Control of the Will: Philosophical and Theological Reflections
Learned, Douglas A.
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In the following chapters I will discuss the issue of Free Will. Instead of focusing on whether we have free will in an objective sense - trying to come to a better understanding of how we are or are not in control - I will focus on how we as agents might gain control through our experience as agents. In Chapter 1 I will introduce us to the historical problem of free will so that we might gain a sense of the what we are up against. Plato and Aristotle are the philosophers I have chosen to outline because they are foundational to the rationalistic agenda to understand the nature of our will. I will then summarize Augustine's arguments concerning free will because he combines the the classical concerns of Plato and Aristotle with the religious concerns of a Neo-Platonic Christian. In Chapter 2, I will outline what I feel to be a sensible philosophical approach to understanding how we as agents can reconcile our modern understanding of causality with a common understanding of our own agency. In Chapter 3 will outline my theological concerns with free will, and will conclude with a Christocentric answer to gaining an identity through a religious understanding of God's effect in our lives.