Not registered? Sign up. Publications Pages Publications Pages. Search my Subject Specializations: Select Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. The Freedom of the Will J. Lucas Abstract The three great problems of philosophy, according to Kant, are God, freedom, and immortality. More The three great problems of philosophy, according to Kant, are God, freedom, and immortality. Authors Affiliations are at time of print publication. Lucas, author More Less.
Print Save Cite Email Share. But, if another being was the cause of this determination, either producing it immediately, or by means and instruments under his direction, then the determination is the act and deed of that being, and is solely imputed to him.
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Classical compatibilists argued that both claims are incoherent. While it is intelligible to ask whether a man willed to do what he did, it is incoherent to ask whether a man willed to will what he did:. For to ask whether a man is at liberty to will either motion or rest, speaking or silence, which he pleases, is to ask whether a man can will what he wills , or be pleased with what he is pleased with?
A question which, I think, needs no answer; and they who make a question of it must suppose one will to determine the acts of another, and another to determine that, and so on in infinitum. Locke  II. Hobbes , It is important to recognize that an implication of the second step of the strategy is that free will is not only compatible with determinism but actually requires determinism cf. This was a widely shared assumption among compatibilists up through the mid-twentieth century. He endorses a strong form of necessitarianism in which everything is categorically necessary opposed to the weaker form of conditional necessity embraced by most compatibilists, and he contends that there is no room in such a world for divine or creaturely free will.
Thus, Spinoza is a free will skeptic. Interestingly, Spinoza is also keen to deny that the nonexistence of free will has the dire implications often assumed. As noted above, many in the modern period saw belief in free will and an afterlife in which God rewards the just and punishes the wicked as necessary to motivate us to act morally. According to Spinoza, so far from this being necessary to motivate us to be moral, it actually distorts our pursuit of morality.
True moral living, Spinoza thinks, sees virtue as its own reward Part V, Prop. Moreover, while free will is a chimera, humans are still capable of freedom or self-determination. Spinoza is an important forerunner to the many free will skeptics in the twentieth century, a position that continues to attract strong support see Strawson ; Double ; Smilansky ; Pereboom , ; Levy ; Waller ; Caruso ; Vilhauer For further discussion see the entry skepticism about moral responsibility.
It is worth observing that in many of these disputes about the nature of free will there is an underlying dispute about the nature of moral responsibility. Underlying the belief that free will is incompatible with determinism is the thought that no one would be morally responsible for any actions in a deterministic world in the sense that no one would deserve blame or punishment. Schlick ; Nowell-Smith ; Smart While many, perhaps even most, compatibilists have come to reject this consequentialist approach to moral responsibility in the wake of P.
When an agent exercises free will over her choices and actions, her choices and actions are up to her. But up to her in what sense? As should be clear from our historical survey, two common and compatible answers are: i up to her in the sense that she is able to choose otherwise, or at minimum that she is able not to choose or act as she does, and ii up to her in the sense that she is the source of her action. However, there is widespread controversy both over whether each of these conditions is required for free will and if so, how to understand the kind or sense of freedom to do otherwise or sourcehood that is required.
While some seek to resolve these controversies in part by careful articulation of our experiences of deliberation, choice, and action Nozick , ch. The idea is that the kind of control or sense of up-to-meness involved in free will is the kind of control or sense of up-to-meness relevant to moral responsibility Double , 12; Ekstrom , 7—8; Smilansky , 16; Widerker and McKenna , 2; Vargas , ; Nelkin , —52; Levy , 1; Pereboom , 1—2. Given this connection, we can determine whether the freedom to do otherwise and the power of self-determination are constitutive of free will and, if so, in what sense, by considering what it takes to be a morally responsible agent.
On these latter characterizations of free will, understanding free will is inextricably linked to, and perhaps even derivative from, understanding moral responsibility. And even those who demur from this claim regarding conceptual priority typically see a close link between these two ideas.
