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Date(s) - September 21, 2023
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

LSC 312


“Two Theories of Self-Control,” Bob Pasnau, University of Colorado, Boulder

Thursday, September 21, 4pm @ LSC 312

When Thomas Hobbes, in the middle of the 17th century, reluctantly took up the problem of free will in his exchange with Bramhall, he blamed medieval scholastic philosophy for having fatally obscured the true nature of the problem. In a way, he is very much correct, because the medieval approach to the problem exemplifies the understanding of self-control that Hobbes seeks to reject: the idea that we control ourselves because we have a will that can exercise second-order control over our volitions. Hobbes’s approach, however, is hardly new. Indeed, its clearest statement goes back to Augustine, at the start of the Middle Ages. On the Augustinian approach, our volitions are self-reflexively under their own control, with no need and no possibility of securing any sort of higher-level control.