Determinism

Edited by Jonah Nagashima (University of California, Riverside)
About this topic
Summary Determinism is a claim about the laws of nature. Events are determined if the laws of nature, together with the total set of facts prevailing at a moment in time, are sufficient to settle precisely what happens at the next and each subsequent moment of time. Determinism thus rules out chanciness in a central sense of that word. The free will debate has been centrally concerned with whether determinism is incompatible with freedom: many philosophers worry that if how agents act is always settled prior to their action (settled even prior to their birth) than we lack free will.
Key works The key works on the compatibility question are more or less coextensive with the key works on free will, since the first issue has been so central to the second. I shall not list those works here. Important papers that explore the nature of determinism itself as it pertains to free will includeBerofsky 1971; the two volumes of Honderich 1988 and Earman 2004.
Introductions Honderich 1973;Kane 2002
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770 found
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1 — 50 / 770
  1. Frankfurt Cases and 'Could Have Done Otherwise'.Leslie Allan - manuscript
    In his seminal essay, Harry Frankfurt argued that our exercise of free will and allocation of moral responsibility do not depend on us being able to do other than we did. Leslie Allan defends this moral maxim from Frankfurt's attack. Applying his character-based counterfactual conditional analysis of free acts to Frankfurt's counterexamples, Allan unpacks the confusions that lie at the heart of Frankfurt's argument. The author also explores how his 4C compatibilist theory measures up against Frankfurt’s conclusions.
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  2. Free Will and Compatibilism.Leslie Allan - manuscript
    The author mounts a case against the libertarian and hard determinist's thesis that free will is impossible in a deterministic world. He charges incompatibilists with misconstruing ordinary 'free will' talk by overlaying common language with their own metaphysical presuppositions. Through a review of ordinary discourse and recent developments in jurisprudence and the sciences, he draws together the four key factors required for an act to be free. He then puts his 4C theory to work in giving a credible account of (...)
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  3. Determinism and Luck.Steven M. Duncan - manuscript
    In the course of writing a book on Free Will, I took the opportunity to read a good deal of contemporary literature on the Free Will problem. This paper is a survey and reflection on that reading, responding to the current trends and state of play concerning the existence of free will.
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  4. Causal Counterfactuals Without Miracles or Backtracking.J. Dmitri Gallow - manuscript
    If the laws are deterministic, then standard theories of counterfactuals are forced to reject at least one of the following conditionals: 1) had you chosen differently, there would not have been a violation of the laws of nature; and 2) had you chosen differently, the initial conditions of the universe would not have been different. On the relevant readings---where we hold fixed factors causally independent of your choice---both of these conditionals appear true. And rejecting either one leads to trouble for (...)
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  5. Constructive Dilemma Arguments for the Impossibility of Free Will.Kristin M. Mickelson - manuscript
    The traditional problem of free will and determinism is ostensibly about settling the relationship between free will and determinism. According to the standard narrative, this problem boils down to settling whether free will stands in a compatibility or incompatibility relation with determinism. Similarly, there is traditional debate over whether a compatibility or an incompatibility relationship holds between free will and indeterminism. Since indeterminism is simply the negation of determinism, anyone who holds that human free will is incompatible with both determinism (...)
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  6. [Temporarily Unavailable; Under Review].Kristin M. Mickelson - manuscript
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  7. Free Will of an Ontologically Open Mind.Jan Scheffel - manuscript
    The problem of free will has persistently resisted a solution throughout centuries. There is reason to believe that new elements need to be introduced into the analysis in order to make progress. In the present physicalist approach, these elements are emergence and information theory in relation to universal limits set by quantum physics. Furthermore the common, but vague, characterization of free will as "being able to act differently" is, in the spirit of Carnap, rephrased into an explicatum more suitable for (...)
