Ronald Dworkin on Free Will

Posted by on May 8, 2012 in Musings | No Comments

In Justice for Hedgehogs, Dworkin’s latest installment in a lifelong series of books on interpretation, he writes the following in a chapter titled “Free Will and Responsibility,”

“we might think that the fact of our consciousness itself, together with the phenomenal challenge of lives to lead, itself gives us all the dignity we need or should crave. The universe may know what we will decide, but we do not. So we must struggle to choose, and on this view we do create value–the adverbial value of living well–through our choices. We might reinterpret the long existentialist tradition in philosophy, or at least extract what is most persuasive in it, through that second view of our dignity. It gives a different and more plausible meaning to Jean Paul Sartre’s declaration that our existence precedes our essence.”