Does free will come in degrees?

Jonathan Hall, Tillmann Vierkant

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


The question of whether free will exists is often reduced to the binary question of whether or not its existence would be compatible with determinism. However, there are a number of important dimensions that permit different degrees of free will. Four components of free will seem to allow for a graded approach: (1) the ability to act in line with intentions (2) which are consciously formed (3) using one’s rational machinery and (4) without external interference. Finally, the chapter discusses whether there are lower and upper limits to this gradability such that above a certain level having more of the components does not create more free will, and below some threshold there is no free will at all, not just less.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFree Will
Subtitle of host publicationPhilosophers and Neuroscientists in Conversation
EditorsUri Maoz, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780197572160, 9780197572153
Publication statusPublished - 19 Apr 2022


  • compatibilism
  • free will
  • intensions
  • degrees
  • rational machinery
  • consciousness


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