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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. Self-Forming Actions: The Genesis of a Free Will.Robert Allen - 2007 - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 81:263-278.
    The following is a now popular argument for free will skepticism:1. If free will exists, then people make themselves.2. People do not make themselves.3. Thus, free will does not exist.It would make no sense to hold someone responsible, either for what he’s like or what he’s done, unless he has made himself. But no one makes himself. A person’s character is imposed upon him by Nature and others. To rebut, I intend to lean on common usage, according to which 2 (...)
  2. Free Will and Evaluation: Remarks on Noel Hendrickson's "Free Will Nihilism and the Question of Method".Robert F. Allen - manuscript
    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” (...)
  3. Hard Luck: How Luck Undermines Free Will and Moral Responsibility. [REVIEW]Andrew M. Bailey - 2013 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
  4. Free Will in a Natural Order of the World.Ansgar Beckermann - 2005 - In Christian Nimtz & Ansgar Beckermann (eds.), Philosophie Und/Als Wissenschaft. Mentis.
  5. Living Without Free Will.Susan Blackmore - 2013 - In Gregg Caruso (ed.), Exploring the Illusion of Free Will and Moral Responsibility. Lexington Books. pp. 161.
  6. Exploring the Illusion of Free Will and Moral Responsibility.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 - Lexington Books.
    Exploring the Illusion of Free Will and Moral Responsibility is an edited collection of new essays by an internationally recognized line-up of contributors. It is aimed at readers who wish to explore the philosophical and scientific arguments for free will skepticism and their implications.
  7. Review of Metaphilosophy and Free Will by Richard Double. [REVIEW]Hilary Bok - 2001 - Mind 110 (438):452-455.
  8. Freedom and Thought.Michael Bourke - 2016 - Modern Horizons:1-22.
    Despite recent neuroscientific research purporting to reveal that free will is an illusion, this paper will argue that agency is an inescapable feature of rationality and thought. My aim will not be to address the methodology or interpretation of such research, which I will only mention in passing. Rather, I will examine a collection of basic concepts which are presupposed by thought, and propose that these concepts are interrelated in ways that makes them both basic and irreducibly complex. The collection (...)
  9. Kenny on Hard Determinism.M. C. Bradley - 1974 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 52 (3):202-211.
  10. A Variety of Religious Experience. William James and the Non-Reality of Free Will.Jonathan Bricklin - 1999 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 6 (8-9):8-9.
    Free will does not exist, nor can it be explained, outside the confines of subjective experience. William James, whose talent for depicting subjective experience was equal to his brother Henry's, desperately wanted to believe in free will. But his introspections did not support it.
  11. Volition and Physical Laws.Jean E. Burns - 1999 - 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 (...)
  12. Review of Derk Pereboom, Living Without Free Will[REVIEW]Erik Carlson - 2002 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2002 (1).
  13. Free Will Skepticism and the Question of Creativity: Creativity, Desert, and Self-Creation.D. Caruso Gregg - 2016 - Ergo, an Open Access Journal of Philosophy 3.
    Free will skepticism maintains that what we do, and the way we are, is ultimately the result of factors beyond our control and because of this we are never morally responsible for our actions in the basic desert sense—the sense that would make us truly deserving of praise and blame. In recent years, a number of contemporary philosophers have advanced and defended versions of free will skepticism, including Derk Pereboom (2001, 2014), Galen Strawson (2010), Neil Levy (2011), Bruce Waller (2011, (...)
  14. Moral Responsibility and the Strike Back Emotion: Comments on Bruce Waller’s The Stubborn System of Moral Responsibility.Gregg Caruso - forthcoming - Syndicate Philosophy 1 (1).
    In The Stubborn System of Moral Responsibility (2015), Bruce Waller sets out to explain why the belief in individual moral responsibility is so strong. He begins by pointing out that there is a strange disconnect between the strength of philosophical arguments in support of moral responsibility and the strength of philosophical belief in moral responsibility. While the many arguments in favor of moral responsibility are inventive, subtle, and fascinating, Waller points out that even the most ardent supporters of moral responsibility (...)
  15. Free Will Skepticism and Its Implications: An Argument for Optimism.Gregg Caruso - forthcoming - In Elizabeth Shaw (ed.), Free Will Skepticism in Law and Society.
  16. Précis of Derk Pereboom’s Free Will, Agency, and Meaning in Life.Gregg Caruso - 2014 - Science, Religion and Culture 1 (3):178-201.
    Derk Pereboom’s Free Will, Agency, and Meaning in Life 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. 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 determined and (...)
  17. (Un)Just Deserts: The Dark Side of Moral Responsibility.Gregg Caruso - 2014 - 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 recent studies have suggested (Vohs and Schooler 2008; Baumeister, Masicampo, and DeWall 2009)? Or would it rather (...)
  18. Exploring the Illusion of Free Will and Moral Responsibility.Gregg Caruso (ed.) - 2013 - 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 (...)
  19. Introduction: Exploring the Illusion of Free Will and Moral Responsibility.Gregg Caruso - 2013 - 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.
  20. Free Will and Consciousness: A Determinist Account of the Illusion of Free Will.Gregg Caruso - 2013 - Lexington Books.
    This book argues two main things: The first is that there is no such thing as free will—at least not in the sense most ordinary folk take to be central or fundamental; the second is that the strong and pervasive belief in free will can be accounted for through a careful analysis of our phenomenology and a proper theoretical understanding of consciousness.
