I have written quite often about free will on this blog
reason why people (why I myself) find it hard to grasp this subject is that it is
metaphysical, not scientific; i.e. it is about our assumptions
concerning reality - not about our investigations of reality.
problem is that the metaphysics of free will is that - to be real - the
free will must be an unmoved mover, an uncaused cause.
It must be - so it is!
places free will outside of science - because science is only concerned
with caused things.
This means that science is necessarily incomplete - since there must BE uncaused causes, or else we have
infinite regress in a-caused-b-caused-c-caused-d forever! - and a situation which nothing could happen (this was pointed-out centuries ago by
But free will conceptualized as an uncaused cause implies that each Man (and maybe other things) is to some extent an uncaused cause - and
this creates difficulties for most philosophies, which are monist - and
refer all causes back to one cause.
The conclusion seems to be that God has free will and is an uncaused cause; but the same also applies to each Man.
How can this be understood?
only two rational conclusions I can see; are either
1. To state that God
caused each uncaused cause: i.e. God caused (created) each Man to as an uncaused cause.
2. The theology of pluralism: that God and
also each Man are alike in being uncaused causes, and 'always'-have-been. God and each Man are (at the level of being uncaused causes - although not necessarily as 'persons') basic constituents in the universe.
The first is the solution of Aquinas, the second is the solution of Mormon theology. Each solution has advantages and problems - and different implications.
I personally favour the Mormon metaphysics, partly from temperament - but mostly because it solves the problems that are most dominant for me, and I find the consequences congenial; while the Thomist solution seems too obviously paradoxical and leads to problems (such as the problems of pain/ suffering and moral responsibility) further down the line.
But both solutions are viable in some ways, unsatisfactory in others; and both are much preferable to the up-front, in-your-face nihilistic incoherence of denying the reality of free will!