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I know that the logical positivists thought that many old philosophical questions are meaningless, but I never found a source on the internet about their position on free will. So what was their position? (especially Rudolf Carnap's position on it)

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Carnap was a comptabilist. From the Carnap's "Philosophical Foundation of Physics" as quoted in the "Cambridge Companion to Carnap" p 303:

Free choice is a decision made by some one capable of foreseeing the consequences of alternate action and choosing that which he prefers. There is no contradiction between free choice understood in this way and determinism, even of the strong classical type.’

A more extensive version of the quote (from the same book, but I don't have an exact page number):

‘Predictability and compulsion are two different things. It is compulsion only when one is forced by outside agents to do something against one’s desire. But if the act springs from one’s own character in accordance with the laws of psychology, then we say that one acts with free will, that is, personal preference of selecting one out of many possibilities. If no compulsion is involved, which means that the choice is based on his own preference, arriving out of his own character, there is no reason for not calling it free choice. It is true that his character caused him to choose as he did and this in turn is conditioned by previous causes. But there is no reason to say that his character compelled him to choose as he did, because the word ‘compel’ is defined in terms of outside casual factors. Free choice is a decision made by some one capable of foreseeing the consequences of alternate action and choosing that which he prefers. There is no contradiction between free choice understood in this way and determinism, even of the strong classical type.’

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The book is called "An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science":

books.google.fr/books?id=bkbCAgAAQBAJ

See chapter 22 for the parts about free will. (The whole book is great though!)

It was based on his lecture course "Philosophical Foundations of Physics":

http://digital.library.pitt.edu/u/ulsmanuscripts/pdf/31735061813675.pdf

  • 1
    While the research you did is great, right now this is on the border of being a link-only answer which is greatly discouraged in the SE format. Can you summarize something from the link to put into your answr? – virmaior Jun 18 '16 at 0:30

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