This category needs an editor. We encourage you to help if you are qualified.
Volunteer, or read more about what this involves.
About this topic
Summary Most philosophers hold that the free will debate is largely conceptual, but at very least we must look to the sciences to discover whether the conditions we identify as required for free will are actual. For instance, if free will requires that determinism is false, we must look to physics to discover the nature of causal processes. More generally, many people have seen in the special sciences possible threats to the existence or constraints on the extent of free will.
Key works A number of philosophers have hoped to secure libertarian free will by reference to quantum mechanics. See for a signal instance Hodgson 2012. A great deal of attention has been paid to possible threats from psychology and from neuroscience. Swinburne 2011 presents essays surveying these issues while Mele Alfred 2009 is near definitive. Behavioral genetics has received less attention: Wasserman & Wachbroit 2012 is a useful collection.
Introductions Mele 2008;Mele 2011
Related categories

909 found
Order:
1 — 50 / 909
Material to categorize
  1. Contemporary Science and Freedom.Nicola Abbagnano - 1951 - Review of Metaphysics 5 (3):361 - 378.
  2. Towards a New Experience of Free Time: Free Time as the Origin of Critical Consciousness.Miroslav Artić - 2009 - Filozofska Istrazivanja 29 (2):281-295.
  3. Free Creations of the Human Mind.Yemima Ben-Menahem - 2007 - Iyyun 56:141.
  4. Contentsintroductionmorality in Times of Naturalising the Mind – an Overviewpart I: Free Will, Responsibility and the Naturalised Mind1. Naturalizing Free Will – Empirical and Conceptual Issues2. Libet’s Experiments and the Possibility of Free Conscious Decision3. The Effectiveness of Intentions – a Critique of Wegnerpart II: Naturalising Ethics? – Metaethical Perspectives4. Neuroethics and the Rationalism/Sentimentalism Divide5. Experimental Ethics – a Critical Analysispart III: Naturalised Ethics? Empirical Perspectives6. Moral Soulfulness & Moral Hypocrisy – is Scientific Study of Moral Agency Relevant to Ethical Reflection?Part IV: Neuroethics – Which Values?7. The Rationale Behind Surgery –Truth, Facts, Valuesbiographical Notes on the Authorsname Index. [REVIEW]Arnaldo Benini - 2014 - In Christoph Lumer (ed.), Morality in Times of Naturalising the Mind. De Gruyter. pp. 195-202.
  5. Action and Awareness of Agency: Comments on Chris Frith.José Luis Bermúdez - 2010 - Pragmatics and Cognitionpragmatics and Cognition 18 (3):576-588.
    Chris Frith's target chapters contain a wealth of interesting experiments and striking theoretical claims. In these comments I begin by drawing out some of the key themes in his discussion of action and the sense of agency. Frith's central claim about conscious action is that what we are primarily conscious of in acting is our own agency. I will review some of the experimental evidence that he interprets in support of this claim and then explore the following three questions about (...)
  6. Joachim Metallmann-Causality, Determinism and Science.Tomasz Bigaj - 2001 - Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 74:53-64.
  7. Las raíces del voluntarismo neoliberal.Pedro Vicente Castro Guillén - 2012 - Apuntes Filosóficos 6.
  8. Contentsintroductionmorality in Times of Naturalising the Mind – an Overviewpart I: Free Will, Responsibility and the Naturalised Mind1. Naturalizing Free Will – Empirical and Conceptual Issues2. Libet’s Experiments and the Possibility of Free Conscious Decision3. The Effectiveness of Intentions – a Critique of Wegnerpart II: Naturalising Ethics? – Metaethical Perspectives4. Neuroethics and the Rationalism/Sentimentalism Divide5. Experimental Ethics – a Critical Analysispart III: Naturalised Ethics? Empirical Perspectives6. Moral Soulfulness & Moral Hypocrisy – is Scientific Study of Moral Agency Relevant to Ethical Reflection?Part IV: Neuroethics – Which Values?7. The Rationale Behind Surgery –Truth, Facts, Valuesbiographical Notes on the Authorsname Index. [REVIEW]Antonella Corradini - 2014 - In Christoph Lumer (ed.), Morality in Times of Naturalising the Mind. De Gruyter. pp. 145-162.
