By Michael Frede
The place does the concept of loose will come from? How and whilst did it enhance, and what did that improvement contain? In Michael Frede's greatly new account of the heritage of this concept, the suggestion of a loose will emerged from strong assumptions in regards to the relation among divine windfall, correctness of person selection, and self-enslavement because of improper selection. Anchoring his dialogue in Stoicism, Frede starts off with Aristotle--who, he argues, had no suggestion of a unfastened will--and ends with Augustine. Frede exhibits that Augustine, faraway from originating the assumption (as is usually claimed), derived so much of his wondering it from the Stoicism constructed through Epictetus.
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Additional resources for A Free Will: Origins of the Notion in Ancient Thought (Sather Classical Lectures)
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. Therefore the distinction between reasonable and unreasonable desires is not the same as the distinction between desires of reason, or rational desires, and desires of the nonrational part of the 22 / Aristotle on Choice without a Will soul, or nonrational desires.
The way we behave is completely determined by our beliefs. If we act utterly irrationally, this is not because we are driven by nonrational desires but because we have utterly unreasonable beliefs. To understand fully why the Stoics reject the partition of the soul, we have to take into account that the opposing view, that the soul has a nonrational part, naturally brings with it two further views: (1) that since it is by nature that the soul is divided, it is also by nature that we have these nonrational desires, and hence it is perfectly natural and acceptable to have such desires, and (2) that these desires, at least if properly conditioned and channeled, aim at the attainment of certain genuine goods, like the food and the drink we need, or at the avoidance of certain The Emergence of a Notion of Will in Stoicism / 33 genuine evils, like death, mutilation, or illness.
Therefore we might think that the assent to our impulsive The Emergence of a Notion of Will in Stoicism / 45 impressions constitutes a choice to act in a certain way and that the prohairesis which stands at the center of Epictetus’s thought is the disposition of the mind to make the choices which it makes to act in the way we do. But the matter is more complicated. This is already signaled by the very term prohairesis. It should strike us as curious that Epictetus makes such prominent use of a term which is strongly associated with Aristotle and Peripateticism and which had played almost no role in Stoic thought up to this point.
A Free Will: Origins of the Notion in Ancient Thought (Sather Classical Lectures) by Michael Frede