By Michæl Frede, A. A. Long, David Sedley
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Additional resources for A Free Will: Origins of the Notion in Ancient Thought
The will thus conceived can be a good will or a bad will, depending on whether the choices we make in virtue of it are good choices or bad choices.
The Aristotle on Choice without a Will / 27 reason why he distinguishes willing and choosing is not that willing and choosing are altogether different but that choosing is a very special form of willing. One may will or want something which is unattainable. One may will to do something which one is unable to do. One may will something without having any idea as to what one should do to attain it. Choosing is different. 10 Thus one cannot choose to be elected to an office, since whether one is elected depends on others.
But, if we go back to Aristotle, this is not quite so. All Aristotle is committed to is that, if something is up to us, we can choose to do it. We can also fail to choose to do it. But to fail to choose to do it, given Aristotle’s notion of choice, is not the same as choosing not to do it. We saw this in the case of akrasia. One can choose to follow reason. But if one fails to follow reason and acts on a nonrational desire, it is not because one chooses not to follow reason and, rather, chooses to do something else.
A Free Will: Origins of the Notion in Ancient Thought by Michæl Frede, A. A. Long, David Sedley