There are many different ways to think about free will. Philosophers typically think about free will in connection with the issue of determinism. This entry focuses mainly on this way of thinking about the issue, but it touches at the end on the question of how free will relates to life-span issues.

The Problem of Free Will and Determinism

Many people believe two seemingly incompatible propositions, namely, that human beings have free will and that determinism is true. Roughly speaking, determinism is the view that every event has a cause or, in other words, that events do not happen without any cause. Intuitively, this seems plausible. Suppose that two people (Pete and Jane) put two pool balls on a pool table and hit the two balls simultaneously, ...

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