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Higher-order volitions, as opposed to action determining volitions, are volitions about volitions. Higher-order volitions are potentially more often guided by long-term convictions and reasoning.
An example for a failure to follow higher-order volitions is the drug addict who takes drugs even though he would like to quit taking drugs. According to Harry Frankfurt the drug addict has established free will, in respect to that single aspect, when his higher-order volition to stop wanting drugs determines the precedence of his changing, action determining desires to either take drugs or not to take drugs.
Following this definition the establishment of free will is a continual challenge with a changing degree of difficulty, which is a view of free will that conforms with compatibilism.
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