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Philosophers

Mortimer Adler
Rogers Albritton
Alexander of Aphrodisias
Samuel Alexander
William Alston
G.E.M.Anscombe
Anselm
Louise Antony
Thomas Aquinas
Aristotle
David Armstrong
Harald Atmanspacher
Robert Audi
Augustine
J.L.Austin
A.J.Ayer
Alexander Bain
Mark Balaguer
Jeffrey Barrett
William Belsham
Henri Bergson
Isaiah Berlin
Bernard Berofsky
Robert Bishop
Max Black
Susanne Bobzien
Emil du Bois-Reymond
Hilary Bok
Laurence BonJour
George Boole
Émile Boutroux
F.H.Bradley
C.D.Broad
Michael Burke
C.A.Campbell
Joseph Keim Campbell
Rudolf Carnap
Carneades
Ernst Cassirer
David Chalmers
Roderick Chisholm
Chrysippus
Cicero
Randolph Clarke
Samuel Clarke
Anthony Collins
Antonella Corradini
Diodorus Cronus
Jonathan Dancy
Donald Davidson
Mario De Caro
Democritus
Daniel Dennett
Jacques Derrida
René Descartes
Richard Double
Fred Dretske
John Dupré
John Earman
Laura Waddell Ekstrom
Epictetus
Epicurus
Herbert Feigl
John Martin Fischer
Owen Flanagan
Luciano Floridi
Philippa Foot
Alfred Fouilleé
Harry Frankfurt
Richard L. Franklin
Michael Frede
Gottlob Frege
Peter Geach
Edmund Gettier
Carl Ginet
Alvin Goldman
Gorgias
Nicholas St. John Green
H.Paul Grice
Ian Hacking
Ishtiyaque Haji
Stuart Hampshire
W.F.R.Hardie
Sam Harris
William Hasker
R.M.Hare
Georg W.F. Hegel
Martin Heidegger
R.E.Hobart
Thomas Hobbes
David Hodgson
Shadsworth Hodgson
Baron d'Holbach
Ted Honderich
Pamela Huby
David Hume
Ferenc Huoranszki
William James
Lord Kames
Robert Kane
Immanuel Kant
Tomis Kapitan
Jaegwon Kim
William King
Hilary Kornblith
Christine Korsgaard
Saul Kripke
Andrea Lavazza
Keith Lehrer
Gottfried Leibniz
Leucippus
Michael Levin
George Henry Lewes
C.I.Lewis
David Lewis
Peter Lipton
John Locke
Michael Lockwood
E. Jonathan Lowe
John R. Lucas
Lucretius
Ruth Barcan Marcus
James Martineau
Storrs McCall
Hugh McCann
Colin McGinn
Michael McKenna
Brian McLaughlin
John McTaggart
Paul E. Meehl
Uwe Meixner
Alfred Mele
Trenton Merricks
John Stuart Mill
Dickinson Miller
G.E.Moore
C. Lloyd Morgan
Thomas Nagel
Friedrich Nietzsche
John Norton
P.H.Nowell-Smith
Robert Nozick
William of Ockham
Timothy O'Connor
David F. Pears
Charles Sanders Peirce
Derk Pereboom
Steven Pinker
Plato
Karl Popper
Porphyry
Huw Price
H.A.Prichard
Hilary Putnam
Willard van Orman Quine
Frank Ramsey
Ayn Rand
Michael Rea
Thomas Reid
Charles Renouvier
Nicholas Rescher
C.W.Rietdijk
Richard Rorty
Josiah Royce
Bertrand Russell
Paul Russell
Gilbert Ryle
Jean-Paul Sartre
Kenneth Sayre
T.M.Scanlon
Moritz Schlick
Arthur Schopenhauer
John Searle
Wilfrid Sellars
Alan Sidelle
Ted Sider
Henry Sidgwick
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
J.J.C.Smart
Saul Smilansky
Michael Smith
Baruch Spinoza
L. Susan Stebbing
George F. Stout
Galen Strawson
Peter Strawson
Eleonore Stump
Francisco Suárez
Richard Taylor
Kevin Timpe
Mark Twain
Peter Unger
Peter van Inwagen
Manuel Vargas
John Venn
Kadri Vihvelin
Voltaire
G.H. von Wright
David Foster Wallace
R. Jay Wallace
W.G.Ward
Ted Warfield
Roy Weatherford
William Whewell
Alfred North Whitehead
David Widerker
David Wiggins
Bernard Williams
Timothy Williamson
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Susan Wolf

