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Emotion and Peace of MindFrom Stoic Agitation to Christian Temptation$
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Richard Sorabji

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199256600

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199256600.001.0001

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The Concept Of Will

The Concept Of Will

(p.319) 21 The Concept Of Will
Emotion and Peace of Mind

Richard Sorabji (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The term ‘free will’ appears first in Lucretius' Latin, but will plays little role in accounts of freedom until Augustine, and that innovation was not clarifying. The concept of will was composed by Augustine out of elements that had flourished better in pagan philosophy when separate. ‘Will’ translates Greek boulêsis or thelêsis. Freedom and responsibility are treated together in Plato's Republic, but will power is treated separately, and none are discussed under the name boulêsis by him or until Posidonius. In Aristotle, boulêsis is a rational desire for end not means, and for good not pleasure or honour, but it is not closely connected with freedom, responsibility or will power. A connexion between will (voluntas) and responsibility (voluntarius) emerges in Seneca's Latin, but his will is not distinct from reason. Alexander (Aristotelian) follows Epictetus (Stoic), who first tied responsibility closely to Aristotle's prohairesis, rational desire for means.

Keywords:   free, responsibility, will power, Plato, Aristotle, Lucretius, Alexander, Augustine, Seneca and Epictetus

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