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Summary Most philosophers believe that almost all normal human beings possess free will, but a minority are skeptics. The standard grounds for skepticism has been incompatibilism: hard determinists believe that determinism is true, and incompatible with free will. More recently, a number of philosophers have conjoined a conditional hard determinism with a belief that free will is incompatible with indeterminism, because indeterninism makes action too much a matter of chance. A very few philosophers advocate skepticism on other grounds: luck, naturalism, or the epiphenomenality of conscious thought. It is standard, though not universal, to hold that if agents lack free will they lack moral responsibility. This alleged link between free will and moral responsibility has sometimes made the debate over skepticism impassioned.
Key works Hard determinism has few defenders today, partly because most physicists doubt that determinism is true. Its classic statements date back to the time when Newtonian physics reigned; see D'Holbach unknown for a well-known example. The most influential contemporary skeptics argue that free will is incompatible with both determinism and indeterminism. Pereboom 2001 defends incompatibilism combined with skepticism about the existence of the agent-causal power that, alleged, would alone suffice for free will. Strawson argues that free will would require ultimate control, which is available only to a causa sui. Levy 2011 argues that we lack free will regardless of the causal structure of the universe, because free will is incompatible with the pervasiveness of luck. 
Introductions Pereboom 2007;Pereboom 2011; Caruso 2013
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  1. Robert F. Allen, Free Will and Evaluation: Remarks on Noel Hendrickson's "Free Will Nihilism and the Question of Method".
    Noel Hendrickson believes that free will is separable from the “evaluative intuitions” with which it has been traditionally associated. But what are these intuitions? Answer: principles such as PAP, Β, and UR (6). The thesis that free will is separable from these principles, however, is hardly unique, as they are also eschewed by compatibilists who are unwilling to abdicate altogether evaluative intuitions. We are told in addition that there are “metaphysical senses” of free will that are not “relevant to responsibility” (...)
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  2. Andrew M. Bailey (2013). Hard Luck: How Luck Undermines Free Will and Moral Responsibility. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
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  3. Ansgar Beckermann (2005). Free Will in a Natural Order of the World. In Christian Nimtz & Ansgar Beckermann (eds.), Philosophie Und/Als Wissenschaft. Mentis.
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  4. Susan Blackmore (2013). Living Without Free Will. In Gregg Caruso (ed.), Exploring the Illusion of Free Will and Moral Responsibility. Lexington Books. 161.
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  5. Susan Blackmore, Thomas W. Clark, Mark Hallett, John-Dylan Haynes, Ted Honderich, Neil Levy, Thomas Nadelhoffer, Shaun Nichols, Michael Pauen, Derk Pereboom, Susan Pockett, Maureen Sie, Saul Smilansky, Galen Strawson, Daniela Goya Tocchetto, Manuel Vargas, Benjamin Vilhauer & Bruce Waller (2013). Exploring the Illusion of Free Will and Moral Responsibility. Lexington Books.
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  6. Hilary Bok (2001). Review of Metaphilosophy and Free Will by Richard Double. [REVIEW] Mind 110 (438):452-455.
  7. M. C. Bradley (1974). Kenny on Hard Determinism. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 52 (December):202-211.
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  8. Jean E. Burns (1999). Volition and Physical Laws. Journal of Consciousness Studies 6 (10):27-47.
    The concept of free will is central to our lives, as we make day-to-day decisions, and to our culture, in our ethical and legal systems. The very concept implies that what we choose can produce a change in our physical environment, whether by pressing a switch to turn out electric lights or choosing a long-term plan of action which can affect many people. Yet volition is not a part of presently known physical laws and it is not even known whether (...)
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  9. Gregg Caruso (2014). Free Will Skepticism and Its Implications: An Argument for Optimism. Scientia Salon (2014).
  10. Gregg Caruso (2014). Précis of Derk Pereboom’s Free Will, Agency, and Meaning in Life. Science, Religion and Culture 1 (3):178-201.
    Derk Pereboom’s Free Will, Agency, and Meaning in Life (2014) provides the most lively and comprehensive defense of free will skepticism in the literature. It contains a reworked and expanded version of the view he first developed in Living without Free Will (2001). Important objections to the early book are answered, some slight modifications are introduced, and the overall account is significantly embellished—for example, Pereboom proposes a new account of rational deliberation consistent with the belief that one’s actions are causally (...)
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  11. Gregg Caruso (2014). (Un)Just Deserts: The Dark Side of Moral Responsibility. Southwest Philosophy Review 30 (1):27-38.
    What would be the consequence of embracing skepticism about free will and/or desert-based moral responsibility? What if we came to disbelieve in moral responsibility? What would this mean for our interpersonal relationships, society, morality, meaning, and the law? What would it do to our standing as human beings? Would it cause nihilism and despair as some maintain? Or perhaps increase anti-social behavior as some re- cent studies have suggested (Vohs and Schooler 2008; Baumeister, Masi- campo, and DeWall 2009)? Or would (...)