Scientists

Michael Arbib
Bernard Baars
Gregory Bateson
John S. Bell
Charles Bennett
Ludwig von Bertalanffy
Susan Blackmore
Margaret Boden
David Bohm
Niels Bohr
Ludwig Boltzmann
Emile Borel
Max Born
Satyendra Nath Bose
Walther Bothe
Hans Briegel
Leon Brillouin
Stephen Brush
Henry Thomas Buckle
S. H. Burbury
Donald Campbell
Anthony Cashmore
Eric Chaisson
Jean-Pierre Changeux
Arthur Holly Compton
John Conway
John Cramer
E. P. Culverwell
Charles Darwin
Terrence Deacon
Louis de Broglie
Max Delbrück
Abraham de Moivre
Paul Dirac
Hans Driesch
John Eccles
Arthur Stanley Eddington
Paul Ehrenfest
Albert Einstein
Hugh Everett, III
Franz Exner
Richard Feynman
R. A. Fisher
Joseph Fourier
Lila Gatlin
Michael Gazzaniga
GianCarlo Ghirardi
J. Willard Gibbs
Nicolas Gisin
Paul Glimcher
Thomas Gold
A.O.Gomes
Brian Goodwin
Joshua Greene
Jacques Hadamard
Patrick Haggard
Stuart Hameroff
Augustin Hamon
Sam Harris
Hyman Hartman
John-Dylan Haynes
Martin Heisenberg
Werner Heisenberg
John Herschel
Jesper Hoffmeyer
E. T. Jaynes
William Stanley Jevons
Roman Jakobson
Pascual Jordan
Ruth E. Kastner
Stuart Kauffman
Simon Kochen
Stephen Kosslyn
Ladislav Kovàč
Rolf Landauer
Alfred Landé
Pierre-Simon Laplace
David Layzer
Benjamin Libet
Seth Lloyd
Hendrik Lorentz
Josef Loschmidt
Ernst Mach
Donald MacKay
Henry Margenau
James Clerk Maxwell
Ernst Mayr
Ulrich Mohrhoff
Jacques Monod
Emmy Noether
Howard Pattee
Wolfgang Pauli
Massimo Pauri
Roger Penrose
Steven Pinker
Colin Pittendrigh
Max Planck
Susan Pockett
Henri Poincaré
Daniel Pollen
Ilya Prigogine
Hans Primas
Adolphe Quételet
Juan Roederer
Jerome Rothstein
David Ruelle
Erwin Schrödinger
Aaron Schurger
Claude Shannon
David Shiang
Herbert Simon
Dean Keith Simonton
B. F. Skinner
Roger Sperry
Henry Stapp
Tom Stonier
Antoine Suarez
Leo Szilard
William Thomson (Kelvin)
Peter Tse
Heinz von Foerster
John von Neumann
John B. Watson
Daniel Wegner
Steven Weinberg
Paul A. Weiss
John Wheeler
Wilhelm Wien
Norbert Wiener
Eugene Wigner
E. O. Wilson
H. Dieter Zeh
Ernst Zermelo
Wojciech Zurek

