On Terminology In Discussing "Free Will"

  • It has been called to my attention that in many circles the term "free will" carries some kind of supernatural or religious implications, and that in those circles the terms generally used are "hard determinism" or "soft determinism" to indicate that no choices are entirely without preceding influences. I agree that it is important to be clear about what we mean in any context.

    For comparative reference, I pulled out four translations of Lucretius Book 2 where this wording generally becomes an issue:

    1. Daniel Browne edition of 1743:

    2. Hugh Munro translation, late 1800's:

    3. Cyril Bailey translation, 1930's

    4. Martin Ferguson Smith translation, Hackett publishing (current edition):