  21. Free Will Eliminativism: Reference, Error, and Phenomenology.Gregg D. Caruso - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (10):2823-2833.
    Shaun Nichols has recently argued that while the folk notion of free will is associated with error, a question still remains whether the concept of free will should be eliminated or preserved. He maintains that like other eliminativist arguments in philosophy, arguments that free will is an illusion seem to depend on substantive assumptions about reference. According to free will eliminativists, people have deeply mistaken beliefs about free will and this entails that free will does not exist. However, an alternative (...)
  22. Precis of Derk Perebooms Free Will, Agency, and Meaning in Life.Gregg D. Caruso - 2014 - Science Religion and Culture 1 (3):178-201.
    Derk Perebooms 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 (...)
  23. The Ineffectiveness of the Denial of Free Will.Rubén Casado - 2011 - 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.
  24. Alternatives for Libertarians.Randolph Clarke - 2011 - In Robert Kane (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Free Will, 2nd edition. pp. 329-48.
    This essay examines several varieties of libertarian accounts of free will. Some require free actions to be uncaused, some require agent causation, and some require non-deterministic event causation. Difficulties are raised for all of these varieties.
  25. Openness, Accidentality and Responsibility.Daniel Cohen - 2006 - 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 (...)
  26. The Trouble with Harry: Compatibilist Free Will Internalism and Manipulation.Stefaan E. Cuypers - 2004 - Journal of Philosophical Research 29 (February):235-254.
  27. Cornering 'Free Will'.Jasper Doomen - 2011 - 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 (...)
  28. The Idea of Will.M. M. Dorenbosch - 2015 - Journal of Consciousness Exploration and Research 6 (7):449-472.
    This article presents a new conceptual view on the conscious will. This new concept approaches our will from the perspective of the requirements of our neural-muscular system and not from our anthropocentric perspective. This approach not only repositions the will at the core of behavior control, it also integrates the studies of Libet and Wegner, which seem to support the opposite. The will does not return as an instrument we use to steer, but rather as part of the way we (...)
  29. The Ethical Advantages of Free Will Subjectivism.Richard Double - 2004 - 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.
  30. The Ethical Advantages of Free Will Subjectivism.Richard Double - 2004 - 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.
  31. Living Without Free Will. [REVIEW]Richard Double - 2003 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (2):494-497.
  32. Metaethics, Metaphilosophy, and Free Will Subjectivism.Richard Double - 2002 - In Robert H. Kane (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Free Will. Oxford University Press.
  33. Metaphilosophy and Free Will.Richard Double - 1996 - 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 (...)
  34. How to Frame the Free Will Problem.Richard Double - 1994 - Philosophical Studies 75 (1-2):149-72.
  35. The Non-Reality of Free Will.Richard Double - 1993 - Behavior and Philosophy 20:95-97.
  36. The Non-Reality of Free Will.Richard Double - 1990 - 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 (...)
  37. Betting Against Hard Determinism.Göran Duus-Otterström - 2008 - 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 (...)
  38. Do Knowledge, Ethics, and Liberty Require Free Will? [REVIEW]William Dwyer - 2001 - 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.
  39. Finding the Faults of No-Fault Naturalism.Gerald J. Erion - 1997 - Behavior and Philosophy 25 (1):29 - 42.
  40. How Should Free Will Skeptics Pursue Legal Change?Marcelo Fischborn - forthcoming - Neuroethics:1-8.
    Free will skepticism is the view that people never truly deserve to be praised, blamed, or punished for what they do. One challenge free will skeptics face is to explain how criminality could be dealt with given their skepticism. This paper critically examines the prospects of implementing legal changes concerning crime and punishment derived from the free will skeptical views developed by Derk Pereboom and Gregg Caruso. One central aspect of the changes their views require is a concern for reducing (...)
  41. Free Will: Critical Concepts in Philosophy.John Martin Fischer (ed.) - 2005 - 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 (...)
  42. The Non-Reality of Free Will. [REVIEW]John Martin Fischer - 1992 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 52 (4):1004-1007.
  43. Four Views on Free Will.John Martin Fischer, Robert Kane, Derk Pereboom & Manuel Vargas - 2007 - Wiley-Blackwell.
  44. If There Were No Free Will.C. M. Fisher - 2001 - Medical Hypotheses 56:364-366.
  45. Book Review:Fate and Free Will. Ardaser Sorabjee N. Wadia. [REVIEW]E. M. Forster - 1918 - Ethics 28 (2):284-.
  46. The Non-Reality of Free Will.Corbin Fowler - 1992 - Teaching Philosophy 15 (2):199-200.
  47. Verantwortlichkeit - Nur Eine Illusion?Thomas Fuchs & Grit Schwarzkopf (eds.) - 2010 - Universitätsverlag Winter.
  48. Pereboom, Derk, Free Will, Agency, and Meaning In Life.Shane J. George - 2016 - Journal of Value Inquiry 50 (1):255-259.
  49. Book Review. Living Without Free Will. Derk Pereboom. [REVIEW]Carl Ginet - 2002 - Journal of Ethics 6 (3):305-309.
  50. Living Without Free Will by Derk Pereboom.Carl Ginet - 2002 - Journal of Ethics 6 (3):305-309.
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