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  1. Free Will, Determinism, and the Right Levels of Description.Leonhard Menges - 2021 - Philosophical Explorations 25 (1):1-18.
    ABSTRACT Recently, many authors have argued that claims about determinism and free will are situated on different levels of description and that determinism on one level does not rule out free will on another. This paper focuses on Christian List’s version of this basic idea. It will be argued for the negative thesis that List’s account does not rule out the most plausible version of incompatibilism about free will and determinism and, more constructively, that a level-based approach to free will (...)
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  • Gender.Holly Lawford-Smith & Michael Hauskeller - 2022 - In Michael Hauskeller (ed.), The Things That Really Matter: Philosophical Conversations on the Cornerstones of Life. London: UCL Press. pp. 65-83.
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  • Freedom and the Open Future.Yishai Cohen - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
    I draw upon Helen Steward’s concept of agential settling to argue that freedom requires an ability to change the truth-value of tenseless future contingents over time from false to true and that this ability requires a metaphysically open future.
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  • The Naturalistic Case for Free Will.Christian List - forthcoming - In Stavros Ioannidis, Gal Vishne, Meir Hemmo & Orly Shenker (eds.), Levels of Reality in Science and Philosophy. Cham: Springer.
    The aim of this expository paper is to give an informal overview of a plausible naturalistic case for free will. I will describe what I take to be the main naturalistically motivated challenges for free will and respond to them by presenting an indispensability argument for free will. The argument supports the reality of free will as an emergent higher-level phenomenon. I will also explain why the resulting picture of free will does not conflict with the possibility that the fundamental (...)
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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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  • Compatibilist Libertarianism: Why It Talks Past the Traditional Free Will Problem and Determinism Is Still a Worry.John Daniel Wright - forthcoming - Journal of the American Philosophical Association:1-19.
    Compatibilist libertarianism claims that alternate possibilities for action at the agential level are consistent with determinism at the physical level. Unlike traditional compatibilism about alternate possibilities, involving conditional or dispositional accounts of the ability to act, compatibilist libertarianism offers us unqualified modalities at the agential level, consistent with physical determinism, a potentially big advance. However, I argue that the account runs up against two problems. Firstly, the way in which the agential modalities are generated talks past the worries of the (...)
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  • Causal Emergence From Effective Information: Neither Causal nor Emergent?Joe Dewhurst - 2021 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 10 (3):158-168.
    Thought: A Journal of Philosophy, EarlyView.
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  • Motivational Determinism.Eric Christian Barnes - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
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  • Levels: Descriptive, Explanatory, and Ontological.Christian List - 2019 - Noûs 53 (4):852-883.
    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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  • 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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  • On the Foundations of the Problem of Free Will.Paolo Galeazzi & Rasmus K. Rendsvig - forthcoming - Episteme:1-19.
    In a recent paper, Christian List has argued for the compatibilism of free will and determinism. Drawing on a distinction between physical possibility and agential possibility, List constructs a formal two-level model in which the two concepts are consistent. This paper's first contribution is to show that though List's model is formally consistent, philosophically it falls short of establishing a satisfactory compatibilist position. Ensuingly, an analysis of the shortcomings of the model leads to the identification of a controversial epistemological assumption (...)
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  • Freedom to Do Otherwise and the Contingency of the Laws of Nature.Jeff Mitchell - manuscript
    This article argues that the freedom of voluntary action can be grounded in the contingency of the laws of nature. That is, the possibility of doing otherwise is equivalent to the possibility of the laws being otherwise. This equivalence can be understood in terms of an agent drawing a boundary between self and not-self in the domains of both matter and laws, defining the extent of the body and of voluntary behaviour. In particular, the article proposes that we can think (...)
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  • Special-Science Counterfactuals.Christian List - 2022 - The Monist 105 (2):194–213.
    On the standard analysis, a counterfactual conditional such as “If P had been the case, then Q would have been the case” is true in the actual world if, in all nearest possible worlds in which its antecedent (P) is true, its consequent (Q) is also true. Despite its elegance, this analysis faces a difficulty if the laws of nature are deterministic. Then the antecedent could not have been true, given prior conditions. So, it is unclear what the relevant “nearest (...)
