Free will is the idea that we can play an active role and have choice in how we behave . The assumption is that individuals are free to choose their behaviour and are self-determined.
The devil is in the details, how “active a role” is reduced to all or nothing conundrum.
There is no Free Will because everything has antecedent causes, the moment before, all the way down. But what does that mean in a world where we must (and do) make novel choices, in novel situations, hoping for certain outcomes? The line between determined and choice gets fuzzy.
The incompatibilist maintains that **if our willings and choices are themselves determined by antecedent causes then we could never choose otherwise than we do . Given the antecedent causal conditions, we must always act as we do
Why must we?
By what power do antecedent causal conditions, dictate behavior and thoughts in novel situations?
Aren’t we discussing mind and consciousness, rather than molecular interactions?
We do possess agency.
We possess dreams, goals, observations, memory, rationalism, planning, along with pragmatic thinking focused on improving and sustaining one’s wellbeing.
How else could it be? Here again an explicit recognition that we inhabit evolved primate bodies helps the pieces fall into place.
My mind is the sum of all my experiences, which informs my outlook. My body/brain is a very advanced biological creature that’s created an introspective mind like no other creature out there, and my body/brain is doing its thing to survive. I’m okay with realizing I don’t have the kind of “Free Will” people dream of and argue over. I’m glad of the guiding influence my body exerts upon my mind and actions - and that my experiences have over my thinking.
What gets overlooked is that not having Free Will doesn’t mean we don’t have any influence over our destiny. We might not be in control of our future, but we sure do influence how our future unfolds.
Consider what we know.
We have the fixed past;
the moment, that reduces the potential laden future;
down to the one action plan that unfolded in the next moment;
which starts the cycle all over again, endlessly.
We do, we must constantly make choices and engage in action, then we must deal with those consequences which require new choices, all the way down. A healthy mind is rational and considers situations, actions, and outcomes, all the while making decisions and engaging in action, often to totally novel challenges and situations.
That’s the squishy part of the biological reality of Life in action .
Instead we have quasi religious disputations on “Free Will,” yes, or no.
Sure, I don’t have Free Will, I can only be me, so I strive to focus on making intelligent choices. If they aren’t of Free Will at least they are grounded in Experience and Choice, and I’m good with that.