Metaphysics – the problem of Free Will

One of the major sub-fields of philosophy is Metaphysics.  It is difficult to define exactly what metaphysics is; it began as the search for first causes or the study of ‘being as such’ (unchanging reality).  However, metaphysics has evolved from its ancient roots to encompass a great deal of distinct, yet related, areas of philosophical debate.  One such area is closely connected with the Philosophy of Mind (itself an area of metaphysics) – the problem of free will.  Recall that one of the implications of accepting a materialist account of mind is that it would seem to entail that free will is just an illusion.  The issue of free will also arose in our discussion of the Philosophy of Religion as a response from Christian apologists to the problem of evil.  As such, the Free Will debate is of enormous philosophical importance.  However, its importance is not limited to the metaphysical realm; it has huge moral ramifications and cuts deep into our very conceptions of ourselves and others.  So what is the problem?