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  8. How Necessary is the Past? Reply to Campbell.Matthew H. Slater - manuscript
    Joe Campbell has identified an apparent flaw in van Inwagen’s Consequence Argument. It apparently derives a metaphysically necessary conclusion from what Campbell argues is a contingent premise: that the past is in some sense necessary. I criticise Campbell’s examples attempting to show that this is not the case (in the requisite sense) and suggest some directions along which an incompatibilist could reconstruct her argument so as to remain immune to Campbell’s worries.
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  9. The Basis of Indeterminism.Shan Gao - 2001
  10. From Newtonian Determinism to Branching-Space-Time Indeterminism.Nuel Belnap - manuscript
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  11. Freedom and Determinism.Author unknown - manuscript
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  12. One World or Many? Poppoer's Three World Theory and the Problem of Scientific Determinism.Brian Baigrie - unknown - Eidos: The Canadian Graduate Journal of Philosophy 3.
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  13. Compatibilism From the Inside Out.Andrew M. Bailey - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
    In this article, I focus on internal dimensions of moral responsibility. I argue that if such dimensions are real -- and it seems they are -- then moral responsibility is compatible with determinism.
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  14. Blackwell Companion to Free Will.Joe Campbell, Kristin Mickelson & V. Alan White (eds.) - forthcoming - Blackwell.
  15. Tertullian on Divine Sovereignty and Free Will in Advance.David Clark - forthcoming - Philosophy and Theology.
    Christian thinkers in the patristic era were not reluctant to integrate classical philosophy with biblical theology as they addressed the seeming incompatibility of free will and determinism (fate). This paper compares and contrasts Tertullian and the Stoics as they explain three issues relating to freedom and fate: 1) The operation of the Logos, 2) Theological Anthropology, and 3) Teleology. While in agreement with the Stoics on several key points, Tertullian crucially departs from them as he argues it is not by (...)
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  16. Free Will, Control, and the Possibility to Do Otherwise From a Causal Modeler’s Perspective.Alexander Gebharter, Maria Sekatskaya & Gerhard Schurz - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-18.
    Strong notions of free will are closely connected to the possibility to do otherwise as well as to an agent's ability to causally influence her environment via her decisions controlling her actions. In this paper we employ techniques from the causal modeling literature to investigate whether a notion of free will subscribing to one or both of these requirements is compatible with naturalistic views of the world such as non-reductive physicalism to the background of determinism and indeterminism. We argue that (...)
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  17. Effects, Determinism, Neither Compatibilism nor Incompatibilism, Consciousness.Ted Honderich - forthcoming - Philosophical Explorations.
    Since the rise of the theory of determinism, philosophers have argued and declared that we are diminished by it. Bishop Bramhall against Thomas Hobbes in the 17th Century, Kant against Hume in the 18th, F. H. Bradley against John Stuart Mill in the 19th, Robert Kane and Robert Nozick against such as me in the 20th Century. There must be something in this relentless tradition. It cannot, it seems to me, be the falsehood of determinism. Is it, so to speak, (...)
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  18. Freedom and Determinism.Jenann Ismael - forthcoming - Philosophical Explorations.
    Any person truly considering belief in a scientific world view has to confront the question of whether and in what sense, if she views herself as a natural system in a world governed by natural laws, she can continue to regard herself as free. The prima facie clash is usually expressed in terms of a conflict between freedom and determinism, captured in an argument known as the Consequence Argument. If the natural laws are deterministic, our behavior must be deducible by (...)
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  19. The Ability to Do Otherwise and the New Dispositionalism.Romy Jaster - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    According to the New Dispositionalist’s response to the Frankfurt Cases, Jones can do otherwise because Black merely masks (or finks), but does not deprive Jones of the relevant ability. This reasoning stands in the tradition of a line of thought according to which an informed view of the truth conditions of ability attributions allows for a compatibilist stance. The promise is that once we understand how abilities work, it turns out that the ability to do otherwise is compatible with determinism, (...)
