Ted Honderich
University College London
Professor Mele uses the term `autonomy' where other philosophers have spoken of `freedom', `free will' and the like. His well-worked-out paper, which is individual in more than its usage, is not committed to either of the tired doctrines that determinism is inconsistent with autonomy and that it is consistent with it. He is agnostic about which choice to make. Some proponents of the first doctrine, those who believe determinism, draw the conclusion that there is no autonomy. Some proponents of the second doctrine maintain also maintain that indeterminism would in fact deprive us of autonomy. Professor Mele, as he says, is confident that we are somehow autonomous. He develops two ideas of it, incompatibilist autonomy and compatibilist autonomy, but is convinced that more work is needed on all sides. His is not the kind of labour that I myself take to be needed, or anyway desirable. Is it is more respectful of the recent past of the problem than is now a good idea? Well, disrespect is sometimes a bad idea. But we agree that the problem of determinism and freedom, once announced by philosophical undertakers to be dead and buried, even undertakers not employed by either side, has outlived all its undertakers.
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