SOPhiA 2019

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

On Time Travel and Free Will: Why the compatibilism-incompatibilism debate might not be relevant after all
(Metaphysics and Ontology, English)

In this paper, I show that a dispositional account of free will not only must be accepted by compatibilists but also by incompatibilists.

A virtue of a dispositional account of free will is that it is, arguably, able to cope with the objection raised against compatibilism by means of the consequence argument. However, even the incompatibilist might incur in the same problem. Time travel might throw some light on the problem of the incompatibilist. In a universe where time travel is possible, the concept of determinism, under its standard definition, is threatened. For there is no possibility that from an earlier state of the world together with the laws of nature we can deduce a later state of the world where time travel will occur. Thus, the arrival of a time traveler, I submit, is an indeterministic process. At this stage, the incompatibilist could be tempted to celebrate because if time travel is physically possible, and it might well be the case, then determinism is false and free will would be saved. Nevertheless, further reflection shows that the naïve incompatibilist is wrong. The infamous grandfather paradox shows us that time travel constrains our possibilities too. Therefore, if time travel is physically possible, then determinism is false but still, we would not have alternate possibilities. The incompatibilist has thus two possibilities: either being a skeptic about free will or endorse something has a dispositional account of free will. If she takes the latter option, then she will end up with the very same notion of free will that the compatibilist advocates. But if this is the case, why caring about the compatibilist/incompatibilist distinction? If I am right, constraints on our alternate possibilities are in place whether or not determinism is the case. Therefore, the problems that compatibilist and incompatibilist face are the same and we do not need any such distinction, and all we need is a notion of free will capable to cope with those constraints, as the dispositional one is. Thus, my aim is to show that one and the same notion of free will can and, indeed, must be accepted by both the compatibilist and the incompatibilist. In doing so, I hope to show that the distinction between incompatibilism and compatibilism is not a relevant one and that the two opposite stances incur in the same problems and thus they have the same solution.

Chair: André Ferreira
Time: 10:40-11:10, 19 September 2019 (Thursday)
Location: SR 1.003

Marco Marabello 
(University of Italian Switzerland, Switzerland)

I am a philosophy graduate student at the master in philosophy of the University of Italian Switzerland. I mainly work in analytic metaphysics, but I have interest also in the philosophy of science, especially physics. In the future I would like to work on the metaphysics of science. My next goal is to join a PhD program in analytic philosophy in Europe or anywhere around the globe. Before reaching Lugano and the Master in Philosophy at USI, I graduated from the University of Padua with a thesis on the metaphysics of possible worlds. During my bachelor I also did two periods abroad, one in Munich at the LMU, where I attended classes at the MCMP, and another one in the US at Boston University.

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