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freedom of the will


Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


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M etaphysics, ethics, philosophy of mind, philosophy of action The doctrine of freedom of the will or free will derives from the natural feeling that we can choose what we do according to the dictates of our own soul, without being compelled, and that in the conditions of our action we could have acted otherwise. Only because our will is free can we speak meaningfully of ethical conceptions such as responsibility, duty, obligation, self-determination , and commitment. The concept of free will is contrasted to the notion of determinism . If everything is causally determined, how can there be a free will? While free will is supported by our everyday consciousness, determinism gains its ground in science. With regard to their relation, philosophers are divided into compatibilists , who claim that there is some way to reconcile determinism and free will, and incompatibilists , who reject the possibility of reconciliation. Some incompatibilists reject determinism, while others claim that free will is illusionary. “The freedom of the will consists in the possibility of knowing actions that still lie in the future.” Wittgenstein, Tractatus ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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