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Stoics Against Stoics In Cudworth's A Treatise of Freewill

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Abstract:

In his A Treatise of Freewill, Ralph Cudworth argues against Stoic determinism by drawing on what he takes to be other concepts found in Stoicism, notably the claim that some things are ‘up to us’ and that these things are the product of our choice. These concepts are central to the late Stoic Epictetus and it appears at first glance as if Cudworth is opposing late Stoic voluntarism against early Stoic determinism. This paper argues that in fact, despite his claim to be drawing on Stoic doctrine, Cudworth uses these terms with a meaning first articulated only later, by the Peripatetic commentator Alexander of Aphrodisias.

Keywords: Alexander of Aphrodisias; Cambridge Platonism; Epictetus; Ralph Cudworth; Stoicism; determinism; freewill

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09608788.2012.718870

Affiliations: Birkbeck, University of London,

Publication date: September 1, 2012

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