Chapter

Ancient and Medieval Background

Risto Saarinen

in Weakness of Will in Renaissance and Reformation Thought

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199606818
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729614 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199606818.003.0002
Ancient and Medieval Background

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This chapter identifies the complex variety of older philosophical traditions available during the Renaissance and the Reformation. Plato has two different views on weakness of will: in addition to a strictly intellectualist view in which the mind remains united, he also discusses cases in which the soul is divided between reason and emotions. The latter view is called ‘commonplace Platonism’, and it plays a prominent role in later reception history. After the treatment of Aristotle’s akrasia, the views of Stoicism, Paul, and Augustine are presented extensively, reflecting the outcome of many new studies. It is argued that Augustine’s action theory contains some distinctively Stoic features. The discussion of the medieval period summarizes the outcome of the studies of last fifteen years. The chapter closes with a systematic inventory of the different explanatory models of weakness of will.

Keywords: intellect; will; emotions; philosophy of mind; early Christianity; scholasticism

Chapter.  18331 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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