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Free will is the capacity to make choices and to act on those choices. Most of us are convinced that we have this capacity because we know, or think we know, that when faced with a choice between one action and another, it is up to us to decide. We decide what to do, and we act on that decision. Had we decided otherwise, we would have done otherwise. Thus, we have free will. Or so it certainly seems.

The problem is that our conviction that we have free will does not fit together with other things we think we know. For instance, either everything that happens—every event—is a necessary consequence of previous events and the laws of nature, or not everything that happens is a ...

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