SOPhiA 2019

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

The Consequence of the Consequence Argument
(Metaphysics and Ontology, English)

Peter van Inwagen has developed a much discussed argument for incompatibilism. The aim of my paper is to compare three alternative formal reconstructions of his argument. In the first part of my paper, I examine van Inwagen's own reconstruction within a propositional modal logic. I point out that, due to the expressive limitations of his propositional modal logic, van Inwagen is unable to argue directly (that is, within his formal framework) for incompatibilism. In the second part of my paper, I suggest to reconstruct van Inwagen's argument within a first-order predicate logic. I show, however, that even though this reconstruction is not susceptible to the same objection, this reconstruction can be shown to be inconsistent (given van Inwagen's own assumptions). In particular, I show that Richard Montague's result that formal languages that represent necessity by means of a predicate are inconsistent (given plausible assumptions about necessity) can be extended to show that this reconstruction of van Inwagen's argument is inconsistent as well. At the end of my paper, I suggest an alternative and, in my view, better reconstruction. I reconstruct van Inwagen's argument within a quantified counterfactual logic with propositional quantifiers. I show that within this formal framework van Inwagen would not only be able to argue directly for incompatibilism, he would also be able to argue for crucial assumptions of his argument.

Time: 11:20-11:50, 19 September 2019 (Thursday)
Location: SR 1.003

Marco Hausmann 
(Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany)

Marco Hausmann is writing a dissertation on the problem of free will and determinism at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich. He is author of the paper ''The Consequence Argument Ungrounded'' (Synthese, 2018) as well as of the paper ''Against Kripke's Solution to the Problem of Negative Existentials'' (Analysis, forthcoming). His areas of interest are: Metaphysics, Logic, Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Freedom and Philosophy of Religion.

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