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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Causes, Laws, and Free Will: Why Determinism Doesn't Matter

Book Review by Christopher Evan Franklin
Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

Book: Causes, Laws, and Free Will: Why Determinism Doesn't Matter
Oxford University Press, 2013, 284pp., $65.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780199795185.

Kadri Vihvelin offers a detailed and rigorous inquiry into the classic free will debate, defending four main theses: (1) that free will is possible, (2) that Frankfurt-style cases (FSCs) fail to undermine the traditional debate about the compatibility of free will and determinism, (3) that there are no good arguments for incompatibilism, and (4) that we possess free will in virtue of both possessing a bundle of dispositions and being situated in environments in which there are no obstacles to the manifestation of these dispositions. She dubs the position that emerges from her discussion "commonsense metaphysical compatibilism" (32). Her position on free will is 'commonsense' because it agrees with commonsense that we have free will and are morally responsible (32-3). Her position is 'metaphysical compatibilism' because it contends that free will and moral responsibility are compatible with determinism because the ability to do otherwise is compatible with determinism (18). Her metaphysical compatibilism is to be contrasted with "moral compatibilism", which defends the compatibility of moral responsibility and determinism by denying that the ability to do otherwise is necessary for moral responsibility.

The entire book review is here.
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