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The Fall of the Mind Argument and Some Lessons about Freedom

The Fall of the Mind Argument and Some Lessons about Freedom

Chapter:
(p.127) 7 The Fall of the Mind Argument and Some Lessons about Freedom
Source:
Action, Ethics, and Responsibility
Author(s):
E. J. CoffmanDonald Smith
Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262014731.003.0007

This chapter offers a new criticism of the Mind argument that is both decisive and instructive. It introduces a plausible principle (γ) that places a requirement on one’s having a choice about an event whose causal history includes only other events. Depending on γ’s truth-value, the Mind argument fails in such a way that one or the other of the two main species of libertarianism is the best approach to the metaphysics of freedom. Libertarians argue the compatibility of freedom and indeterminism, and their biggest obstacle is the Mind argument that argues an incompatibility between the two. The chapter aims to build a case for the truth of γ, and so for nonreductive libertarianism. This is achieved by defending it from the best objections that have been brought to light, thereby emphasizing γ’s prima facie plausibility.

Keywords:   Mind argument, libertarianism, metaphysics of freedom, indeterminism, nonreductive libertarianism

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