Free will.

The philosophical concept of “free will” is, arguably, the most significant discussion in epistemology and metaphysics. Many prominent philosophers, including Blatchford and Schlick, choose to define free will in such a way that agrees with their thesis. Hence, there are many definitions as to what free will and freedom mean. As it stands, freedom precedes free will, so in order to understand free will, we have to define freedom.  Since the theories of metaphysical and epistemic randomness cannot be clearly predicted or observed, one can only take Libertarianism, Simple Indeterminism, and Hard Determinism into account. Having said that, all three Incompatibilist theories agree that humans cannot have freedom or moral responsibility if Determinism is true; Schlick argues otherwise, believing that one’s decisions can still be free from compulsion even if one’s will is determined (Schlick). Since free will precedes moral responsibility, free will and freedom has to be defined first before one can properly debate the idea of moral responsibility. Freedom, then, in its core form, is freedom from obvious coercion. Legal freedom and social freedom are more or less not of major concern in most developed countries as well. The real debate begins with freedom of choice of action and choice of choice. Many Determinists believe free will only consists of freedom from coercion, or acting in determination with one’s will. However, a Libertarian would rather believe that free will is the choice to control one’s will and decision, the freedom of action and freedom of choice (Hume). The basic premise of Determinism is that the will is not free; one’s choices are based upon heredity and environment (Blatchford), and that one does not have the ability to choose otherwise than their greatest desire, whether consciously or subconsciously (Hospers). But Campbell argues that when there is a real sense in which one can act otherwise, and makes a choice, that person is solely responsible for that act due to his past actions or mental habits. In order to scrutinize both opinions properly, one must define the term “free will”. Free will should be the ability to make a decision based upon your own understanding of the problem and in accordance to your will.

Having said that, can one determine that they have free will?

I can’t even tell if what I do is of my own will.

How can I get over everything? I can’t, even though it is what I desire. Does that mean I don’t have free will?



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