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  20. A Puzzle About the Fixity of the Past.Fabio Lampert - forthcoming - Analysis.
    It is a widely held principle that no one is able to do something that would require the past to have been different from how it actually is. This principle of the fixity of the past has been presented in numerous ways, playing a crucial role in arguments for logical and theological fatalism, and for the incompatibility of causal determinism and the ability to do otherwise. I will argue that, assuming bivalence, this principle is in conflict with standard views about (...)
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  21. Ted Honderich, Philosopher: A Kind of Life.D. Macey - forthcoming - Radical Philosophy.
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  22. Free Will, Determinism, and the Right Levels of Description.Leonhard Menges - forthcoming - Philosophical Explorations 1:1-18.
    Recently, many authors have argued that claims about determinism and free will are situated on different levels of description and that determinism on one level does not rule out free will on another. This paper focuses on Christian List’s version of this basic idea. It will be argued for the negative thesis that List’s account does not rule out the most plausible version of incompatibilism about free will and determinism and, more constructively, that a level-based approach to free will has (...)
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  23. (In)Compatibilism.Kristin M. Mickelson - forthcoming - In Joseph Campbell (ed.), Companion to Free Will. New York: Wiley-Blackwell.
    This chapter offers the reader some useful tools for identifying and assessing the distinct views and debates currently associated with the terms ‘compatibilism’ and ‘incompatibilism’. It begins with a discussion of the two relata of free-will (in)compatibilism, namely the free-will relatum (§2) and the determinism relatum (§3). The next section (§4) provides an overview of five relations which are commonly said to hold (or not hold) between these relata: conceptual (in)compatibility, logical (in)compatibility, logical (in)consistency, metaphysical (in)compatibility, and metaphysical (in)compossibility. In (...)
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  24. Nietzsche: Politics as First Philosophy.Donovan Miyasaki - forthcoming - Palgrave Macmillan.
    (Part one of a two-volume study) Notorious for his vehement criticisms of egalitarianism and democracy, Nietzsche has been dismissed as an apolitical thinker at best, a dangerous forefather of fascism at worst. Nietzsche: Politics as First Philosophy argues that Nietzsche’s moral philosophy is a political philosophy in disguise. He reinvents the very foundations of political theory, grounding it in a deterministic psychology and completely rejecting moral means of human enhancement, opening new avenues for political thought beyond the narrow scope of (...)
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  25. Libertarian Free Will and the Physical Indeterminism Luck Objection.Dwayne Moore - forthcoming - Philosophia:1-24.
    Libertarian free will is, roughly, the view that agents cause actions to occur or not occur: Maddy’s decision to get a beer causes her to get up off her comfortable couch to get a beer, though she almost chose not to get up. Libertarian free will notoriously faces the luck objection, according to which agential states do not determine whether an action occurs or not, so it is beyond the control of the agent, hence lucky, whether an action occurs or (...)
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  26. Intuitions About Free Will and the Failure to Comprehend Determinism.Thomas Nadelhoffer, Samuel Murray & Elise Murry - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-22.
    Theories of free will are often measured against how well they capture everyday intuitions about free will. But what are these everyday intuitions, and what theoretical commitments do they express? Empirical methods have delivered mixed messages. In response, some free will theorists have developed error theories to undermine the credentials of countervailing intuitions. These efforts are predicated on the idea that people might misunderstand determinism in any of several ways. This paper sheds light on the comprehension problem. We first discuss (...)
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  27. A Hot Mess: Girolamo Cardano, the Inquisition and the Soul.Jonathan Regier - forthcoming - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science.
  28. Free Will and Determinism. Edited by Vlggo Mortensen and Robert C. Sorensen. Philadelphia: Coronet, 1987. 213 Pages and Notes. $28.50 (Paper). Tackling the Subject of Free Will and Determinism is Like Trying to Fight a Tar Baby: No Matter Where You Throw the First Punch, You Find. [REVIEW]Kenneth Vaux - forthcoming - Zygon.
