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date: 30 November 2021

p. 11. The free will problemlocked

p. 11. The free will problemlocked

  • Thomas Pink


‘The free will problem’ explores a dilemma which has puzzled philosophers for centuries. Common sense dictates that we can control our actions, but can we? The answer lies in understanding the nature of both freedom and will. Some people say that our freedom of action depends on freedom of will, others say that our will is beyond our control, with implications for moral responsibility. Incompatibilists believe that causal determinism is irreconcilable with freedom. However, incompatibilist freedom replaces causal determinism with randomness, which is uncontrollable. Compatibilists, however, say that causal determinism and freedom are consistent. Libertarians believe that we really are free, but sceptics believe that freedom is impossible.

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