- Notes on Contributors
- Locke and His Influence
- Newton and Newtonianism in Eighteenth-Century British Thought
- The Idea of a Science of Human Nature
- Rhetoric and Eloquence: The Language of Persuasion
- Perception and The Language of Nature
- Language and Thought
- The Understanding
- Mind and Matter
- Passions, Affections, Sentiments: Taxonomy and Terminology
- Reason and the Passions
- Liberty and Necessity
- The Government of the Passions
- Self-Interest and Sociability
- Moral Judgment
- The Nature of Virtue
- Practical Ethics
- The Pleasures of the Imagination and the Objects of Taste
- The Faculty of Taste
- The Pleasures of Tragedy
- Genius and the Creative Imagination
- The Origin of Civil Government
- Forms of Government
- Reform and Revolution
- Luxury, Commerce, and the Rise of Political Economy
- Causation, Cosmology, and the Limits of Philosophy: the Early Eighteenth-Century British Debate
- Philosophy, Revealed Religion, and the Enlightenment
- Religion and Morality
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter examines eighteenth-century British discussions of human freedom, which focused on the question of whether the will is a self-determining, or active power, or whether the will is determined, or necessitated, by motives. (Libertarians were proponents of the former position; necessitarians supported the latter position.) The chapter begins with a consideration of the libertarian position of Samuel Clarke, which was taken up by the later libertarians Richard Price and Thomas Reid. It considers two necessitarians: David Hartley and Joseph Priestley. Although David Hume was taken to be a necessitarian, both by his contemporaries and recent commentators, the chapter suggests that Hume challenged assumptions about the nature of the very problem of liberty and necessity shared by his contemporaries, libertarians and necessitarians alike, although this challenge remained unanswered, because ignored, in the eighteenth century.
Sean Greenberg is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Irvine. His chief research interest is in early modern moral psychology, especially conceptions of passions and the will: he has published on Descartes's, Malebranche's, and Leibniz's accounts of these topics. He is currently working on three projects: a new edition and translation of Leibniz's Theodicy (in conjunction with R. C. Sleigh, Jr.); a systematic interpretation of the philosophy of Malebranche; and a history of early modern approaches to human freedom.
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