Recently the account of free will proposed by Harry Frankfurt has come under attack. It has been argued that Frankfurt’s notion of wholeheartedness is in conflict with prevalent intuitions about free will and should be abandoned. I will argue that empirical data from choice blindness experiments can vindicate Frankfurt’s notion of wholeheartedness. The choice blindness phenomenon exposes that individuals fail to track their own decisions and readily take ownership of, and confabulate reasons for, decisions they did not make. Traditionally this has been taken to be problem for the notion of free will. I argue that Frankfurt’s account does not face this problem. Instead, choice blindness can be fruitfully applied to it, and vice versa. Frankfurt’s notion of wholeheartedness, I suggest, delineates the range of the choice blindness effect. This makes wholeheartedness a useful meta-theoretical concept for choice blindness research. I conclude that, pace the recent criticism, wholeheartedness is a useful notion and should not be abandoned.
Choice blindness, decisions, free will, Harry Frankfurt, wholeheartedness