Free Will

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Free Will
Free will is the power to choose among real alternative possibilities. To have free will is to have what it takes to act freely. When an agent acts freely (when she exercises her free will) what she does is up to her. A plurality of alternatives is open to her, and she determines which she pursues. When she does, she is an ultimate source or origin of her action. So runs a familiar conception of free will. Incompatibility holds that we act freely in this sense only if determinism is false. Some say little more about what, besides indeterminism, free will requires. And, yes, the task of providing an incompatibility account is not an easy one. If the truth of determinism would prevent free will, it is far from obvious how indeterminism would help. To assess the point to which free will is compatible with Determinism, one must first consider other approaches to the concept of free will and whether we, in fact, possess it. A Hard Determinist, such as Honderich, would claim that individuals are not free to initiate actions or make moral decisions, by this means making the concept of moral responsibility unnecessary. Any moral decisions we make have uncontrollable prior causes. Therefore, a Hard Determinist would support the premise that free will and Determinism are not compatible with one another. Completely different to Hard Determinism is Libertarianism, with which free will is closely compatible. Proponents of this position, such as Kant, maintain that we are all free and should take full moral responsibility for our actions. Between these two extremes stands Compatibilism.

Classical Compatibilists, such as Hume, state that most moral decisions are the result of both external determined forces and an internal act of volition or will. In fact, they go so far as to say that true freedom requires causation, without which there would be randomness. Undeniably then, the idea of free will is incompatible with Hard Determinism. A Compatibilist or Soft...
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