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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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  • Aggregating Causal Judgments.Richard Bradley, Franz Dietrich & Christian List - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (4):491-515.
    Decision-making typically requires judgments about causal relations: we need to know the causal effects of our actions and the causal relevance of various environmental factors. We investigate how several individuals' causal judgments can be aggregated into collective causal judgments. First, we consider the aggregation of causal judgments via the aggregation of probabilistic judgments, and identify the limitations of this approach. We then explore the possibility of aggregating causal judgments independently of probabilistic ones. Formally, we introduce the problem of causal-network aggregation. (...)
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  • Direct Versus Indirect: Control, Moral Responsibility, and Free Action.Alfred R. Mele - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 102 (3):559-573.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
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  • Free Will as a Higher‐Level Phenomenon?Alexander Gebharter - 2020 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 9 (3):177-187.
    List (2014, 2019) has recently argued for a particular view of free will as a higher-level phenomenon compatible with determinism. According to List, one could refute his account by showing that determinism at the physical level implies the impossibility of doing otherwise at the agential level. This paper takes up that challenge. Based on assumptions to which List’s approach is committed, I provide a simple probabilistic model that establishes the connection between physical determinism and the impossibility of doing otherwise at (...)
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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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  • 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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  • Dynamic and Stochastic Systems as a Framework for Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Science.Christian List & Marcus Pivato - 2019 - Synthese 198 (3):2551-2612.
    Scientists often think of the world as a dynamical system, a stochastic process, or a generalization of such a system. Prominent examples of systems are the system of planets orbiting the sun or any other classical mechanical system, a hydrogen atom or any other quantum–mechanical system, and the earth’s atmosphere or any other statistical mechanical system. We introduce a general and unified framework for describing such systems and show how it can be used to examine some familiar philosophical questions, including (...)
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  • Dynamic and Stochastic Systems as a Framework for Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Science.Christian List & Marcus Pivato - 2021 - Synthese 198 (3):2551-2612.
    Scientists often think of the world as a dynamical system, a stochastic process, or a generalization of such a system. Prominent examples of systems are the system of planets orbiting the sun or any other classical mechanical system, a hydrogen atom or any other quantum–mechanical system, and the earth’s atmosphere or any other statistical mechanical system. We introduce a general and unified framework for describing such systems and show how it can be used to examine some familiar philosophical questions, including (...)
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  • Against Accomplice Liability.Alex Kaiserman - 2021 - In Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Law. Oxford, UK: pp. 124-155.
    Accomplice liability makes people guilty of crimes they knowingly helped or encouraged others to commit, even if they did not commit the crime themselves. But this method of criminalizing aiders and abettors is fraught with problems. In this chapter, I argue that accomplice liability in the criminal law should be replaced with a system in which agents are criminalized on the basis of their individual contributions to causings of harm—the larger the contribution, the more severe the crime—regardless of whether those (...)
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  • 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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  • Free Will of an Ontologically Open Mind.Jan Scheffel - manuscript
    The problem of free will has persistently resisted a solution throughout centuries. There is reason to believe that new elements need to be introduced into the analysis in order to make progress. In the present physicalist approach, these elements are emergence and information theory in relation to universal limits set by quantum physics. Furthermore the common, but vague, characterization of free will as "being able to act differently" is, in the spirit of Carnap, rephrased into an explicatum more suitable for (...)
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  • Chancy Covariance and The Mind-Body Problem.Benjamin Eva - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Mind.
    Most agree that mental properties depend in some way on physical properties. While phys- icalists describe this dependence in terms of deterministic synchronic relations like identity or supervenience, some dualists prefer to think of it in terms of indeterministic dynamic relations, like causation. I’m going to develop a third conception of the dependence of the mental on the physical that falls somewhere between the deterministic synchronic dependence relations of the physicalist and the indeterministic diachronic dependence relations advocated by some dualists. (...)
