a1 University of Oxford
The words “free will” have uses in ordinary talk as in “free will offering” and, most commonly, in the expression “of my (your, etc.) own free will.” We all know what states of affairs make this expression applicable, and its standard use is defined by this application. Yet philosophers discuss, or used to discuss, whether the will is free, libertarians saying that it is and determinists denying this. Are they, or were they, asking whether anyone ever acts of his own free will? If so, the question asked was absurd.