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Free Will

Edited by Neil Levy (Oxford University, Macquarie University)
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Summary Most philosophers and laypeople believe that under most conditions human beings, perhaps along with some other animals, possess a power of selecting and implementing actions which is special. This power is very widely held to be a necessary condition of responsibility for actions, for autonomy and for being entitled to take pride in (or to feel shame for) one's achievements. The free will debate in philosophy aims at elucidating the nature of that power as well as at identifying potential threats to it and explaining how it can exist. A major focus of the debate is the compatibility of free will with causal determinism. A minority of philosophers deny that we have free will because free will is incompatible with causal determinism.
Key works The free will debate is ancient in Western philosophy, but was first developed systematically by scholastic thinkers concerning about the relationship free will and God's foreknowledge (eg Ockham 1983). The rise of mechanistic science brought determinism to the forefront and played an important role in the development of compatibilism by philosophers like Hume (Hume 1777). The advent of Frankfurt-style cases (Frankfurt 1969) transformed the late 20th century debate, by allowing compatibilists to dispense with the principle of alternate possibilities (see McKenna & Widerker 2003 for important contributions to this debate). At the same time, important new libertarian views have been developed by thinkers like Robert Kane (Kane 1996) and Timothy O'Connor (O'Connor 2000). Very recently, there has been a revival of free will skepticism (Strawson 1994; Levy 2011).
Introductions O'Connor 2005;McKenna 2008; Clarke & Capes ms
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Subcategories:See also:History/traditions: Free Will
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  1. Gustav Alexandrie (2015). Recension av Ann Heberlein, Etik: människa, moral, mening. [REVIEW] Filosofisk Tidskrift 36 (1):43-48.
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  2. Douglas Browning (1963). Free Acts and Free Men. Southern Journal of Philosophy 1 (2):15-20.
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  3. E. S. C. (1962). Free Action. Review of Metaphysics 16 (1):166-167.
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  4. L. C. (1966). Freedom, Determinism, Indeterminism. Review of Metaphysics 20 (2):379-379.
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  5. L. C. (1966). Human Freedom and the Self. Review of Metaphysics 19 (3):583-583.
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  6. Steven M. Cahn (2009). Freedom or Determinism? In Exploring Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology. Oxford University Press
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  7. Timothy Chambers (2003). Free Will Defense: Do the Ends Justify the Means? Philosophia Christi 5 (1):251-258.
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  8. Tom Clark (1999). Keeping the Dogs of Determinism at Bay. The Philosophers' Magazine 6 (6):49-50.
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  9. Philip Clayton (2009). Constraint and Freedom in the Movement From Quantum Physics to Theology. In F. LeRon Shults, Nancey C. Murphy & Robert J. Russell (eds.), Philosophy, Science and Divine Action. Brill
  10. Richard H. Corrigan (forthcoming). Could God Know What I Would Freely Do? Philosophical Frontiers: Essays and Emerging Thoughts.
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  11. Florian Cova & Hichem Naar (forthcoming). Do Intuitions About Frankfurt-Style Cases Rest on an Internalist Prejudice? Philosophical Explorations:1-16.
    “Frankfurt-style cases” (FSCs) are widely considered as having refuted the Principle of Alternate Possibilities (PAP) by presenting cases in which an agent is morally responsible even if he could not have done otherwise. However, Neil Levy has recently argued that FSCs fail because (i) our intuitions about cases involving counterfactual interveners (CIs) are inconsistent (we accept that the mere presence of CIs is enough to make us gain but not lose responsibility-underwriting capacities), and (ii) this inconsistency is best explained by (...)
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  12. F. D. D. (1975). The Cosmology of Freedom. Review of Metaphysics 28 (4):762-762.
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  13. Victorino De La Fuente (1967). The Normal Pattern of Man's Ethical Behaviour. New York, Pageant Press.
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  14. Gabriel De Marco (forthcoming). ‘Determinism’ Is Just Fine: A Reply to Scott Sehon. Philosophia:1-9.
    Scott Sehon recently argued that the standard notion of determinism employed in the Consequence Argument makes it so that, if our world turns out to be deterministic, then an interventionist God is logically impossible. He further argues that because of this, we should revise our notion of determinism. In this paper I show that Sehon’s argument for the claim that the truth of determinism, in this sense, would make an interventionist God logically impossible ultimately fails. I then offer and respond (...)
