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Core Concepts

Adequate Determinism
Alternative Possibilities
Causa Sui
Causal Closure
Chance Not Direct Cause
Chaos Theory
The Cogito Model
Comprehensive   Compatibilism
Conceptual Analysis
Could Do Otherwise
Default Responsibility
Determination Fallacy
Double Effect
Either Way
Emergent Determinism
Epistemic Freedom
Ethical Fallacy
Experimental Philosophy
Extreme Libertarianism
Event Has Many Causes
Frankfurt Cases
Free Choice
Freedom of Action
"Free Will"
Free Will Axiom
Free Will in Antiquity
Free Will Mechanisms
Free Will Requirements
Free Will Theorem
Future Contingency
Hard Incompatibilism
Idea of Freedom
Illusion of Determinism
Laplace's Demon
Liberty of Indifference
Libet Experiments
Master Argument
Modest Libertarianism
Moral Necessity
Moral Responsibility
Moral Sentiments
Paradigm Case
Random When?/Where?
Rational Fallacy
Same Circumstances
Science Advance Fallacy
Second Thoughts
Soft Causality
Special Relativity
Standard Argument
Temporal Sequence
Tertium Quid
Torn Decision
Two-Stage Models
Ultimate Responsibility
Up To Us
What If Dennett and Kane Did Otherwise?


Mortimer Adler
Rogers Albritton
Alexander of Aphrodisias
Samuel Alexander
William Alston
Louise Antony
Thomas Aquinas
David Armstrong
Harald Atmanspacher
Robert Audi
Alexander Bain
Mark Balaguer
Jeffrey Barrett
William Belsham
Henri Bergson
George Berkeley
Isaiah Berlin
Richard J. Bernstein
Bernard Berofsky
Robert Bishop
Max Black
Susanne Bobzien
Emil du Bois-Reymond
Hilary Bok
Laurence BonJour
George Boole
Émile Boutroux
Michael Burke
Joseph Keim Campbell
Rudolf Carnap
Ernst Cassirer
David Chalmers
Roderick Chisholm
Randolph Clarke
Samuel Clarke
Anthony Collins
Antonella Corradini
Diodorus Cronus
Jonathan Dancy
Donald Davidson
Mario De Caro
Daniel Dennett
Jacques Derrida
René Descartes
Richard Double
Fred Dretske
John Dupré
John Earman
Laura Waddell Ekstrom
Herbert Feigl
Arthur Fine
John Martin Fischer
Owen Flanagan
Luciano Floridi
Philippa Foot
Alfred Fouilleé
Harry Frankfurt
Richard L. Franklin
Michael Frede
Gottlob Frege
Peter Geach
Edmund Gettier
Carl Ginet
Alvin Goldman
Nicholas St. John Green
H.Paul Grice
Ian Hacking
Ishtiyaque Haji
Stuart Hampshire
Sam Harris
William Hasker
Georg W.F. Hegel
Martin Heidegger
Thomas Hobbes
David Hodgson
Shadsworth Hodgson
Baron d'Holbach
Ted Honderich
Pamela Huby
David Hume
Ferenc Huoranszki
William James
Lord Kames
Robert Kane
Immanuel Kant
Tomis Kapitan
Jaegwon Kim
William King
Hilary Kornblith
Christine Korsgaard
Saul Kripke
Andrea Lavazza
Christoph Lehner
Keith Lehrer
Gottfried Leibniz
Jules Lequyer
Michael Levin
George Henry Lewes
David Lewis
Peter Lipton
C. Lloyd Morgan
John Locke
Michael Lockwood
E. Jonathan Lowe
John R. Lucas
Alasdair MacIntyre
Ruth Barcan Marcus
James Martineau
Storrs McCall
Hugh McCann
Colin McGinn
Michael McKenna
Brian McLaughlin
John McTaggart
Paul E. Meehl
Uwe Meixner
Alfred Mele
Trenton Merricks
John Stuart Mill
Dickinson Miller
Thomas Nagel
Otto Neurath
Friedrich Nietzsche
John Norton
Robert Nozick
William of Ockham
Timothy O'Connor
David F. Pears
Charles Sanders Peirce
Derk Pereboom
Steven Pinker
Karl Popper
Huw Price
Hilary Putnam
Willard van Orman Quine
Frank Ramsey
Ayn Rand
Michael Rea
Thomas Reid
Charles Renouvier
Nicholas Rescher
Richard Rorty
Josiah Royce
Bertrand Russell
Paul Russell
Gilbert Ryle
Jean-Paul Sartre
Kenneth Sayre
Moritz Schlick
Arthur Schopenhauer
John Searle
Wilfrid Sellars
Alan Sidelle
Ted Sider
Henry Sidgwick
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
Saul Smilansky
Michael Smith
Baruch Spinoza
L. Susan Stebbing
Isabelle Stengers
George F. Stout
Galen Strawson
Peter Strawson
Eleonore Stump
Francisco Suárez
Richard Taylor
Kevin Timpe
Mark Twain
Peter Unger
Peter van Inwagen
Manuel Vargas
John Venn
Kadri Vihvelin
G.H. von Wright
David Foster Wallace
R. Jay Wallace
Ted Warfield
Roy Weatherford
William Whewell
Alfred North Whitehead
David Widerker
David Wiggins
Bernard Williams
Timothy Williamson
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Susan Wolf


