SOPhiA 2021

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

A new perspective on the free will - determinism debate: nonreductive physicalism
(Philosophy of Mind, )

A This paper will walk you through one of the most important decisions of your life. It is not this particular decision per se which constitutes its paramount importance, but rather the option of choice itself. This paper will investigate the metaphysical implications of the assumption of choice commonly referred to as "an ability to do otherwise". For it seems there are some who would rob us of this autonomy. The thesis of determinism vehemently denies us our decisions as being the product of our deliberation, and rather ascribes them to universe's destiny instead. Today, I will challenge the view that determinism excludes the possibility of our having an ability to do otherwise. I will analyse a promising account formulated by Christian List, who proposes implementing the metaphysical thesis of non-reductive physicalism into a deterministic universe. This synthesis distinguishes the dynamics governed by determinism from the dynamics which govern our decision-making, to reconcile free will with determinism. Unfortunately, List's account presupposes a limited perspective on the relevant planes of dynamics, converting his account from intelligible to inconsistent upon further inspection. This discrepancy, aptly pointed out by Alexander Gebharter, leaves List's account vulnerable to the consequence argument, validating its conclusion that free will and determinism are incompatible. Nevertheless, List's template inspired me, and one of his unspecified assumptions in particular leaves room to tinker with the system as a whole. I will check whether editing his definition of supervenience will free a fitting space in a deterministic universe where we may insert an agent their ability to do otherwise after all.

Chair: Larissa Bolte
Time: 16:00-16:30, 11 September 2021 (Saturday)
Location: SR 1.006

Max Theissen  
(University of Groningen, )

Testability and Meaning deco