Forty-nine of us, forty-eight men and one woman, lay on the green waiting for the spike to open. We were too tired to talk much. We just sprawled about exhaustedly, with home-made cigarettes sticking out of our scrubby faces. Overhead the chestnut branches were covered with blossom, and beyond that great woolly clouds floated almost motionless in a clear sky.
Most of the ancient thinkers on the problem were trying to show that we humans have control over our decisions, that our actions "depend on us"and that they are not pre-determined by fate, by arbitrary gods, by logical necessity, or by a natural causal determinism.
Almost everything written about free will to date has been verbal debate about the precise meaning of philosophical concepts like causalitynecessityand other dogmas of determinism.
The "problem of free will" is often described as a question of reconciling "free will" with one or more of the many kinds of determinism. As a result, the "problem of free will" depends on two things, the exact definition of free will and which of the determinisms is being reconciled.
There is also an even more difficult reconciliation for " libertarian " free will.
How can a morally responsible will be reconciled with indeterminism or chance? The standard argument against free will is that it can not possibly be reconciled with either randomness or determinism, and that these two exhaust the logical possibilities.
Before there was anything called philosophy, religious accounts of man's fate explored the degree of human freedom permitted by superhuman gods. Creation myths often end in adventures of the first humans clearly making choices and being held responsible. But a strong fatalism is present in those tales that foretell the future, based on the idea that the gods have foreknowledge of future events.
Anxious not to annoy the gods, the myth-makers rarely challenge the implausible view that the gods' foreknowledge is compatible with human freedom. This was an early form of today's compatibilismthe idea that causal determinism and A description of freedom by epictetus necessity are compatible with free will.
The first thinkers to look for causes in natural phenomena rather than gods controlling events were the Greek physiologoi or cosmologists. Heraclitus, the philosopher of change, agreed that there were laws or rules the logos behind all the change. The early cosmologists' intuition that their laws could produce an ordered cosmos out of chaos was prescient.
Our current model of the universe begins with a state of minimal information and maximum disorder. The physiologoi transformed pre-philosophical arguments about gods controlling the human will into arguments about pre-existing causes controlling it. The cosmological problem became a psychological problem.
Some saw a causal chain of events leading back to a first cause later taken by many religious thinkers to be God.
Epictetus (c. c. CE) was born a slave. His master, Epaphroditus, allowed him to attend the lectures of the Stoic philosopher Musonius Rufus and later gave him his freedom. Information Philosopher is dedicated to the new Information Philosophy, with explanations for Freedom, Values, and Knowledge. LETTER I. By your permission I lay before you, in a series of letters, the results of my researches upon beauty and art. I am keenly sensible of the importance as .
Other physiologoi held that although all physical events caused, mental events might not. If the mind or soul is a substance different from matter, it could have its own laws different from the laws of nature for material bodies. The materialist philosophers Democritus and Leucippus, again with extraordinary prescience, claimed that all things, including humans, were made of atoms in a void, with individual atomic motions strictly controlled by causal laws.
Democritus wanted to wrest control of man's fate from arbitrary gods and make us more responsible for our actions. But ironically, he and Leucippus originated two of the great dogmas of determinismphysical determinism and logical necessitywhich lead directly to the modern problem of free will and determinism.
Leucippus stated the first dogma, an absolute necessity which left no room in the cosmos for chance. Some even argued for a great cycle of events an idea borrowed from Middle Eastern sources repeating themselves over thousands of years.
The Pythagoreans, Socrates, and Plato attempted to reconcile an element of human freedom with material determinism and causal law, in order to hold man responsible for his actions. The first major philosopher to argue convincingly for some indeterminism was probably Aristotle.
First he described a causal chain back to a prime mover or first cause, and he elaborated the four possible causes material, efficient, formal, and final. Aristotle did not subscribe to the simplistic "every event has a single cause" idea that was to come later.
He noted that the early physicists had found no place for chance among their causes. Aristotle opposed his accidental chance to necessity: Metaphysics, Book V, a25 2a It is obvious that there are principles and causes which are generable and destructible apart from the actual processes of generation and destruction; for if this is not true, everything will be of necessity: Will this be, or not?
Yes, if this happens; otherwise not. He knew that many of our decisions are quite predictable based on habit and character, but they are no less free nor are we less responsible if our character itself and our predictable habits were developed freely in the past and are changeable in the future.
This is the view of some Eastern philosophies and religions. Our Karma has been determined by our past actions even from past livesand strongly influences our current actions, but we are free to improve our Karma by good actions.
One generation after Aristotle, Epicurus argued that as atoms move through the void, there are occasions when they "swerve" from their otherwise determined paths, thus initiating new causal chains.
Epicurus argued that these swerves would allow us to be more responsible for our actions, something impossible if every action was deterministically caused.
For Epicurus, the occasional interventions of arbitrary gods would be preferable to strict determinism. Epicurus did not say the swerve was directly involved in decisions.
His critics, ancient and modern, have claimed mistakenly that Epicurus did assume "one swerve - one decision.4 EPICTETUS THE MANUAL VII. As on a voyage when the vessel has reached a port, if you go out to get wa-ter, it is an amusement by the way to pick up a shell-ﬁsh or some bulb, but your.
Stoicism and the Statehouse: An Old Philosophy Serving a New Idea [Pat McGeehan] on arteensevilla.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Over the span of two thousand years, the Stoic philosophy has helped men and women overcome adversity from the highest positions of power to the darkest corners of prison.
In Stoicism and the Statehouse.
the Freedom Foundation at Valley Forge's George Washington Honor Medal (Editor's Note: For a detailed description of 1. Epictetus's background, see Stockdale on Stoicism I: Triad, Occasional Paper Number One in this series.) The Stoic Warrior s. The Enchiridion, or Manual, of Epictetus Translation by George Long () Chapter 1 Of things some are in our power, and others are not. In our power are opinion, movement toward a thing, desire, aversion (turning from a thing); and in a word, whatever are our own acts: not in our power are the body, property, reputation, offices (magisterial power), and in a word, whatever are not our own acts. The ancient atomists (Leucippus and Democritus) had already worked out a systematic description of the natural world comprising many particular material particles, whose mechanical interactions account for everything that arteensevilla.com the Hellenistic period, attention turned to the consequences of such a view for the conduct of human life.
Undoubtedly, Paul's writing parallels some ideas current in his day, such as the emphasis on internal freedom even in the midst of social slavery (cf.
the long discussion of freedom in . This is the fourth book of Discourses of Epictetus in plain English. Personal freedom is close to Epictetus' heart and his rhetoric shines when he talks about freedom.
This is what he has to say about achieving personal freedom that is robust and unshakable: Your desires imprison you. Information Philosopher is dedicated to the new Information Philosophy, with explanations for Freedom, Values, and Knowledge. Moderation / Criticism / Exposition / Exposés David Aaronovitch.
Catholics try, rather unconvincingly, to show how conferring sainthood is different in principle to the pagan apotheosis (the process that made Claudius, for instance, into a God), but the distinction doesn't quite wash. .