Plurality and Indeterminism

Robert Kane

in The Significance of Free Will

Published in print March 1999 | ISBN: 9780195126563
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199868506 | DOI:
Plurality and Indeterminism

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We turn to the “Intelligibility Question” about free will: How, if at all, can one make sense of a free will that is incompatible with determinism? If free choices are not determined, they must be undetermined. But undetermined events, it is often argued, occur by chance; and choices or actions that occur by chance would be “arbitrary,” “capricious,” “random,” “irrational,” and not under the control of agents – hence not responsible actions at all. These familiar charges are traced to “plurality conditions” for free will: free agents must not only be able to choose and choose otherwise, they must be able to choose and choose otherwise, either way rationally, voluntarily, intentionally, and having voluntary control over their choices. In order to satisfy these plurality requirements, traditional incompatibilist or libertarian theories of free will have usually appealed to obscure or mysterious forms of agency or causation, which are problematic for a number reasons discussed in the chapter.

Keywords: agency; arbitrariness; chance; control; free will; indeterminism; libertarian; rationality; voluntariness

Chapter.  10681 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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