  9. Freedom and Neurobiology, by John Searle.Richard Corrigan - 2008 - Philosophy Now 66:40-41.
  10. Shall Work Set Us Free?Angela Cunningham - 1981 - New Blackfriars 62 (728):63-77.
  11. Does Physics Make Us Free?Natalja Deng & Klaas Landsman - forthcoming - Metascience:1-4.
  12. Time and Free Will: An Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness.G. N. Dolson, Henri Bergson & F. L. Pogson - 1911 - Philosophical Review 20 (3):345.
  13. Freedom Evolves.John Martin Fischer - 2003 - Journal of Philosophy 100 (12):632-637.
  14. Decisive Action. Personal Responsibility All the Way Down.A. J. C. Freeman - 1999 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 6 (8-9):8-9.
    I do not approach the question of free will as a scientist, like Colin Blakemore, or a lawyer, like David Hodgson, or philosopher, like Daniel Dennett, but as a priest -- someone who feels responsible for my own actions and who is called upon to counsel and absolve such as come to me with their shame and their guilt. Should I say that their sense of responsibility is illusory? Or should I encourage them to accept responsibility, and then to deal (...)
  15. Volition and the Readiness Potential.Gilberto Gomes - 1999 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 6 (8-9):59-76.
    1. Introduction The readiness potential was found to precede voluntary acts by about half a second or more (Kornhuber & Deecke, 1965). Kornhuber (1984) discussed the readiness potential in terms of volition, arguing that it is not the manifestation of an attentional processes. Libet discussed it in relation to consciousness and to free will (Libet et al. 1983a; 1983b; Libet, 1985, 1992, 1993). Libet asked the following questions. Are voluntary acts initiated by a conscious decision to act? Are the physiological (...)
  16. The Biology of Free Will.Mae-Wan Ho - 1996 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (3):231-244.
    According to Bergson , the traditional problem of free will is misconceived and arises from a mismatch between the quality of authentic, subjective experience and its description in language, in particular, the language of the mechanistic science of psychology. Contemporary western scientific concepts of the organism, on the other hand, are leading us beyond conventional thermodynamics as well as quantum theory and offering rigorous insights which reaffirm and extend our intuitive, poetic, and even romantic notions of spontaneity and free will. (...)
  17. Hume's Mistake.David Hodgson - 1999 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 6 (8-9):201-24.
    Hume claimed that anything that happens must either be causally determined or a matter of chance, and that a person is responsible only for choices caused by the person’s character; so that if any sense is to made of free will and responsibility, it must be on the basis that they are compatible with determinism.
  18. On Volition: A Neurophysiologically Oriented Essay.David H. Ingvar - 1999 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 6 (8-9):8-9.
    During the last decades, the enigmatic field of volition has been the object of quantitative brain mapping studies. In this essay, emphasis will be given to brain mapping observations during overt or imagined willed acts in conscious normal individuals. The findings suggest that such acts are ‘formulated’ in the frontal/prefrontal cortex as neuronal programs for future motor, behavioural, verbal, or cognitive acts. During imagined movements or speech, brain mapping reveals important prefrontal activations which contrast to perirolandic activations during overt willed (...)
  19. Value-Free Science?Kristen Intemann - 2008 - Polish Journal of Philosophy 2 (2):143-147.
  20. Why Science Does Not Refute Free Will.Whitley R. P. Kaufman - 2014 - Southwest Philosophy Review 30 (1):219-225.
  21. Freedom and Experience: Self-Determination Without Illusions.Magill Kevin - 1997 - London: author open access, originally MacMillan.
    Most of us take it for granted that we are free agents: that we can sometimes act so as to shape our own lives and those of others, that we have choices about how to do so and that we are responsible for what we do. But are we really justified in believing this? For centuries philosophers have argued about whether free will and moral responsibility are compatible with determinism or natural causation, and they seem no closer to agreeing about (...)
