, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 13-16
Date: 28 Jul 2009

Response to ‘Free Will as Advanced Action Control for Human Social Life and Culture’ by Roy F. Baumeister, A. William Crescioni and Jessica L. Alquist

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I am delighted to be able to comment on this piece by Baumeister, Crescioni and Alquist (henceforth BCA). Baumeister’s earlier work has had a huge influence on my own, and I find myself in very substantial agreement with what BCA have to say here.

The extent of the influence can be seen in my Willing, Wanting, Waiting (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2009).

In particular, I agree that if the philosophical debate on free will is to move forward we need to pay close attention to what it is that agents are thinking when they talk of free will, to the experiences that give rise to their conviction that they have free will, and to the effects of such conviction. Moreover, I am in agreement with most of BCA’s substantive claims, especially the idea that the experience of free will is somehow tied up with the phenomena of choice and of self-control.

But agreement makes for poor reading. So let me focus on an area where there is disagreement; although even here, what I want to suggest is very much in k