Galen Strawson is a Closet Existentialist; or, the Ballistics of Nothingness

The subject of free will has suffered something of a renascence in recent popularized American philosophy. The issue is, of course, a Gordian knot of underlying metaphysical and ontological presupposition, in both the analytic and continental traditions. In this paper, I attempt a bit of an untangling, and in doing so, I find that the fundamental position of the contemporary champion of “no freedom” (Galen Strawson) is not only compatible with a radical Sartrean freedom, but that the two philosophers’ deeper ontology is much the same, supports the same metaphysics and the same outline of an existentialist ethics. My approach is a combination of analytic and continental method and background: I continue to believe that there is no necessary separation between the analytic and continental camps, and that there is much to be gained from the reabsorption of analytic style into the broader philosophic tradition.
Keywords free will  agency  objective attitude
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Reprint years 2017
DOI 10.1080/17570638.2017.1298294
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