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  15. William James Eugene Dempsey (1929). Freedom or Necessity. [Washington].
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  16. Daniel C. Dennett (1973). Mechanism and Responsibility. In Ted Honderich (ed.), Essays on Freedom of Action. Routledge and Kegan Paul 157--84.
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  17. Daniel Deudney (1999). Firming the Foundations : Constitutionalizing and Memorializing the Free World Complex. In Josef Janning, Charles Kupchan & Dirk Rumberg (eds.), Civic Engagement in the Atlantic Community. Bertelsmann Foundation Publishers
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  18. Thomas Digby (1983). Corporations and Morality. Review of Metaphysics 36 (4):921-922.
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  19. Jörg Disse (2009). Teilhabe and Gottes Freiheit : Zum Freiheitsverständnis in Hans Urs von Balthasars Theodramatik. In Edith Düsing, Werner Neuer & Hans-Dieter Klein (eds.), Geist Und Heiliger Geist: Philosophische Und Theologische Modelle von Paulus Und Johannes Bis Barth Und Balthasar. Königshausen & Neumann
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  20. Jörg Disse (1994). Kierkegaards Phänomenologie der Freiheitserfahrung. Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 56 (4):782-783.
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  21. Jörg Disse (1991). Kierkegaards Phänomenologie der Freiheitserfahrung. Verlag Karl Alber.
    Das Buch befasst sich mit der Struktur konkreter Freiheitserfahrung am Beispiel der Existenzanalyse Kierkegaards in seinen pseudonymen Hauptwerken. Entgegen dem (Vor-)Urteil der Moderne, Freiheit könne nur als uneingeschränkte Autonomie adäquat verstanden werden, wird mit Kierkegaards Phänomenologie konkreten Existierens Freiheit als eine im Gottesverhältnis gipfelnde Dialektik von Autonomie und Abhängigkeit dargestellt. Grundlage der Interpretation bildet die Auslegung von Kierkegaaards Existenzstadien als einer Theorie verschiedener Freiheitsstadien, von der aus das Verhältnis von Freiheit und Endlichkeit, Freiheit und Gottesverhältnis sowie Freiheit und Objektivität expliziert (...)
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  22. Guy Douglas (1999). More Elbow Room. The Philosophers' Magazine 6 (6):37-39.
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  23. Steven M. Duncan (2012). Yeomans, Christopher. Freedom and Reflection: Hegel and the Logic of Agency. Review of Metaphysics 66 (1):174-175.
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  24. Berkley B. Eddins (1963). Empiricism, Necessity and Freedom. Review of Metaphysics 16 (3):556 - 558.
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  25. Matthew C. Eshleman (2010). What is It Like to Be Free? In Jonathan Webber (ed.), Reading Sartre: On Phenomenology and Existentialism. Routledge
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  26. Robert M. Fan (1995). The Social Psychology of Free Will and Determinism. In E. Barker (ed.), Lse on Freedom. Lse Books 57.
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  27. Robert M. Farr (1995). The Social Psychology of Free Will and Determinism. In E. Barker (ed.), Lse on Freedom. Lse Books 57.
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  28. Joel Feinberg (1974). Doing and Deserving: Essays in the Theory of Responsibility. Journal of Philosophy 71 (3):90-96.
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  29. F. Feldman, Responsibility as a Condition of Desert + a Rejoinder to Smilansky,Saul.
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  30. John Martin Fischer & Mark Ravizza (1999). Freedom and Control. The Philosophers' Magazine 6 (6):51-52.
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  31. John Martin Fischer & Mark Ravizza (1991). Responsibility and Inevitability. Ethics 101 (2):258-278.
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  32. Desmond J. Fitzgerald (1963). Freedom, Determinism and Moral Responsibility. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 37:81-84.
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  33. Paul Fitzgerald (1984). Time, Action and Necessity. Review of Metaphysics 37 (3):621-623.
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  34. M. Forge (1998). Responsibility and the Scientist. In Martin Bridgstock (ed.), Science, Technology, and Society: An Introduction. Cambridge University Press 40.
