Early Genealogy of the Concept of Will: Freedom, Rationality, and Action in Hellenistic and Early Christianity Philosophy

Caleb Mason, Colby College


This study investigates the origins of the medieval philosophical concept of the will, in the context of the transformation of the Hellenistic intellectual world during its absorption into the Christianized Latin West. An interpretation of the changing content of certain philosophical texts between Aristotle and Augustine is offered, with emphasis on the inversion of the general Hellenistic philosophical worldview, and of metaphilosophical conceptions of man and his place in the world of nature and gods.