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  29. The Question of Determinism.Greg Whistance-Smith & Dr Nathan Kowalsky - forthcoming - Philosophy.
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  30. Law-Abiding Causal Decision Theory.Timothy Luke Williamson & Alexander Sandgren - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    In this paper we discuss how Causal Decision Theory should be modified to handle a class of problematic cases involving deterministic laws. Causal Decision Theory, as it stands, is problematically biased against your endorsing deterministic propositions (for example it tells you to deny Newtonian physics, regardless of how confident you are of its truth). Our response is that this is not a problem for Causal Decision Theory per se, but arises because of the standard method for assessing the truth of (...)
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  31. In Defense of Flip-Flopping.Andrew M. Bailey & Amy Seymour - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):13907-13924.
    Some incompatibilists about free will or moral responsibility and determinism would abandon their incompatibilism were they to learn that determinism is true. But is it reasonable to flip-flop in this way? In this article, we contend that it is and show what follows. The result is both a defense of a particular incompatibilist strategy and a general framework for assessing other cases of flip-flopping.
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  32. Predestinación y libertad. Escritos en torno a la controversia de auxiliis.Domingo Báñez & David Torrijos-Castrillejo - 2021 - Pamplona: EUNSA.
    Edition of the opuscules by D. Báñez on De auxiliis controversy. There is the critical edition of three manuscripts and the first Spanish annotated translation of the opuscules. The Latin text is disposed together with the translation. An introduction situates the opuscules in its systematic and historical context.
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  33. Determinism, Freedom, and Moral Responsibility.Susanne Bobzien - 2021 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Determinism, Freedom, and Moral Responsibility brings together nine substantial essays on determinism, freedom, and moral responsibility in antiquity by Susanne Bobzien. The essays present the main ancient theories on these subjects, ranging historically from Aristotle followed by the Epicureans, the early Stoics, several later Stoics, and up to Alexander of Aphrodisias in the third century CE. -/- The author discusses questions about rational and autonomous human agency and their compatibility with a large range of important philosophical issues, including their compatibility (...)
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  34. On the Compatibility of Rational Deliberation and Determinism: Why Deterministic Manipulation Is Not a Counterexample.Gregg D. Caruso - 2021 - Philosophical Quarterly 71 (3):524-543.
    This paper aims to defend deliberation-compatibilism against several objections, including a recent counterexample by Yishai Cohen that involves a deliberator who believes that whichever action she performs will be the result of deterministic manipulation. It begins by offering a Moorean-style proof of deliberation-compatibilism. It then turns to the leading argument for deliberation-incompatibilism, which is based on the presumed incompatibility of causal determinism and the ‘openness’ required for rational deliberation. The paper explains why this argument fails and develops a coherent account (...)
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  35. His Sovereignty Rules Over All: A Review of Recent Work on Divine Determinism. [REVIEW]Jesse Couenhoven - 2021 - Modern Theology 37 (2):508-522.
  36. Expanding William Hasker's Transcendental Refutation of Determinism.Ibrahim Dagher - 2021 - Prometheus Undergraduate Journal of Philosophy 2 (3):15-21.
    This paper is an evaluation and expansion of William Hasker’s transcendental argument against determinism. Hasker’s argument attempts to show that determinism is logically incompatible with rationality and justified belief. Hasker claims this argument to be conclusive given two independent qualifications: first that the argument only applies to a specific form of determinism, and second that the argument rests on a specific conception of rationality. My aim in this paper will be to modify and expand Hasker’s argument such that it (1) (...)
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  37. Quantum Propensities in the Brain Cortex and Free Will.Danko D. Georgiev - 2021 - Biosystems 208:104474.
