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dc.contributor.authorChappell, Timothy David Johnen
dc.date.accessioned2018-05-14T10:11:24Z
dc.date.available2018-05-14T10:11:24Z
dc.date.issued1992
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1842/29651
dc.description.abstracten
dc.description.abstractAristotle's remarks on free will suggest, not so much an argument for the existence of free will, as an account of its nature. This account depends on his making no hard distinction between what we call 'free action' and 'voluntary action'. For him, these would be interchangeable terms. The Aristotelian can, then, point out that, if we give up our belief in free will, we must give up many other natural beliefs too. In particular, we must stop believing in voluntary action.en
dc.description.abstractThere are, in Aristotelian terms, three conditions (not two, as Aristotle himself evidently supposed), which any behaviour must satisfy to count as free/ voluntary action. The behaviour (i) must not be compelled, but must be performed by the agent's own power and desire; (ii) must not be done in ignorance, but must be action on relevant knowledge; and (iii) must not be irrational, but must result from the combination of the agent's own power and desire with the agent's relevant knowledge. (i) leads me to discuss Aristotle's account of what he calls kineseis; (ii) leads me into epistemology; (iii) into an account of Aristotle's theory of proairesis and practical reasoning as the cause of voluntary action.en
dc.description.abstractby akrasia, deliberate choice of what I sincerely believe I should not choose. This seems to be voluntary action which is not caused as Aristotle says voluntary action should be. But the three conditions of voluntary action which I say Aristotle should be committed to can be used to show that the existing forms of akrasia make no counter example to Aristotle's theory, but rather an interesting adjunct to it.en
dc.description.abstractMy study of Augustine's theory of freedom begins with a survey of a crucial text, the de Libero Arbitrio (Ch.5). I then apply an analogous schema to that found in Aristotle. Augustine too depends on the idea that to analyse free action is to analyse voluntary action; he also equates these two types with responsible action. He too believes (i) that ignorance usually makes for involuntariness, and (ii) that there can be no voluntary action which is compelled or which the agent could not have done otherwise. In his later works, these doctrines are often obscured by his interest in original sin and predestination (neither of which topics, be it noted, are focuses of this thesis). But they remain his doctrines. Does Augustine have (iii) any doctrine that voluntary action must be rational? While he does not develop any theory of practical reasoning like Aristotle's, he does develop a theory of practical wisdom. It is an essential feature of all human desire, and hence of all voluntary action, that it aims at happiness, which properly understood is identical with possession of The Good, i.e. of God. From this Augustine draws the conclusion that, to explain any behaviour as a voluntary action or choice, it is necessary and sufficient to specify some good at which it is to be understood as aiming.en
dc.description.abstractThis sets up for Augustine a problem analogous to Aristotle's problem about akrasia. How is a voluntary choice of evil explicable? Augustine's reply is that human desires have been disordered by the Fall, and so we often choose, not evils per se, but lesser goods than we ought. But this prompts the question: How is a first voluntary choice of evil explicable? Augustine's reply is simply that it is not. Since a voluntary action or choice must be explained by reference to some good at which it aims, a voluntary choice of evil per se cannot be explained at all. This does not mean that there was no voluntary choice of evil; but it does mean that, in principle, that choice is inexplicable- a mystery. Thus Augustine, unlike Aristotle, in this one exceptional case (but in no others) affirms that there can be genuinely voluntary action which is not, in the relevant sense, rational.en
dc.publisherThe University of Edinburghen
dc.relation.ispartofAnnexe Thesis Digitisation Project 2018 Block 18en
dc.relation.isreferencedbyAlready catalogueden
dc.titleAristotle and Augustine on voluntary action and freedom and weakness of the willen
dc.typeThesis or Dissertationen
dc.type.qualificationlevelDoctoralen
dc.type.qualificationnamePhD Doctor of Philosophyen


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