Free Choices Are a Natural Kind

This paper makes the case that free choices are a natural kind, by applying an attractive view of natural kinds to free choices. On this view, human agents choose freely, most of the time, as long as they exercise a cluster of capacities that are related in the right sorts of ways to each other and to the world. In turn, our concept ‘free choice’ is causally regulated by the world as long as most of us possess and exercise most of these capacities. The view that emerges is a type of compatibilism about free choices and determinism, and it overcomes the central obstacle to the development of a natural-kind view about free choice, i.e., the Martian-control objection. Finally, the view circumvents empirical controversies about what people’s intuitive beliefs about free choices are, as well as dialectical stalemates in philosophical theorizing about free choices, by making the intuitive beliefs associated with the concept irrelevant to its reference.