A Promising Argument

Peter van Inwagen

in The Oxford Handbook of Free Will

Second edition

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

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 A Promising Argument

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This article aims to show that libertarian free will is impossible. In this view, libertarian free will “remains a mystery.” This argument rests on the insight that if one believes one's future free choice is a libertarian free choice and so must be undetermined, one is not in a position to make a promise to someone that will choose as he or she wishes. The argument that develops on the basis of this insight is related to a general problem that indeterminism does not enhance the power or control agents have over their choices or actions, but would in fact diminish their power and control, and hence would diminish their freedom. The argument is important because it shows that many forms of libertarianism (including ones that many libertarians hold) are indeed impossible.

Keywords: libertarian free will; future free choice; indeterminism; libertarianism

Article.  5260 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Metaphysics

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