Presentations

Biosemiotics
Free Will
Mental Causation
James Symposium
 
Philosophers

Mortimer Adler
Rogers Albritton
G.E.M.Anscombe
Anselm
Thomas Aquinas
Aristotle
Augustine
J.L.Austin
A.J.Ayer
Alexander Bain
Mark Balaguer
William Belsham
Henri Bergson
Isaiah Berlin
Bernard Berofsky
Susanne Bobzien
George Boole
Émile Boutroux
F.H.Bradley
C.D.Broad
C.A.Campbell
Joseph Keim Campbell
Carneades
Ernst Cassirer
David Chalmers
Roderick Chisholm
Chrysippus
Cicero
Randolph Clarke
Samuel Clarke
Anthony Collins
Diodorus Cronus
Donald Davidson
Mario De Caro
Democritus
Daniel Dennett
René Descartes
Richard Double
Emil du Bois-Reymond
Fred Dretske
John Earman
Laura Waddell Ekstrom
Epictetus
Epicurus
John Martin Fischer
Owen Flanagan
Luciano Floridi
Philippa Foot
Alfred Fouillée
Harry Frankfurt
Richard L. Franklin
Michael Frede
Carl Ginet
H.Paul Grice
Nicholas St. John Green
Ian Hacking
Ishtiyaque Haji
Stuart Hampshire
W.F.R.Hardie
R.M.Hare
Georg W.F. Hegel
Martin Heidegger
R.E.Hobart
Thomas Hobbes
David Hodgson
Shadsworth Hodgson
Ted Honderich
Pamela Huby
David Hume
William James
Lord Kames
Robert Kane
Immanuel Kant
Tomis Kapitan
Jaegwon Kim
William King
Christine Korsgaard
Keith Lehrer
Gottfried Leibniz
Leucippus
Michael Levin
C.I.Lewis
David Lewis
Peter Lipton
John Locke
Michael Lockwood
John R. Lucas
Lucretius
James Martineau
Storrs McCall
Hugh McCann
Colin McGinn
Michael McKenna
Paul E. Meehl
Alfred Mele
John Stuart Mill
Dickinson Miller
G.E.Moore
Thomas Nagel
Friedrich Nietzsche
P.H.Nowell-Smith
Robert Nozick
William of Ockham
Timothy O'Connor
David F. Pears
Charles Sanders Peirce
Derk Pereboom
Steven Pinker
Karl Popper
H.A.Prichard
Hilary Putnam
Willard van Orman Quine
Frank Ramsey
Ayn Rand
Thomas Reid
Charles Renouvier
Nicholas Rescher
C.W.Rietdijk
Josiah Royce
Bertrand Russell
Paul Russell
Gilbert Ryle
T.M.Scanlon
Moritz Schlick
Arthur Schopenhauer
John Searle
Henry Sidgwick
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
J.J.C.Smart
Saul Smilansky
Michael Smith
L. Susan Stebbing
George F. Stout
Galen Strawson
Peter Strawson
Eleonore Stump
Richard Taylor
Kevin Timpe
Peter van Inwagen
Manuel Vargas
John Venn
Kadri Vihvelin
Voltaire
G.H. von Wright
David Foster Wallace
R. Jay Wallace
W.G.Ward
Ted Warfield
Roy Weatherford
William Whewell
Alfred North Whitehead
David Widerker
David Wiggins
Bernard Williams
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Susan Wolf

Scientists
Tomis Kapitan
In 1986 Tomis Kapitan raised the question of whether determinists can and do deliberate.

Deliberation is the consideration of alternative possibilities and their evaluation according to the agent's character, values, desires, and beliefs, with the aim of choosing one of the alternatives as a course of action.

Even determinists appear to believe they have alternative courses of action when they deliberate. That is, they must practically consider that their alternatives are undetermined before their choice is made, and that they are free to choose any of them. If the agent knew with certainty that only one alternative existed, she could no longer deliberate.

Immanuel Kant, Richard Taylor, and Carl Ginet had assumed that an agent must assume himself to be free when deliberating over how to act.

Kapitan wonders what this means for the deliberating determinist.

That a deliberator does not view himself at the mercy of an indifferent causal network is, to an extent, unquestionable, his assumption of self-agency, of his power to choose, is at once a recognition of his partial independence from the flow of events and of his ability to shape an indeterminate future. The Kantian postulate of freedom, coordinating agency and contingency, is well-grounded in the phenomenon of choice, and there is no intent to oppose it here. Yet, what this presumption of freedom amounts to is not something which the data unequivocally reveal. The reading so far encountered, henceforth labeled the "Standard Interpretation", must be measured against the overt dissent of those who, while deliberating, take their actions to be caused by their volitions, and these volitions, in turn, to be terminal points of deliberations whose every phase is determined. To believe in free will while taking it to be an illusion is not a comfortable position to be in. But for this very reason, the presence of deliberating determinists, while not refuting the Standard Interpretation, motivates development of and interest in a rival account...

[Now] the deliberator takes his choosing to be an essential factor in causal chains leading up to either his doing or refraining. This is crucial to the sense of agency; that the action is under his control stems partially from the supposition that he would do it only through his own conscious effort.

[Kapitan's] claim is that one who takes his A-ing to be open assumes it to be contingent relative to all conditions (facts, events, propositions) existing (obtaining, occurring, being true) prior to and including the time at which the assumption is held. This unqualified modality requires the deliberator to consider his A-ing to be, as yet, undetermined by those same conditions, hence, undetermined simpliciter.