Michael Arbib
Walter Baade
Bernard Baars
Leslie Ballentine
Gregory Bateson
John S. Bell
Mara Beller
Charles Bennett
Ludwig von Bertalanffy
Susan Blackmore
Margaret Boden
David Bohm
Niels Bohr
Ludwig Boltzmann
Emile Borel
Max Born
Satyendra Nath Bose
Walther Bothe
Hans Briegel
Leon Brillouin
Stephen Brush
Henry Thomas Buckle
S. H. Burbury
Donald Campbell
Anthony Cashmore
Eric Chaisson
Jean-Pierre Changeux
Arthur Holly Compton
John Conway
John Cramer
E. P. Culverwell
Olivier Darrigol
Charles Darwin
Richard Dawkins
Terrence Deacon
Lüder Deecke
Richard Dedekind
Louis de Broglie
Max Delbrück
Abraham de Moivre
Paul Dirac
Hans Driesch
John Eccles
Arthur Stanley Eddington
Gerald Edelman
Paul Ehrenfest
Albert Einstein
Hugh Everett, III
Franz Exner
Richard Feynman
R. A. Fisher
Joseph Fourier
Philipp Frank
Lila Gatlin
Michael Gazzaniga
GianCarlo Ghirardi
J. Willard Gibbs
Nicolas Gisin
Paul Glimcher
Thomas Gold
Brian Goodwin
Joshua Greene
Jacques Hadamard
Patrick Haggard
Stuart Hameroff
Augustin Hamon
Sam Harris
Hyman Hartman
John-Dylan Haynes
Donald Hebb
Martin Heisenberg
Werner Heisenberg
John Herschel
Art Hobson
Jesper Hoffmeyer
E. T. Jaynes
William Stanley Jevons
Roman Jakobson
Pascual Jordan
Ruth E. Kastner
Stuart Kauffman
Martin J. Klein
Simon Kochen
Hans Kornhuber
Stephen Kosslyn
Ladislav Kovàč
Leopold Kronecker
Rolf Landauer
Alfred Landé
Pierre-Simon Laplace
David Layzer
Benjamin Libet
Seth Lloyd
Hendrik Lorentz
Josef Loschmidt
Ernst Mach
Donald MacKay
Henry Margenau
James Clerk Maxwell
Ernst Mayr
John McCarthy
Ulrich Mohrhoff
Jacques Monod
Emmy Noether
Abraham Pais
Howard Pattee
Wolfgang Pauli
Massimo Pauri
Roger Penrose
Steven Pinker
Colin Pittendrigh
Max Planck
Susan Pockett
Henri Poincaré
Daniel Pollen
Ilya Prigogine
Hans Primas
Adolphe Quételet
Jürgen Renn/a>
Juan Roederer
Jerome Rothstein
David Ruelle
Tilman Sauer
Erwin Schrödinger
Aaron Schurger
Claude Shannon
David Shiang
Herbert Simon
Dean Keith Simonton
B. F. Skinner
Roger Sperry
John Stachel
Henry Stapp
Tom Stonier
Antoine Suarez
Leo Szilard
Max Tegmark
William Thomson (Kelvin)
Giulio Tononi
Peter Tse
Vlatko Vedral
Heinz von Foerster
John von Neumann
John B. Watson
Daniel Wegner
Steven Weinberg
Paul A. Weiss
John Wheeler
Wilhelm Wien
Norbert Wiener
Eugene Wigner
E. O. Wilson
H. Dieter Zeh
Ernst Zermelo
Wojciech Zurek
Konrad Zuse
Fritz Zwicky


