Free Will in Ancient Thought

PHI 420. Writing Assignments.

Your answers should demonstrate your understanding of the historical and philosophical issues.

Assignment #1

"[The Greek] term [ἐλευθερία] provides us with some guidance as to how the notion of freedom we are interested in is to be understood. As the very term indicates, it must be a notion formed by analogy to the political notion of freedom" (A Free Will, 9).

• Explain how, according to Frede, 'free' is to be understood in 'free will.'

• Complete the following for the Protagoras, Gorgias, or Meno passage.
Set out the primary evidence in the passage for thinking that Socrates does or does not conceive of desire in terms of belief about what is good and what is bad. Given that the will requires choice, explain whether the passage is evidence that Plato recognized the existence of the will.

Assignment #2

• Explain how Socrates, in the Republic, understands desire in the Tripartite Theory of the Soul. Set out the primary evidence for this interpretation. Explain whether the Tripartite Theory is evidence that Plato recognized the existence of the will.

Assignment #3

Frede argues that Aristotle recognizes "choice" but not the "will."

• Set out Frede's understanding of what "choice" is for Aristotle. Explain why, according to Frede, "choice" is necessary but not sufficient for the existence of the "will." Explain why Frede thinks that Aristotle does not recognize the existence of the "will."

Assignment #4

Assignment #5





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