In the modern and contemporary Western philosophical discourse, free action is typically contrasted with action that is compelled by necessity. This article explores an idea, reconstructed from some Daoist and Stoic thinkers, that freedom is an ability to do only actions that are necessary. Along with offering an original reading of the Stoic and Daoist texts, it also leans on this fundamental similarity to spell out some of the large-scale differences between the philosophical terrains of Greco-Roman and Chinese traditions.


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