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  12. Gregg Caruso (ed.) (2013). Exploring the Illusion of Free Will and Moral Responsibility. Lexington Books.
    This book explores the philosophical and scientific arguments for free will skepticism and their implications. Skepticism about free will and moral responsibility has been on the rise in recent years. In fact, a significant number of philosophers, psychologists, and neuroscientists now either doubt or outright deny the existence of free will and/or moral responsibility—and the list of prominent skeptics appears to grow by the day. Given the profound importance that the concepts of free will and moral responsibility play in our (...)
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  13. Gregg Caruso (2013). Introduction: Exploring the Illusion of Free Will and Moral Responsibility. In Gregg D. Caruso (ed.), Exploring the Illusion of Free Will and Moral Responsibility. Lexington Books.
    This introductory chapter discusses the philosophical and scientific arguments for free will skepticism and their implications--including the debate between Saul Smilansky's "illusionism," Thomas Nadelhoffer's "disillusionism," Shaun Nichols' "anti-revolution," and the "optimistic skepticism" of Derk Pereboom, Bruce Waller, Tamler Sommers, and others.
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  14. Gregg Caruso (2012). Free Will and Consciousness: A Determinist Account of the Illusion of Free Will. Lexington Books.
    In recent decades, with advances in the behavioral, cognitive, and neurosciences, the idea that patterns of human behavior may ultimately be due to factors beyond our conscious control has increasingly gained traction and renewed interest in the age-old problem of free will. In this book I examine both the traditional philosophical problems long associated with the question of free will, such as the relationship between determinism and free will, as well as recent experimental and theoretical work directly related to consciousness (...)
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  15. Rubén Casado (2011). The Ineffectiveness of the Denial of Free Will. Philosophical Investigations 34 (4):367-380.
    Free will, before being an object of beliefs or theories susceptible of verification, is the omnipresent supposition of our conscious life. This paper claims that this omnipresence, even though it is not enough to validate theoretically free will, entails two significant consequences. First, that free will is the essential presumption of our actions, without which they would become incomprehensible. Second, that all denial of this – a rational action in itself – presupposes that which is denied.
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  16. Daniel Cohen (2006). Openness, Accidentality and Responsibility. Philosophical Studies 127 (3):581 - 597.
    In this paper, I present a novel argument for scepticism about moral responsibility. Unlike traditional arguments, this argument doesn’t depend on contingent empirical claims about the truth or falsity of causal determinism. Rather, it is argued that the conceptual conditions of responsibility are jointly incompatible. In short, when an agent is responsible for an action, it must be true both that the action was non-accidental, and that it was open to the agent not to perform that action. However, as I (...)
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  17. Stefaan E. Cuypers (2004). The Trouble with Harry: Compatibilist Free Will Internalism and Manipulation. Journal of Philosophical Research 29 (February):235-254.
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  18. Dirk De Ridder, Jan Verplaetse & Sven Vanneste (2013). The Predictive Brain and the “Free Will” Illusion. Frontiers in Psychology 4.
    The predictive brain and the “free will” illusion.
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  19. Jasper Doomen (2011). Cornering 'Free Will'. Journal of Mind and Behavior 32 (3):165-179.
    In order to find a convincing position in the “free will” debate, two sorts of determinism are distinguished. The merits of encompassing determinism, which is determinism as it is usually understood, and individual determinism, which focuses on the agent, are brought to the fore. The existence of encompassing determinism cannot conclusively be proven, but it may be demonstrated, on the basis of individual determinism, that actions come about in a determined way, leaving no room for “free will.” In order to (...)
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  20. Richard Double (2004). The Ethical Advantages of Free Will Subjectivism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 69 (2):411-422.
    Adopting meta-level Free Will Subjectivism is one among several ways to maintain that persons never experience moral freedom in their choices. The other ways of arguing against moral freedom I consider are presented by Saul Smilansky, Ted Honderich, Bruce Waller, Galen Strawson, and Derk Pereboom. In this paper, without arguing for the acceptance of free will subjectivism, I argue that subjectivism has some moral and theoretical advantages over its kindred theories.
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  21. Richard Double (2003). Living Without Free Will. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (2):494-497.
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  22. Richard Double (2002). Metaethics, Metaphilosophy, and Free Will Subjectivism. In Robert H. Kane (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Free Will. Oxford University Press.
  23. Richard Double (1996). Metaphilosophy and Free Will. Oxford University Press.
    Why is debate over the free will problem so intractable? In this broad and stimulating look at the philosophical enterprise, Richard Double uses the free will controversy to build on the subjectivist conclusion he developed in The Non-Reality of Free Will (OUP 1991). Double argues that various views about free will--e.g., compatibilism, incompatibilism, and even subjectivism--are compelling if, and only if, we adopt supporting metaphilosophical views. Because metaphilosophical considerations are not provable, we cannot show any free will theory to be (...)
