Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The ability or discretion to choose; free choice: chose to remain behind of my own free will.
  • n. The power of making free choices that are unconstrained by external circumstances or by an agency such as fate or divine will.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A person's natural inclination; unforced choice.
  • n. The ability to choose one's actions, or determine what reasons are acceptable motivation for actions, without predestination, fate etc.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • A will free from improper coercion or restraint.
  • The power asserted of moral beings of willing or choosing without the restraints of physical or absolute necessity.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the power of making free choices unconstrained by external agencies

Etymologies

Middle English fre wil, translation of Late Latin līberum arbitrium : Latin līberum, neuter of līber, free + Latin arbitrium, will.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • As in the Christian world, so in Islam genethlialogy met with strong religious opposition, primarily over the questions of free will and of the illimitable nature of Allah's power.

    ASTROLOGY

  • The science of Kalām has its roots in the earliest debates in the Islamic com - munity on the questions of free will and predestination, the created or uncreated nature of the Koran, the relation of faith to works, the definition of who is a believer, etc.

    Dictionary of the History of Ideas

  • Among the intellectuals the conflict over the validity of astrology revolved around two main points: free will and the uniqueness and accuracy of any horoscopic diagram.

    ASTROLOGY

  • Insofar as we know it was never criticized in India for denying free will, perhaps because free will has always of ne - cessity exercised against the individual's fate or karma.

    ASTROLOGY

  • “And do you, Sister Alva Jane Merrill, take Brother Wade Barton by the right hand and give yourself to him of your own free will and choice?”

    Keep Sweet

  • Phineas Gage lost none of his neshama in the accident, but he had lost his ability to formulate within his window of free will those choices based on logic.

    THE HIDDEN FACE OF GOD

  • Among a long, distinguished list of psychologists and philosophers, William James, Kurt Lewin, and Karl Heidegger all stressed the role of the present and free will in human behavior.

    The Time Paradox

  • In his famous "antinomies", he proved four propositions: first, that the universe is limitless in time and space; second, that matter is composed of simple, indivisible elements; third, that free will is impossible; and fourth, that there must be an absolute or first cause.

    The Profits of Religion: An Essay in Economic Interpretation

  • When the Prophets gave Shabren the gift of the Orb of Prophecy, they held back just enough to ensure that free will would still be the deciding factor.

    MILLENNIUM

  • The astrologer, in conceding that a person has the free will to choose the astrologically propitious mo - ment for commencing his activities, to some extent negates the genethlialogical predictions; he may reply to his critics, however, that both the genethlialogical and the catarchic horoscopes influence the course of any particular enterprise, and it would be folly to attempt to gauge the future without considering both.

    ASTROLOGY

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