Free will refers to the intellectual faculty that gives you the freedom to choose between rightful and wrongful behavior. It provides you with the freedom to use your insightful reasoning to make moral decisions regarding your conduct. And finally, it affords you the prerogative to practice the moral virtues that habituate a virtuous character and bring about a state of happiness.
Free Will is a universally-endowed right that everyone possesses. It is an empowered faculty that cannot be transferred. It is an inalienable right that is free from any sumptuary1 legislature that attempts to regulate the freedom you have in making moral choices regarding conduct.
Notwithstanding, the doctrine of Free Will carries with it the expectation of self-responsibility. That is to say, since your endowed Free Will gives you the inherent freedom to act as you wish, then it follows that you inherit the self-responsibility to act as you ought. This means that you must accept absolute responsibility for your acts of conduct from a moral point of view as well as from a legal perspective. This means that, if you perform an unlawful act of conduct, you will suffer the consequences of adjudication. That self-responsibility is a moral and legal obligation for all is made clear by the fact that no known societal, denominative, or legislative entity assumes responsibility for man's immoral or unlawful acts of conduct.
Before the Free Will doctrine presented here can be universally accepted as a truism, any theory that questions man's freedom to act as he wishes must be explored. In this regard, there does exist a select cohort of "determinists" who believe that one's acts of conduct are not supposed by the doctrine of Free Will. Rather, they theorize that one's acts of conduct happen by an "unpredictable chance event", based on a person's background of experiences. Notwithstanding, the alternative to the doctrine of Free Will seems to stand alone; therefore, if the determinists' theory can be invalidated, the universality of the doctrine of Free Will can be accepted as a truism.
To dispel the determinists' belief that man's acts of conduct are not governed by his Free Will, but are merely chance happenings, Mortimer Adler – in his book The Ten Philosophical Mistakes – points out that the determinists' "unpredictable chance event" theory is based on the principles set forth within the "physical science domain". And, that the determinists make the mistake of assuming that the principles set forth in their theory also apply to one's Free Will. This assumption, however, is invalid, because man's will is an immaterial intellectual faculty and, therefore, rests within the philosophical or "immaterial domain". And since the principles of this domain reside outside the scope of the "physical science domain", the chance event principles set forth in the determinists' theory cannot be applied to the Doctrine of Free Will.
Mortimer Adler gives further evidence to dispel the determinists' theory that man's act of conduct happens by chance rather than by virtue of man's endowed freedom to act as he wishes. He says that man must be endowed with a Free Will, because this inherent freedom is indispensable to man's assumed responsibility to act as he ought. For example, how could a man be held responsible for an act of conduct he could not have chosen to perform? Why should an individual be praised or blamed, rewarded or punished for acts not freely chosen? How can the punishment for a criminal act be retributively just if the perpetrator did not have a Free Will and the inherent responsibility to act within the law?
In summary, the determinists' belief that one's acts of conduct occur by chance is flawed, because it was based on a faulty major premise: The assumption that the laws of the "physical science domain" also apply to the principles set forth within a different domain, namely the philosophical or "immaterial domain".
In conclusion, with the determinists' beliefs dispelled and the self-evidentness that prevails within the doctrine of Free Will it seems reasonable to deduce that man is endowed with a Free Will and inherits the responsibility to act as he ought morally as well as lawfully.
Free will bequeaths self-responsibility and practical wisdom