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  • Freedom and Chance.Mark Wulff Carstensen - unknown
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  • Objective Consequentialism and the Plurality of Chances.Leszek Wroński - 2021 - Synthese 198 (12):12089-12105.
    I claim that objective consequentialism faces a problem stemming from the existence in some situations of a plurality of chances relevant to the outcomes of an agent’s acts. I suggest that this phenomenon bears structural resemblance to the well-known Reference Class problem. I outline a few ways in which one could attempt to deal with the issue, suggesting that it is the higher-level chance that should be employed by OC.
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  • Free Will, Control, and the Possibility to Do Otherwise From a Causal Modeler’s Perspective.Alexander Gebharter, Maria Sekatskaya & Gerhard Schurz - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-18.
    Strong notions of free will are closely connected to the possibility to do otherwise as well as to an agent's ability to causally influence her environment via her decisions controlling her actions. In this paper we employ techniques from the causal modeling literature to investigate whether a notion of free will subscribing to one or both of these requirements is compatible with naturalistic views of the world such as non-reductive physicalism to the background of determinism and indeterminism. We argue that (...)
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  • Degrees of Freedom.Pieter Thyssen & Sylvia Wenmackers - forthcoming - Synthese 198 (11):10207-10235.
    Human freedom is in tension with nomological determinism and with statistical determinism. The goal of this paper is to answer both challenges. Four contributions are made to the free-will debate. First, we propose a classification of scientific theories based on how much freedom they allow. We take into account that indeterminism comes in different degrees and that both the laws and the auxiliary conditions can place constraints. A scientific worldview pulls towards one end of this classification, while libertarianism pulls towards (...)
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • No Fixed Past : A Compatibilist Reply to the Consequence Argument.Elin Wengelin Grantén - unknown
    Carl Hoeferʼs “freedom from the inside out” is a compatibilist account of freedom that claims that we can have a robust kind of freedom even if the world is deterministic. The key insight is that determinism belongs in tenseless B-series time in the block universe, not in our everyday notions of the world where time is experienced in a tensed way with a past, a present, and a future, where the past is viewed as fixed and the future as open. (...)
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  • From Neuroscience to Law: Bridging the Gap.Tuomas K. Pernu & Nadine Elzein - 2020 - Frontiers in Psychology 11.
    Since our moral and legal judgments are focused on our decisions and actions, one would expect information about the neural underpinnings of human decision-making and action-production to have a significant bearing on those judgments. However, despite the wealth of empirical data, and the public attention it has attracted in the past few decades, the results of neuroscientific research have had relatively little influence on legal practice. It is here argued that this is due, at least partly, to the discussion on (...)
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  • Free Will and Luck: Compatibilism Versus Incompatibilism.Alfred R. Mele - 2020 - The Monist 103 (3):262-277.
    Compatibilists about free will maintain that free will is compatible with determinism, and incompatibilists disagree. Incompatibilist believers in free will have been challenged to solve a problem that luck poses for them—the problem of present luck. This article articulates that challenge and then explores a novel compatibilist view recently proposed by Christian List. It is argued that List’s view, unlike standard compatibilist views, faces a very similar problem about luck.
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  • Arguments for Incompatibilism.Kadri Vihvelin - 2003/2017 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Determinism is a claim about the laws of nature: very roughly, it is the claim that everything that happens is determined by antecedent conditions together with the natural laws. Incompatibilism is a philosophical thesis about the relevance of determinism to free will: that the truth of determinism rules out the existence of free will. The incompatibilist believes that if determinism turned out to be true, it would also be true that we don't have, and have never had, free will. The (...)
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  • Levels: Descriptive, Explanatory, and Ontological.Christian List - 2017
    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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  • Mahdollisuus, välttämättömyys ja luodut ikuiset totuudet Descartesin filosofiassa.Forsman Jan - 2016 - In Ilkka Niiniluoto, Tuomas Tahko & Teemu Toppinen (eds.), Mahdollisuus. Helsinki: Philosophical Society of Finland. pp. 120-129.
