Monday, June 02, 2014

The Free Will Defense: On the Incompatibility of Libertarian Free Will and Determinism

I, Robot possessed libertarian free will.

Free will defenses for the argument from evil against the existence of God refer to "free will" as "libertarian free will." Libertarian free will means: a (moral) choice made by a human agent that cannot be exhaustively reduced to or fully explained in terms of antecedent causal conditions.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy says: "But there is also another reason why that claim [If God is morally perfect, then God has the desire to eliminate all evil] is problematic, which arises out of a particular conception of free will - namely, a libertarian conception. According to this view of free will, and in contrast with what are known as compatibilist approaches, free will is incompatible with determinism, and so it is impossible even for an omnipotent being to make it the case that someone freely chooses to do what is right." (Note: the SEP essay, written by Michael Tooley, wonders whether an adequate definition of "libertarian free will" has been given. But philosophers like Alvin Plantinga, J.P. Moreland, et. al. think it has.)

If God has given persons libertarian free will, then when persons exercise that will God cannot determine the outcome. A free agent may choose to do evil. The existence of libertarian free will, as given by an all-powerful and all-loving God who sees this as a great good because, e.g., it makes love possible, explains how such a omni-Being can be affirmed simultaneously with the existence of evil.