Many critics of libertarian freedom have charged that freedom is incompatible with indeterminism. We show that the strongest argument that has been provided for this claim is invalid. The invalidity of the argument in question, however, implies the invalidity of the standard Consequence argument for the incompatibility of freedom and determinism. We show how to repair the Consequence argument and argue that no similar improvement will revive the worry about the compatibility of indeterminism and freedom.
We lay out the fatalist’s argument, making sure to clarify which dialectical moves are available to the libertarian. We then offer a more robust presentation of Ockhamism, responding to obvious objections and teasing out the implications of the view. At this point, we discuss presentism and eternalism in more detail. We then present our argument for the claim that the libertarian cannot take Ockham’s way out of the fatalism argument unless she rejects presentism. Finally, we consider and dispense with objections (...) to our argument. In the end, it ought to be clear that the libertarian must make a choice between Ockham’s way out and presentism. (shrink)
The consequence argument for the incompatibility of free action and determinism has long been under attack, but two important objections have only recently emerged: Warfield’s modal fallacy objection and Campbell’s no past objection. In this paper, I explain the significance of these objections and defend the consequence argument against them. First, I present a novel formulation of the argument that withstands their force. Next, I argue for the one controversial claim on which this formulation relies: the trans-temporality thesis. This thesis (...) implies that an agent acts freely only if there is one time at which she is able to perform an action and a distinct time at which she actually performs it. I then point out that determinism, too, is a thesis about trans-temporal relations. I conclude that it is precisely because my formulation of the consequence argument emphasizes trans-temporality that it prevails against the modal fallacy and no past objections. (shrink)
The so-called Mind argument aims at the conclusion that agents act freely only if determinism is true. The soundness of this argument entails the falsity of libertarianism, the two-part thesis that agents act freely, and free action and determinism are incompatible. In this paper, I offer a new formulation of the Mind argument. I argue that it is true by definition that if an agent acts freely, either (i) nothing nomologically grounds an agent’s acting freely, or (ii) the consequence argument (...) for incompatibilism is unsound. I define the notion of nomological grounding, and argue that unless an agent’s acting freely is nomologically grounded, unacceptable consequences follow. I then argue that if agents act freely and the consequence argument is sound, a vicious regress ensues. I conclude by considering the libertarian’s dialectical options. (shrink)
The logical fatalist holds that the past truth of future tense propositions is incompatible with libertarian freedom. The theological fatalist holds that the combination of God’s past beliefs with His essential omniscience is incompatible with libertarian freedom. There is an ongoing dispute over the relation between these two kinds of fatalism: some philosophers believe that the problems are equivalent while others believe that the theological problem is more difficult. We offer a diagnosis of this dispute showing that one’s view of (...) the modal status of God’s existence and God’s rdation to free creatures should determine one’s position on the relation between the two fatalisms. (shrink)
In recent years, so-called experimental philosophers have argued that participants in the moral responsibility debate ought to adopt a new methodology. In particular, they argue, the results of experimental surveys ought to be introduced into the debate.According to the experimental philosophers, these surveys are philosophically rel- evant because they provide information about the moral responsibility judgments that ordinary people make. Moreover, they argue, an account of moral responsibility is satisfactory only if it is tightly con- nected to ordinary judgments. The (...) purpose of this paper is to under- mine this argument. I will argue that experimental philosophers have not adequately acknowledged the distinction between metaphysics and conceptual analysis; they have not carefully distinguished what-it-is- to-be morally responsible from the concept of moral responsibility. I will draw this distinction, and then argue that metaphysicians qua metaphysicians may both ignore experimental data and offer an account of moral responsibility that satisfies the tight connection desideratum. (shrink)
In recent years, so-called experimental philosophers have argued that participants in the moral responsibility debate ought to adopt a new methodology. In particular, they argue, the results of experimental surveys ought to be introduced into the debate. According to the experimental philosophers, these surveys are philosophically relevant because they provide information about the moral responsibility judgments that ordinary people make. Moreover, they argue, anaccount of moral responsibility is satisfactory only if it is tightly connected to ordinary judgments. The purpose of (...) this paper is to undermine this argument. I will argue that experimental philosophers have not adequately acknowledged the distinction between metaphysics and conceptual analysis; they have not carefully distinguished what-it-is-to-be morally responsible from the concept of moral responsibility. I will draw this distinction, and then argue that metaphysicians quametaphysicians may both ignore experimental data and offer an account of moral responsibility that satisfies the tight connection desideratum. (shrink)
There is a very popular, very potent argument for the impossibility of undetermined free action---call it the naysayer's argument . The argument as I have formulated it is this: If an act is undetermined, it is impossible to account for the occurrence of that act. If it is impossible to account for the occurrence of an act, that act occurs by mere chance. If an act occurs by mere chance, that act falls under no one's control. If an act falls (...) under no one's control, that act is not free. Thus, if an act is undetermined, that act is not free. In this dissertation, I will delve into this argument, considering how the proponent of undetermined free action---the yeasayer---ought to respond. ;First, I will argue that in order to answer this question, one must reformulate the argument in terms of agent-controlled indeterminacy resolution . Once I have reformulated the argument in these terms, it will be clear that the yeasayer must respond to this argument by denying either: If an instance of indeterminacy resolution occurs, it is impossible to account for its occurrence. or If it is impossible to account for an occurrence, the occurrence occurs by mere chance. I will then consider which proposition the yeasayer ought to deny. ;I will argue that the yeasayer cannot refute the naysayer via a denial of and that he must deny . Indeed, he must affirm not only that there is a distinction between events that cannot be accounted for and those that occur by mere chance but that instances of agent-controlled indeterminacy resolution fall into the former category but not the latter. ;Once I have reached this conclusion, I will thoroughly explore the difficulties involved in affirming the thesis in question. I will argue that one's prephilosophical and metaphilosophical convictions determine whether one can reasonably affirm it. I will ultimately conclude that though the thesis is true, it is reasonable for the naysayer to deny it and, thus, that the naysayer cannot be refuted on his own terms. (shrink)