Chapter

Free Will

N. M. L. Nathan

in Will and World

Published in print January 1992 | ISBN: 9780198239543
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191679957 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198239543.003.0003
Free Will

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Wanting to make free decisions, people have for centuries thought some doctrine or other about regularity in the world both true and incompatible with the thesis that one does freely decide. If old and extreme determinists like ‘Every event has a cause’ or ‘Every event falls under a universal law of nature’ are nowadays less popular than they were, other seemingly freedom-excluding theses about regularity in the world are still likely to be believed: that every mental event has a neurophysiological cause, for example, or that every event falls under either a universal or a statistical law of nature. First-order conflicts about freedom of decision are still endemic. Those, moreover, who positively believe determinisms or other theses about regularity in the world which they take to exclude our freedom are liable to have more cautious counterparts.

Keywords: extreme determinists; free decisions; regularity; neurophysiology; law of nature

Chapter.  13801 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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