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free will

noun
1.
free and independent choice; voluntary decision:
You took on the responsibility of your own free will.
2.
Philosophy. the doctrine that the conduct of human beings expresses personal choice and is not simply determined by physical or divine forces.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for free will
  • Westerners tend to believe in free will and personal choice.
  • Of his own free will, he turns from a full-throttle embrace of life to a joyless subsistence.
  • If you decide to stay with your life as it is now, it will be of your own free will to do so and not because you are trapped.
  • The free will and the free mind were nowhere to be found.
  • It is the reward for a life of free will and reason not well spent.
  • For impecunious teenagers and students, the fact that peer-to-peer sharing is free will always be compelling.
  • If insurance companies had chosen to sell protection on corporate debt of their own free will, that was their business.
  • With the normal drug trade all of the players are doing it out of free will, which is to be commended.
  • We have a capacity to understand ourselves and environment and act with free will called intention.
  • Perhaps it is psychology that misunderstands the role of the conscious mind and free will in determining behavior.
British Dictionary definitions for free will

free will

noun
1.
  1. the apparent human ability to make choices that are not externally determined
  2. the doctrine that such human freedom of choice is not illusory Compare determinism (sense 1)
  3. (as modifier): a free-will decision
2.
the ability to make a choice without coercion: he left of his own free will: I did not influence him
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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free will in Culture

free will definition


The ability to choose, think, and act voluntarily. For many philosophers, to believe in free will is to believe that human beings can be the authors of their own actions and to reject the idea that human actions are determined by external conditions or fate. (See determinism, fatalism, and predestination.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for free will

in humans, the power or capacity to choose among alternatives or to act in certain situations independently of natural, social, or divine restraints. Free will is denied by those who espouse any of various forms of determinism. Arguments for free will are based on the subjective experience of freedom, on sentiments of guilt, on revealed religion, and on the universal supposition of responsibility for personal actions that underlies the concepts of law, reward, punishment, and incentive. In theology, the existence of free will must be reconciled with God's omniscience and goodness (in allowing man to choose badly), and with divine grace, which allegedly is necessary for any meritorious act. A prominent feature of modern Existentialism is the concept of a radical, perpetual, and frequently agonizing freedom of choice. Jean-Paul Sartre, for example, speaks of the individual "condemned to be free" even though his situation may be wholly determined.

Learn more about free will with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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