In a recent paper, John Fischer develops a new argument against the Principle of Alternative Possibilities (PAP) based on a deterministic scenario. Fischer uses this result (i) to rebut the Dilemma Defense - a well-known incompatibilist response to Frankfurt-type counterexamples to PAP; and (ii) to maintain that: If causal determinism rules out moral responsibility, it is not just in virtue of eliminating alternative possibilities. In this article, we argue that Fischer's new argument against PAP fails, thus leaving points (i) and (...) (ii) unsupported. (shrink)
The soul in Greek thought -- The soul in medieval Christian thought -- The soul in continental thought -- Locke, Butler, reid, and Hume -- Soul-body causal interaction -- The soul and contemporary science -- Contemporary challenges to the soul -- Thoughts on the future of the soul.
In his excellent book World without Design, Michael Rea argues that naturalism is not a philosophical thesis but a research program. I believe that there is good reason to question Rea’s claim about naturalism. In this brief paper, I critique Rea’s argument and defend a particular understanding of naturalism as a philosophical thesis.
In his two first-rate books, ’Consciousness and the Existence of God: A Theistic Argument’ and ’The Recalcitrant Imago Dei: Human Persons and the Failure of Naturalism’, J. P. Moreland argues that our existence as conscious beings presents insurmountable problems for naturalism and evidence for theism. In this review, I summarize Moreland’s treatment of three issues in scientific theory acceptance, which he claims are relevant to determining which worldview, theism or naturalism, is better able to explain the existence of conscious mental (...) entities. I then raise some questions about their supposed relevance and conclude with some thoughts about the simplicity and immateriality of the soul. (shrink)
The world’s major monotheistic religions typically maintain that God freely chose, in the libertarian sense, to create the universe for a reason or purpose. Philosophers of religion often argue that the idea that God makes a free choice to create for a purpose is deeply flawed. In parallel with these philosophers of religion, philosophers of action typically argue that the idea that human beings make free choices to act for purposes is also flawed. I begin my article by briefly summarizing (...) what is involved in the idea of a human agent freely choosing for a purpose. I then examine criticisms of this idea by philosophers of action and suggest how they might plausibly be rebutted. I conclude by suggesting that if these criticisms by philosophers of action are suspect, then there is good reason for thinking that the same or similar criticisms by philosophers of religion are suspect. (shrink)
Eleonore Stump has argued that a proponent of libertarian freedom must maintain that an agent is sometimes morally responsible for his mental action and that such moral responsibility is incompatible with that mental action’s being causally determined. Nevertheless, she maintains that this moral responsibility does not require that the agent be free to perform another mental action (act otherwise). In this paper, I argue that Stump fails to make a good case against the view that moral responsibility requires the freedom (...) to act otherwise. (shrink)
David Widerker has forcefully argued that a libertarian is on firm ground in believing that the principle of alternative possibilities (PAP) is true. Eleonore Stump has argued that not all libertarians need accept PAP, and that its acceptance is not required for a rejection of compatibilism.This paper is a defense of Widerker against Stump. I argue that it is not at all clear that Stump’s view of freedom is libertarian in nature, and that she has not provided a good reason (...) for thinking that a libertarian can abandon PAP. (shrink)
In this paper, I develop a noncausal view of agency. I defend the thesis that choices are uncaused mental actions and maintain, contrary to causal theorists of action, that choices differ intrinsically or inherently from nonactions. I explain how they do by placing them in an ontology favored by causal agency theorists (agent-causationists). This ontology is one of powers and liabilities.After explicating how a choice is an uncaused event, I explain how an adequate account of freedom involves the concept of (...) choosing for a reason. Choosing for a reason is a teleological notion, and I set forth what is involved in making a choice for a purpose. (shrink)