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Freedom vs. Determinism

Freedom vs. Determinism

(p.107) Four Freedom vs. Determinism
Maimonides and Spinoza
Joshua Parens
University of Chicago Press

This chapter discusses teleology and freedom, and whether the former constrains the latter. If freedom is defined as strong libertarianism, then teleology does constrain freedom. Maimonides was known to repudiate strong libertarianism, and he also does not embrace milder doctrines such as an Augustinian conception of free will. Maimonides's conception of freedom and moral responsibility is a conception accepted by both Greek philosophers and the Bible. His stress on human responsibility for actions and for the cultivation of virtuous as opposed to vicious habits leads one to infer that he has in mind something akin to Aristotle's conception of choice or prohairesis—a combination of reason and desire that is briefly formulated by Aristotle as “deliberate desire.” .

Keywords:   teleology, freedom, strong libertarianism, maimonides, free will, moral responsibility, deliberate desire

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