Augustine on Second-Order Desires and Persons

  • Tomas EkenbergEmail author
Part of the Studies in the History of Philosophy of Mind book series (SHPM, volume 16)


While commentators have noted interesting parallels between Frankfurt’s and Augustine’s accounts of the freedom of the will, there has been, in this context, little discussion about their respective accounts of personhood. According to Frankfurt, a person is a being capable of forming a certain kind of second-order desires, namely, second-order volitions. In this paper I use Frankfurt’s account of desire and the will to elucidate Augustine’s concept of person. I argue that for Augustine, freedom of the will construed as control over desires or over the causes of action is not a necessary condition for being a person. Rather, he agrees with Frankfurt, who argues that personhood should instead be spelled out in terms of a certain kind of reflexivity or a conative hierarchy.


Robust Account Causal Efficacy Robust Conception Hierarchical Account Unwilling Addict 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

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