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  24. Richard Double (1994). How to Frame the Free Will Problem. Philosophical Studies 75 (1-2):149-72.
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  25. Richard Double (1991). The Non-Reality of Free Will. Oxford University Press.
    The traditional disputants in the free will discussion--the libertarian, soft determinist, and hard determinist--agree that free will is a coherent concept, while disagreeing on how the concept might be satisfied and whether it can, in fact, be satisfied. In this innovative analysis, Richard Double offers a bold new argument, rejecting all of the traditional theories and proposing that the concept of free will cannot be satisfied, no matter what the nature of reality. Arguing that there is unavoidable conflict within our (...)
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  26. Göran Duus-Otterström (2008). Betting Against Hard Determinism. Res Publica 14 (3):219-235.
    The perennial fear associated with the free will problem is the prospect of hard determinism being true. Unlike prevalent attempts to reject hard determinism by defending compatibilist analyses of freedom and responsibility, this article outlines a pragmatic argument to the effect that we are justified in betting that determinism is false even though we may retain the idea that free will and determinism are incompatible. The basic argument is that as long as we accept that libertarian free will is worth (...)
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  27. William Dwyer (2001). Do Knowledge, Ethics, and Liberty Require Free Will? [REVIEW] Journal of Ayn Rand Studies 3 (1):83 - 108.
    William Dwyer reviews Initiative: Human Agency and Society, in which Tibor Machan argues that free will is a prerequisite for knowledge, ethics, and political liberty. Machan criticizes Hayek, Stigler, and "public choice" economics for their economic determinism and for discounting the importance of abstract ideas. Despite making a good case against environmental and economic determinism, Machan fails adequately to defend his central thesis that free will exists and that it is required for normative values.
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  28. John Martin Fischer (ed.) (2007). Four Views on Free Will. Blackwell Pub..
    Focusing on the concepts and interactions of free will, moral responsibility, and determinism, this text represents the most up-to-date account of the four major positions in the free will debate. Four serious and well-known philosophers explore the opposing viewpoints of libertarianism, compatibilism, hard incompatibilism, and revisionism The first half of the book contains each philosopher’s explanation of his particular view; the second half allows them to directly respond to each other’s arguments, in a lively and engaging conversation Offers the reader (...)
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  29. John Martin Fischer (ed.) (2005). Free Will: Critical Concepts in Philosophy. Routledge.
    Over the last three decades there has been a tremendous amount of philosophical work in the Anglo-American tradition on the cluster of topics pertaining to Free Will. Of course, this work has in many instances built on and extended the historical treatments of this great area of philosophical interest. The issues range from fairly abstract philosophical questions about the logic of arguments about human freedom (and its relationship to prior predictability of our choices and actions, or God's foreknowledge, or causal (...)
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  30. John Martin Fischer (1992). The Non-Reality of Free Will. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 52 (4):1004-1007.
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  31. C. M. Fisher (2001). If There Were No Free Will. Medical Hypotheses 56:364-366.
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  32. E. M. Forster (1918). Book Review:Fate and Free Will. Ardaser Sorabjee N. Wadia. [REVIEW] Ethics 28 (2):284-.
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  33. Corbin Fowler (1992). The Non-Reality of Free Will. Teaching Philosophy 15 (2):199-200.
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  34. Thomas Fuchs & Grit Schwarzkopf (eds.) (2010). Verantwortlichkeit - Nur Eine Illusion? Universitätsverlag Winter.
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  35. Carl Ginet (2002). Book Review. Living Without Free Will. Derk Pereboom. [REVIEW] Journal of Ethics 6 (3):305-309.
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  36. Ishtiyaque Haji & Justin Caouette (eds.) (2013). Free Will and Moral Responsibility. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
    Determinism is, roughly, the thesis that facts about the past and the laws of nature entail all truths. A venerable, age-old dilemma concerning responsibility distils to this: if either determinism is true or it is not true, we lack "responsibility-grounding" control. Either determinism is true or it is not true. So, we lack responsibility-grounding control. Deprived of such control, no one is ever morally responsible for anything. A number of the freshly-minted essays in this collection address aspects of this dilemma. (...)
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  37. Sam Harris (2012). Free Will. Free Press.
    A BELIEF IN FREE WILL touches nearly everything that human beings value. It is difficult to think about law, politics, religion, public policy, intimate relationships, morality—as well as feelings of remorse or personal achievement—without first imagining that every person is the true source of his or her thoughts and actions. And yet the facts tell us that free will is an illusion. In this enlightening book, Sam Harris argues that this truth about the human mind does not undermine morality or (...)