Consequently, to appreciate the current debates surrounding the nature of free will, we need to say something about the nature of moral responsibility. It is now widely accepted that there are different species of moral responsibility. It is common though not uncontroversial to distinguish moral responsibility as answerability from moral responsibility as attributability from moral responsibility as accountability Watson ; Fischer and Tognazzini ; Shoemaker See Smith for a critique of this taxonomy.
These different species of moral responsibility differ along three dimensions: i the kind of responses licensed toward the responsible agent, ii the nature of the licensing relation, and iii the necessary and sufficient conditions for licensing the relevant kind of responses toward the agent. For example, some argue that when an agent is morally responsible in the attributability sense, certain judgments about the agent—such as judgments concerning the virtues and vices of the agent—are fitting , and that the fittingness of such judgments does not depend on whether the agent in question possessed the freedom to do otherwise cf.
Watson While keeping this controversy about the nature of moral responsibility firmly in mind see the entry on moral responsibility for a more detailed discussion of these issues , we think it is fair to say that the most commonly assumed understanding of moral responsibility in the historical and contemporary discussion of the problem of free will is moral responsibility as accountability in something like the following sense:.
The central notions in this definition are praise , blame , and desert.
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The majority of contemporary philosophers have followed Strawson in contending that praising and blaming an agent consist in experiencing or at least being disposed to experience cf. Wallace , 70—71 reactive attitudes or emotions directed toward the agent, such as gratitude, approbation, and pride in the case of praise, and resentment, indignation, and guilt in the case of blame. See Sher and Scanlon for important dissensions from this trend. See the entry on blame for a more detailed discussion.
These emotions, in turn, dispose us to act in a variety of ways. For example, blame disposes us to respond with some kind of hostility toward the blameworthy agent, such as verbal rebuke or partial withdrawal of good will. But while these kinds of dispositions are essential to our blaming someone, their manifestation is not: it is possible to blame someone with very little change in attitudes or actions toward the agent.
Blaming someone might be immediately followed by forgiveness as an end of the matter. The desert at issue here is basic in the sense that the agent would deserve to be blamed or praised just because she has performed the action, given an understanding of its moral status, and not, for example, merely by virtue of consequentialist or contractualist considerations.
As we understand desert, if an agent deserves blame, then we have a strong pro tanto reason to blame him simply in virtue of his being accountable for doing wrong. Importantly, these reasons can be outweighed by other considerations. While an agent may deserve blame, it might, all things considered, be best to forgive him unconditionally instead. When an agent is morally responsible for doing something wrong, he is blame worthy : he deserves hard treatment marked by resentment and indignation and the actions these emotions dispose us toward, such as censure, rebuke, and ostracism.
However, it would seem unfair to treat agents in these ways unless their actions were up to them. Thus, we arrive at the core connection between free will and moral responsibility: agents deserve praise or blame only if their actions are up to them—only if they have free will. Consequently, we can assess analyses of free will by their implications for judgments of moral responsibility. We note that some might reject the claim that free will is necessary for moral responsibility e.
In what follows, we focus our attention on the two most commonly cited features of free will: the freedom to do otherwise and sourcehood. While some seem to think that free will consists exclusively in either the freedom to do otherwise van Inwagen or in sourcehood Zagzebski , we think that the majority of philosophers hold that free will involves both conditions—though philosophers often emphasize one condition over the other depending on their dialectical situation or argumentative purposes cf.
In what follows, we will describe the most common characterizations of these two conditions. For most newcomers to the problem of free will, it will seem obvious that an action is up to an agent only if she had the freedom to do otherwise. But what does this freedom come to? The freedom to do otherwise is clearly a modal property of agents, but it is controversial just what species of modality is at stake. A more plausible and widely endorsed understanding claims the relevant modality is ability or power Locke , II.
