Free Will, Fundamental Dualism, and the Centrality Of Illusion

Saul Smilansky

in The Oxford Handbook of Free Will

Second edition

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780195399691
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Free Will, Fundamental Dualism, and the Centrality Of Illusion

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This article's view is unusual among contemporary views of free will. It is defined by two radical theses. The first, Fundamental Dualism, says that we can and should be both incompatibilists and compatibilists about freedom and responsibility. There is no reason, the article argues, why it should not be the case that certain forms of moral responsibility, desert, and blame require libertarian free will, whereas other forms can be sustained without it. Thus, if libertarian free will is impossible, there is no reason why we have to choose between hard determinism or compatibilism. The second thesis, Illusionism, is even more radical. It notes that the consequences for humanity of widespread belief that we lack libertarian free will would be dire and destructive. Illusion about free will is therefore morally necessary.

Keywords: libertarian free will; fundamental dualism; incompatibilist; moral responsibility; hard determinism; illusionism

Article.  8179 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Epistemology ; Metaphysics

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