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  38. Gerald K. Harrison (2009). Hooray! We're Not Morally Responsible! Think 8 (23):87-95.
    Being morally responsible means being blameworthy and deserving of punishment if we do wrong and praiseworthy and deserving reward if we do right. In what follows I shall argue that in all likelihood we're not morally responsible. None of us. Ever.
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  39. William Hasker (1997). Metaphilosophy and Free Will. [REVIEW] Review of Metaphysics 51 (1):146-146.
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  40. Noel Hendrickson (2007). Improving the Metaphysical Argument Against Free Will. Philosophical Papers 36 (2):271-294.
    Galen Strawson and Saul Smilansky have offered a well-known argument that free will does not exist because the control involved is so robust that it would require influence over an infinite series of prior decisions. (Strawson 1986, 1994, 2002, Smilansky 2000, 2002) Unfortunately, while this metaphysical argument has attracted widespread attention, it has garnered few adherents. Thus, in order to improve the metaphysical argument against free will, I offer a new interpretation of the argument, its fundamental principle, and its relationship (...)
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  41. Susan L. Hurley (2000). Is Responsibility Essentially Impossible? Philosophical Studies 99 (2):229-268.
    Part 1 reviews the general question of when elimination of an entity orproperty is warranted, as opposed to revision of our view of it. Theconnections of this issue with the distinction between context-drivenand theory-driven accounts of reference and essence are probed.Context-driven accounts tend to be less hospitable to eliminativism thantheory-driven accounts, but this tendency should not be overstated.However, since both types of account give essences explanatory depth,eliminativist claims associated with supposed impossible essences areproblematic on both types of account.Part 2 applies (...)
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  42. Michael Anthony Istvan (2011). Concerning the Resilience of Galen Strawson's Basic Argument. Philosophical Studies 155 (3):399-420.
  43. Robert Kane (ed.) (forthcoming). Oxford Handbook on Free Will, 2nd Edition. Oxford UP.
  44. Robert Kane (ed.) (2011). Handbook of Free Will, 2nd Ed.
  45. Robert H. Kane (ed.) (2002). The Oxford Handbook of Free Will. Oxford University Press.
    This comprehensive reference provides an exhaustive guide to current scholarship on the perennial problem of Free Will--perhaps the most hotly and voluminously debated of all philosophical problems. While reference is made throughout to the contributions of major thinkers of the past, the emphasis is on recent research. The essays, most of which are previously unpublished, combine the work of established scholars with younger thinkers who are beginning to make significant contributions. Taken as a whole, the Handbook provides an engaging and (...)
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  46. Neil Levy (forthcoming). Luck and Agent-Causation: A Response to Franklin. Criminal Law and Philosophy:1-6.
    Christopher Franklin argues that the hard luck view, which I have recently defended, is misnamed: the arguments turn on absence of control and not on luck. He also argues that my objections to agent-causal libertarianism depend on a demand, for a contrastive explanation that guarantees the choice the agent makes, which would be question-begging in the dialectical context. In response to the first objection, I argue that though Franklin may be right that it is absence of control that matters to (...)
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  47. Neil Levy (2012). Skepticism and Sanction: The Benefits of Rejecting Moral Responsibility. Law and Philosophy 31 (5):477-493.
    It is sometimes objected that we cannot adopt skepticism about moral responsibility, because the criminal justice system plays an indispensable social function. In this paper, I examine the implications of moral responsibility skepticism for the punishment of those convicted of crime, with special attention to recent arguments by Saul Smilansky. Smilansky claims that the skeptic is committed to fully compensating the incarcerated for their detention, and that this compensation would both be too costly to be practical and would remove the (...)
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  48. Neil Levy (2011). Hard Luck: How Luck Undermines Free Will and Moral Responsibility. Oxford University Press.
    The concept of luck has played an important role in debates concerning free will and moral responsibility, yet participants in these debates have relied upon an intuitive notion of what luck is. Neil Levy develops an account of luck, which is then applied to the free will debate. He argues that the standard luck objection succeeds against common accounts of libertarian free will, but that it is possible to amend libertarian accounts so that they are no more vulnerable to luck (...)
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  49. Benjamin Libet (1992). The Neural Time - Factor in Perception, Volition and Free Will. Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 97 (2):255 - 272.
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  50. Christian List & Peter Menzies, My Brain Made Me Do It: The Exclusion Argument Against Free Will, and What’s Wrong with It.
    In this short paper, we offer a critical assessment of the "exclusion argument against free will". While the exclusion argument has received much attention in the literature on mental causation, it is seldom discussed in relation to free will. However, in a more informal way, the argument has become increasingly influential in neuroscientific discussions of free will, where it plausibly underlies the view that advances in neuroscience, with its mechanistic picture of how the brain generates thought and behaviour, seriously challenge (...)
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