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The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 2, 1999

Metaphysics

Saul Smilansky
Pages 143-152

Free Will
The Positive Role of Illusion

In the following essay, I attempt to defend a novel position on ‘the free will problem’. In particular, I intend to provide (in outline) a position based on the descriptively central and normatively crucial role of illusion in the free will issue. Illusion, I claim, is the vital but neglected key to the free will problem. The proposed position, which can be called ‘Illusionism’, can be defended independently from its derivation from P. F. Strawson’s ‘reactive-naturalism’. However, since the role of illusion emerges only at a late stage of the train of arguments pertaining to free will, we will get to our destination by ‘free-riding’ most of the way on Strawson’s train, and then continue a bit further by ourselves, into the uncharted and dangerous Land Of Illusion.

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