Just the definition, nothing more. Is there a common definiton we all can agree upon? Many years ago I encountered someone, who insisted that “free will” is simply the internal freedom to be able to come to a decision, and it is not relevant or important that the decision could be carried out. He argued that “free will” should not be confused with “freedom of action”. When I heard that the first time, I was almost speechless from the astonishment. But since then I saw the same argument again.
Needless to say, I contend that “free will” cannot be separated from “freedom of action”.
- What good is to have the freedom to come to a decision which cannot be carried out?
- If only the freedom of decision matters, then one can say that the free will of a rape victim is not curtailed. Someone even might say that she has the freedom of “fighting back” or “lay back and enjoy the experience”.
- If a criminal kidnaps you family, and threatens to kill you children, unless you follow the orders he gives you, then your free will is not touched. You have the freedom to giving in, or resist and thus condemn your children to torture and death.
- Moreover, if you give in to the demands, and your free will was not curtailed, then you acted on your own volition, and as such your are responsible for all the actions you take.
- Finally, If only the freedom of “will” matters, then God could safely interfere and prevent all the planned atrocities, after all the “will” was free, only the action was prevented.
Needless to say that I hold this view ludicruous and absurd.
The definition I propose is simple. There are the following necessary conditions:
- There is an aim or a goal that the agent wills / wishes / desires to carry out.
- There are at least two possible ways or means to carry out that wish. (Principle of Alternate Possibilities - or PAP).
- The Locus of Decision (LoD) rests with the agent. IOW, it is the agent who makes the decision. (No brainwashing)
The Stanford Encyclopedia plato.stanford.edu/entries/freewill/ says:
“Free Will” is a philosophical term of art for a particular sort of capacity of rational agents to choose a course of action from among various alternatives.
Clearly indicating that the action is inseparable from the will.
That is all. Your thoughts? Is it possible to come to an agreement?