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  1. Can Physics Make Us Free?Tuomas K. Pernu - 2017 - Frontiers in Physics 5.
    A thoroughly physical view on reality and our common sense view on agency and free will seem to be in a direct conflict with each other: if everything that happens is determined by prior physical events, so too are all our actions and conscious decisions; you have no choice but to do what you are destined to do. Although this way of thinking has intuitive appeal, and a long history, it has recently began to gain critical attention. A number of (...)
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  • Emergent Chance.Christian List & Marcus Pivato - 2015 - Philosophical Review 124 (1):119-152.
    We offer a new argument for the claim that there can be non-degenerate objective chance (“true randomness”) in a deterministic world. Using a formal model of the relationship between different levels of description of a system, we show how objective chance at a higher level can coexist with its absence at a lower level. Unlike previous arguments for the level-specificity of chance, our argument shows, in a precise sense, that higher-level chance does not collapse into epistemic probability, despite higher-level properties (...)
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  • Mentalism Versus Behaviourism in Economics: A Philosophy-of-Science Perspective.Christian List & Franz Dietrich - 2016 - Economics and Philosophy 32 (2):249-281.
    Behaviourism is the view that preferences, beliefs, and other mental states in social-scientific theories are nothing but constructs re-describing people's behaviour. Mentalism is the view that they capture real phenomena, on a par with the unobservables in science, such as electrons and electromagnetic fields. While behaviourism has gone out of fashion in psychology, it remains influential in economics, especially in ‘revealed preference’ theory. We defend mentalism in economics, construed as a positive science, and show that it fits best scientific practice. (...)
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  • What is It Like to Be a Group Agent?Christian List - 2016 - Noûs:295-319.
    The existence of group agents is relatively widely accepted. Examples are corporations, courts, NGOs, and even entire states. But should we also accept that there is such a thing as group consciousness? I give an overview of some of the key issues in this debate and sketch a tentative argument for the view that group agents lack phenomenal consciousness. In developing my argument, I draw on integrated information theory, a much-discussed theory of consciousness. I conclude by pointing out an implication (...)
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  • Two Intuitions About Free Will: Alternative Possibilities and Intentional Endorsement.Wlodek Rabinowicz & Christian List - 2014 - Philosophical Perspectives 28 (1):155-172.
    Free will is widely thought to require (i) the possibility of acting otherwise and (ii) the intentional endorsement of one’s actions (“indeterministic picking is not enough”). According to (i), a necessary condition for free will is agential-level indeterminism: at some points in time, an agent’s prior history admits more than one possible continuation. According to (ii), however, a free action must be intentionally endorsed, and indeterminism may threaten freedom: if several alternative actions could each have been actualized, then none of (...)
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  • Nonreductive Physicalism and the Limits of the Exclusion Principle.Christian List & Peter Menzies - 2009 - Journal of Philosophy 106 (9):475-502.
    It is often argued that higher-level special-science properties cannot be causally efficacious since the lower-level physical properties on which they supervene are doing all the causal work. This claim is usually derived from an exclusion principle stating that if a higherlevel property F supervenes on a physical property F* that is causally sufficient for a property G, then F cannot cause G. We employ an account of causation as differencemaking to show that the truth or falsity of this principle is (...)
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  • The Most Persuasive Frankfurt Example, and What It Shows: Or Why Determinism Is Not the Greatest Threat to Moral Responsibility.Larry Alexander - 2014 - Open Journal of Philosophy 4 (2):141-143.
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  • Supervenient Freedom and the Free Will Deadlock.Nadine Elzein & Tuomas K. Pernu - 2017 - Disputatio (45):219-243.
    Supervenient libertarianism maintains that indeterminism may exist at a supervening agency level, consistent with determinism at a subvening physical level. It seems as if this approach has the potential to break the longstanding deadlock in the free will debate, since it concedes to the traditional incompatibilist that agents can only do otherwise if they can do so in their actual circumstances, holding the past and the laws constant, while nonetheless arguing that this ability is compatible with physical determinism. However, we (...)
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  • VI—Agency and Two‐Way Powers.Maria Alvarez - 2013 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 113 (1pt1):101-121.
    In this paper I propose a way of characterizing human agency in terms of the concept of a two‐way power. I outline this conception of agency, defend it against some objections, and briefly indicate how it relates to free agency and to moral praise‐ and blameworthiness.
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  • Relative Modality and the Ability to Do Otherwise.Ralph Weir - 2016 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 12 (1):47-61.
    It is widely held that for an action to be free it must be the case that the agent can do otherwise. Compatibilists and incompatibilists disagree over what this ability amounts to. Two recent articles offer novel perspectives on the debate by employing Angelika Kratzer’s semantics of ‘can’. Alex Grzankowski proposes that Kratzer’s semantics favour incompatibilism because they make valid a version of the Consequence Argument. Christian List argues that Kratzer’s semantics favour a novel form of compatibilism. I argue that (...)