    Tässä artikkelissa käsittelen Descartesin ikuisten totuuksien välttämättömyyteen liittyvää ongelmaa. Teoksessa Mietiskelyjä ensimmäisestä filosofiasta (1641–1642) Descartes nostaa esiin käsitteen ikuisista totuuksista, käyttäen esimerkkinään kolmiota. Kolmion muuttumattomaan ja ikuiseen luontoon kuuluu esimerkiksi, että sen kolme kulmaa ovat yhteenlaskettuna 180°. Se on totta kolmiosta, vaikka yhtään yksittäistä kolmiota ei olisi koskaan ollutkaan olemassa. Eräät ajattelemieni asioiden piirteet ovat siis Descartesin mukaan ajattelustani riippumattomia. Ikuisia totuuksia ovat ainakin matemaattiset ja geometriset tosiseikat sekä ristiriidan laki. Samoin Descartesin kuuluisa lause “ajattelen, siis olen” lukeutuu ikuisten totuuksien (...)
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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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  • When to Defer to Supermajority Testimony — and When Not.Christian List - 2014 - In Jennifer Lackey (ed.), Essays in Collective Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 240-249.
    Pettit (2006) argues that deferring to majority testimony is not generally rational: it may lead to inconsistent beliefs. He suggests that “another ... approach will do better”: deferring to supermajority testimony. But this approach may also lead to inconsistencies. In this paper, I describe conditions under which deference to supermajority testimony ensures consistency, and conditions under which it does not. I also introduce the concept of “consistency of degree k”, which is weaker than full consistency by ruling out only “blatant” (...)
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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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  • Determinism, Counterfactuals, and Decision.Alexander Sandgren & Timothy Luke Williamson - 2021 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 99 (2):286-302.
    Rational agents face choices, even when taking seriously the possibility of determinism. Rational agents also follow the advice of Causal Decision Theory (CDT). Although many take these claims to be well-motivated, there is growing pressure to reject one of them, as CDT seems to go badly wrong in some deterministic cases. We argue that deterministic cases do not undermine a counterfactual model of rational deliberation, which is characteristic of CDT. Rather, they force us to distinguish between counterfactuals that are relevant (...)
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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: Essays on the Philosophy of Causation. 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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  • 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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  • Can Reasons and Values Influence Action: How Might Intentional Agency Work Physiologically?Raymond Noble & Denis Noble - 2020 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 52 (2):277-295.
    In this paper, we demonstrate how harnessing stochasticity can be the basis of creative agency; that such harnessing can resolve the apparent conflict between reductionist accounts of behaviour and behaviour as the outcome of rational and value-driven decisions; how neurophysiological processes can instantiate such behaviour; The processes involved depend on three features of living organisms: they are necessarily open systems; micro-level systems therefore nest within higher-level systems; causal interactions must occur across all the boundaries between the levels of organization. The (...)
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  • Mentalism Versus Behaviourism in Economics: A Philosophy-of-Science Perspective.Franz Dietrich & Christian List - 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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  • Free Will and the Cross-Level Consequence Argument.Jonathan Birch - 2020
    Christian List has recently constructed a novel formal framework for representing the relationship between free will and determinism. At its core is a distinction between physical and agential levels of description. List has argued that, since the consequence argument cannot be reconstructed within this framework, the consequence argument rests on a ‘category mistake’: an illicit conflation of the physical and agential levels. I show that an expanded version of List’s framework allows the construction of a cross-level consequence argument.
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  • What’s Wrong with the Consequence Argument: A Compatibilist Libertarian Response.Christian List - 2019 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 119 (3):253-274.
    The most prominent argument for the incompatibility of free will and determinism is Peter van Inwagen’s consequence argument. I offer a new diagnosis of what is wrong with this argument. Proponents and critics typically accept the way the argument is framed, and only disagree on whether the premisses and rules of inference are true. I suggest that the argument involves a category mistake: it conflates two different levels of description, namely, the physical level at which we describe the world from (...)
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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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