What philosophers think about free will

Patrick Appel passes along a fascinating survey of  438 professional philosophers and PhDs and 210 philosophy grad students on meta- and normative ethics, God, the afterlife, naturalism, and some ill-defined political positions. And of course, my favorite topic:

Free will: compatibilism, libertarianism, or no free will?

Accept: compatibilism 873 / 3226 (27%)
Lean toward: compatibilism 788 / 3226 (24.4%)
Lean toward: libertarianism 303 / 3226 (9.3%)
Accept: libertarianism 288 / 3226 (8.9%)
Lean toward: no free will 255 / 3226 (7.9%)
Accept: no free will 236 / 3226 (7.3%)

I’ve never heard any of our philosophy students or instructors weigh in on the question. Don’t think I’m not curious.


3 Responses

  1. Gah A priori! I will defeat you one day. Even if it means I have to mkae a convincing argument for there not being souls.

    Though I wonder if apparently genetically coded behavior in animals would be considered a priori…

  2. I think we need to start with a far more basic question. What does freedom mean? Freedom from? Or Freedom to? Freedom from what? Freedom to what? We cannot address the whole determinism, compatibilism, libertarianism, until we first figure out what freedom is.

  3. I agree with Matt, I would have to know more about what freedom means.

    But on another note, I’m glad the crazies on both sides (both radical free-willists and determinists) are in the minority.

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