An Argument for Libertarian Free Will: Hard Choices Based on either Incomparable or Equally Persuasive Reasons

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DOI: 10.4236/ojpp.2017.71005    417 Downloads   573 Views  


This articles proposes that the best explanation for hard choices, which are choices made when there are either incomparable options or equally appealing options, is the presence of libertarian free will; and that the two main alternatives, determinism and random choice, do not provide us with very compelling explanations. In the case of determinism, this is because the reasons supporting each option do not dictate or necessitate that we choose that option, and therefore any decision is necessarily underdetermined by the reasons for each option. Random choice fares no better since any choice made when the options are incomparable or equally appealing is supported by reasons and therefore is not random at all. As such, we should believe in free will. The article further reviews some of the current neuroscientific studies and explains how they do not show the absence of free will. The paper further argues that science likely could never prove that we do not have free will since showing that any decision is reflected or caused by our brain neurons firing does not show that the ultimate decision was not arrived at after a free will consideration of the issues. Lastly, the article suggests that the best way to view free will is as an attribute and ability that is always present, and as such there is no such thing as partial free will. Accordingly, we are fully responsible for the decisions we make and the actions we take. However, external and internal influences, especially those that lurk in our subconscious and of which we are not consciously aware, do mitigate our blameworthiness and praiseworthiness for those decisions.

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Firestone, R. (2017) An Argument for Libertarian Free Will: Hard Choices Based on either Incomparable or Equally Persuasive Reasons. Open Journal of Philosophy, 7, 64-93. doi: 10.4236/ojpp.2017.71005.


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