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Non-Elusive Freedom Contextualism
Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science, University of Gothenburg, Box 100, 405 30 Göteborg, Sweden; Stockholm University, Stockholm 106 91, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7425-3041
2016 (English)In: Philosophia (Ramat Gan), ISSN 0048-3893, E-ISSN 1574-9274, Vol. 44, no 3, p. 793-808Article, book review (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

There are powerful arguments for free will scepticism. However, it seems obvious that some of our actions are done of our own free will. It has been argued that we can solve this puzzle by giving ‘free’ a contextualist analysis. In everyday contexts we are often allowed to ignore sceptical arguments, and can truly say that we acted freely. In the more demanding context of philosophy, it is true that we never do anything freely. Our freedom is elusive; it escapes us as soon as sceptical arguments are brought up. This kind of freedom contextualism has been criticized for conceding too much to the sceptic. Furthermore, it has problematic implications for moral responsibility. I develop an alternative contextualist analysis of ‘free’, according to which it is proper in certain contexts to ignore sceptical arguments even if they are brought up. Ignoring them is proper when doing so is necessary for engaging in an activity that is obviously justified. I argue that engaging in deliberation and inter-agential interaction with other people are obviously justified activities that require ignoring sceptical arguments. In these contexts, we do have a non-elusive kind of freedom.

John Hawthorne and Steven Rieber suggest that ‘freedom’ might be given a contextualist analysis, analogous to David Lewis’ contextualist analysis of ‘knowledge’. In this paper, I identify the main problems with their analysis, and show how these problems can be avoided by a freedom contextualism based on the epistemological contextualism of Michael Williams.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2016. Vol. 44, no 3, p. 793-808
Keywords [en]
Contextualism, Free will, Moral responsibility, Compatibilism, Incompatibilism
National Category
Ethics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-167761DOI: 10.1007/s11406-016-9734-7ISI: 000384552500012OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-167761DiVA, id: diva2:1390788
Available from: 2020-02-03 Created: 2020-02-03 Last updated: 2020-02-18Bibliographically approved

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Jeppsson, Sofia

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