On Freedom’s Mystery

Rene van Woudenberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This paper argues that Peter van Inwagen’s argument for the mysteriousness of metaphysical freedom does not establish its conclusion. Van Inwagen’s argument involves the notion of ‘chance’. This paper explores how Van Inwagen’s argument fares when the notion of chance is unpacked in four different ways (viz. as meaning ‘unpredictable’, ‘lacking determining causes’, ‘lacking agential control’, and ‘not intended by an agent’) and two different semantics for conditionals (the material conditional account, and Douven’s inferentialist account) are applied. This paper concludes that the mystery argument fails to establish that freedom is a mystery in each of its forms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1629-1638
Number of pages10
JournalPhilosophia (United States)
Issue number4
Early online date30 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020


  • Conditionals
  • Free will
  • Mystery
  • Peter van Inwagen


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