  22. What is Conscious?Philip Kuberski - 2003 - Substance 32 (1):23-24.
  23. Free Will as an Open Scientific Problem.Philip Lieberman - 2016 - The European Legacy 21 (4):434-435.
  24. Free-Will as a Function of Divergence.Ivan D. London - 1948 - Psychological Review 55 (1):41-47.
  25. Contentsintroductionmorality in Times of Naturalising the Mind – an Overviewpart I: Free Will, Responsibility and the Naturalised Mind1. Naturalizing Free Will – Empirical and Conceptual Issues2. Libet’s Experiments and the Possibility of Free Conscious Decision3. The Effectiveness of Intentions – a Critique of Wegnerpart II: Naturalising Ethics? – Metaethical Perspectives4. Neuroethics and the Rationalism/Sentimentalism Divide5. Experimental Ethics – a Critical Analysispart III: Naturalised Ethics? Empirical Perspectives6. Moral Soulfulness & Moral Hypocrisy – is Scientific Study of Moral Agency Relevant to Ethical Reflection?Part IV: Neuroethics – Which Values?7. The Rationale Behind Surgery –Truth, Facts, Valuesbiographical Notes on the Authorsname Index. [REVIEW]Christoph Lumer - 2014 - In Morality in Times of Naturalising the Mind. De Gruyter. pp. 3-42.
  26. Agent Causation and Compatibilism Reconsidered The Evolutionary and Developmental Emergence of Self-Determining Persons.Jack Martin - 2012 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 19 (5-6):5-6.
    The central argument of this paper is that compatibilist theories that understand human agent causation as self-determination are consistent with, and can accommodate, important insights from evolutionary and developmental psychology. Agent causation is nothing more than the non-mysterious self-determining capability of persons, understood as embodied, emergent ontological entities whose nature is not fixed due to their uniquely evolved and developed capabilities of language use, cultural construction, self-consciousness and self-understanding, and moral concern. Relevant arguments of Dennett and Searle are adapted to (...)
  27. Wants and Lacks.Gareth B. Matthews & S. Marc Cohen - 1967 - Journal of Philosophy 64 (14):455-456.
    Anthony Kenny says it is impossible to want what one already has and knows one has. We present a counter-example and then suggest that Kenny may have been misled by the fact that wanting expresses itself in goal-directed behavior. From the truism that one's behavior cannot be directed toward a goal that one knows one has already attained, Kenny may have been led to suppose that behavior directed toward an as yet unattained goal cannot express one's desire for what one (...)
  28. Review of “Freedom Evolves”. [REVIEW]Shaun Maxwell - 2005 - Essays in Philosophy 6 (1):22.
    Freedom Evolves draws together themes from much of Daniel Dennett’s pervious work. It aims to support and extend the compatiblist account of free will he set out in Elbow Room , now that he has fulfilled that book’s promissory notes with Consciousness Explained and Darwin’s Dangerous Idea . In the first third of the new book Dennett develops compatibalist accounts of his key concepts by extending the analysis of non-human agents presented in Darwin’s Dangerous Idea. The remainder of Freedom Evolves (...)
  29. New Perspectives for a Dualistic Conception of Mental Causation.Uwe Meixner - 2008 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 15 (1):17-38.
    The paper provides new perspectives for a dualistic conception of mental causation by putting causation that originates in a nonphysical self into an evolutionary perspective. Nonphysical causation of this type - free agency -, together with nonphysical consciousness, is regarded as being not only compatible with physics, but also as having a natural place in nature. It is described how free agency can work, on the basis of the brain, and how it can be compatible with the result of the (...)
  30. Autonomous Cognitive Systems in Real-World Environments: Less Control, More Flexibility and Better Interaction.Vincent C. Müller - 2012 - Cognitive Computation 4 (3):212-215.
    In October 2011, the “2nd European Network for Cognitive Systems, Robotics and Interaction”, EUCogII, held its meeting in Groningen on “Autonomous activity in real-world environments”, organized by Tjeerd Andringa and myself. This is a brief personal report on why we thought autonomy in real-world environments is central for cognitive systems research and what I think I learned about it. --- The theses that crystallized are that a) autonomy is a relative property and a matter of degree, b) increasing autonomy of (...)
  31. When Consciousness Matters: A Critical Review of Daniel Wegner's the Illusion of Conscious Will. [REVIEW]Eddy A. Nahmias - 2002 - Philosophical Psychology 15 (4):527-541.
