How to Think about the Problem of Free Will

  title={How to Think about the Problem of Free Will},
  author={Peter van Inwagen},
  journal={The Journal of Ethics},
  • P. Inwagen
  • Published 21 August 2008
  • Philosophy
  • The Journal of Ethics
In this essay I present what is, I contend, the free-will problem properly thought through, or at least presented in a form in which it is possible to think about it without being constantly led astray by bad terminology and confused ideas. Bad terminology and confused ideas are not uncommon in current discussions of the problem. The worst such pieces of terminology are “libertarian free will” and “compatibilist free will.” The essay consists partly of a defense of the thesis that the use of… 
Free Will in an Indeterministic World
In his An Essay on Free Will Peter van Inwagen pursues two main strategies in order to argue for the conceivability of free will in an indeterministic world: discussing the Mind-argument and
Van Inwagen on introspected freedom
Any philosopher who defends Free Will should have an answer to the epistemological question: “how do we know that we have such a capacity?” A traditional answer to this question is that we have some
Free Will and Miracles
The Consequence Argument is sound only if no one has a choice about the laws of nature, and one prominent compatibilist reply to the argument—championed by David Lewis (1981)—begins by claiming that
The Revisionist Turn: A Brief History of Recent Work on Free Will
I’ve been told that in the good old days of the 1970s, when Quine’s desert landscapes were regarded as ideal real estate and David Lewis and John Rawls had not yet left a legion of influential
Leeway vs. Sourcehood Conceptions of Free Will (for the Routledge Companion to Free Will)
One reason that many of the philosophical debates about free will might seem intractable is that different participants in those debates use various terms in ways that not only don’t line up, but
On the very concept of free will
This work offers a diagnosis on which the concept of free will is coherent, due at least in part to a tension already present in the very idea of freeWill.
Free Will and Naturalism: How to be a Libertarian and a Naturalist Too
As pop naturalists tell it, free will is incompatible with naturalism. And apparently many scientists agree. Philosopher Daniel Dennett reports, for example, that he has “learned from discussions
Free will and mystery: looking past the Mind Argument
Among challenges to libertarians, the Mind Argument has loomed large. Believing that this challenge cannot be met, Peter van Inwagen, a libertarian, concludes that free will is a mystery. Recently,
The Free Actions of Glorified Saints
This project examines whether we can consistently make two claims: i) God cannot prevent sin without destroying free will; and ii) in heaven, God prevents sin without destroying free will. It
If Free Will Doesn't Exist, Neither Does Water
In recent years, a number of prominent scientists (e.g., Haggard, Montague, Bargh, Cohen and Greene, Cashmore, etc.) have argued that their particular disciplines, or science in general, shows the


Free will as involving determination and inconceivable without it
The thesis of this article is that there has never been any ground for the controversy between the doctrine of free will and determinism, that it is based upon a misapprehension, that the two
Elbow Room: The Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting
Anyone who has wondered if free will is just an illusion or has asked 'could I have chosen otherwise?' after performing some rash deed will find this book an absorbing discussion of an endlessly
The Oxford handbook of free will
1. The Contours of Contemporary Free Will Debates, Robert Kane 2. Recent Work on Divine Foreknowledge and Free Will, Linda Zagzebski 3. Fatalism, Mark Bernstein 4. Physics, Consciousness and Free
Are we free to break the laws
SOFT DETERMINISM seems to have an incredible consequence. It seems to imply, given certain acceptable further premises, that sometimes we are able to act in such a way that the laws of nature are
An Essay on Free Will.
In this stimulating and thought-provoking book, the author defends the thesis that free will is incompatible with determinism. He disputes the view that determinism is necessary for moral
Why Christians Should Not Be Libertarians: An Augustinian Challenge
The prevailing view of Christian philosophers today seems to be that Christianity requires a libertarian conception of free will. Focusing on Augustine's mature anti-Pelagian works, I try to show
Free Will Remains a Mystery
How to think about HT.