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Freedom and Belief$
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Galen Strawson

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199247493

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199247493.001.0001

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The Experience of Ability to Choose

The Experience of Ability to Choose

(p.227) 14 The Experience of Ability to Choose
Freedom and Belief

Galen Strawson (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Is there a kind of experience of ability to choose that the Natural Epictetans lack, and that is essential to genuine freedom? According to the ‘Ability Suggestion’, to be free is simply to be genuinely able to choose and to be fully self-consciously aware of this fact. It is to be fully aware of oneself, conceived specifically as oneself in the fully self-conscious way, as able to choose. Question: if one is fully self-consciously aware of oneself as able to choose in this way, must one then experience oneself as radically free in the way that has been proposed as a condition of being free? Stolidus, the being of limited conception, answers ‘No’ to this question. He suggests that one can be fully self-consciously aware of oneself as able to choose and still not experience oneself as free. Moira, the genuine incompatibilist determinist, makes the same point. She's fully self-aware but she has fully thought through the argument against the possibility of self-determination in Chapter 2 in such a way that she has no sense of herself as radically free.

Keywords:   ability to choose, experience, Ability Suggestion, Stolidus, limited conception

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