David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Dissertation, University of Turku (Finland) (1999)
I have three main objectives in this essay. First, in chapter 2, I shall put forward and justify what I call worldlessness, by which I mean the following: All truths (as well as falsehoods) are wholly independent of any circumstances, not only time and place but also possible worlds. It follows from this view that whatever is actually true must be taken as true with respect to every possible world, which means that all truths are (in a sense) necessary. However, the account I shall propound is different from what is known in the trade as necessitarianism, i.e. the view that there is only one possible world, viz. the actual one, for the doctrine of the worldlessness of truth values, despite its commitment to the necessity of truths and falsehoods, is quite compatible with the idea of there being other possible worlds. Another important issue in chapter 2, explored in particular in section 2.12, is the claim that there is no real change in the world. Secondly, in chapter 3 I consider the eminent traditional argument for determinism, deriving from Aristotle, namely, logical determinism, i.e. determinism justified by an appeal to the logical principle of bivalence (that all proper statements, including those concerning the future, are either true or false). In this connection I try to show that, (i), the formulation of the conclusion of this argument as "Whatever will happen will happen of necessity" is implausible, at least from the modern point of view, (ii), the formulation as "Whatever will happen will happen inevitably" is more to the point, and (iii), on the basis of the worldless and timeless aspect advocated in chapter 2, this latter formulation is quite harmless, essentially amounting to the trivial statement, "Whatever will happen will happen". Thirdly, in chapter 4 I study theological determinism, or determinism that arises from God's supposed providential control over everything that happens. In this connection, I shall survey some historical accounts of the relation between human free will and determinism (not only theological but also causal determinism); the philosophers the views of whom I shall attend to include Chrysippus, St. Augustine, Boethius and Aquinas. I shall in particular consider G.W. Leibniz' theodicean aspirations, viz. his solution to the problem of evil and, especially, his compatibilist attempts to reconcile human free will with the strictly deterministic flow of actual events. I think it is important to try to explicate Leibniz' ingenious account of these matters, since it seems that it has not been fully appreciated in the literature, not even by contemporary Leibniz scholars (such as B. Mates, R.C. Sleigh, C. Wilson, R.M. Adams and D. Rutherford). In providing the Leibnizian compatibilist solution of the problem of determinism and freedom in chapter 4, I shall utilize the approach of chapter 2.
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