Free Will
Mental Causation
James Symposium

The Pseudo-Problem of Free Will
The Pseudo-Problem of Free Will is a misnomer. Free Will is a real problem.
Free will was declared a pseudo-problem by Moritz Schlick in his 1936 essay The Pseudo-Problem of Freedom of the Will.
Ludwig Wittgenstein had convinced Schlick and his Vienna Circle of logical positivists/empiricists that philosophical problems could not be solved, only dis-solved, by careful attention to the use of language.
In C. A. Campbell's inaugural address at Glasgow University in 1938, In Defence of Free Will, he attempted to restore sensible discussion to a problem he regarded as unparalleled in the history of metaphysics. Later he attacked Schlick directly in his 1951 Mind article Is Free Will A Pseudo-Problem?
More likely to be Pseudo-Problems are Determinism, which is a dogma, Compatibilism, which is mostly sophistical word play to deny common sense, and Incompatibilism, which simultaneously refers to two opposing ideas - "Hard Determinism" and "Free Will."
Is it any wonder that such confused and abused language has resulted in the muddle of philosophizing on free will?
Determinism has always been more a matter of faith than an empirically established truth about the world or human beings. There is no scientific evidence for the strict determinism of philosophy. It is merely a dogma.
And the non-intuitive claim, thought true only by cerebral philosophers and brain-washed students of philosophy, that freedom is compatible with determinism is a black mark on the academy. It is the product of logicians who think the tortoise beats the hare and the ass starves to death if equidistant between two piles of hay. To be sure, what compatibilists may want and see correctly is that free will requires a degree of determination.
R.E.Hobart had part of the idea in his essay Free Will as Involving Determination and Inconceivable Without It.
Hobart's argument is similar to John Locke's simple insight that The Will Is Not Free, it is The Man Who Is Free. The Will is an Act of Determination.
Locke says in Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Book II, Chapter XXI,Section 21 Of Power
"To return, then, to the inquiry about liberty, I think the question is not proper, whether the will be free, but whether a man be free."
And Locke knew that language like "free will is incompatible with determinism" was itself the source of philosophical errors.
"This way of talking, nevertheless, has prevailed, and, as I guess, produced great confusion."
Peter van Inwagen had another part of the idea in his Essay on Free Will when he found Incompatibilism to be true but could not see the proper place for Indeterminism.
An improved, new, or strong Compatibilism might be:
Free Will is Compatible with both "Adequate" Determinism and Indeterminism
Resolution of the Pseudo-Problem of Determinism
The very simple answer is to recognize the term "free will" as a complex of two independent concepts, free and will, arranged in a temporal sequence.
The Free in Free Will is
Compatible with (Some) Indeterminism
And Incompatible with (Strict) Determinism
The Will in Free Will is
Compatible with (Adequate) Determinism
And Incompatible with (Total) Indeterminism

The Free in Free Will Creates and Liberates Alternative Possibilities
The Will in Free Will De-Liberates and Determines the one Possibility among many that is to become Actuality

Chance, in a present time of random alternatives, allows the Mind a Choice which selects one possibility and transforms an equivocal and open future into an unalterable and closed past.

