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  • Subject Name : Introductuont to philosphy

Consolation of Philosophy

The process of drafting the Consolation of Philosophy was considered by Boethius as a way of self-examination aimed to assist him to come to terms with his shift of fate (Donato, 2013).

The Consolation of Philosophy has a significant role in a broad string of literature, political and theological works created by authors who were jailed and hanged for their views and whose words influenced subsequent authors and philosophers to embrace a greater and more enduring meaning of truth and justice (Phillips, 2014).

It is widely stated that free will was described by Boethius as the determination of the will or a logical choice. Therefore, with folly or error of the mind, guilt or sin is recognized, that inhibits or manipulates reasonable contemplation. Boethius, nevertheless, embraced a much more detailed view of the soul's personal-motion and, thus, expressed a more complicated explanation of guilt and Providence's healing effects. Boethius regarded individual liberty as a system, comprising a natural movement, characterized as the wish for pleasure, the determination of reason through the deliberative judgment, and the will's supremacy over its own actions and, to some degree, over other actions of the mind. Therefore, Sin includes erroneous conceptions of truth but also distortions in the effective inclination of the will to the universe and in the practice of the command of the will over the soul (Lachance, 2004).

Also, future spiritual omniscience is consistent with those events that occur contingently (Marenbon, 2013).

In Boethius' consolation theory, one of the major metaphysical questions of antiquity, i.e. the topic of determinism and the independence of the will, is particularly strongly developed (Vesel, 2001).

Boethius described God as the one who, amid its opposing elements, holds the world from shattering apart. God has power over the existence of all life, like the one who rules everything. Boethius claims that God rules the world to be nice, implying that God is the creator of all, pinnacle, and absolute good and that all is great (Noren, n.d.).

Excluding the principle of free will, the whole dialogue of Boethius surrounding the penalties for bad and the benefits for good will be made irrelevant. If there is no free will, so there are no volitional deeds. How will one be punished for committing an immoral action or rewarded for performing out a positive one if there are no voluntary actions? Boethius notes that if there isn't free will, "there would be no more virtues or vices, but only a mishmash of benefits and penalties of strengths and flaws that can not be separated from each other." The lack of free will would make the laws that allegedly regulate humanity redundant, so Boethius is, as a whole, in favor of the principle of free will; acknowledges its presence.

Via the reasoning of Boethius, one only exercises free will as who uses reason and sound thinking to make choices. Although if one makes reasonable choices, one behaves in his best interests and seeks pleasure. On the contrary, if one's desires are guided by outside forces, like the preference for stuff which is not great, then one can not express free will, so one seeks the negative rather than the positive. No reasonable, decent human will pursue the bad voluntarily. Boethius ultimately implies that one should not pursue evil openly therefore the only way one exercises its free will is in search of the good. Additionally, any who actively desire joy, by logical and reasonable reasoning, are the only ones that really have free will (Noren, n.d.).

It has already been founded by Boethius that God is omniscient, both-powerful, and true. God would already have experience of the options of human beings would make through these principles, which contributes to an inevitable question: if he already decides what we are supposed to do, are the choices we make actually ours? 

By demonstrating that there is a difference between the individual and the divine that should not be ignored, Boethius deals with the inherent inconsistency regarding individual rights and God's awareness of the prospects. There is a difference, precisely, between the earthly current and the eternal current. People work under time and space constraints, while Deity does not have such restrictions imposed on him. He is simultaneously educated about history, current, and potential. With a spiritual knowledge about what will occur, God is not only seeing on individuals, he is indeed every now and then. God absolutely knows what humans will be going to do in the future, even if human beings haven't accomplished it yet; All at once, he understands the whole breadth of history (Noren, n.d.).

One reason as to why I feel the solution is not successful:

The philosophy of Boethius is commendable in nature as he has stated that God governs all of us and our actions and he has perfect knowledge about everything. Though he has stated that the time we are exercising our will is only when we do good. I completely agree with his statement. Such a statement is not convincing to me as I believe that everyone has free will whether he is acting in the right manner or in a wrong manner. Although, this philosophical view of Boethius makes one think that if everything is known by God and he is the one who governs us then do we humans have any free will or we are just doing what God wants us to do. By taking the philosophical view of Boethius in a wrong manner the wrong people say for example a criminal or a legal offender will start thinking that as god is supreme and knows everything and we have no free will to act, whatever happening is happening with his will including the wrong things, therefore, there is no harm in doing such acts. Such interpretation can lead to doing more harm than good to society. Therefore, I feel that proper articulation is lacking while clearing the free will doubt. In my view, philosophy being a subject of great thought process and a guiding principle for the behavior of human beings such doubt shall be cleared. In my view it can be concluded that God certainly has made all of us and everything we see around us is the creation of God, he is also aware of everything but he has certainly given us the freedom to act, and such freedom to act when performed in a correct manner leads one to the path of righteousness by building morals, principles, values, integrity, honesty, character. On the other hand, if we misuse the freedom and act ignorantly then we lead to the wrong path and finally become sinful. God has created every aspect for us good as well as bad, we have the freedom to choose out of both the paths. Therefore, if someone acts viciously then he cannot take the shelter of this philosophy by saying that it is God’s will, rather he has breached the freedom to act righteously which was provided by god to him and therefore shall be punished accordingly.

References for Self-Examination and Consolation in Boethius

Donato, A. (2013). Self-examination and consolation in Boethius’ “consolation of philosophy". Classical World, 106(3), 397-430.

Evans, J. (2004). Boethius on modality and future contingents. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, 78(2), 247-271.

LaChance, P. J. (2004). Boethius on human freedom. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, 78(2), 309-327.

Marenbon, J. (2013). Divine prescience and contingency in Boethius’s Consolation of philosophy. Rivista di Storia della Filosofia,68(1), 9-22.

Noren, A. (n.d.). Can we be free if god knows what we will do? Retrieved from

Noren, A. (n.d.). Do we have free will? Retrieved from

Noren, A. (n.d.). How does the god govern the universe? Retrieved from

Phillips, P. E. (2014). Boethius, the prisoner, and the consolation of philosophy. NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Vesel, M. (2001). Boethius on the compatibility of divine foreknowledge and the future of contingent events. 22, 7-31. Retrieved from

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