Compatibilist, real-self accounts of freedom distinguish between various types of motivational element. They claim that only acts performed in accordance with and suitably related to elements of this kind that somehow constitute the agent's real self are free. While such accounts are more intuitively compelling than classical compatibilist ones, they are flawed in various ways. First, non-trivially identified real-self motivations are susceptible to estrangement. Second, realself accounts are unable to accommodate cases where the agent neither identifies, nor disidentifies, with his action and yet seems to exercise free will. Third, compared with classical compatibilism, real-self accounts give us an improved account of impediments to the will, but they do not provide an account of freedom itself. Finally, real-self theories are vulnerable to counterexamples in which the provenance of the agent's real self undermines freedom.
© Philosophia Press 2002