Given the fact that positions as determinist, libertarian, and compatibilist were fully formed 2,000 years ago, I wonder how the notion of free will was defined in antiquity, long before monotheism became popular and before the term itself was coined (I guess).
Okay. My initial plan was to investigate every significant ancient philosopher’s work. For instance, Thales of Miletus (allegedly the first philosopher in the Greek tradition) did not seem to trust people’s capability of making their own decisions because even though he urged them to lead a just life he believed their morals had a better chance of reforming under a democratic rule. It seems to me that the first important philosopher who expressed an opinion on free will, without naming it as such though, was Pythagoras who believed that human society couldn’t function in the absence of moral principles: “No man is free who cannot command himself.” He was the first thinker to state that the thought processes were located in the brain, and not in the heart. His contribution to the notion of free will resides in the fact that he considered human freedom to be the ability to subordinate passions to reason.
What do you think of this approach?
Do you know the definition of free will in antiquity? or
Do you know a good way to find it?
[sigh] I’ve just noticed I used ‘democratic rule’ instead of ‘autocratic rule’ in the post above.