Common Sense, Strict Incompatibilism, and Free Will

Philosophical Inquiries 1 (1):107-124 (2013)
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Abstract

Peter van Inwagen and Colin McGinn hold that there are strong arguments for strict incompatibilism, i.e. for the claim that the free will thesis (F) is inconsistent not just with determinism but with the negation of determinism as well. Interestingly, both authors deny that these arguments are apt to justify the claim that (F) is false. I argue that van Inwagen and McGinn are right in taking the fact that epistemic commitment to (F) is deeply rooted in common sense to cast doubt on arguments to the conclusion that (F) is false. However, instead of declaring free will to be a mystery (van Inwagen) or claiming that the problem of free will amounts to a problem whose correct solution is cognitively closed to human intellect (McGinn), I propose to simply view the problem of free will as a hard problem – its hardness being due to the fact that it involves a large variety of concepts whose correct explication is philosophically moot.

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Boris Rähme
Fondazione Bruno Kessler

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