    Capacity of conscious agents to perform genuine choices among future alternatives is a prerequisite for moral responsibility. Determinism that pervades classical physics, however, forbids free will, undermines the foundations of ethics, and precludes meaningful quantification of personal biases. To resolve that impasse, we utilize the characteristic indeterminism of quantum physics and derive a quantitative measure for the amount of free will manifested by the brain cortical network. The interaction between the central nervous system and the surrounding environment is shown to (...)
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  38. A Rationalist Defence of Determinism.Michael A. Istvan - 2021 - Theoria 87 (2):394-434.
    Largely due to the popular allegation that contemporary science has uncovered indeterminism in the deepest known levels of physical reality, the debate as to whether humans have moral freedom, the sort of freedom on which moral responsibility depends, has put aside to some extent the traditional worry over whether determinism is true. As I argue in this paper, however, there are powerful proofs for both chronological determinism and necessitarianism, forms of determinism that pose the most penetrative threat to human moral (...)
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  39. The Relation of Causal Necessity and Free Will in The Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence “When Our Pen Reached This Point, It Shattered to Pieces”.Mohsen Javadi - 2021 - Journal of Philosophical Theological Research 23 (3):113-136.
    The relation of causal necessity with free will has been a source of great debate in the history of philosophy and theology. However, in recent years, it has also been discussed in the science of Usul al-Fiqh. After explaining the compatibility of causal necessity with free will, Ākhūnd Khurāsānī speaks of the ’shattering of his pen.’ Two interpretations have been given for this statement. Muḥaqqiq Iṣfahānī considers the theory of compatibility that Khurāsānī presented as being correct. However, he interprets the (...)
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  40. On Determinism, Causality, and Free Will: Contribution From Physics.Grzegorz Karwasz - 2021 - Roczniki Filozoficzne 69 (4):5-24.
    Determinism, causality, chance, free will and divine providence form a class of interlaced problems lying in three domains: philosophy, theology, and physics. Recent article by Dariusz Łukasiewicz in Roczniki Filozoficzne is a great example. Classical physics, that of Newton and Laplace, may lead to deism: God created the world, but then it goes like a mechanical clock. Quantum mechanics brought some “hope” for a rather naïve theology: God acts in gaps between quanta of indetermination. Obviously, any strict determinism jeopardizes the (...)
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  41. Critique of Al-Ghaz'lî's View on the Relationship Between Determinism and The Free Will.Keygobad Daneshian Kenanlu, Seyed Ebrahim Aghazadeh & Tavakkol Kouhi Giglou - 2021 - Philosophical Investigations 15 (35):65-80.
    The relationship between the free will and the philosophical rule of "causal determinism" is one of the issues that have been the subject of controversy among Islamic thinkers, theologians, and philosophers. Well-known Islamic scholars do not consider causal determinism in conflict with this rational and necessary law, but some theologians, including Al-Ghazâlî have considered it contrary to the free will. Therefore, the focus of this research is to study and research the works of the prominent thinker of the Islamic world (...)
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  42. How (Not) to Construct Worlds with Responsibility.Fabio Lampert & Pedro Merlussi - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):10389-10413.
    In a recent article, P. Roger Turner and Justin Capes argue that no one is, or ever was, even partly morally responsible for certain world-indexed truths. Here we present our reasons for thinking that their argument is unsound: It depends on the premise that possible worlds are maximally consistent states of affairs, which is, under plausible assumptions concerning states of affairs, demonstrably false. Our argument to show this is based on Bertrand Russell’s original ‘paradox of propositions’. We should then opt (...)
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  43. What Freedom in a Deterministic World Must Be.Brian Looper - 2021 - Mind 130 (519):863-885.
    Contrary to Lewis and Vihvelin, I argue that free will in a deterministic world is an ability to break a law of nature or to change the remote past. Even if it were true, as Lewis and Vihvelin think, that an agent who is predetermined to perform a particular act might not break a law or change the remote past by doing otherwise, it would nevertheless be true that he is able to do otherwise only if he is able to (...)
