Cudworth on Freewill

Philosophers' Imprint 21 (1):1-25 (2021)
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Abstract

In his unpublished freewill manuscripts, Ralph Cudworth seeks to complete the project that he begins in The True Intellectual System of the Universe (1678) by arguing for an account of human liberty that avoids the opposing poles of necessitarianism and indifferency. I argue that Cudworth’s account rests upon a crucial distinction between the will and the power of freewill. Whereas we necessarily will the greater apparent good, freewill is a more fundamental power by which we endeavour to discern the greater good before willing to pursue it. Cudworth thus opposes necessitarianism by arguing for a libertarian account of freewill while nonetheless rejecting the indifferentist claim that we can will contrary to the greater apparent good.

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Citations of this work

Cudworth as a Critic of Hobbes.Stewart Duncan - 2021 - In Marcus P. Adams (ed.), A Companion to Hobbes. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 398-412.
Cudworthian Consciousness.Matthew A. Leisinger - 2022 - Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy 11:163–196.

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