Does free will exist? The question has fueled heated debates spanning from philosophy to psychology and religion. The answer has major implications, and the stakes are high. To put it in the simple terms that have come to dominate these debates, if we are free to make our own decisions, we are accountable for what we do, and if we aren't free, we're off the hook.
Since the middle of the twentieth century, virtue ethics has enriched the range of philosophical approaches to normative ethics, often drawing on the work of the ancient Greeks, who offered accounts of the virtues that have become part of contemporary philosophical ethics. But these virtue ethical theories were situated within a more general picture of human practical rationality, one which maintained that to understand virtue we must appeal to what would make our lives go well. This feature of ethical theorizing has not become part of philosophical ethics, although the virtue theories dependent upon it have.