Third, you might consider a simple choice task, such as an opportunity to drink a Pinot or a Cabernet.You pick the Pinot and ask rhetorically ‘How free was that!?
To say “I could have chosen differently” has no evidentiary value because it begs the question it is supposed to answer.
It attempts to prove free will be asserting its reality; it attempts to refute determinism by asserting its falsity.
Your free will, he suggests, shines when you resist temptation and do what is in your own long-range interest (salvation) or in the interest of the group (conformity, obedience). You feel the desire to have another glass of Pinot, and then – after some internal struggle – you declare that you will stop because you have to drive home or because you have a bad liver.
It seems – and is often portrayed as such – that you have won a victory over yourself. Both inclinations, to drink and not to drink, are motives within your psychological system.
The sick dog twitching in a seizure does not want to twitch.
You might insist to identify free will with voluntary action, but then you are just talking about will, not free will in the libertarian sense, that is, the will that arises uncaused in the mind.
God gave man free will so he may turn away from his evil inclinations and toward his good inclinations.
In contemporary psychology, Roy Baumeister (2008) champions this view.
Consider again your conscious decision to raise your arm.
The fact that your conscious awareness – by definition – begins with the appearance of conscious mental content does not prove that there is no unconscious, and causally relevant, mental content preparing the conscious experience.
There is necessity (i.e., the totality of the natural causal forces in play) and chance (random variation not reducible to causes).