Locke ; Clarke ; Vihvelin But abilities themselves seem to come in different varieties Lewis ; Horgan ; van Inwagen , ch. A satisfactory account of the freedom to do otherwise owes us both an account of the kind of ability in terms of which the freedom to do otherwise is analyzed, and an argument for why this kind of ability as opposed to some other species is the one constitutive of the freedom to do otherwise.
As we will see, philosophers sometimes leave this second debt unpaid. As we saw above, classical compatibilists Hobbes , ; Locke ; Hume , ; Edwards ; Moore ; Schlick ; Ayer sought to analyze the freedom to do otherwise in terms of a simple conditional analysis of ability:. Part of the attraction of this analysis is that it obviously reconciles the freedom to do otherwise with determinism.
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There are two problems with the Simple Conditional Analysis. The first is that it is, at best, an analysis of free action, not free will cf.
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Reid ; Chisholm ; , ch. It only tells us when an agent has the ability to do otherwise, not when an agent has the ability to choose to do otherwise. One might be tempted to think that there is an easy fix along the following lines:. The problem is that we often fail to choose to do things we want to choose, even when it appears that we had the ability to choose otherwise one might think the same problem attends the original analysis. Suppose that, in deciding how to spend my evening, I have a desire to choose to read and a desire to choose to watch a movie.
Suppose that I choose to read. By all appearances, I had the ability to choose to watch a movie. I do desire to choose to watch a movie and yet I do not choose to watch a movie. It is unclear how to remedy this problem. Hobbes , ; Edwards . The problem is that this assumes, implausibly, that we always choose what we most strongly desire for criticisms of this view see Reid ; Campbell ; Wallace ; Holton But each of these proposals is also problematic.
Even if there are fixes to these problems, there is a yet deeper problem with these analyses. There are some agents who clearly lack the freedom to do otherwise and yet satisfy the conditional at the heart of these analyses. That is, although these agents lack the freedom to do otherwise, it is, for example, true of them that if they chose otherwise, they would do otherwise. Picking up on an argument developed by Keith Lehrer ; cf.
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Campbell ; Broad ; Chisholm , consider an agoraphobic, Luke, who, when faced with the prospect of entering an open space, is subject not merely to an irresistible desire to refrain from intentionally going outside, but an irresistible desire to refrain from even choosing to go outside. It may well nevertheless be true that if Luke chose to go outside, then he would have gone outside. After all, any possible world in which he chooses to go outside will be a world in which he no longer suffers to the same degree from his agoraphobia, and thus we have no reason to doubt that in those worlds he would go outside as a result of his choosing to go outside.
While simple conditional analyses admirably make clear the species of ability to which they appeal, they fail to show that this species of ability is constitutive of the freedom to do otherwise. Agents need a stronger ability to do otherwise than characterized by such simple conditionals. Some argue that the fundamental source of the above problems is the conditional nature of these analyses Campbell ; Austin ; Chisholm ; Lehrer ; van Inwagen , ch. He lacks the ability to do otherwise than refrain from choosing to go outside, according to this analysis, because there is no possible world in which he suffers from his agoraphobia and yet chooses to go outside.
If the Categorical Analysis is correct, then free will is incompatible with determinism. According to the thesis of determinism, all deterministic possible worlds with the same pasts and laws of nature have the same futures Lewis ; van Inwagen , 3. Therefore, John lacked the ability, and thus freedom, to raise his hand.
This argument, carefully articulated in the late s and early s by Carl Ginet , and Peter van Inwagen , and refined in important ways by John Martin Fischer , has come to be known as the Consequence Argument. If determinism is true, then our acts are the consequences of the laws of nature and events in the remote past. But it is not up to us what went on before we were born [i.
Therefore, the consequences of these things including our present acts are not up to us. Fischer , ch. Like the Simple Conditional Analysis , a virtue of the Categorical Analysis is that it spells out clearly the kind of ability appealed to in its analysis of the freedom to do otherwise, but like the Simple Conditional Analysis , critics have argued that the sense of ability it captures is not the sense at the heart of free will.
