It is sometimes said that Augustine discovered the faculty of the will, and as a result inaugurated philosophy’s fascination with issues related to free will. While philosophers prior to Augustine clearly discussed related issues of, for example, voluntariness and agency, one finds in Augustine a focus on a faculty distinct from reason which is necessary
for praise and blame that one would be hard-pressed to find in earlier thinkers. Augustine addressed the importance of free will in many of his works; But he never seems to question whether or not humans have free will. That is, the following question is one that Augustine never seems to raise because he thought the answer was an obvious yes:
The Existence Question: Do humans have free will?ii
In recent years, the Existence Question has come to be at the forefront of many of the debates concerning free will as an increasing number of scholars are skeptical about the existence of free will. My aim in this chapter is not so much to answer the Existence Question, but to provide a
framework for understanding how the question should be answered. I also provide a taxonomical overview of aspects of the contemporary literature in order to show how one’s answer to the Existence Question depends on other issues pertaining to the nature of free will.