What Does Free Even Mean?

What Does Free Even Mean? December 9, 2018

The “free” in free will is often called into question, and for good reason. Thinkers like Daniel Dennett have often said that (libertarian) free will needs determinism in order to make any sense, and I would certainly agree with this.

One blog commenter questioned the other day as to what free really means in this context. What is it that the agent is free of? If one is to be free of one’s own nature, then there is little sense to be made. I completely agree here. The internal drivers and motivation and determining influences of one’s actions are causal determinants and to be free of them means that one would be making a decision based on nothing to do with one’s nature.

Now, the libertarian free willer will counter that an agent has the power to overcome one’s internal influences to make some kind of executive decision. But this is nonsensical since this implies that one is acting against one’s nature. This would make the agents act in a way that was incongruent with the agent themselves. I have talked about this here, in what I call the 80-20 problem.

If you are breaking free of the shackles of your own motivations and psyche, then you are becoming free of yourself. You are not being you. Whose intentions and drivers are you then taking on?

Libertarian free will is a complete nonsense. It simply makes no sense.


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