The objection here, though, is not that the analysis is too permissive or weak, but rather that it is too restrictive or strong. While there have been numerous different replies along these lines e. See the entry on arguments for incompatibilism for a more extensive discussion of and bibliography for the Consequence Argument , the most influential of these objections is due to David Lewis Weak Thesis I am able to do something such that, if I did it, a law of nature would be broken.
While it is absurd to think that humans are able to do something that is a violation of a law of nature or causes a law of nature to be broken, there is nothing incredible, so Lewis claimed, in thinking that humans are able to do something such that if they did it, a law of nature would be broken. In essence, Lewis is arguing that incompatibilists like van Inwagen have failed to adequately motivate the restrictiveness of the Categorical Analysis.
But there is a different and often overlooked problem for Lewis: the weak ability seems to be too weak. One might think that ii and iii are incompatible with i. Consider again Luke, our agoraphobic. Suppose that his agoraphobia affects him in such a way that he will only intentionally go outside if he chooses to go outside, and yet his agoraphobia makes it impossible for him to make this choice.
Moreover, Luke is not able to choose or cause himself to choose to go outside. Intuitively, this would seem to imply that Luke lacks the freedom to go outside. But this implication does not follow for Lewis. Speak For other important criticisms of Lewis, see Ginet [, ch. Pendergraft Lewis must point out a principled difference between these two cases.
As should be clear from the above, the Simple Conditional Analysis is of no help. However, some recent work by Michael Smith , Kadri Vihvelin ; , and Michael Fara have attempted to fill this gap. It is important to note that Vihvelin  has come to reject the view that free will consists exclusively in the kind of ability analyzed below. Vihvelin , Lewis , This analysis appears to afford Vihvelin the basis for a principled difference between agoraphobics and merely determined agents. But appearances can be deceiving.
The new dispositionalist claims have received some serious criticism, with the majority of the criticisms maintaining that these analyses are still too permissive Clarke ; Whittle ; Franklin b. The Categorical Analysis , and thus incompatibilism about free will and determinism, remains an attractive option for many philosophers precisely because it seems that compatibilists have yet to furnish an analysis of the freedom to do otherwise that implies that phobics clearly lack the ability to choose or do otherwise that is relevant to moral responsibility and yet some merely determined agents have this ability.
Some have tried to avoid these lingering problems for compatibilists by arguing that the freedom to do otherwise is not required for free will or moral responsibility. In a ground-breaking piece, Harry Frankfurt presented a series of thought experiments intended to show that it is possible that agents are morally responsible for their actions and yet they lack the ability to do otherwise. Wolf , 3—4; Fischer , 3; Mele , 17 , then if Frankfurt-style cases show that moral responsibility does not require the ability to do otherwise, then they also show that free will does not require the ability to do otherwise.
Let us consider this challenge in more detail. Imagine, if you will, that Black is a quite nifty and even generally nice neurosurgeon. Jones, meanwhile, knows nothing of this. Fischer , Fischer draws two interrelated conclusions from this case. The first, negative conclusion, is that the ability to do otherwise is not necessary for moral responsibility. Jones is unable to refrain from deciding to vote for Clinton, and yet, so long as Jones decides to vote for Clinton on his own, his decision is free and one for which he is morally responsible.
The second, positive conclusion, is that freedom and responsibility are functions of the actual sequence. What matters is not whether the agent had the ability to do otherwise, but whether he was the source of his actions. The success of Frankfurt-style cases is hotly contested. But if the connection is nondeterministic, then it is possible even in the absence of showing any inclination to decide to vote for Bush, that Jones decides to vote for Bush, and so he retains the ability to do otherwise.
Either way Frankfurt-style cases fail to show that Jones is both morally responsible for his decision and yet is unable to do otherwise. While some have argued that even Frankfurt-style cases that assume determinism are effective see, e. Supposing that Frankfurt-style cases are successful, what exactly do they show? In our view, they show neither that free will and moral responsibility do not require an ability to do otherwise in any sense nor that compatibilism is true. The Consequence Argument raises a powerful challenge to the cogency of compatibilism.
