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Free Will

Harry Binswanger

Presented at: Lyceum 1999

Date: Jul 09, 1999

Ayn Rand is the first philosopher to recognize that free will is at the root of not only ethics but also epistemology. By identifying that "Man is a being of volitional consciousness," that one's choice to think or not is an act of free will, she has revolutionized our understanding of the relationship of consciousness to existence.

In these two lectures, Dr. Binswanger presents and validates the Objectivist theory of free will, with emphasis on the relationship between volition and the reality-orientation. Topics will include:

  • The metaphysics of free will: consciousness, not matter, as volitional
  • Mental focus: what exactly is "focus"? how do we know focus is volitional? what is the relation between the choice to focus and the "higher-level" choices?
  • Drift, evasion, "meta-evasion" and will-power
  • The error in asking "But what makes one man focus and another not?"
  • Free will as the base of objectivity, and the self-refuting nature of determinism

free willmetaphysics

Parts: 2

Handout: none


  • e-Store, 2012 (En) - 184 mins
  • CD, 2000 (En) - 180 mins - 4 CD set with Q&A
  • Campus, 2020 (En) - 184 mins - 2 parts
  • YouTube, 2020 (En) - 90 mins - Lesson 1
  • YouTube, 2020 (En) - 92 mins - Lesson 2