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  35. Harry Frankfurt (2009). Inadvertence and Moral Responsibility. Ideas Y Valores 58 (141):11-24.
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  36. Harry Frankfurt (2008). “Inadvertence And Responsibility”. Studies in Social Justice:1-15.
    Against the view of certain philosophers, such as Thomas Nagel, I defend the common sense belief that people are not morally responsible for what they do or bring about inadvertently. I consider what response we might reasonably expect from a person who inadvertently does or brings about some event or condition that is manifestly undesirable or bad; and I suggest that we might reasonably expect such a person not to feel guilty but, rather, to feel embarrassed by his or her (...)
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  37. Harry Frankfurt (1999). Responses. Journal of Ethics 3 (4):369-374.
    This essay consists in my replies to Professors John Martin Fischer, Patricia Greenspan, Eleonore Stump, Peter van Inwagen and Gary Watson regarding various aspects of my analysis of moral responsibility.
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  38. R. L. Franklin (1983). Freewill, Determinism and the Sciences. Diogenes 31 (123):50-68.
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  39. R. L. Franklin (1968). Freewill and Determinism. New York, Humanities Press.
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  40. M. G. (1973). The Nature of Moral Responsibility. Review of Metaphysics 27 (1):155-156.
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  41. Shan Gao, The Basis of Indeterminism.
    We show that the motion of particles may be essentially discontinuous and random.
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  42. Jorge GarcÍa-gÓmez (1987). Moral Responsibility and Practice in the Life-World. Analecta Husserliana 22:187.
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  43. David Gartman (1987). Reply to Fischer. Sociological Theory 5 (2):202-203.
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  44. Eileen A. Gavin (1972). Determinism. Philosophical Studies 21:299-301.
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  45. Mary Gergen (1994). Free Will and Psychotherapy: Complaints of the Draughtsmen's Daughters. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 14 (1):13-24.
    Free will is discussed from a feminist/social constructionist perspective, especially in relationship to therapy. According to many psychological studies, women are perceived as less likely to exercise their free will and to suffer serious psychological consequences. Feminist critiques challenge this argument and the underlying liberal humanist image of the fully human being as an individual who is endowed with free will. It is stressed that within the binary construction of gender difference, the qualities associated with the free willed individual are (...)
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  46. Martin Edgar Gerwin (1985). Causality, Agency, Explanation: A Perspective on Free Will and the Problem of Evil. Dissertation, Princeton University
    The starting point of this essay is the theological problem of evil and the argument known as the Free Will Defence. I argue that the construction of a successful Free Will Defence requires one to adopt a libertarian account of human free will; and the attempt to defend libertarianism leads to an examination of causality and explanation. ;The theory of explanation developed here is pluralistic, in that it recognizes differing patterns of explanation as valid. At the same time it is (...)
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  47. John D. Glenn Jr (2012). The Very Idea of Free Will. Southwest Philosophy Review 27 (1):65-71.
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  48. Angela de Castro Gomes (1997). A Construção de Mitos E Os Usos Do Passado Nacional: Vargas E Perón. História 16:109-130.
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  49. Liran Shia Gordon (2015). On Truth, the Truth of Existence, and the Existence of Truth: A Dialogue with the Thought of Duns Scotus. Philosophy and Theology 27 (2):389-425.
    In order to make sense of Scotus’s claim that rationality is perfected only by the will, a Scotistic doctrine of truth is developed in a speculative way. It is claimed that synthetic a priori truths are truths of the will, which are existential truths. This insight holds profound theological implications and is used on the one hand to criticize Kant's conception of existence, and on the other hand, to offer another explanation of the sense according to which the existence of (...)
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  50. W. Matthews Grant (2002). Aquinas and the Free Will Defense. Dissertation, Fordham University
    The dissertation is divided into two parts. The first part constitutes a critique of the two most popular versions of the Free Will Defense to the problem of moral evil, one based on a neo-Molinist account of the relationship between providence and freedom, the other on the movement known as Open God Theology. I argue that the Molinist version fails, because we have reason to reject its doctrine of Middle Knowledge. I maintain that the Open God version fails in its (...)
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