Download PDF by Michæl Frede, A. A. Long, David Sedley: A free will : origins of the notion in ancient thought

By Michæl Frede, A. A. Long, David Sedley

ISBN-10: 0520268482

ISBN-13: 9780520268487

ISBN-10: 0520948378

ISBN-13: 9780520948372

ISBN-10: 1283277603

ISBN-13: 9781283277600

Where does the suggestion of unfastened will come from? How and whilst did it improve, and what did that improvement contain? In Michael Frede's greatly new account of the background of this concept, the inspiration of a unfastened will emerged from robust assumptions concerning the relation among divine windfall, correctness of person selection, and self-enslavement because of mistaken selection. Anchoring his dialogue in Stoicism, Frede starts off with Aristotle--who, he argues, had no suggestion of a loose will--and ends with Augustine. Frede exhibits that Augustine, faraway from originating the belief (as is frequently claimed), derived such a lot of his wondering it from the Stoicism built by way of Epictetus.

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4 Now, in looking at this discussion in the Nicomachean Ethics, it is important to notice that it is not focused, as modern readers apparently can hardly help thinking, on cases of acute mental conflict, that is to say, on cases in which we sit there anguished, tormented, torn apart by two conflicting desires which pull us in opposite directions, while we try to make up our mind which direction to take. We tend to read Aristotle in this way, because we have a certain conception of the mind which we project onto Aristotle.

First, the Stoics can only develop a notion of a will, because they have a certain notion of the mind. But they have developed this notion of the mind in opposition to Plato's and Aristotle's notion of the mind, or rather of the soul. Second, we should reassure ourselves that we have understood not only that Aristotle does not have a notion of a free will but also why he does not have a notion of a free will. Third, there will come a time in late antiquity when Aristotle is studied again with great care by philosophers and when at least some of his writings are recommended, if not required, reading for any highly educated person.

And, largely due to the influence of mainstream Christianity, it came to be a notion which, in one version or another, gained almost universal acceptance. People quite generally, whether followers of Stoicism, Platonism, or mainstream Christianity, felt committed to a belief in a free will. Even if they themselves were not able to give a theoretical account of what a free will is, they relied on such an account's being available. This had the effect that the mere assumption that sometimes we are responsible for what we are doing, since we do it not because we are forced to but because we ourselves want to, came to be regarded as tantamount to a belief in a free will.

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A free will : origins of the notion in ancient thought by Michæl Frede, A. A. Long, David Sedley


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