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A Free Will – Origins of the Notion in Ancient Thought - California Scholarship Online
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A Free Will: Origins of the Notion in Ancient Thought

Michael Frede and Halszka Osmolska


Where does the notion of free will come from? How and when did it develop, and what did that development involve? In this book's account of the history of this idea, the notion of a free will emerged from powerful assumptions about the relation between divine providence, correctness of individual choice, and self-enslavement due to incorrect choice. Anchoring the discussion in Stoicism, the book begins with Aristotle—who, it argues, had no notion of a free will—and ends with Augustine. The book shows that Augustine, far from originating the idea (as is often claimed), derived most of his think ... More

Keywords: free will, divine providence, Epictetus, individual choice, self-enslavement, incorrect choice, Stoicism, Aristotle, Augustine

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2011 Print ISBN-13: 9780520268487
Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012 DOI:10.1525/california/9780520268487.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Michael Frede, author

Halszka Osmolska, editor