The Conceptual Impossibility of Free Will Error Theory

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This paper argues for a view of free will that I will call the conceptual impossibility of the truth of free will error theory - the conceptual impossibility thesis. I will argue that given the concept of free will we in fact deploy, it is impossible for our free will judgements - judgements regarding whether some action is free or not - to be systematically false. Since we do judge many of our actions to be free, it follows from the conceptual impossibility thesis that many of our actions are in fact free. Hence it follows that free will error theory - the view that no judgement of the form ‘action A was performed freely’ - is false. I will show taking seriously the conceptual impossibility thesis helps makes good sense of some seemingly inconsistent results in recent experimental philosophy work on determinism and our concept of free will. Further, I will present some reasons why we should expect to find similar results for every other factor we might have thought was important for free will.
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First archival date: 2019-08-10
Latest version: 3 (2019-12-19)
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