By Michael Frede

The place does the inspiration of unfastened will come from? How and whilst did it strengthen, 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 in regards to the relation among divine windfall, correctness of person selection, and self-enslavement because of flawed selection. Anchoring his dialogue in Stoicism, Frede starts off with Aristotle--who, he argues, had no concept of a loose will--and ends with Augustine. Frede indicates that Augustine, faraway from originating the assumption (as is usually claimed), derived so much of his wondering it from the Stoicism built by way of Epictetus.

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We tend to read Aristotle in this way, because we have a certain conception of the mind which we project onto Aristotle. But the cases on which Aristotle is focusing are rather different. Take the case of impetuous akrasia. Somebody insults you, Aristotle on Choice without a Will / 23 and you get so upset and angry that you let your anger preempt any thought you would have, if you took time to think about an appropriate response. You just act on your anger. Once you have calmed down, you might realize that you do not think that this is an appropriate way to respond to the situation.

After all, we have not yet found out, or made up our mind, as to whether we actually got infected. And we have not yet considered whether we should believe that one may die from this infection. So far we have just the mere thought. Now, one cannot be afraid that one might die from this infection unless one believes that one got infected and that one could die from this infection. We clearly have to distinguish between concern and fear, on the one hand, and the alarming or disturbing character of the impression, on the other hand.

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. At this point this is a mere impression or thought which you find yourself with. It is a disagreeable, perhaps even disconcerting, thought; that is to say, the mere thought in itself is disconcerting.

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