Arthur Schopenhauer deltog 1839 i en uppsatstävling om den fria viljan anordnad av Det Kongelige Norske Videnskabers Selskab. I sitt bidrag ”On the Freedom of the Will” förnekar Schopenhauer existensen av fri vilja:
I can do what I will: I can, if I will, give everything I have to the poor and thus become poor myself — if I will! But I cannot will this, because the opposing motives have much too much power over me for me to be able to. On the other hand, if I had a different character, even to the extent that I were a saint, then I would be able to will it. But then I could not keep from willing it, and hence I would have to do so. … [A]s little as a ball on a billiard table can move before receiving an impact, so little can a man get up from his chair before being drawn or driven by a motive. But then his getting up is as necessary and inevitable as the rolling of a ball after the impact. And to expect that anyone will do something to which absolutely no interest impels them is the same as to expect that a piece of wood shall move toward me without being pulled by a string.
Se ett tidigare inlägg om den fria viljan.