free will

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free will (uncountable)

  1. A person's natural inclination; unforced choice
  2. (philosophy) The ability to choose one's actions, or determine what reasons are acceptable motivation for actions, without predestination, fate etc.
    • 1869, Emmanuel Swedenborg, R Norman Foster, transl., The True Christian Religion:
      What is free will but the power of volition and action, and of thought and speech, to all appearance as of one's self?
    • 2012 January 12, “Free will and politics”, in The Economist:
      The new challenge to free will comes from a different direction: neuroscience's discovery that people's brains are a collection of diversely oriented modules, and that our understanding of our own intentionality is to a great degree a legitimating fiction which one module in the left hemisphere of the brain retroactively imposes over the decisions different modules make.


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