Essays Conceptual Analysis

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Without this chance, our actions are simply the consequences of events in the remote past.

Stout Galen Strawson Peter Strawson Eleonore Stump Francisco Suárez Richard Taylor Kevin Timpe Mark Twain Peter Unger Peter van Inwagen Manuel Vargas John Venn Kadri Vihvelin Voltaire G. , unpredictable chance events that break the causal chain of determinism.

That sense of freedom — whatever it amounts to — is what we mean to get at by the phrase "free will." However, there may be things for which free will might be important or other senses of free will that are independent of concerns about moral responsibility.

For example, philosophers have worried whether free will is required for some human achievements to have a special worth or value, or for there to be values and valuing in any robust sense.

Locke said very clearly, as had some ancients like Lucretius, it is not the will that is free (in the sense of undetermined), it is the mind. He thought it was inappropriate to describe the Will itself as Free. It has and still does produce confusion In chapter XXI, Of Power, in his Freedom of human action requires the randomness of absolute chance to break the causal chain of determinism, yet the conscious knowledge that we are adequately determined to be responsible for our choices.

Despite the claim of some professional philosophers that they are better equipped than scientists to make conceptual distinctions and evaluate the cogency of arguments, they have mistakenly conflated the concepts of "free" and "will." They (con)fuse them with the muddled term "free will," despite clear warnings from John Locke that this would lead to confusion. "I think the question is not proper, whether the will be free, but whether a man be free." "This way of talking, nevertheless, has prevailed, and, as I guess, produced great confusion," he said.

Although I think much of what I will say can be applied to other aspects of thinking about it, I will primarily concerned with free will in its connection to moral responsibility, the sense in which people are appropriately praised or blamed.

( Consider the question of how we go from being unfree agents to free agents.

(Libertarians do not like this requirement.) Adequate determinism means that randomness in our thoughts about alternative possibilities does not directly cause our actions.

This requires that any randomness not be the direct cause of our actions.

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