- The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Philosophy
- The Late Ancient Background to Medieval Philosophy
- Greek Philosophy
- Arabic Philosophy and Theology before Avicenna
- Avicenna and Afterwards
- Averroes and Philosophy in Islamic Spain
- Medieval Jewish Philosophy in Arabic
- Jewish Philosophy in Hebrew
- Latin Philosophy to 1200
- Latin Philosophy, 1200–1350
- Latin Philosophy, 1350–1550
- Medieval Philosophy after the Middle Ages
- Logical Form
- Logical Consequence
- Meaning: Foundational and Semantic Theories
- Mental Language
- States of Affairs
- Parts, Wholes and Identity
- Material Substance
- Mind and Hylomorphism
- Body and Soul
- Scepticism and Metaphysics
- Freedom of the Will
- Moral Intention
- Virtue and Law
- Natural Law
- Arguments for the Existence of God
- Philosophy and the Trinity
Abstract and Keywords
Freedom was a central notion within medieval psychological and ethical theory, and mattered as a metaphysical power, as a right, and as a desirable goal or condition. This article argues that the fundamental notion was of freedom as a metaphysical power to determine how people acted, a power which was seen as primarily enjoyed and exercised within the rational or intellectual mind, on most views at the point of the will, the capacity for choice and decision. In modern philosophy, the metaphysics and ethics of freedom are understood very differently, and are linked to very different theories of the mind and of human action. There is skepticism regarding freedom as a metaphysical power. The discussion examines the will and human action, freedom as a metaphysical power, the ethical significance of freedom, the metaphysics of freedom, and the transformation of ethics.
Thomas Pink is professor of philosophy at King's College, London. He is the author of The Psychology of Freedom (1997), and Free Will: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2004) and articles on ethics and the history of philosophy. He is currently completing a two-volume study of the ethical significance of action, The Ethics of Action (OUP), dealing both with freedom and with moral normativity. He is preparing an edition of Hobbes's Questions Concerning Liberty, Necessity, and Chance for the Clarendon edition of the works of Thomas Hobbes, and an edition of Francisco Suarez's ethical and political works for Liberty Fund.
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