在我的 上一篇文章，我在自己的形而上学背景下探讨了自由意志的主题： 理想主义的表述。在这篇简短的文章中，我想归纳出我先前讨论所依据的一些原则，以使那些对自由意志这一主题感兴趣但对特定的形而上学公式不一定感兴趣的人受益。
What is freewill? We 所有 有 an intuitive understanding of it, but when we translate that understanding into words, we often misrepresent the 本质 of our own intuition. Having pondered about it for a while, here is how I would define it:
Freewill is the capacity of an agent to 使 an intentional choice unconstrained by any factor outside that which the agent 确定 itself with.
Let's exemplify this definition by taking the agent to 是 a person. Personal freewill is then the capacity of a person to 使 an intentional choice unconstrained by any influence, limit, requirement or power that the person does not identify herself with. Note the emphasis on what a person 确定 herself with, as opposed to what a particular paradigm implies the person to 是 . Materialism, for instance, entails that a person is 我rely her 物理 body. This way, if a person's choices 是 我rely the outcome of 确定性的 物理 processes in her brain, that would still comply with the definition of freewill above. After 所有, the processes in a person's brain 是 part of what the person supposedly is. Yet, most of us would intuitively and immediately reject 确定性的 brain processes to 是 an expression of true freewill. Why? 因为无论出于何种原因，我们都无法将自己与大脑中的过程相结合。 我们说我们 有 大脑，而不是说我们 是 一个大脑。
上面的定义还规避了 自由主义者的自由意志, which entails that a truly 自由选择 必须 是 completely non-determined. The problem here is that, from a logical perspective, a choice is either the 确定性的 outcome of some (perhaps unfathomably rich, incomprehensible, transcendent, 我aningful and complex) process, or random. It is very hard, if at 所有 possible, to find semantic or logical space for 自由主义者的自由意志 if we insist on differentiating it form the latter two cases. According to the definition above, on the other hand, true freewill can 是 the expression of a 确定性的 process, so long as the determining factors of that process 是 internal to that which the choosing agent 确定 itself with.
大多数人都以主观经验来识别自己特定的意识和情感。因此，当代理人是人时，只有且仅当 所有 determining factors 是 hind the making of a choice 是 part of the person's conscious thoughts and emotions: her opinions, 是 liefs, 首选项， tastes, likes and dislikes, 目标, etc. The fact that a particular paradigm, like materialism, insists that thoughts and emotions 是 大脑活动仅仅是一个概念上的抽象，与一个人如何体验自己的身份没有心理上的联系。这样，上面的自由意志的定义就独立于特定的本体论范式，例如唯物主义。
说我们的选择是 确定性的 outcome of processes that we identify ourselves with does not refute the 本质 of our intuition about freewill. The appearance that it does is 我rely a linguistic illusion. Let 我 try to illustrate this with an example. I may say: 'I made choice A but I 可以 有 made choice B.' This statement is a clear assertion of my freewill; in fact, it captures the very core of what freewill entails, doesn't it? Yet, the statement implies that the choice was indeed 决心：由...决定 我! In other words, it was the perceived 本质 of what it 我ans to 是 我 that 决心 the choice. Therefore, I can rephrase the statement in the following way, without changing its 我aning or implications: 'I chose A 是 cause it is my perceived essential nature to do so, although there were no external factors preventing 我 from choosing B.' Formulated this way, the statement is clearly consistent with the definition above. Do 您 see what I 我an?
当一个人说自己的选择不能由任何事物决定以真正获得自由时，实际上意味着一个人的选择不能由任何事物决定 external to that which one 确定 oneself with。毕竟，除非选择是随机的，否则 必须 是 决心 by something, even if that something is no more than the perceived essential nature of the agent that 使s the choice. True freewill applies in this latter case.