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  • Levels: Descriptive, Explanatory, and Ontological.Christian List - manuscript
    Scientists and philosophers frequently speak about levels of description, levels of explanation, and ontological levels. This paper presents a framework for studying levels. I give a general definition of a system of levels and discuss several applications, some of which refer to descriptive or explanatory levels while others refer to ontological levels. I illustrate the usefulness of this framework by bringing it to bear on some familiar philosophical questions. Is there a hierarchy of levels, with a fundamental level at the (...)
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  • Dynamic and Stochastic Systems as a Framework for Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Science.Christian List & Marcus Pivato - manuscript
    Scientists often think of the world (or some part of it) as a dynamical system, a stochastic process, or a generalization of such a system. Prominent examples of systems are (i) the system of planets orbiting the sun or any other classical mechanical system, (ii) a hydrogen atom or any other quantum-mechanical system, and (iii) the earth’s atmosphere or any other statistical mechanical system. We introduce a simple and general framework for describing such systems and show how it can be (...)
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  • Mahdollisuus.Ilkka Niiniluoto, Tuomas Tahko & Teemu Toppinen (eds.) - 2016 - Helsinki: Philosophical Society of Finland.
    Proceedings of the 2016 "one word" colloquium of the The Philosophical Society of Finland. The word was "Possibility".
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  • My Brain Made Me Do It: The Exclusion Argument Against Free Will, and What’s Wrong with It.Christian List & Peter Menzies - 2017 - In H. Beebee, C. Hitchcock & H. Price (eds.), Making a Difference. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    We offer a critical assessment of the “exclusion argument” against free will, which may be summarized by the slogan: “My brain made me do it, therefore I couldn't have been free”. While the exclusion argument has received much attention in debates about mental causation (“could my mental states ever cause my actions?”), it is seldom discussed in relation to free will. However, the argument informally underlies many neuroscientific discussions of free will, especially the claim that advances in neuroscience seriously challenge (...)
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  • The Demand for Contrastive Explanations.Nadine Elzein - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (5):1325-1339.
    A “contrastive explanation” explains not only why some event A occurred, but why A occurred as opposed to some alternative event B. Some philosophers argue that agents could only be morally responsible for their choices if those choices have contrastive explanations, since they would otherwise be “luck infested”. Assuming that contrastive explanations cannot be offered for causally undetermined events, this requirement entails that no one could be held responsible for a causally undetermined choice. Such arguments challenge incompatibilism, since they entail (...)
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  • Levels: Descriptive, Explanatory, and Ontological.Christian List - 2016 - Noûs.
    Scientists and philosophers frequently speak about levels of description, levels of explanation, and ontological levels. In this paper, I propose a unified framework for modelling levels. I give a general definition of a system of levels and show that it can accommodate descriptive, explanatory, and ontological notions of levels. I further illustrate the usefulness of this framework by applying it to some salient philosophical questions: (1) Is there a linear hierarchy of levels, with a fundamental level at the bottom? And (...)
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  • Outlook-Based Semantics.Elizabeth Coppock - 2018 - Linguistics and Philosophy 41 (2):125-164.
    This paper presents and advocates an approach to the semantics of opinion statements, including matters of personal taste and moral claims. In this framework, ‘outlook-based semantics’, the circumstances of evaluation are not composed of a possible world and a judge ; rather, outlooks replace possible worlds in the role of circumstance of evaluation. Outlooks are refinements of worlds that settle not only matters of fact but also matters of opinion. Several virtues of the framework and advantages over existing implementations of (...)
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  • Historical Moral Responsibility: Is The Infinite Regress Problem Fatal?Eric Christian Barnes - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (4):533-554.
    Some compatibilists have responded to the manipulation argument for incompatibilism by proposing an historical theory of moral responsibility which, according to one version, requires that agents be morally responsible for having their pro-attitudes if they are to be morally responsible for acting on them. This proposal, however, leads obviously to an infinite regress problem. I consider a proposal by Haji and Cuypers that addresses this problem and argue that it is unsatisfactory. I then go on to propose a new solution (...)
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  • Why People Believe in Indeterminist Free Will.Oisín Deery - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (8):2033-2054.
    Recent empirical evidence indicates that people tend to believe that they possess indeterminist free will, and people’s experience of choosing and deciding is that they possess such freedom. Some also maintain that people’s belief in indeterminist free will has its source in their experience of choosing and deciding. Yet there seem to be good reasons to resist endorsing. Despite this, I maintain that belief in indeterminist free will really does have its source in experience. I explain how this is so (...)
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