To minimize complexities, define determinism broadly as the doctrine that each state of the world is fully determined by antecedent states...Of importance is the fact that a determinist assumes that whatever he will do (choose, undertake, etc.) is already determined.

To locate an inconsistency within the beliefs of a deliberating determinist now seems easy; for as a deliberator, he takes his future act to be yet undetermined, but as a determinist, he assumes the very opposite, that it is already determined...the ascription of an inconsistency to deliberating determinists is secured.

Concluding Remarks

Although the preceding discussion has centered on deliberation, it is likely that the proposals culminating in (PO) and (POA) have a wider applicability. For one thing, they seem to pertain to all choice, even that which does not emerge from conscious deliberation, insofar as decision involves a selection among presumed alternatives. Perhaps they govern all intention as well; what is the point of intending something which is not taken as open at some time before intending it? If so, then each intention is a choice, minimally, between a course of action and its complement, and we can appreciate anew Kant's insistence that a presupposition of freedom underlies all practical thought. Additionally, the proposals imply that an omniscient being cannot deliberate, choose, or perhaps, intend - a consequence of no small theological importance if creativity, perfection, or omnipotence necessitate such abilities. It remains to be seen what relevance they have for the overall free will controversy, though there is every reason to suspect a firm and fruitful linkage.

The spectacle of a determinist who deliberates is at first perplexing. What is the point of deliberating if whatever one chooses and does is already determined? What difference can one's own deliberations possibly make? Faced with such questions, some conclude that we are, by our very nature as rational agents, indeterminists - an idea which can only disturb the determinist who takes his actions and volitions to be the outcome of antecedent factors while retaining a passion for consistency. Agreeing that an agent has a sense of the contingency of his own future, I have urged that the modality is indexed to what he himself assumes to be the case; it need not be a presumption of the non-existence of any determining conditions whatever. No more is required to give deliberation a point than the agent's ends, his belief that those ends will not be realized except through his own intentional activity, and his sense of freedom based, in part, upon his incomplete grasp of the future. If forgetfulness, as Nietzsche once wrote, is a precondition of action, an imperfect conception of what will be is no less essential. Practically-minded determinists, haunted by the spectres of inconsistency and fatalism, can be encouraged by this account of the matter.
(The Philosophical Quarterly Vol. 36, No. 14 (1986), pp.230-51)

For Teachers
For Scholars
Free Will Problem (Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, Robert Audi, ed., (1995) pp.280-2)
free will problem, the problem of the nature of free agency and its relation to the origins and conditions of responsible behavior. For those who contrast 'free' with 'determined', a central question is whether humans are free in what they do or determined by external events beyond their control. A related concern is whether an agent's responsibility for an action requires that the agent, the act, or the relevant decision be free. This, in turn, directs attention to action, motivation, deliberation, choice, and intention, and to the exact sense, if any, in which our actions are under our control.
Locke denied the will is free. It is the man that is free
Use of 'free will' is a matter of traditional nomenclature; it is debated whether freedom is properly ascribed to the will or the agent, or to actions, choices, deliberations, etc.

Controversy over conditions of responsible behavior forms the predominant historical and conceptual background of the free will problem. Most who ascribe moral responsibility acknowledge some sense in which responsible agents must be free in acting as they do; we are not responsible for what we were forced to do or were unable to avoid no matter how hard we tried. But there are differing accounts of moral responsibility and disagreements about the nature and extent of such practical freedom (see Kant). Accordingly, the free will problem centers on these questions: Does moral responsibility require any sort of practical freedom? If so, what sort? Are people practically free? Is practical freedom consistent with the antecedent determination of actions, thoughts, and character? There is is vivid debate about this last question.

Consider a woman deliberating about whom to vote for. From her first-person perspective, she feels free to vote for any candidate and is convinced that the selection is up to her regardless of prior influences. But viewing her eventual behavior as a segment of larger natural and historical processes, many would argue that there are underlying causes determining her choice. With this contrast of intuitions, any attempt to decide whether the voter is free depends on the precise meanings associated with terms like 'free', 'determine', and 'up to herself'.

One thing (event, situation) determines another if the latter is a consequence of it, or is necessitated by it; e.g., the voter's intention determines her hand movements. As usually understood, determinism holds that whatever happens is determined by antecedent conditions, where determination is standardly conceived as causation by antecedent events and circumstances. So construed, determinism apparently implies that at any time the future is already fixed and unique, with no possibility of alternative development. Logical versions of determinism declare each future event to be determined by what is already true, specifically, by the truth that it will occur then. Typical theological variants accept the predestination of all circumstances and events inasmuch as a divine being knows in advance (or even from eternity) that they will obtain.

