I seem to remember some philosophers who believe in LFW posit that it only comes into play with major life decisions; you may not consciously decide to raise a forkful to your mouth, but you might deliberate on whether to take a job on another continent. I don't remember which philosopher(s) suggest(s) this or what the theor(ies) are called. Does anyone know?

1 Answer 1


It might be Robert Kane, the "self-forming actions" guy. The SEP article on incompatibilist theories of free will mentions that:

Kane (e.g., at 2007b: 174–75) makes a similar appeal to the build-up of responsibility stemming from slight responsibility for one’s earliest free choices. ... Kane holds that a free decision or other free action is one for which the agent is “ultimately responsible” (1996b: 35). Ultimate responsibility for an action requires either that the action not be causally determined or, if the action is causally determined, that any determining cause of it either be or result (at least in part) from some action by that agent that was not causally determined (and for which the agent was ultimately responsible). Thus, on Kane’s view, an agent can be ultimately responsible for a decision that is causally determined by her possessing certain character traits. But somewhere among the events that contributed (however indirectly) to her having those traits, and thus to her decision, there must have been some free actions by her that were not causally determined. Kane calls such “regress-stopping” actions “self-forming actions” (74). All self-forming actions, he argues, are acts of will; they are mental actions. He thus calls them “self-forming willings” (125), or SFWs.

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