Table of Contents

Dissecting de libero arbitrio.
The Integrity of de libero arbitrio.
Approaching the Will.
Understanding, Knowledge, and Responsibility.
Facilitas, Difficultas, and Voluntas.
A Cogito-Like Argument?.
Conclusion. Augustine is a pivotal figure in the history of the concept of will, but what is his 'theory of will'? This book investigates Augustine's use of 'will' in one particular context, his dialogue On Free Choice of the Will, taking seriously its historical and philosophical form. First, it finds that the dialogical nature of On Free Choice of the Will has been missed, as exemplified by the unhistorical and misleading modern attributions of names to the speakers. Secondly, the commonplace that Augustine changed his mind in the course of its composition is shown to be unfounded, and a case is made for its argumentative coherence. Thirdly, it is shown that it is the form and structure of On Free Choice of the Will that give philosophical content to Augustine's theory of will. The dialogue constitutes a 'way in to the will' that itself instantiates a concept of will. At the heart of this structure is a particular argument that depends on an appeal to a first-person perspective, which ties the vocabulary of will to a concept of freedom and responsibility. This appeal is significantly similar to other arguments deployed by Augustine which are significantly similar to Descartes' 'cogito ergo sum', 'I think therefore I am'. The book goes on to investigate how Augustine's 'way in' relates to these cogito-like arguments as they occur in Augustine's major and most read works, the Confessions, the City of God, and On the Trinity. The relationship of Augustine's to Descartes' 'cogito' is also discussed. Augustine elucidates, within a particular Platonic theory of knowledge, a 'theory of will' that is grounded in a 'way in', which takes the conditions and limits of knowledge seriously.