I would recommend you to begin with reading a Wikipedia article on this topic, so that you would be able to get to know the main opinions on this matter.
From all opinions, described there, I’m claiming to have a bit different, I would say a new point of view.
To being, I’ll say that I consider freedom of will to be real and not illusive or conventional thing and also I don’t feel like it’s undefined. People are not automatic mechanisms, reacting in a predictable way to stimulus’s in our environment and even not a complicated biological machines.
Let’s take a definition from Wikipedia (it’s Russian section to be exact):
Freedom of will (greek . τὸ αὐτεξούσιον or τὸ ἐφ᾽ ἡμῖν, latin liberum arbitrium) – is an ability of a human being to make a choice regardless of certain circumstances.
Firstly, I would transform this definition to a more precise one.
Freedom of will – is an ability of identity to make a choice regardless of any circumstances
I’ve changed only two words: human being into identity, cause identity is more universal concept, that includes concept of “human”, and “certain” into “any”. Cause I’ve already faced, multiple times, uncertainty of interpretation of this definition exactly due to word “certain”.
Frequently people interpret this definition as if freedom of will is an ability of identity to make a choice regardless of one circumstances, but at the same time with dependent on others. But this interpretation totally contradicts a point of this idea.
To comprehend a whole point of idea about freedom of will, we need to ask a few screening questions and set some analogies.
Let’s ask ourselves a simple question:
Is a decision A independent, if it’s defined by certain circumstance B (is dependent on circumstance), but is independent of certain circumstance C?
Let’s disassemble this question into components: decision A is really independent of certain circumstance C, but is it independent overly? No, cause it’s dependent on circumstance B.
In other words, if decision A is dependent on at least one circumstance – it’s dependent, it’s not free. And decision A will never become independent if it’s independent of all the other circumstances in the world. If it depends on at least one circumstance it’s dependent.
By analogy: Denmark in the period of second world war was occupied by Germany, but it was not occupied by Japan. Was Denmark independent , independent in principal? Or if a person is having a lungs cancer, but he’s not having gastric ulcer, can we call that type of person a healthy one? In both cases the answer is clearly no. Denmark is independent when it’s ruled by dutch people. And person is healthy when they are not having any illness at all.
Same thing goes for freedom of will. If choice of a human being is dependent at least on one circumstance – it’s not a free choice anymore, it’s not free in principal even if it’s not dependent on all other circumstances that exist. Because of that free choice – is a choice that is not dependent on any circumstances or is independent of any circumstances.
Freedom of will – is a capability of identity to make a choice independent of any circumstances.
And because any matter, any laws of nature, any interaction in nature is a circumstance – freedom of will can’t be created by matter. It was described in details in article “Freedom of will vs materialism”
That’s why freedom of will has no correlation to determinism and accidents.
Existence of a free will, nonetheless, doesn’t exclude limitations of a freedom of a human being and influence of circumstances on a choice of a human being.
It’s really important to clarify, that I clearly divide ideas of influence of circumstances and dependence of a choice on circumstances. Any our choice is being done under influence of one or another circumstances, but it doesn’t mean at all, that it’s dependent on them or is defined my them. For example, under influence of a circumstances that we need oxygen – we all, usually make a choice: “to breathe”. But, nonetheless, we are not being deprived of ability to reject a choice “to breathe” we can chose to “not breathe” (by any available methods), of course, after some time we will die, but that is exactly the point of free will factor display. Even though there is influence of circumstance of our need in oxygen, we are still independent of this circumstance. The same thing goes for all the other circumstances: “to eat”, “to sleep”, “to drink” and so on.
But there are circumstances that we can’t resist: we can include an inevitable death, inability (at least in close future) to get out of solar system and many other factors…
But it’s important to clarify, that we can desire, in theory, anything, freedom of choice of our desires is much wider than in our life in material world. Human has a freedom of will, but it’s limited. So my final definition of freedom of will would be: