General Free Will

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    O'Connor, Timothy

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    Free Will

    "'Free Will' is largely a philosophical term of art for a particular sort of capacity of rational agents to choose a course of action from among various alternatives. Which sort is the free will sort is what all the fuss is about... Most philosophers suppose that the concept of free will is very closely connected to the concept of moral responsibility. Acting with free will, on such views, is just to satisfy the metaphysical requirement on being responsible for one's action...But the significance of free will is not exhausted by its connection to moral responsibility. Free will also appears to be a condition on desert for one's accomplishments...; on the autonomy and dignity of persons; and on the value we accord to love and friendship."
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    van Inwagen, Peter

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    How to Think about the Problem of Free Will

    "What is the 'problem of free will'? Like those other great 'problem' phrases that philosophers bandy about, 'the mind-body problem,' 'the problem of universals,' and 'the problem of evil,' this phrase has no clear referent. There are obviously a lot of philosophical problems about free will, but which of them, or which combination of them, is the problem of free will? I will propose an answer to this question, but this proposal can be no more than just that, a proposal."