What Should we Believe About Free Will?

Erkenntnis 86 (3):505-522 (2019)
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Abstract

Given the available evidence, I argue that we face considerable uncertainty about free will. In particular, I argue that the available philosophical evidence does not support being highly confident in our theories about the nature of free will, though this does not necessarily mean that we should suspend judgment about either incompatibilism or compatibilism. For those who accept incompatibilism, however, I argue that there is enough uncertainty about libertarian free will that they should suspend judgment about whether we are ever free, if not reject free will entirely. While I do not claim that compatibilists should be similarly agnostic about the existence of free will, I argue that most compatibilist theories are subject to considerable uncertainty as well, so that most compatibilists should be agnostic about how often we act freely. I conclude with a brief discussion of how we might address these issues going forward.

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Jeremy Byrd
Tarrant County College

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References found in this work

What do philosophers believe?David Bourget & David J. Chalmers - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 170 (3):465-500.
Responsibility and Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility.John Martin Fischer & Mark Ravizza - 1998 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Mark Ravizza.
Freedom and Resentment.Peter Strawson - 1962 - Proceedings of the British Academy 48:187-211.
Freedom of the will and the concept of a person.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
An Essay on Free Will.Peter Van Inwagen - 1983 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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