The Will Is Not Free (per se), as John Locke first pointed out. It is the Mind that is Free.

Free and Will combine to describe the Mind's ability:

  • To Choose from among Multiple Alternative Possibilities
  • To Start New Causal Chains
  • To Create New Information Structures - information that was not present, implicitly or explicitly, in the immediate past world.
  • To Develop Emergent Phenomena
  • To Make "Hard Facts" or "Truths"
  • To Be Unpredictable, even to Oneself
  • To Feel Correctly that One Could Have Done Otherwise.
  • To Feel Correctly that Our Actions are "Up to Us."

Philosophers appear to be logical monists with respect to determinism. Either "Determinism is true" they say or "Determinism is false," In which case, they lament, "Indeterminism is true," which many otherwise sensible thinkers take, in a most simple-minded way, to mean that everything is random, that that every event has no cause, that chance is the direct cause of our actions, and that absolute chance rules the world.
Here is P. H. Nowell Smith
The fallacy of [Incompatibilism] has often been exposed and the clearest proof that it is mistaken or at least muddled lies in showing that I could not be free to choose what I do unless determinism is correct. For the simplest actions could not be performed in an indeterministic universe. If I decide, say, to eat a piece of fish, I cannot do so if the fish is liable to turn into a stone or to disintegrate in mid-air or to behave in any other utterly unpredictable manner.
Origin of the Concept and the Term - Pseudo-Problem
Ludwig Wittgenstein was fond of quoting the introduction to Heinrich Hertz's Principles of Mechanics, which traced many problems to confusion in language. Such problems were not really soluble, but could be eliminated by clarifying the language. Wittgenstein's biographer, Ray Monk, says this was the origin of his concept of dis-solving problems.
In The Principles of Mechanics Hertz had proposed that, instead of giving a direct answer to the question: 'What is force?' the problem should be dealt with by restating Newtonian physics without using `force' as a basic concept. Throughout his life, Wittgenstein regarded Hertz's solution to the problem as a perfect model of how philosophical confusion should be dispelled, and frequently cited – as a statement of his own aim in philosophy – the following sentence from Hertz's introduction to The Principles of Mechanics:
When these painful contradictions are removed, the question as to the nature of force will not have been answered; but our minds, no longer vexed, will cease to ask illegitimate questions.
In a conscious echo of this sentence, Wittgenstein wrote:
In my way of doing philosophy, its whole aim is to give an expression such a form that certain disquietudes disappear. (Hertz). [Monk, Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius, p.446]
Wittgenstein used many pseudo-terms in the Tractatus - pseudo-concept, pseudo-relation, and most importantly pseudo-proposition. But he does not use pseudo-problem.
Recall that Russell and Whitehead had defined knowledge of the world as a set of true propositions. We still find this definition in recent works of analytic philosophers. Here is Wittgenstein in the Tractatus.
4.11 The totality of true propositions is the whole of natural science (or the whole corpus of the natural sciences).

4.112 Philosophy aims at the logical clarification of thoughts.
          Philosophy is not a body of doctrine [a theory] but an activity.
          Philosophy does not result in 'philosophical propositions', but rather in the clarification of propositions.
          Without philosophy thoughts are, as it were, cloudy and indistinct: its task is to make them clear and to give them sharp boundaries.

For Teachers
For Scholars

Chapter 3.7 - The Ergod Chapter 4.2 - The History of Free Will
Part Three - Value Part Five - Problems
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