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Summary Libertarians believe that free will is incompatible with causal determinism, and agents have free will. They therefore deny that causal determinism is true. There are three major categories of libertarians. Event-causal libertarians believe that free actions are indeterministically caused by prior events. Agent-causal libertarians believe that agents indeterministically cause free actions. Non-causal libertarians typically believe that free actions are constituted by basic mental actions, such as a decision or choice.
Key works In the contemporary debate, event-causal libertarianism has been most powerfully defended by Robert Kane; Kane 1996 is the most complete statement of his position. O'Connor 2000 is perhaps the best articulated defence of agent-causation. Ginet 1990 and McCann 1998 are influential defences of non-causal theories. Clarke 2003 is careful and penetrating overview.
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  1. [author unknown], .
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  2. Richard Acworth (1963). Smart on Free-Will. Mind 72 (286):271-272.
  3. Roksana Alavi (2005). Robert Kane, Free Will, and Neuro-Indeterminism. Philo 8 (2):95-108.
    In this paper I argue that Robert Kane’s defense of event-causal libertarianism, as presented in Responsibility, Luck, and Chance: Reflections on Free Will and Indeterminism, fails because his event-causal reconstruction is incoherent. I focus on the notions of efforts and self-forming actions essential to his defense.
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  4. Robert F. Allen (2005). Free Will and Indeterminism: Robert Kane's Libertarianism. Journal of Philosophical Research 30:341-355.
    Drawing on Aristotle’s notion of “ultimate responsibility,” Robert Kane argues that to be exercising a free will an agent must have taken some character forming decisions for which there were no sufficient conditions or decisive reasons.1 That is, an agent whose will is free not only had the ability to develop other dispositions, but could have exercised that ability without being irrational. To say it again, a person has a free will just in case her character is the product of (...)
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  5. Robert Francis Allen (2010). Free Will and Indeterminism. Journal of Philosophical Research 30:341-355.
    Drawing on Aristotle’s notion of “ultimate responsibility,” Robert Kane argues that to be exercising a free will an agent must have taken some character forming decisions for which there were no sufficient conditions or decisive reasons. That is, an agent whose will is free not only had the ability to develop values and beliefs besides those that presently make up her motives, but could have exercised that ability without being irrational. An agent wills freely, on this view, by beingultimately responsible (...)
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  6. M. Almeida & M. Bernstein (2003). Lucky Libertarianism. Philosophical Studies 22 (2):93-119.
    Perhaps the greatest impediment to a viable libertarianism is the provision of a satisfactory explanation of how actions that are undetermined by an agent''s character can still be under the control of, or up to, the agent. The luck problem has been most assiduously examined by Robert Kane who supplies a detailed account of how this problem can be resolved. Although Kane''s theory is innovative, insightful, and more resourceful than most of his critics believe, it ultimately cannot account for the (...)
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  7. Paul C. Anders, Joshua C. Thurow & Kenneth Hochstetter (2014). On Counterfactuals of Libertarian Freedom: Is There Anything I Would Have Done If I Could Have Done Otherwise? American Philosophical Quarterly 51 (1):85-94.
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  8. W. S. Anglin (1990). Free Will and the Christian Faith. Oxford University Press.
    Libertarians such as J.R. Lucas have abandoned traditional Christian doctrines because they cannot reconcile them with the freedom of the will. Traditional Christian thinkers such as Augustine have repudiated libertarianism because they cannot reconcile it with the dogmas of the Faith. In Free Will and the Christian Faith, W.S. Anglin demonstrates that free will and traditional Christianity are ineed compatible. He examines, and solves, puzzles about the relationships between free will and omnipotence, omniscience, and God's goodness, using the idea of (...)
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  9. Takuo Aoyama, Shogo Shimizu & Yuki Yamada (2015). Free Will and the Divergence Problem. Annals of the Japan Association for Philosophy of Science 23:1-18.
    This paper presents what the authors call the ‘divergence problem’ regarding choosing between different future possibilities. As is discussed in the first half, the central issue of the problem is the difficulty of temporally locating the ‘active cause’ on the modal divergent diagram. In the second half of this paper, we discuss the ‘second-person freedom’ which is, strictly, neither compatibilist negative freedom nor incompatibilist positive freedom. The divergence problem leads us to two hypothetical views (i.e. the view of single-line determination (...)
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  10. Marcus Arvan (2013). A New Theory of Free Will. Philosophical Forum 44 (1):1-48.
    This paper shows that several live philosophical and scientific hypotheses – including the holographic principle and multiverse theory in quantum physics, and eternalism and mind-body dualism in philosophy – jointly imply an audacious new theory of free will. This new theory, "Libertarian Compatibilism", holds that the physical world is an eternally existing array of two-dimensional information – a vast number of possible pasts, presents, and futures – and the mind a nonphysical entity or set of properties that "read" that physical (...)
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  11. Robert Audi (1986). An Essay on Free Will. Faith and Philosophy 3 (2):213-220.
