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The Concept Of Will In Plotinus

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Chapter Summary

The history of the concept of will in ancient thought is a highly controversial and much discussed issue, especially since Albrecht Dihle?s Sather lectures on the topic (1982). As is well known, Dihle examined classical and post-classical theories of volition up to the late antiquity and came to the conclusion that there exists no fully developed concept of will before Augustine. This claim has been supported, attacked, modified, and transformed by a considerable number of historians of philosophy. Surprisingly, the Corpus Plotinianum has not so far been a central object of research on this topic. This chapter proposes to mend this gap rather than contribute directly to this complex debate. It thinks that Plotinus has much to say about the different ways of speaking of the will. The chapter starts with a provocative claim advanced in 1932 by the German scholar Ernst Benz.

Keywords: Corpus Plotinianum; Plotinus



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