Determinism, Freedom, and Moral Responsibility: Essays in Ancient Philosophy

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Oxford University Press, 2021 - Philosophy - 352 pages
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"This volume assembles nine of the author's essays on determinism, freedom and moral responsibility in Western antiquity, ranging from Aristotle via Epicureans and Stoics to the 3rd century. It is representative of the author's overall scholarship on the topic, much of which is devoted to showing that what commonly counts as 'the problem of free-will and determinism' is noticeably distinct from the issues the ancients discussed. It is true that one main component of the ancient discourse concerned the question how moral accountability can be consistently combined with certain causal factors that impact human behaviour. However, it is not true that the ancient problems involved the questions of the compatibility of causal determinism with our ability to do otherwise or with free will. Instead, we encounter questions about human rational and autonomous agency and their compatibility with preceding causes, external or internal; with external impediments; with divine predetermination and theological questions; with physical theories like atomism and continuum theory, and with sciences more generally; with elements that determine character development from childhood, such as nature and nurture; with epistemic features such as ignorance of circumstances; with necessity and modal theories generally; with folk theories of fatalism; and also with questions of how human autonomous agency is related to moral development, to virtue and wisdom, to blame and praise. These questions were all debated without reference to freedom to do otherwise or free-will-at least in Classical and Hellenistic philosophy. This volume considers all of these questions to some extent"--

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The Inadvertent Conception and Late Birth of the FreeWill Problem Aristotle to Alexander of Aphrodisias
Choice and Moral Responsibility in Nicomachean Ethics 315
Aristotles Nicomachean Ethics 1113b78 and Free Choice
Found in Translation Aristotles Nicomachean Ethics 35 1113b78 and Its Reception
Moral Responsibility and Moral Development in Epicurus Philosophy
Did Epicurus Discover the FreeWill Problem?
Stoic Conceptions of Freedom and Their Relation to Ethics Early Stoics Epictetus Late Stoics
Early Stoic Determinism The Merging of Teleology and Universal Causation
Chrysippus Theory of Causes
Index Locorum
General Index

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About the author (2021)

Susanne Bobzien, Professor of Philosophy, University of Oxford and Senior Research Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford

Susanne Bobzien is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oxford and Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford. She was previously Professor of Philosophy at Yale University, and before that a Tutorial Fellow at The Queens' and Balliol Colleges, Oxford. She is a Fellow of the British
Academy and has been the recipient of a British Academy Research Readership and of a Fellowship of the National Endowment for the Humanities, among other grants. She is the author of several books, including Determinism and Freedom in Stoic Philosophy (Oxford, 1999), and has published numerous
articles both in contemporary philosophy and in ancient philosophy.

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