Free Will and Subject

Shand, John (2015). Free Will and Subject. Polish Journal of Philosophy, 9(1) pp. 51–70.



Traditionally formulated, the problem of free will cannot be solved. We may nevertheless be justifiably confident that we have free will. The traditional formulation makes a solution impossible by juxtaposing contradictory objective and subjective accounts of whether there is free will, between which accounts there is no third way to choose. However, the objective stance inherently denies the conditions under which free will is possible, namely that there are subjects, and is thus question-begging. It gives us no good reason for our not having free will without our also accepting that there are no subjects. As subjects we may not deny that there are subjects, and that as subjects we have good reason, through our experience of free will, to hold that we have free will. The problem of free will is a footnote to how there may be subjects. In order to understand what free will is we need to look at how it is experienced, that is, at the phenomenology of free will.

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