By Michael Frede
The place does the suggestion of unfastened will come from? How and while did it enhance, and what did that improvement contain? In Michael Frede's noticeably new account of the heritage of this concept, the idea of a loose will emerged from strong assumptions concerning the relation among divine windfall, correctness of person selection, and self-enslavement as a result of wrong selection. Anchoring his dialogue in Stoicism, Frede starts off with Aristotle--who, he argues, had no thought 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 constructed via Epictetus.
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Additional info for A Free Will: Origins of the Notion in Ancient Thought (Sather Classical Lectures)
It is also assumed that, just as one may act on a rational desire, one may act on a nonrational desire. What is more, one may do so, even if this nonrational desire is in conﬂict with a rational desire. Now, the assumption that, if there is a conﬂict, one may follow either reason or appetite amounts, of course, to a denial of Socrates’ claim that nobody ever acts against his better knowledge or, indeed, against his mere beliefs. 3 Plato’s and Aristotle’s doctrine of a tripartite soul and different forms of motivation, with their possible conﬂict and the resolution of such conﬂict, constitutes an attempt to correct Socrates’ position, in order to do justice to the presumed fact that people sometimes, in cases of conﬂict, do act, against their better knowledge, on their nonrational desire.
There is, though, yet a further connection. By the time we come to late antiquity, most people think that in one important sense our freedom is reduced to the freedom of the mind and in particular the will. For, even if we choose to act in a certain way, we have no control over whether we shall succeed in doing out there in the world what we decided to do in our mind. We 18 / Introduction may decide to cross the street but be run over as we try to do so. We may decide to raise our arm, but the arm does not rise.
They very much reﬂect the beliefs, habits, and attitudes of the particular mind in which and by which they are formed. What is true of impressions in general is also true of impulsive impressions. They are thoughts which reﬂect your ways and habits of thinking about things. Let us now, though, focus on their impulsive character. Suppose you cut yourself badly with a rusty knife. Given your beliefs, the thought might occur to you that you got infected. And the further thought might occur The Emergence of a Notion of Will in Stoicism / 39 to you that you might die from this infection.
A Free Will: Origins of the Notion in Ancient Thought (Sather Classical Lectures) by Michael Frede