    In The illusion of conscious will , Daniel Wegner offers an exciting, informative, and potentially threatening treatise on the psychology of action. I offer several interpretations of the thesis that conscious will is an illusion. The one Wegner seems to suggest is "modular epiphenomenalism": conscious experience of will is produced by a brain system distinct from the system that produces action; it interprets our behavior but does not, as it seems to us, cause it. I argue that the evidence Wegner (...)
  32. A Perspective on Experimental Findings and Theoretical Explanations of Novel Dynamics at Free Surface and in Freestanding Thin Films of Polystyrene.Kia L. Ngai, Daniele Prevosto & Simone Capaccioli - 2016 - Philosophical Magazine 96 (7-9):854-869.
  33. Contentsintroductionmorality in Times of Naturalising the Mind – an Overviewpart I: Free Will, Responsibility and the Naturalised Mind1. Naturalizing Free Will – Empirical and Conceptual Issues2. Libet’s Experiments and the Possibility of Free Conscious Decision3. The Effectiveness of Intentions – a Critique of Wegnerpart II: Naturalising Ethics? – Metaethical Perspectives4. Neuroethics and the Rationalism/Sentimentalism Divide5. Experimental Ethics – a Critical Analysispart III: Naturalised Ethics? Empirical Perspectives6. Moral Soulfulness & Moral Hypocrisy – is Scientific Study of Moral Agency Relevant to Ethical Reflection?Part IV: Neuroethics – Which Values?7. The Rationale Behind Surgery –Truth, Facts, Valuesbiographical Notes on the Authorsname Index. [REVIEW]Michael Pauen - 2014 - In Christoph Lumer (ed.), Morality in Times of Naturalising the Mind. De Gruyter. pp. 45-62.
  34. Science in a Free Society.H. S. R. - 1981 - Review of Metaphysics 35 (2):383-385.
  35. How Free Will Works: A Dualist Theory of Human Action. [REVIEW]C. P. Ragland - 2015 - Review of Metaphysics 69 (2):384-386.
  36. New Threats to Free Thought.Jonathan Ranch - forthcoming - Ethics, Information, and Technology: Readings.
  37. Contentsintroductionmorality in Times of Naturalising the Mind – an Overviewpart I: Free Will, Responsibility and the Naturalised Mind1. Naturalizing Free Will – Empirical and Conceptual Issues2. Libet’s Experiments and the Possibility of Free Conscious Decision3. The Effectiveness of Intentions – a Critique of Wegnerpart II: Naturalising Ethics? – Metaethical Perspectives4. Neuroethics and the Rationalism/Sentimentalism Divide5. Experimental Ethics – a Critical Analysispart III: Naturalised Ethics? Empirical Perspectives6. Moral Soulfulness & Moral Hypocrisy – is Scientific Study of Moral Agency Relevant to Ethical Reflection?Part IV: Neuroethics – Which Values?7. The Rationale Behind Surgery –Truth, Facts, Valuesbiographical Notes on the Authorsname Index. [REVIEW]Massimo Reichlin - 2014 - In Christoph Lumer (ed.), Morality in Times of Naturalising the Mind. De Gruyter. pp. 127-144.
  38. Concepts of Free Will in Modern Psychological Science.Joseph Rychlak - 1980 - Journal of Mind and Behavior 1 (1).
  39. On Free Will and No-Conspiracy.Iñaki San Pedro - 2013 - In Tilman Sauer & Adrian Wüthrich (eds.), New Vistas on Old Problems: Recent Approaches to the Foundations of Quantum Mechanics. Max Planck Research Library for the History and Development of Knowledge. pp. 87-102.
    In this paper, I challenge the widespread view that Measurement Independence adequately represents the requirement that EPR experimenters have free will. Measurement Independence is most commonly taken as a necessary condition for free will. A number of implicit assumptions can be identified in this regard, all of which can be challenged on their own grounds. As a result, I conclude that Measurement Independence-type conditions are not to be justified by appealing to the preservation of the EPR experimenters’ free will.
