Causes, Laws, and Free Will: Why Determinism Doesnt Matter

Hardcover | May 14, 2013

byKadri Vihvelin

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Common sense tells us that we are morally responsible for our actions only if we have free will - and that we have free will only if we are able to choose among alternative actions. Common sense tells us that we do have free will and are morally responsible for many of the things we do. Commonsense also tells us that we are objects in the natural world, governed by its laws. Nevertheless, many contemporary philosophers deny that we have free will or that free will is a necessary prerequisite for moral responsibility. Some hold that we are morally responsible only if we are somehow exemptfrom the laws of nature. Causes, Laws, and Free Will defends a thesis that has almost disappeared from the contemporary philosophical landscape by arguing that this philosophical flight from common sense is a mistake. We have free will even if everything we do is predictable given the laws of nature and the past, and we aremorally responsible whatever the laws of nature turn out to be. The impulses that tempt us into thinking that determinism robs us of free will spring from mistakes - mistakes about the metaphysics of causation, mistakes about the nature of laws, and mistakes about the logic ofcounterfactuals.

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Common sense tells us that we are morally responsible for our actions only if we have free will - and that we have free will only if we are able to choose among alternative actions. Common sense tells us that we do have free will and are morally responsible for many of the things we do. Commonsense also tells us that we are objects in ...

Kadri Vihvelin is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern California.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:May 14, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199795185

ISBN - 13:9780199795185

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Table of Contents

1. The Problem Introduced: Would Determinism Rob us of Free Will?1. Free Will, Ability to do Otherwise, and the Basic Argument2. Determinism and some Distinctions3. Narrow Ability, Wide Ability, and the No Choice Argument4. The Basic Argument Extended and Two Ways of Replying: Metaphysical Compatibilism and Moral Compatibilism5. How I propose to Navigate the Treacherous Waters of the Free Will/Determinism Problem: A First Road Map of the Book2. The Problem Distinguished: Is it Possible for Us to Have Free Will? Do We Have Free Will?1. Two Questions about Free Will: The Possibility Question and the Determinism Question2. Some Remarks about Methodology3. The Existential Question and Common Sense Compatibilism4. Impossibilism: Five Arguments for Fatalism5. Hard Determinism or Impossibilism? Five Versions of the Clarence Darrow Argument3. Abilities, Choices, and Agent Causation1. What This Chapter is About and Why2. The Common Sense View (and the Limits of Common Sense)3. Two Steps Beyond Common Sense: Limited Laws Indeterminism and Agent Causation4. Are Events the only Causes? Could an Object be a Cause?5. Could an Agent be a Cause?6. Where We Are Now4. The Unavoidability of Metaphysics: Moral Responsibility and Ability to do Otherwise1. Alternatives, Choice, and Moral Responsibility2. Frankfurt's Bold Gambit and the Long Debate that Followed3. Two Ways of Getting Someone to Do What you Want4. Heads I Win, Tails you Lose5. Why There is No Middle Way (Why Putting the Pre-Emptor on the Scene Doesn't Help)6. Freedom of Action, Freedom of Will, and Three Ways of Having a Choice7. Frankfurt's Intuition Reconsidered: Why the Subtraction Argument Fails, Why the Supervenience Argument Fails8. Lessons for Compatibilists5. Arguments for Incompatibilism1. No Forking Paths Argument2. No Present Causes Argument3. No Agent Causes Argument4. No Inner Commander Argument5. Manipulation Arguments6. The Consequence Argument6. The Abilities and Dispositions of our Freedom1. The Big Picture: the Bundle View2. Abilities and Dispositions3. Dispositions and Counterfactuals4. The Intrinsic Dispositions Thesis and Frankfurt's Argument5. Wide Abilities, Choice, and the Consequence Argument6. Historical Interlude: Objections to the Simple Conditional Analysis Reconsidered7. Virtues of the Bundle View7. Laws, Counterfactuals, and Fixed Past Compatibilism1. What this Chapter is About and Why2. How the Laws Constr3. Counterfactuals and Our Experience of Choice4. Counterfactuals: From Goodman to Lewis5. Choice Counterfactuals and Fixed Past Compatibilism6. Concluding RemarksNotesReferencesIndex