chapter  VIII
Free-Will and Determinism
ByEdgar Wilson
Pages 29

This chapter examines the proposition that as a consequence of identity theory the traditional conceptions of free-will and moral responsibility are rendered otiose. The physical determinist's case against free-will, however, is made out at the second level from which the problem can be addressed, that of the moderately reflective and well-informed man. Physical determinism therefore excludes free-will as traditionally conceived. The traditional problem of free-will versus determinism springs from the prima facie incompatibility between the experience people have as agents making choices and initiating action and the view that objectively people are determined to do only that which people in fact do. The main positive arguments for free-will on phenomenological, linguistic, empirical, logical, scientific–predictive, epistemological and normative or moral grounds have all been found to be open to serious objections. The argument for free-will from normative experience turns, therefore, on the autonomy of moral experience and the support this provides for free-will against physical determinism and the evidence of science.