SOPhiA 2017

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Freedom and causality in the Block Universe
(Metaphysics and Ontology, English)

A In this paper I will attempt to defend Carl Hoefer's compatibilist account of free will and determinism that is expounded in his article "Freedom from the Inside Out" (2002. Royal Institute of Philosophy, pp 201-222) I will answer the criticisms brought by Jason Brennan in the article "Free Will in the Block Universe" (Philosophia (2007) 35: 207.) and will show that these can be addressed adequately without changing the core ideas of Carl Hoefer in his compatibilist account of free will and determinism.
Hoefer maintains that the problem of free will is closely related to our understanding of time. He alludes to McTaggart's distinction of the two times: A series time and B series time. Assuming the A series time, we believe that the past is fixed and that a past time slice will determine all future time slices and our actions in the present. Hoefer proposes that we conceive time as a B series in a Block universe. Then determinism will not privilege one particular time slice as the absolute determiner of all the rest of the time slices. In this Block universe, our actions are free , because they are parts of time slices that act as determiners of others.
Brennan brings two criticisms. Firstly, we have an asymmetry regarding the causal efficacy of our actions. Hoefer seems to suggest that we have just as much causal efficacy towards the future as we have towards the past which would make our freedom either inexistent or very small.
Secondly, we ought to see our actions in the Block universe as random occurrences or brute facts, in which case they would not be free. Agent causation theory may be the solution here, but it would make Hoefer's account useless.
I argue that Brennan confuses causal efficacy with deterministic relations in the article. Causation and determinism are to be viewed as separate issues. I propose that the introduction of a Kantian influenced agent causation theory will solve these issues without making Hoefer's thesis irrelevant.

Chair: Petter Sandstad
Time: 14:35-15:05, 15 September 2017 (Friday)
Location: SR 1.003

Bogdan Andrei Dumitrescu 
(University of Bucharest, Romania)

I am a BA student at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Bucharest, Romania. I have started the studies in 2015 and I will graduate in June 2017. My research interests are in the fields of metaphysics, ontology, epistemology and meta-ethics. My main focuses are on the problem of free will, determinism, causality, abstract entities and on emotivism in meta-ethics. I am currently working on my Bachelor dissertation.

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