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  12. M. Backmann (2013). Humean Libertarianism: Outline of a Revisionist Account of the Joint Problem of Free Will, Determinism, and Laws of Nature. Berlin/New York.
    3 LIBERTARIANISM Now that we have discussed determinism and laws of nature, let us finally turn to libertarianism. Traditionally, libertarianism has been viewed as an incompatibilist theory of free will, as it requires the existence of real ...
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  13. Norman Bacrac (2010). Epiphenomenalism Explained. Philosophy Now 81:10-13.
    Epiphenomenalism expressed as a form of materialism in two key axioms; distinguished from Cartesian dualism, physicalism, eliminativism; shown to be compatible with a subjective experience of free choice but not with libertarian free will - the social consequences of this view.
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  14. Lynne Rudder Baker (2003). Why Christians Should Not Be Libertarians: An Augustinian Challenge. Faith and Philosophy 20 (4):460-478.
    The prevailing view of Christian philosophers today seems to be that Christianity requires a libertarian conception of free will. Focusing on Augustine’s mature anti-Pelagian works, I try to show that the prevailing view is in error. Specifically, I want to show that---on Augustine’s view of grace-a libertarian account of free will is irrelevant to salvation. On Augustine’s view, the grace of God through Christ is sufficient as weIl as necessary for salvation. Salvation is entirely in the hands of God, totally (...)
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  15. Mark Balaguer (2010). Free Will as an Open Scientific Problem. MIT Press.
    In this largely antimetaphysical treatment of free will and determinism, Mark Balaguer argues that the philosophical problem of free will boils down to an open ...
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  16. Mark Balaguer (2009). Free Will as an Open Scientific Problem. A Bradford Book.
    In this largely antimetaphysical treatment of free will and determinism, Mark Balaguer argues that the philosophical problem of free will boils down to an open scientific question about the causal histories of certain kinds of neural events. In the course of his argument, Balaguer provides a naturalistic defense of the libertarian view of free will. The metaphysical component of the problem of free will, Balaguer argues, essentially boils down to the question of whether humans possess libertarian free will. Furthermore, he (...)
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  17. Mark Balaguer (2009). Why There Are No Good Arguments for Any Interesting Version of Determinism. Synthese 168 (1):1 - 21.
    This paper considers the empirical evidence that we currently have for various kinds of determinism that might be relevant to the thesis that human beings possess libertarian free will. Libertarianism requires a very strong version of indeterminism, so it can be refuted not just by universal determinism, but by some much weaker theses as well. However, it is argued that at present, we have no good reason to believe even these weak deterministic views and, hence, no good reason—at least from (...)
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  18. Mark Balaguer (1999). Libertarianism as a Scientifically Respectable View. Philosophical Studies 93 (2):189-211.
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  19. Bruce W. Ballard (1998). The Significance of Free Will. International Philosophical Quarterly 38 (2):211-212.
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  20. Ian Barbour (1955). Indeterminacy and Freedom: A Reappraisal. Philosophy of Science 22 (1):8-20.
  21. Joe Barnhart (1995). Tolstoy on Free Will. The Personalist Forum 11 (1):33-54.
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  22. Helen Beebee (2012). Free Will Sans Metaphysics? Metascience 21 (1):77-81.
    Free will sans metaphysics? Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-5 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9525-5 Authors Helen Beebee, Department of Philosophy, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B15 2TT UK Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
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  23. Nuel Belnap, Branching Histories Approach to Indeterminism and Free Will.
    An informal sketch is offered of some chief ideas of the (formal) ``branching histories'' theory of objective possibility, free will and indeterminism. Reference is made to ``branching time'' and to ``branching space-times,'' with emphasis on a theme that they share: Objective possibilities are in Our World, organized by the relation of causal order.
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  24. Nuel D. Belnap (2001). Facing the Future: Agents and Choices in Our Indeterminist World. Oxford University Press on Demand.
    Here is an important new theory of human action, a theory that assumes actions are founded on choices made by agents who face an open future.
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  25. Sandrine Berges (2012). Ethics and the Quest for Wisdom. By Robert Kane. (Cambridge UP, 2010. Pp. Ix + 287. Price £50.00.). [REVIEW] Philosophical Quarterly 62 (246):198-199.
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  26. Henri Louis Bergson & Frank Lubecki Pogson (1910). Time and Free Will, Tr. By F.L. Pogson.
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  27. M. Bernstein (1995). Kanean Libertarianism. Southwest Philosophy Review 11 (1):151-57.
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  28. Mark Bernstein (1997). Robert Kane, the Significance of Free Will. Southwest Philosophy Review 13 (2):171-172.
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  29. Mark Bernstein (1995). Robert Kane, Through the Moral Maze. Southwest Philosophy Review 11 (2):267-274.
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  30. Mark Bernstein (1989). Review of Robert Kane, Free Will and Values. [REVIEW] Noûs 23 (4):557-559.
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  31. Bernard Berofsky (2006). Global Control and Freedom. Philosophical Studies 131 (2):419-445.
