By Michæl Frede, A. A. Long, David Sedley
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Extra resources for A free will : origins of the notion in ancient thought
The Department of Classics was eager to publish the lectures as soon as Frede was ready to commit them to print, but he insisted that, before doing so, he needed to discuss further ancient authors and related topics. This perfectionism was completely in character, but by summer 2007 we were still hoping to receive a typescript from him that we could send to the University of California Press. Then, on August 11 of that year, during a triennial colloquium on Hellenistic philosophy at Delphi, Frede died unexpectedly while swimming in the Gulf of Corinth.
But one can will or want to be elected to an office. Yet choosing still is a form of willing. In Aristotle's view there is a certain good which we all will or want to attain in life, namely, a good life. As grown-up human beings, we have a certain conception, though different people have rather different ones, of what this final good consists of. So in a particular situation we shall, as mature human beings, choose what to do in light of our conception of this final good, because we think, having deliberated about the matter, that acting in this way will help us to attain this good.
8 But, as I have already indicated, this does not mean that Aristotle does not have a notion of choice. For he says that if one acts on a nonrational desire against one's better knowledge, one acts against one's choice. 9 For he thinks that if an action is to count as a virtuous action, it has to satisfy a number of increasingly strict conditions. It must not only be the right thing to do, one must be doing it hekn, of one's own accord; indeed, one must will to do it. What is more, one must do it from choice (ek prohaireses), that is, one must choose (prohaireisthai) to do it, and the choice itself must satisfy certain conditions.