SOPhiA 2021

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Grounding Relations in the Matter of Free Will
(Metaphysics and Ontology, )

A The question as to whether our actions and choices can be considered to be truly free, concerns one of the most controversial problems in philosophy. In my contribution, based on the idea that free decisions are grounded in to-be-specified causal histories, I will defend a compatibilist approach. If we aim for our actions and choices to be free, we need to distinguish the mere action from what is to bear a so-called free action: the will. While probably nobody would say that all of our actions are completely free, we usually want at least some of our performed actions to be grounded in free decisions of our own. Hence, defining a so-called free action constitutes part one of my talk. The second part of my talk concerns a certain common mistake: considering causality equivalent to determinism. According to this mistaken picture, simple causal relations already rob us of free will. After distinguishing causal relations from deterministic ones, I will argue with Vihvelin (2013) and with the aid of Frankfurt cases that even deterministic causal relations do not rob us of free will as a mental state at all. Finally, I will introduce grounding relations as explanatory metaphysical dependence relations in order to demonstrate an idea of a somehow structured world where grounding relations in contrast to mere causal relations are able to bear free choices and actions. With Sartorio (2016) I will show that if a free act is grounded in which means: is depending on a free decision to act in a certain way, the free decision "the free will itself" is grounded in causal histories that are robust enough to assure us of our aim to act truly free at least once in a while. References: Sartorio, C. (2016): Causation and Free Will. New York: OUP. Vihvelin, K. (2013): Causes, Laws, and Free Will. Why Determinism Doesn't Matter. New York: OUP.

Chair: Andreea Popescu
Time: 14:00-14:30, 09 September 2021 (Thursday)
Location: SR 1.003

Christina Fritz 
(University of Graz, )



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