Life, the Universe, and Everything

A Course Blog for GET1029/GEK1067

Tag: W07

Quiz 06 Debrief

The median dropped back to 5 but not too bad overall. Click through to see…

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Podcast Episode #05

About the infinite regress. We actually recorded quite a bit more, but the remaining material will likely make up two additional episodes, if I find time to do the editing…

The Illusion of Free Will

W07 Q/A

Here goes. I have also published several (longish) posts relating to the topic–they were created in response to recurring student queries from previous batches. So do browse them if you have a chance. These include–a taxonomy of the main positions in the so-called “free will and determinism debate”, a post distinguishing causal determinism from two other ideas (foreknowledge, and fatalism) that are often confused with it, and a recap of the Strawson-Hurley debate. I also added a few questions (marked with #) that came from previous years.

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Susan Hurley vs. Galen Strawson on Moral Responsibility (Long Post)

This post comes in two parts, plus an appendix. Part 1 is mainly a revision of what’s already in the lecture, talking through Strawson’s Basic Argument and the “Hurley Response” to make sure that you are up to speed. Part 2 goes beyond and is meant for those with deeper interest. The Appendix explains why I structured the Hurley response the way I did. Ok, here goes.

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Determinism’s Lookalikes

It’s one of those things that often confuse people–and not just students. Causal Determinism of the sort we talked about in class has several close-by cousins and relations which conceivably pose problems for free will and moral responsibility. But they are all different from each other, and so the the problems they pose to free will and moral responsibility aren’t the same either. Therefore, they should not be confused with each other. In this post, I will focus on just three–Causal Determinism, Predictability (or Foreknowledge), and Fatalism.

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Freedom and Responsibility: A Taxonomy of Positions

When thinking about the topic of free will and moral responsibility, it’s critically important that you keep your concepts straight and not allow yourself to jump from one idea to another too quickly. So here are three distinct issues–phrased as three yes/no questions. (Note that this is slightly different from but closely related to the version in W07 Slide #22 because the post was originally written for a different cohort.)

  • Is the universe causally deterministic?
  • Is free will compatible with determinism?
  • Does moral responsibility require free will?

In principle, you can answer either “yes” or “no” to each without reference to the others.

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An Interview with Galen Strawson on Free Will and Moral Responsibility

An Interview with Galen Strawson

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