Browsing All Posts filed under »Metaphysics«

Is Dennett rethinking free will?

April 4, 2014 by

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Originally posted on Why Evolution Is True:
Reader Jiten called my attention to this post by Gregg Caruso on Flickers of Freedom about Dan Dennett’s comment on Free Will—a comment that appeared in a discussion in the journal Methode. I admit that I haven’t yet read Dan’s whole piece, but Caruso gives an interesting excerpt, which suggests…

CFP: Free Will (University of Michigan-Flint)

February 26, 2014 by

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Details “Mankind has a free will; but it is free to milk cows and to build houses, nothing more.” — Martin Luther “[M]en believe themselves free, simply because they are conscious of their actions, and unconscious of the causes whereby those actions are determined.” ― Baruch Spinoza We have an intuitive sense of ourselves as […]

Sam Harris Still Needs to Read More Philosophy

February 12, 2014 by

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In a scathing review of Sam Harris’ pamphlet Free Will , Daniel Dennett rightfully calls out Harris for some obvious missteps that Harris has taken (once again).  Harris responds here. Though I am more aligned with incompatibilism these days, Harris again makes some serious missteps in his response. First, he forwards his compatibilist thesis with regards to […]

30 Views on Free Will

February 5, 2014 by

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Anyone trying to get caught up to date with the contemporary views in the free will debate will do well to visit this site (see here). This is the newest issue of Methode, and they interviewed 30 philosophers working on free will. Each philosopher, the line-up is impressive, was asked the same series of questions […]

Calgary Woman Gets 18 More Months In Prison (36 Total!) For Killing 2 Children?

January 30, 2014 by

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My initial reaction when reading the headline today was, WHAT!?! (see article here) Meredith Borowiec just killed two babies by putting them in the dumpster (leaving them for dead) and she can walk the streets in 18 months? I think my reaction is telling. To me, this woman ought to get punished with more severity. Why? Because […]

Romantic Dysfunction, BPD, and Moral Responsibility

January 22, 2014 by

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It is commonly argued that for one to be morally responsible, one must have control over one’s actions (see here for a run-down on arguments for that claim). Now, one does not generally concede that a person is moral pariah simply because the person is in the deepest stages of love, even if we do tend to […]

Martha Nussbaum, “What is Anger, and Why Should We Care?”

January 16, 2014 by

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Martha Nussbaum has given a very nice talk on why anger is “of dubious value in both life and the law“, the talk can be found here. Although it seems obvious that anger can be bad for our well-being and is often associated with acts of malice and bad intent (and rightfully so), I do […]

Do Incompatibilists Have Inconsistent Intuitions?

December 20, 2013 by

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Incompatibilism, for our purposes here, is the view that the sort free will required for moral responsibility is not compatible with determinism. In a few recent studies there seems to be an apparent disconnect between  incompatibilist intuitions when asked compatibility questions in a different way. On the one hand, in abstract cases the folk seem […]

Moral Responsibility and PAP: Can we uphold PAP and advance a “quality of the will” account of moral responsibility?

December 20, 2013 by

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Recently, over at PEA Soup, Heath White blogged about an important question concerning moral responsibility and control. The question was: Does moral responsibility require the ability to do otherwise? PAP (or, the “principle of alternative possibilities) is the principle that says: If S is blameworthy for doing X, S must have been able to do otherwise than […]

Moral Responsibility and Volunteer Soldiers

December 3, 2013 by

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When considering one’s moral responsibility we often take voluntariness into account and with good reason. If one was forced to commit some action against their will we usually claim that they are not morally responsible for what they did. We say this because, all things being equal, they didn’t voluntarily commit the act. Similarly, if […]

Book Release: Free Will and Moral Responsibility

November 4, 2013 by

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It brings me great pleasure to announce the release of my first edited volume, Free Will and Moral Responsibility (co-edited with Ish Haji).  For those interested in purchasing the book here is a link to amazon and here is the publisher’s press release. Below you can find a summary to the book. “Determinism is, roughly, the […]

A Dilemma Concerning Moral Obligation

November 4, 2013 by

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There seems to be a dilemma that has not been addressed much in the literature (a dilemma I have hinted at in the past) that concerns freedom and the deontic appraisals of moral obligation, right, and wrong. The dilemma arises when we combine the hard incompatibilist stance regarding the truth of two doctrines coupled with […]

Free Will and Love

October 4, 2013 by

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I have argued in the past that Sam Harris needs to read more philosophy. I have said this because Harris, in his book “Free Will“, failed to respond to compatibilist criticisms to the view he was arguing for, criticisms that have been around for quite some time. Harris’ arguments  attempt to prove the thesis that […]

George Zimmerman, Guilty of Voluntary Manslaughter

July 19, 2013 by

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Many are appalled by the verdict delivered in the trial of George Zimmerman. A lot of the complaints with the verdict stem from emotion—no one wants to see a teenager killed and the killer get away with it. Others base their complaints on racism and racial profiling. And lastly, some worry that the legal system […]

Hard Incompatibilism and Ethics: Some Concerns

July 1, 2013 by

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If we think that ethics is supposed to tell us what we ought to do (this is the common understanding of ethics see here), and, if our conception of right and wrong is derived from our sense of moral obligation then the thesis of hard incompatibilism poses a serious threat to any ethical system that incorporates […]

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