The Zygote Argument Is Still Invalid: So What?

Philosophia 49 (2):705-722 (2021)
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In “The Zygote Argument is Invalid: Now What?” (2015), Kristin Mickelson argues that Alfred Mele’s original Zygote Argument is invalid: its two premises tell us merely that the truth of determinism is correlated with the absence of free human agents, but the argument nonetheless concludes with a specific explanation for that correlation, namely that deterministic laws preclude—rule out, destroy, undermine, make impossible, rob us of—free will. While Mele has yet to mention or address this criticism in print, Mele's advisee Gabriel De Marco (2016) responds to the critique on Mele's behalf. De Marco grants that the original Zygote Argument is invalid for the reasons that Mickelson has identified, and claims that he has developed two new solutions to her invalidity objection. In this essay, Mickelson observes that both of DeMarco's proposed solutions are nonstarters. The first fails as a “rescue” because it simply restates a solution that Mickelson developed (2012/2015) and Mele had already adopted (in Mele 2013), albeit in slightly different jargon. De Marco's second rescue fails because it consists in a new fallacious variant of the original Zygote Argument which is open to criticism on the grounds that (i) it is deductively invalid, (ii) it instantiates cum hoc ergo propter hoc reasoning, and (iii) introduces a new premise that begs the question against free-will impossibilists. Perhaps most notably, De Marco asserts--without argument and against evidence to the contrary--that philosophers have no good reason to track the distinction between the perhaps spurious correlation relation of metaphysical incompossibility and the relevance relation of metaphysical incompatibility. Published Open Access.

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Kristin M. Mickelson
Socratic Oath Philosophy (Socratoa)

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References found in this work

An Essay on Free Will.Peter Van Inwagen - 1983 - Oxford University Press.
Free Will, Agency, and Meaning in Life.Derk Pereboom - 2014 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Living Without Free Will.Derk Pereboom - 2001 - Cambridge University Press.
Free Will and Luck.Alfred R. Mele - 2006 - New York, US: Oxford University Press.
Autonomous Agents: From Self Control to Autonomy.Alfred R. Mele - 1995 - New York, US: Oxford University Press.

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