By Michael Frede
The place does the thought of loose will come from? How and while did it advance, and what did that improvement contain? In Michael Frede's extensively new account of the heritage of this concept, the suggestion 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 improper selection. Anchoring his dialogue in Stoicism, Frede starts with Aristotle--who, he argues, had no suggestion of a loose will--and ends with Augustine. Frede indicates that Augustine, faraway from originating the belief (as is usually claimed), derived so much of his puzzling over it from the Stoicism built via Epictetus.
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Extra info for A Free Will: Origins of the Notion in Ancient Thought (Sather Classical Lectures)
But in the case of the person who believes that death is a terrible evil, the alarming character of the impression, which teleologically is just a signal to be on one’s guard, turns into a deeply disturbing experience, and as a consequence the whole body goes into a disturbed, perturbed, or excited state, which might affect the operation of reason. 13 We have to ﬁrmly remember, though this might not be so clear to the person in a deeply disturbed state, that so far we are dealing with a mere impression or thought.
As soon as we think of a world run by a cosmic tyrant—or by planetary intellects and their daemonic minions who have access to our mind, perhaps can manipulate it, and perhaps can systematically try to prevent us from gaining the knowledge we would need to live a good life—we can see that there is a special point in emphasizing the freedom of the will. No cosmic power has such a force over our minds as to prevent the will from making the choices it needs to make. There is, though, yet a further connection.
It is clearly a nonrational desire. One may be hungry, no matter what one thinks or believes. One may be hungry, even though one believes that it would not be a good thing at all to have something to eat. One might be right in believing this. Hence a nonrational desire may be a reasonable or an unreasonable desire. Similarly, though, it might be quite unreasonable for one to believe that it would be a good thing to have something to eat. Hence a desire of reason too might be a reasonable or an unreasonable desire.
A Free Will: Origins of the Notion in Ancient Thought (Sather Classical Lectures) by Michael Frede