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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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Choice

Choice

Chapter:
(p.115) 8 Choice
Source:
Freedom and Belief
Author(s):

Galen Strawson (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199247493.003.0008

It seems clear that possession of the ability to choose is a necessary condition of free agenthood. Now there is a sense in which fulfilling conditions (1)-(4) in Chapter 7 already entails possessing the ability to choose. But the notion of ability to choose needs further discussion, which it receives in this chapter. Consider a choice made by Fido, an affectionate dog trained for life-saving. He stands at the end of an island, facing the point of bifurcation of a river, watching his master and mistress being carried away equidistantly down the two channels of the river. He looks from side to side, agitated, hesitating, then plunges after — one of them. Given that we don't think that dogs can be free agents in the sense that we are, we need to ask what exactly dogs lack, when it comes to making choices.

Keywords:   choice, Fido, ability to choose, canine choice, conditions of free agenthood

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