  40. Review of Science in a Free Society'. [REVIEW]Richard H. Schlagel - 1981 - Review of Metaphysics 35.
  41. Free Will as an Open Scientific Problem.Scott Segrest - 2011 - Review of Metaphysics 65 (1):139-141.
  42. Against Instinct: From Biology to Philosophical Psychology.Dennis M. Senchuk - 1991 - Temple University Press.
  43. Neuroscience and Conscious Causation: Has Neuroscience Shown That We Cannot Control Our Own Actions?Grant S. Shields - 2014 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 5 (4):565-582.
    Neuroscience has begun to elucidate the mechanisms of volition, decision-making, and action. Some have taken the progress neuroscience has made in these areas to indicate that we are not free to choose our actions . The notion that we can consciously initiate our behavior is a crucial tenet in the concept of free will, and closely linked to how most individuals view themselves as persons. There is thus reason to inquire if the aforementioned inference drawn by some might be too (...)
  44. Lifelines: Biology Beyond Determinism. By Steven Rose.S. Shostak - 2004 - The European Legacy 9:413-414.
  45. Contentsintroductionmorality in Times of Naturalising the Mind – an Overviewpart I: Free Will, Responsibility and the Naturalised Mind1. Naturalizing Free Will – Empirical and Conceptual Issues2. Libet’s Experiments and the Possibility of Free Conscious Decision3. The Effectiveness of Intentions – a Critique of Wegnerpart II: Naturalising Ethics? – Metaethical Perspectives4. Neuroethics and the Rationalism/Sentimentalism Divide5. Experimental Ethics – a Critical Analysispart III: Naturalised Ethics? Empirical Perspectives6. Moral Soulfulness & Moral Hypocrisy – is Scientific Study of Moral Agency Relevant to Ethical Reflection?Part IV: Neuroethics – Which Values?7. The Rationale Behind Surgery –Truth, Facts, Valuesbiographical Notes on the Authorsname Index. [REVIEW]Maureen Sie - 2014 - In Christoph Lumer (ed.), Morality in Times of Naturalising the Mind. De Gruyter. pp. 165-192.
  46. Moral Agency, Conscious Control, and Deliberative Awareness.Maureen Sie - 2009 - Inquiry 52 (5):516-531.
    Recent empirical research results in the behavioral, cognitive, and neurosciences on the “adaptive unconscious” show that conscious control and deliberative awareness are not all-pervasive aspects of our everyday dealings with one another. Moral philosophers and other scientists have used these insights to put our moral agency to the test. The results of these tests are intriguing: apparently we are not always the moral agents we take ourselves to be. This paper argues in favor of a refinement of our common perception (...)
  47. Metaphysical Illusions.J. J. C. Smart - 2006 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (2):167 – 175.
    The paper begins by considering David Armstrong's beautiful paper 'The Headless Woman Illusion and the Defence of Materialism', which conjectures how we get the illusion that there are non-physical qualia. There are discussions of other metaphysical illusions, that there is a passage of time, that we have libertarian free will, and that consciousness is ineffable (which last also relates to Armstrong), and of their possible explanations. Moral: avoid appeal to so called intuition or phenomenology.
  48. The Hard Problem: A Quantum Approach.Henry P. Stapp - 1996 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (3):194-210.
    [opening paragraph]: In his keynote paper David Chalmers defines ‘the hard problem’ by posing certain ‘Why’ questions about consciousness? Such questions must be posed within an appropriate setting. The way of science is to try to deduce the answer to many such questions from a few well defined assumptions. Much about nature can be explained in terms of the principles of classical mechanics. The assumptions, in this explanatory scheme, are that the world is composed exclusively of particles and fields governed (...)
  49. The Question of a Value-Free Social Science.Herold S. Stern - 1969 - Dissertation, New York University
  50. Freedom and Personality Again.A. E. Taylor - 1942 - Philosophy 17 (65):26 - 37.
    In an essay entitled “Freedom and Personality” I have contended that “intelligence is a principle of indetermination within us.” As I find that my argument, though to myself it appears incontrovertible, has not produced conviction in some quarters where I had hoped it might be effective, I can only suppose that, presumably by my own fault, it was not stated as clearly as it should have been. This must be my excuse for returning to the subject; in doing so I (...)
1 — 50 / 909