The Proof of Free Will (Libertarian Volition)

By the nature of the following refutation of determinism, it can also be considered a proof (1) of (libertarian-type) volition. It is a refutation of any theory that would deny the existence of non-necessitated events–in the form of fundamental, agent-controlled choices–located in a conceptual consciousness, including incompatibilist determinism and compatibilism.

Here is a short video (by someone else) explaining the general outlines of the argument:

Here is a link to the paper by Harry Binswanger:

A Refutation of Determinism


(1) The argument shows that volition is a prerequisite of all knowledge and that the denial of volitional choice implies self-contradiction, thus establishing volitional choice as an axiom of epistemology. Strictly speaking, I think, by Leonard Peikoff’s definitions, this is not a proof, but an axiomatic validation. It establishes the axiom as absolutely and unquestionably true, but does not involve the specific process of logical proof of the positive proposition. The positive proposition is self-evident in each individual’s experience of existence.

5 thoughts on “The Proof of Free Will (Libertarian Volition)

  1. I would recommend Micheal Mckenna’s reply to Pereboom who says we do not have free will. He argues that either conclusion (that we either have or do not have free will in the basic-desert sense)relies on one’s starting assumption. If true this doesn’t prove that we have free will, only that the debate has reached an impasse.

  2. Totally unconvincing. We are born with a deterministic drive to try to learn about the world because it has a survival advantage. We invent mental models and then compare them to what we observe. If we spot a contradiction/falsification, then we must modify our model. The more tests/observations a model passes, the more confidence we have in it and the more we feel it is true. No free will is necessary for any of this.

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