Control is the idea that our decisions are up to us.
If we lack control - because our decisions were pre-determined, or they are undetermined or random - then we would not have the accountability for our decisions that is required for moral responsibility. John Martin Fischer has separated the idea of control into two kinds. The first he calls "legislative control" - the kind needed to choose between alternative possibilities. The second he calls "guidance control" - the kind of control needed to initiate or originate an action, by being "reasons responsive" and taking ownership of the action, meaning the agent can say the action was "up to me." Since we first need free (alternative possibilities) and then will (adequately determined actions) in a temporal_sequence - first chance, then choice - we can distinguish the amount of control we have at these two stages in the process of "free will." As the earliest libertarian philosophers like Lucretius knew, and as the great John Locke told us, we need to unpack the concept "free will" into two separate concepts, "free" and "will," in a temporal_sequence. In the first "free" stage, the development of creative alternative possibilities for thought and action, our control is minimal. Random thoughts appear to "come to us," more than "from us." Indeed, complete control implies a kind of causal determinism over random events. These thoughts may be our own, remembrances of past experiences or ideas that are relevant to the current situation. But they also may be random variations of past experiences and contain many immediate sensory inputs we can not control that suggest new possibilities. Random alternatives may be generated internal to our minds or come into us from external events that are random and outside our control. Nevertheless, we may have some control over the time we allow our minds to consider new possibilities. And we have control over the process of opening our minds to random new possibilities. In the second "will" stage, the de-liberation and evaluation of alternative possibilities, we want enough control to say that our decisions are adequately determined to be consistent with our character and values. This does not mean we are determined to select from the current possibilities which were randomly generated. If they do not seem good enough in our judgment, we have enough control to send them back for further generation of possible thoughts or actions. > And we can even decide to make a random choice between alternatives that seem to have what the medieval philosophers called the liberty of indifference, as long as we are prepared to take responsibility either way. We call this an "undetermined liberty." We call an adequately determined decision, based on our reasons, values, desires, feelings, in short, on our character, "self-determination." Our desires, intentions, decisions, and actions all appear to "come from us." We feel we control them because they "depend on us."
Our Thoughts are Free.
Control over the generation of new ideasA final control requirement is that the mind must be able to suppress random noise when it is only interfering with thought, but recruit it when new alternatives are needed for action options, or solving problems, or being creative.