This paper offers a presentation and brief assessment of Brentano’s theory of free will. In the first section I summarize the views on free will that are currently debated in contemporary philosophy and argue that Brentano’s contribution only partially maps onto present-day discussions. In the second section I turn to the lectures on Grundlegung und Aufbau der Ethik and analyze the arguments pro and contra determinism, with particular attention to Brentano’s decision in favor of determinism. In the third and concluding section I assess Brentano’s position from a Husserlian phenomenological standpoint. I argue that the lack of an explicit notion of motivational causality makes his determinism ultimately ambiguous and thus unfit to provide a solid theoretical framework to do justice to our intuitions regarding freedom and responsibility, as Brentano would have it.
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