But if Frankfurt-style cases are successful, agents can act freely in the sense relevant to moral responsibility while lacking the ability to do otherwise in the all-in sense. This allows compatibilists to concede that the all-in ability to do otherwise is incompatible with determinism, and yet insist that it is irrelevant to the question of the compatibility of determinism with moral responsibility and perhaps even free will, depending on how we define this cf.
But, of course, showing that an argument for the falsity of compatibilism is irrelevant does not show that compatibilism is true. Thus, if successful, Frankfurt-style cases would be at best the first step in defending compatibilism. The second step must offer an analysis of the kind of sourcehood constitutive of free will that entails that free will is compatible with determinism cf. Fischer At best, Frankfurt-style cases show that the ability to do otherwise in the all-in sense —in the sense defined by the Categorical Analysis —is not necessary for free will or moral responsibility cf.
Franklin To appreciate this, let us assume that in the above Frankfurt-style case Jones lacks the ability to do otherwise in the all-in sense: there is no possible world in which we hold fixed the past and laws and yet Jones does otherwise, since all such worlds include Black and his preparations for preventing Jones from doing otherwise should Jones show any inclination. Even if this is all true, it should take only a little reflection to recognize that in this case Jones is able to do otherwise in certain weaker senses we might attach to that phrase, and compatibilists in fact still think that the ability to do otherwise in some such senses is necessary for free will and moral responsibility.
Consequently, even though Frankfurt-style cases have, as a matter of fact, moved many compatibilists away from emphasizing ability to do otherwise to emphasizing sourcehood, we suggest that this move is best seen as a weakening of the ability-to-do-otherwise condition on moral responsibility. A potentially important exception to this claim is Sartorio , who appealing to some controversial ideas in the metaphysics of causation appears to argue that no sense of the ability to do otherwise is necessary for control in the sense at stake for moral responsibility, but instead what matters is whether the agent is the cause of the action.
In this section, we will assume that Frankfurt-style cases are successful in order to consider two prominent compatibilist attempts to construct analyses of the sourcehood condition though see the entry on compatibilism for a more systematic survey of compatibilist theories of free will. The first, and perhaps most popular, compatibilist model is a reasons-responsiveness model.
While compatibilists develop this kind of account in different ways, the most detailed proposal is due to John Martin Fischer , , , ; Fischer and Ravizza For similar compatibilist treatments of reasons-responsiveness, see Wolf , Wallace , Haji , Nelkin , McKenna , Vargas , Sartorio One mechanism they often discuss is practical deliberation. For example, in the case of Jones discussed above, his decision to vote for Clinton on his own was brought about by the process of practical deliberation.
What must be true of this process, this mechanism, for it to be moderately reasons-responsive? Fischer and Ravizza maintain that moderate reasons-responsiveness consists in two conditions: reasons-receptivity and reasons-reactivity. The second condition is more important for us in the present context. Fischer and Ravizza argue that the kind of reasons-reactivity at stake is weak reasons-reactivity, where this merely requires that there is some possible world in which the laws of nature remain the same, the same mechanism operates, there is a sufficient reason to do otherwise, and the mechanism brings about this the alternative action in response to this sufficient reason 73— Fischer and Ravizza offer a novel and powerful theory of freedom and responsibility, one that has shifted the focus of recent debate to questions of sourcehood.
Moreover, one might argue that this theory is a clear improvement over classical compatibilism with respect to handling cases of phobia. By focusing on mechanisms, Fischer and Ravizza can argue that our agoraphobic Luke is not morally responsible for deciding to refrain from going outside because the mechanism that issues in this action—namely his agoraphobia—is not moderately reasons-responsive. There is no world with the same laws of nature as our own, this mechanism operates, and yet it reacts to a sufficient reason to go outside.
