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Popper and Free Will

Author(s): Danny Frederick

Journal: Studia Philosophica Estonica
ISSN 1406-0000

Volume: 3.1;
Start page: 21;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: free will | free decision | determinism | indeterminism | intentional action | propensity | self-consciousness

Determinism seems incompatible with free will. However, even indeterminism seems incompatible with free will, since it seems to make free actions random. Popper contends that free agents are not bound by physical laws, even indeterministic ones, and that undetermined actions are not random if they are influenced by abstract entities. I argue that Popper could strengthen his account by drawing upon his theories of propensities and of limited rationality; but that even then his account would not fully explain why free actions are not random. I offer a solution to this problem which draws on Hornsby's analysis of action. I then borrow an idea of Kant about self-consciousness to distinguish free agents from sub-human animals. I make a brief evaluation of Popper's contribution.

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