Free Will

Free will is the ability of agents to make choices free from certain kinds of constraints. The existence of free will and its exact nature and definition have long been debated in philosophy. Historically, the constraint of dominant concern has been nomological determinism, the notion that the present dictates the future entirely and necessarily, that every occurrence results inevitably from prior events. Many hold that nomological determinism must be false in order for free will to be possible, and then debate whether it is true or false and thus whether free will is possible or not. The two main positions within that debate are metaphysical libertarianism, the claim that nomological determinism is false, so free will is at least possible; and hard determinism, the claim that nomological determinism is true, so free will does not exist.

Both of these positions, which agree that nomological determination is the relevant factor in the question of free will, are classed as incompatibilist. Positions that deny that nomological determinism is relevant, saying that we could have free will either way, are classified as compatibilist, and offer various alternative explanations of what constraints are relevant, such as physical constraints (e.g. chains or imprisonment), social constraints (e.g. threat of punishment or censure), or psychological constraints (e.g. compulsions or phobias). Such compatibilists thus consider the debate between libertarianism and hard determinism a false dilemma.

Some compatibilists assert that determinism is not just compatible with free will, but actually necessary for it; that the randomness of indeterminism is a greater obstacle to free will. Hard incompatibilism, while still holding that determinism is an obstacle to free will, either agrees with the aforementioned compatibilists that indeterminism is likewise an obstacle to free will, or argues that indeterminism does not necessitate free will, and concludes that free will is thus impossible in either case.

The principle of free will has religious, ethical, and scientific implications. For example, in the religious realm, free will implies that individual will and choices can coexist with an omnipotent divinity. In ethics, it may hold implications for whether individuals can be held morally accountable for their actions. In science, neuroscientific findings regarding free will may suggest different ways of predicting human behavior.

Read more about Free Will:  In Other Theology

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C. D. Broad - Free Will
... New series of events would then originate which he called "continuants." These are essentially causa sui ... Peter van Inwagen says that Broad formulated an excellent version of what van Inwagen has called the "Consequence Argument" in defense of incompatibilism. ...
Jakob Lorber - Theology, Geology, History, Free Will
... Lorber's work shows a resemblance to Swedenborgianism ... His Great Gospel of John is a detailed first-person narrative of Jesus' three-year ministry, around 2,000 pages in length and based on the same structure as the Gospel of John, which is described as an eternal book because of John's continual desire to understand the spiritual interpretation of Jesus' parables ...
Problem Of Evil - Responses: Defences and Theodicies - Greater Good Responses - Free Will
... The free will response asserts that the existence of free beings is something of tremendous value, because with free will comes the ability to make morally ... But the disvalue created by such abuse of free will is easily outweighed by the great value of free will and the good that comes of it, and so God is justified in creating a ... A world with free beings and no evil would be still better, however this would require the cooperation of free beings with God, as it is logically ...
Free Will - In Other Theology
... Further information Free will in theology The theological doctrine of divine foreknowledge is often alleged to be in conflict with free will, particularly in Reformed circles ... Alexandria, a philosopher known for his homocentrism, in holding that free will is a feature of a human's soul, and thus that non-human animals lack free will ... Some views in Jewish philosophy stress that free will is a product of the intrinsic human soul, using the word neshama (from the Hebrew root ...

Famous quotes related to free will:

    Man is a masterpiece of creation if for no other reason than that, all the weight of evidence for determinism notwithstanding, he believes he has free will.
    —G.C. (Georg Christoph)