No matter what reasons there are for Luke to go outside, when acting on this mechanism, he will always refrain from going outside cf. As we have just seen, Fischer and Ravizza place clear modal requirements on mechanisms that issue in actions with respect to which agents are free and morally responsible.
Indeed, this should be clear from the very idea of reasons-responsiveness. Whether one is responsive depends not merely on how one does respond, but also on how one would respond. Thus, any account that makes reasons-responsiveness an essential condition of free will is an account that makes the ability to do otherwise, in some sense, necessary for free will Fischer [forthcoming] concedes this point, though, as noted above, the reader should consider Sartorio  as a potential counterexample to this claim.
The second main compatibilist model of sourcehood is an identification model. Accounts of sourcehood of this kind lay stress on self-determination or autonomy: to be the source of her action the agent must self-determine her action. Like the contemporary discussion of the ability to do otherwise, the contemporary discussion of the power of self-determination begins with the failure of classical compatibilism to produce an acceptable definition. While Hobbes seems willing to accept this implication , 78 , most contemporary compatibilists concede that this result is unacceptable.
The idea is that while agents are not or at least may not be identical to any motivations or bundle of motivations , they are identified with a subset of their motivations, rendering these motivations internal to the agent in such a way that any actions brought about by these motivations are self -determined. The identification relation is not an identity relation, but something weaker cf. Bratman , 39n What the precise nature of the identification relation is and to which attitudes an agent stands in this relation is hotly disputed.
Lippert-Rasmussen helpfully divides identification accounts into two main types. The second are authenticity accounts, according to which agents are identified with attitudes that reveal who they truly are But see Shoemaker for an ecumenical account of identification that blends these two accounts. Proposed attitudes to which agents are said to stand in the identification relation include higher-order desires Frankfurt , cares or loves Frankfurt , ; Shoemaker ; Jaworska ; Sripada , self-governing policies Bratman , the desire to make sense of oneself Velleman , , and perceptions or judgments of the good or best Watson ; Stump ; Ekstrom ; Mitchell-Yellin According to classical compatibilists, the only kind of constraint is external e.
Identification theorists have the resources to concede that some constraints are internal. For example, they can argue that our agoraphobic Luke is not free in refraining from going outside even though this decision was caused by his strongest desires because he is not identified with his strongest desires. It is important to note that while we have distinguished reasons-responsive accounts from identification accounts, there is nothing preventing one from combing both elements in a complete analysis of free will.
Even if these reasons-responsive and identification compatibilist accounts of sourcehood might successfully side-step the Consequence Argument, they must come to grips with a second incompatibilist argument: the Manipulation Argument. Suppose Diana succeeds in her plan and Ernie murders Jones as a result of her manipulation. Many judge that Ernie is not morally responsible for murdering Jones even though he satisfies both the reasons-responsive and identification criteria.
There are two possible lines of reply open to compatibilists. On the soft-line reply, compatibilists attempt to show that there is a relevant difference between manipulated agents such as Ernie and agents who satisfy their account McKenna , The problem with this reply is that we can easily imagine Diana creating Ernie so that his murdering Jones is a result not only of a moderately reasons-responsive mechanism, but also a mechanism for which he has taken responsibility. On the hard-line reply, compatibilists concede that, despite initial appearances, the manipulated agent is free and morally responsible and attempt to ameliorate the seeming counterintuitiveness of this concession McKenna , — Some take the lesson of the Manipulation Argument to be that no compatibilist account of sourcehood or self-determination is satisfactory.
Libertarians, while united in endorsing this negative condition on sourcehood, are deeply divided concerning which further positive conditions may be required. It is important to note that while libertarians are united in insisting that compatibilist accounts of sourcehood are insufficient, they are not committed to thinking that the conditions of freedom spelled out in terms either of reasons-responsiveness or of identification are not necessary.
