A Free Will

A Free Will : Origins of the Notion in Ancient Thought

4.14 (29 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author)  , Foreword by  , Edited by 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Expected delivery to the United States in 8-11 business days.

Not ordering to the United States? Click here.


Where does the notion of free will come from? How and when did it develop, and what did that development involve? In Michael Frede's radically new 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 his discussion in Stoicism, Frede begins with Aristotle - who, he argues, had no notion of a free will - and ends with Augustine. Frede shows that Augustine, far from originating the idea (as is often claimed), derived most of his thinking about it from the Stoicism developed by Epictetus.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 140 x 210 x 15mm | 272g
  • Berkerley, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0520272668
  • 9780520272668
  • 706,996

Back cover copy

As readers will quickly discover, the quality of the text that [Frede] has bequeathed fully matches the brilliance and incisiveness for which all his work is admired.

From the foreword by David Sedley
show more

Table of contents

Foreword Editor's Preface Chapter 1. Introduction Chapter 2. Aristotle on Choice without a Will Chapter 3. The Emergence of a Notion of Will in Stoicism Chapter 4. Later Platonist and Peripatetic Contributions Chapter 5. The Emergence of a Notion of a Free Will in Stoicism Chapter 6. Platonist and Peripatetic Criticisms and Responses Chapter 7. An Early Christian View on a Free Will: Origen Chapter 8. Reactions to the Stoic Notion of a Free Will: Plotinus Chapter 9. Augustine: A Radically New Notion of a Free Will? Chapter 10. Conclusion Abbreviations Notes Bibliography Index
show more

Review quote

"...One can only feel awe before the breadth of [Frede's] learning and the depth of his insight." -- Charles Kahn * Archiv fur Geschichte der Philosophie * "In this posthumously published volume, comprising lectures delivered in Berkeley in fall 1997, Frede reflects on the concept of a free will in ancient thought."
"Summing Up: Highly recommended." -- J Bussanich * Choice *
show more

About Michael Frede

Michael Frede, who died in 2007, held positions successively in the departments of philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, Princeton University, and Oxford University, where he held the Chair of the History of Philosophy. In 1997-1998, he was Sather Professor of Classical Literature at UC Berkeley, where he delivered the lectures that make up this volume. A. A. Long is Professor of Classics, Irving Stone Professor of Literature, and Affiliated Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of Epictetus: A Stoic and Socratic Guide to Life and From Epicurus to Epictetus: Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy. David Sedley is Lawrence Professor of Ancient Philosophy at the University of Cambridge and the author of Creationism and Its Critics in Antiquity (UC Press).
show more

Rating details

29 ratings
4.14 out of 5 stars
5 41% (12)
4 38% (11)
3 14% (4)
2 7% (2)
1 0% (0)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X