    Several prominent incompatibilists, e.g., Robert Kane and Derk Pereboom, have advanced an analogical argument in which it is claimed that a deterministic world is essentially the same as a world governed by a global controller. Since the latter world is obviously one lacking in an important kind of freedom, so must any deterministic world. The argument is challenged whether it is designed to show that determinism precludes freedom as power or freedom as self-origination. Contrary to the claims of its adherents, (...)
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  32. Bernard Berofsky (2000). Ultimate Responsibility in a Deterministic World. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 60 (1):135-40.
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  33. John Bishop (2015). On the Prospects for a Naturalistic Incompatibilist Metaphysics of Agency. Analysis 75 (4):655-661.
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  34. Robert C. Bishop (2002). Chaos, Indeterminism, and Free Will. In Robert H. Kane (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Free Will. Oxford University Press
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  35. Roger Bissell (1999). The Significance of Free Will by Robert Kane. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. [REVIEW] Reason Papers 24:121-130.
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  36. Andrew G. Bjelland (1974). Bergson's Dualism in 'Time and Free Will'. Process Studies 4 (2):83-106.
  37. Walter Block (2011). Illiberal Libertarians: Why Libertarianism is Not a Liberal View, and a Good Thing Too; Reply to Samuel Freeman. Journal of Libertarian Studies 22 (1):537-580.
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  38. Walter Block (1998). A Libertarian Case for Free Immigration. Journal of Libertarian Studies 13 (2):167-186.
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  39. Alex Blum & Stanley Malinovich (1986). Nozick on Indeterministic Free Will. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 13 (4):471-473.
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  40. David Blumenfeld (2011). Lucky Agents, Big and Little: Should Size Really Matter? Philosophical Studies 156 (3):311-319.
    This essay critically examines Alfred R. Mele’s attempt to solve a problem for libertarianism that he calls the problem of present luck. Many have thought that the traditional libertarian belief in basically free acts (where the latter are any free A-ings that occur at times at which the past up to that time and the laws of nature are consistent with the agent’s not A-ing at that time) entail that the acts are due to luck at the time of the (...)
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  41. Susanne Bobzien (2000). Did Epicurus Discover the Free-Will Problem? Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 19:287-337.
    ABSTRACT: I argue that there is no evidence that Epicurus dealt with the kind of free-will problem he is traditionally associated with; i.e. that he discussed free choice or moral responsibility grounded on free choice, or that the "swerve" was involved in decision processes. Rather, for Epicurus, actions are fully determined by the agent's mental disposition at the outset of the action. Moral responsibility presupposes not free choice but that the person is unforced and causally responsible for the action. This (...)
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  42. Susanne Bobzien (1998). The Inadvertent Conception and Late Birth of the Free-Will Problem. Phronesis 43 (2):133-175.
    ABSTRACT: In this paper I argue that the ‘discovery’ of the problem of causal determinism and freedom of decision in Greek philosophy is the result of a combination and mix-up of Aristotelian and Stoic thought in later antiquity; more precisely, a (mis-)interpretation of Aristotle’s philosophy of deliberate choice and action in the light of Stoic theory of determinism and moral responsibility. The (con-)fusion originates with the beginnings of Aristotle scholarship, at the latest in the early 2nd century AD. It undergoes (...)
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  43. Roy Bode (1954). William H. Kane, O.P., Science in Synthesis. [REVIEW] The Thomist 17:268.
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  44. I. T. E. Boyd (1998). Robert Kane. The Significance of Free Will. Modern Schoolman 76:85-88.
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  45. Ian T. E. Boyd (1998). The Significance of Free Will. By Robert Kane. Modern Schoolman 76 (1):85-89.
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  46. Ian T. E. Boyd (1998). The Significance of Free Will. By Robert Kane. Modern Schoolman 76 (1):85-89.
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  47. R. D. Bradley (1962). 'Ifs', 'Cans' and Determinism. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 40 (2):146 – 158.
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  48. R. D. Bradley (1958). Free Will: Problem of Pseudo-Problem? Australasian Journal of Philosophy 36 (1):33 – 45.
  49. Raymond D. Bradley, The Free Will Defense Refuted and God's Existence Disproved. Internet Infidels Modern Library.
    1. The Down Under Logical Disproof of the Theist's God 1.1 Plantinga's Attempted Refutation of the Logical Disproof 1.2 Plantinga Refuted and God Disproved: A Preview 2. Plantinga's Formal Presentation of his Free Will Defense 3. First Formal Flaw: A Non Sequitur Regarding the Consistency of (3) with (1) 4. Further Flaws Regarding the Joint Conditions of Consistency and Entailment 4.1 A Non Sequitur Regarding the Entailment Condition 4.2 Telling the Full Story in Order to Satisfy the Entailment Condition 4.3 (...)
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  50. C. D. Broad (1934). Determinism, Indeterminism, and Libertarianism. Cambridge [Eng.]The University Press.
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