This essay begins by dividing the traditional problem of free will and determinism into a “correlation” problem and an “explanation” problem. I then focus on the explanation problem, and argue that a standard form of abductive (i.e. inference to the best-explanation) reasoning may be useful in solving it. To demonstrate the fruitfulness of the abductive approach, I apply it to three standard accounts of free will. While each account implies the same solution to the correlation problem, each implies a unique solution to the explanation problem. For example, all libertarian-friendly accounts of free will imply that it is impossible to act freely when determinism is true. However, only a narrow subset of libertarians have the theoretical resources to defend the incompatibilist claim that deterministic laws (qua being deterministic) undermine free will, while other libertarians must reject this incompatibilist view.
[Version: Nov. 12, 2018]