularly concerned with. And the reason for this is that Aristotle thinks rather optimistically that the ability to make the right choices comes with human nature and a good upbringing.

5 What in Aristotle’s view explains that one is acting against one’s own beliefs is not a choice which causes the action. It is, rather, a long story about how in the past one has failed to 24 / Aristotle on Choice without a Will submit oneself to the training, practice, exercise, discipline, and reflection which would ensure that one’s nonrational desires are reasonable, that one acts for reasons, rather than on impulse, and hence that, if there is a conflict, one follows reason. It is this past failure, rather than a specific mental event, a choice or decision, which in Aristotle accounts for akratic action.

According to that, the world puts constraints on what we can do, which are such that we cannot but do whatever it is that we are doing, and hence might systematically prevent us from doing what we would need to do to live a good life. 10 According to the Stoics, everything which happens has antecedent physical causes which form a chain reaching back as far as we care to trace it. But even this form of universal physical determinism differs radically from its modern counterpart in three crucial respects.

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A Free Will: Origins of the Notion in Ancient Thought (Sather Classical Lectures) by Michael Frede


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