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Free Will Theories

Free Will Theories

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Free Will Theories

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  1. Free Will Theories • Agency Theory: we define ourselves as agents through free choices: this we experience (and is what our theory should explain) • Person Theory: one’s will is free if he/ she has second-order desires to choose to act in certain ways; this distinguishes persons from non-free beings Harry Frankfurt (b. 1929) Objection to both theories: how can “we” be both cause & effect?

  2. The Question of Personal Identity “We” are defined as selves or persons in virtue of the identity or continuity of: our body our soul or mind (René Descartes) our memories (John Locke) (1596-1650) (1632-1704)

  3. Personal Identity There is no continuous, unchanging self; it is: • merely a name for various sensations, thoughts, and actions, an illusory source of suffering, desire, and vanity (Buddhism) merely a name for the bundle of our changing perceptions (Hume)