What’s the problem with free will?

  • Marianne Drabek


The debate about the existence of free will is often referred to as “the free will problem”. However, this essay intends to illustrate that “the free will problem” may not exist after all but that discussions about free will suffer from a multitude of problems. In particular, definitions and theories lack consensus about the nature of free will and are often too general. Support for arguments is often provided by citing neuroscientific studies despite the fact that these suffer from methodological limitations and allow multiple interpretations depending on the very definition of free will.  Furthermore there is the risk of undermining the belief in moral responsibility in society by premature public discussions.“The” problem of free will is therefore, according to this essay, that inter- and intra-disciplinary teamwork in this debate is not optimal yet. It is concluded that a consensus on a definition about free will is a prerequisite for advances in this field of science.