Two elements are common to most interpretations of 'free'. First, freedom requires an absence of determination or certain sorts of determination, and second, one acts and chooses freely only if these endeavors are, properly speaking, one's own. From here, accounts diverge. Some take freedom (liberty) of indifference or the contingency of alternative courses of action to be critical. Thus, for the woman deliberating about which candidate to select, each choice is an open alternative inasmuch as it is possible but not yet necessitated. Indifference is also construed as motivational equilibrium, a condition some find essential to the idea that a free choice must be rational. Others focus on freedom (liberty) of spontaneity, where the voter is free if she votes as she chooses or desires, a reading that reflects the popular equation of freedom with "doing what you want." Associated with both analyses is a third by which the woman acts freely if she exercises her control, implying responsiveness to intent as well as both abilities to perform an act and to refrain. A fourth view identifies freedom with autonomy, the voter being autonomous to the extent that her selection is self-determined, e.g., by her character, deeper self, higher values, or informed reason. Though distinct, these conceptions are not incompatible, and many accounts of practical freedom include elements of each.

Determinism poses problems if practical freedom requires contingency. Incompatibilism maintains that determinism precludes freedom, though incompatibilists differ as to whether everything is determined. Those who accept determinism thereby endorse hard determinism (associated with eighteenth-century thinkers like d'Holbach and, recently, certain behaviorists), according to which freedom is an illusion since behavior is brought about by environmental and genetic factors. Some hard determinists also deny the existence of moral responsibility. At the opposite extreme, metaphysical libertarianism asserts that people are free and responsible and, a fortiori, that the past does not determine a unique future - a position some find enhanced by recent developments in physics. Among adherents of this sort of incompatibilism are those (e.g., Epicureans) who advocate freedom of indifference by describing responsible choices as undetermined by antecedent circumstances. To rebut the charge that choices', so construed, are random and not really one's "own, it has been suggested (e.g., by Leibniz) that several elements, including an agent's reasons, delimit the range of possibilities and influence choices without necessitating them. Libertarians who espoused agent causation, on the other hand (e.g., Carneades, Reid), blend contingency with autonomy in characterizing a free choice as one that is determined by the agent who, in turn, is not caused to make it.

Unwilling to abandon practical freedom yet unable to understand how a total lack of determination could be either necessary or desirable for responsibility, many philosophers take practical freedom and responsibility to be consistent with determinism, thereby endorsing compatibilism. Those who also accept determinism advocate what James called soft determinism. Its supporters include some who identify freedom with autonomy (the Stoics, Spinoza) and others who champion freedom of spontaneity (Hobbes, Locke, Hume). The latter speak of liberty as the power of doing or refraining from an action according to what one wills, so that by choosing otherwise one would have done otherwise. An agent fails to have liberty when constrained, i.e., either prevented from acting as one chooses or compelled to act in a manner contrary to what one wills. Extending this model, liberty is also diminished when one is caused to act in a way one would not otherwise prefer, either to avoid a greater danger — coercion — or because there is deliberate interference with the envisioning of alternatives — manipulation.

Compatibilists have shown considerable ingenuity in responding to criticisms that they * ey ignore freedom of choice or the need for open alternatives. Some apply the spontaneity, control, or autonomy models to decisions, so that the voter chooses freely if her decision accords with her desires, is under her control, or conforms to her higher values, deeper character, or informed reason. Others employ versions of the indifference model by taking choices to be free if they are contingent relative to certain subsets of circumstances, e.g., those the agent is or claims to be cognizant of, with the openness of alternatives grounded in what one can choose "for all one knows." Yet critics charge that since these refinements leave agents subject to external determination, even by hidden controllers, compatibilism still faces a challenge; if everything is determined by factors beyond one's control, then one's acts, choices, and character are also outside one's control, and consequently, there is nothing for which agents are free or responsible. Such reasoning has usually employed principles asserting the closure of the practical modalities (ability, control, avoidability, inevitability, etc.) under consequence relations. However, ability and control involve the agent's sense of what can be accomplished, and since cognitive states are typically not closed under consequence, these principles are disputable.


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