Synthese 198 (11):10207-10235 (forthcoming)

Human freedom is in tension with nomological determinism and with statistical determinism. The goal of this paper is to answer both challenges. Four contributions are made to the free-will debate. First, we propose a classification of scientific theories based on how much freedom they allow. We take into account that indeterminism comes in different degrees and that both the laws and the auxiliary conditions can place constraints. A scientific worldview pulls towards one end of this classification, while libertarianism pulls towards the other end of the spectrum. Second, inspired by Hoefer, we argue that an interval of auxiliary conditions corresponds to a region in phase space, and to a bundle of possible block universes. We thus make room for a form of non-nomological indeterminism. Third, we combine crucial elements from the works of Hoefer and List; we attempt to give a libertarian reading of this combination. On our proposal, throughout spacetime, there is a certain amount of freedom that can be interpreted as the result of agential choices. Fourth, we focus on the principle of alternative possibilities throughout and propose three ways of strengthening it.
Keywords free will  libertarianism  physical theory  auxiliary conditions  principle of alternative possibilities  nomological determinism  statistical determinism  indeterminism  block universe  phase space
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2020
DOI 10.1007/s11229-020-02714-z
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Principles of Psychology.William James - 1890 - London, England: Dover Publications.
An Essay on Free Will.Peter Van Inwagen - 1983 - Oxford University Press.
Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility.Harry Frankfurt - 1969 - Journal of Philosophy 66 (23):829.
Living Without Free Will.Derk Pereboom - 2001 - Cambridge University Press.
A Treatise on Probability.John Maynard Keynes - 1921 - London, England: Dover Publications.

View all 38 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Degrees of Freedom.Timothy O'Connor - 2009 - Philosophical Explorations 12 (2):119 – 125.
Overall Freedom and Constraint.Ian Hunt - 2001 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 44 (2):131 – 147.
Freedom, Coherence, and the Self.Laura Waddell Ekstrom - 1993 - Dissertation, The University of Arizona
What is the Problem of Freedom of the Will?Paweł Łuków - 2007 - Polish Journal of Philosophy 1 (1):65-80.
Freedom, Indeterminism and Imagination.Michael M. Pitman - 2012 - South African Journal of Philosophy 31 (2):369-383.
Willensfreiheit. Libertarisch, kompatibilistisch – oder beides?Bettina Walde - 2009 - Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 57 (1):133-140.
Free Will in the Block Universe.Jason Brennan - 2007 - Philosophia 35 (2):207-217.
Freedom: East and West.Jaysankar L. Shaw - 2011 - Sophia 50 (3):481-497.
Free Will and Determinism: The Anselmian Position.Stan R. Tyvoll - 1996 - Dissertation, Saint Louis University
Deliberative Alternatives.Dana K. Nelkin - 2004 - Philosophical Topics 32 (1/2):215-240.
The Problem of Freedom.Mary T. Clark (ed.) - 1973 - New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.
Zum Problem der Willensfreiheit.Ulrich Steinvorth - 1995 - Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 49 (3):398 - 415.


Added to PP index

Total views
171 ( #68,452 of 2,504,821 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
34 ( #26,669 of 2,504,821 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes