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  • Rick Repetti

Buddhist Meditation, Mental Freedom, and Free Will

Updated: Jan 29, 2020

A talk I gave about my favorite topic, at the Cornelia Street Cafe in Greenwich Village, NYC, under the auspices of the Gotham Philosophical Society. Unfortunately, the establishment took down the vimeo link to the video recording of the event. I have my outline notes from the talk, but it was relatively extemporaneous, so I cannot even share a paper from the talk, but if anyone wishes to see my outline, please contact me. The talk was basically a summary of my position of free will, the gist of which is that I think we have it, and can increase it, by practicing meditation. Frankfurt distinguishes between freedom of action, being able to enact or act on volitions, and freedom of will or of volition, being able to have the sort of will or volitions one wants or wills to have. The Buddha claimed to be able to have the sort of volitions he wants to have and not have the ones he wants not to have, which Frankfurt would count as freedom of there will, but he also claimed to be able to think any thought he wants to think and to not think any thought he wants not to think, which is, on a similar analysis, freedom of thought. He also claimed to be able to have any emotion, among other things, all of which abilities are acquired through mind training, leading to freedom of the mind, or mental freedom.

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