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  44. The Zygote Argument Is Still Invalid: So What?Kristin M. Mickelson - 2021 - Philosophia 49 (2):705-722.
    In “The Zygote Argument is Invalid: Now What?”, Kristin Mickelson argues that Alfred Mele’s original Zygote Argument is invalid: its two premises tell us merely that the truth of determinism is correlated with the absence of free human agents, but the argument nonetheless concludes with a specific explanation for that correlation, namely that deterministic laws preclude—rule out, destroy, undermine, make impossible, rob us of—free will. In a recent essay, Gabriel De Marco grants that the original Zygote Argument is invalid for (...)
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  45. Free Will Versus Determinism - As Determined by Radical Conceptual Changes.Nancey Murphy - 2021 - Journal of Philosophical Theological Research 23 (3):29-50.
    My objective in this article is to question whether the problem of free will can, within our current conceptual system, be framed coherently. It is already widely recognized that a mental faculty, the will, needed to initiate action, no longer fits with current thought. However, we can still ask whether human decisions and actions are determined by something other than the agent. So the important question is whether we still have a cogent concept of determinism. The two prevalent alternatives are (...)
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  46. Banez’s Big Problem: The Ground of Freedom.James Dominic Rooney - 2021 - Faith and Philosophy 38 (1):91-112.
    While many philosophers of religion are familiar with the reconciliation of grace and freedom known as Molinism, fewer by far are familiar with that position initially developed by Molina’s erstwhile rival, Domingo Banez (i.e., Banezianism). My aim is to clarify a serious problem for the Banezian: how the Banezian can avoid the apparent conflict between a strong notion of freedom and apparently compatibilist conclusions. The most prominent attempt to defend Banezianism against compatibilism was (in)famously endorsed by Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange. Even if (...)
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  47. Determinism, Counterfactuals, and Decision.Alexander Sandgren & Timothy Luke Williamson - 2021 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 99 (2):286-302.
    Rational agents face choices, even when taking seriously the possibility of determinism. Rational agents also follow the advice of Causal Decision Theory (CDT). Although many take these claims to be well-motivated, there is growing pressure to reject one of them, as CDT seems to go badly wrong in some deterministic cases. We argue that deterministic cases do not undermine a counterfactual model of rational deliberation, which is characteristic of CDT. Rather, they force us to distinguish between counterfactuals that are relevant (...)
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  48. On the Origin of Logical Determinism in Babylonia.Andrew Schumann - 2021 - Logica Universalis 15 (3):331-357.
    In this paper, I show that the idea of logical determinism can be traced back from the Old Babylonian period at least. According to this idea, there are some signs which can explain the appearance of all events. These omens demonstrate the will of gods and their power realized through natural forces. As a result, each event either necessarily appears or necessarily disappears. This idea can be examined as the first version of eternalism – the philosophical belief that each temporal (...)
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  49. Free Will and Determinism: Resolving the Tension.Richard Startup - 2021 - Open Journal of Philosophy 11 (4):482-498.
    Progress may be made in resolving the tension between free will and determinism by analysis of the necessary conditions of freedom. It is of the essence that these conditions include causal and deterministic regularities. Furthermore, the human expression of free will is informed by understanding some of those regularities, and increments in that understanding have served to enhance freedom. When the possible character of a deterministic system based on physical theory is considered, it is judged that, far from implying the (...)
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  50. Contingency, Free Will, and Particular Providence.DAvid Torrijos Castrillejo - 2021 - Religions 12.
    The results from contemporary science, especially the theory of evolution and quantum physics, seem to favor process theology. Moreover, the evil committed by free will leads some theologians to reduce divine action in order to prevent God from being responsible for evil. Thus, among those who defend a particular providence, Molinism finds many followers. This article first argues that contemporary science does not constrain us to deny particular providence. Second, it criticizes the implicitly deterministic character of Molinism. Thirdly, a Thomistic (...)
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