Moreover, while this section focuses on libertarian accounts of sourcehood, we remind readers that most if not all libertarians think that the freedom to do otherwise is also necessary for free will and moral responsibility. There are three main libertarian options for understanding sourcehood or self-determination: non-causal libertarianism Ginet , ; McCann ; Lowe ; Goetz ; Pink , event-causal libertarianism Wiggins ; Kane , , , ; Mele , chs.
Non-causal libertarians contend that exercises of the power of self-determination need not or perhaps even cannot be caused or causally structured. According to this view, we control our volition or choice simply in virtue of its being ours—its occurring in us. We do not exert a special kind of causality in bringing it about; instead, it is an intrinsically active event, intrinsically something we do. While there may be causal influences upon our choice, there need not be, and any such causal influence is wholly irrelevant to understanding why it occurs.
Reasons provide an autonomous, non-causal form of explanation. Provided our choice is not wholly determined by prior factors, it is free and under our control simply in virtue of being ours. Non-causal views have failed to garner wide support among libertarians since, for many, self- determination seems to be an essentially causal notion cf. Most libertarians endorse an event-causal or agent-causal account of sourcehood.
Imagine a would-be accomplice of an assassin believes that his dropping his cigarette is the signal for the assassin to shoot his intended victim and he desires to drop his cigarette and yet this belief and desire so unnerve him that he accidentally drops his cigarette. While the event of dropping the cigarette is caused by a relevant desire and belief it does not seem to be self-determined and perhaps is not even an action [cf. Compatibilists redefine freedom. Although our will is determined by prior events in the causal chain, it is in turn causing and determining our actions.
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Compatibilists say that determinism by our will allows us to take moral responsibility for our actions. Libertarians think the will is free when a choice can be made that is not determined or necessitated by prior events. The will is free when alternative choices could have been made with the same pre-existing conditions. Freedom of the will allows us to say, "I could have chosen and done otherwise. In a deterministic world, everything that happens follows ineluctably from natural or divine laws.
There is but one possible future. In the more common sense view, we are free to shape our future, to be creative, to be unpredictable. From the ancient Epicureans to modern quantum mechanical indeterminists, some thinkers have suggested that chance or randomness was an explanation for freedom, an explanation for the unpredictability of a free and creative act. A truly random event would break the causal chain and nullify determinism, providing room for human freedom. Freedom of human action does require the randomness of absolute unpredictability, but if our actions are the direct consequence of a random event, we cannot feel responsible.
That would be mere indeterminism , as unsatisfactory as determinism. Moreover, indeterminism appears to threaten reason itself, which seems to require certainty and causality to establish truth , knowledge , and the laws of nature. Most philosophers in all ages have been committed to one or more of the dogmas of determinism , refusing to admit any indeterminism or chance.
They described the case of "indeterminism is true" as a disaster for reason. They said chance was "obscure to human reason. Many scientists agree that science is predicated on strict causality and predictability, without which science itself, considered as the search for causal laws, would be impossible. For those scientists, laws of nature would not be "laws" if they were only statistical and probabilistic.
Ironically, some laws of nature turn out to be thoroughly statistical and our predictions merely probable, though with probabilities approaching certainty. Fortunately, for large objects the departure from deterministic laws is practically unobservable. Probabilities become indistinguishable from certainties, and we can show there is an " adequate determinism " and a " soft causality.
In the next chapter, we review the history of the free will problem. We then summarize the requirements for free will, and propose a working solution based on the past and current ideas of those philosophers and scientists who have addressed the free will problem. Recent debate on the free will problem uses a taxonomy of positions that has caused a great deal of confusion, partly logical but mostly linguistic.
Let's take a quick look at the terminology. At the top level, there are two mutually exclusive positions, Determinism and Indeterminism. Under Determinism, two more positions conflict, Compatibilism and Incompatibilism. Instead of directly discussing models for free will, the debate is conducted indirectly. Is free will compatible with determinism? Most philosophers answer yes and describe themselves as compatibilists.