Browsing Philosophic Exchange by Subject "Free Will"
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Free Will and NeuroscienceHas modern neuroscience shown that free will is an illusion? Those who give an affirmative answer often argue as follows. The overt actions that have been studied in some recent experiments do not have corresponding consciously made decisions or conscious intentions among their causes. Therefore no overt actions have corresponding consciously made decisions or conscious intentions among their causes. This paper challenges this inference, arguing that it is unwarranted.
Meaning in Life without Free WillEven if determinism precludes responsibility and accountability, it does not eliminate everything that we deem valuable. This paper argues that life can be meaningful even if we do not have free will.
Responsibility in a World of CausesA familiar chain of reasoning goes like this: if everything is caused, then no one is genuinely free; if no one is genuinely free, then no one can be morally responsible for anything; so if everything is caused, then no one can be morally responsible for anything. This paper will challenge the part of this reasoning that concerns moral responsibility. What is at stake for us when we ascribe moral responsibility to ourselves and others? This paper will argue that we can reconcile the idea of moral responsibility with a broadly scientific worldview.
Stories and the Meaning of LifeThis paper argues that the value of acting freely and responsibly is a species of the value of self-expression. When I act freely, I write a sentence in the story of my life, and this gives my life the shape of a narrative, which, in turn, gives my life a unique sort of meaning and value.