Discussion of Peter Van Inwagen's "the incompatibility of free will and determinism"

I think that van Inwagen's argument is invalid because it equivocates on the modal auxiliaries. To give a quick idea of what I think has gone wrong, consider for comparison two arguments which are transparently invalid, though they superficially resemble Modus Tollens arguments: (a) If Lincoln was honest, he couldn't have pocketed the penny (such taking being dishonest). (b) But it is false that Lincoln could not have pocketed the penny: after all, he was not paralyzed and did not fail to realize that the penny was (slightly) valuable and would be his for the taking. (c) Therefore, Lincoln was not honest. (a') If determinism is correct, then if various past events had occurred earlier, the judge could not have raised his hand at the time of the execution (since doing so would be inconsistent with the behavior issuing from and predictable from those earlier events). (b') But it is false that the judge could not have raised his hand at the time of the execution: for he was not paralyzed or unconscious-- he certainly possessed the power to move his hand. (c') Therefore, since the various past events did occur earlier, determinism is not correct.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index Translate to english
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,879
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

10 ( #227,665 of 1,725,168 )

Recent downloads (6 months)


How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.