Free choice

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 67 (1):12-24 (1989)
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Abstract

There are two inspirations for the theory presented. One is the Kantian idea that a free choice affects a deterministic sequence of events globally rather than just locally. The second is the Leibnizian idea that God chooses for actuality the possible world he deems best. But instead of God choosing, suppose free agents collectively do. Let actuality be an office which deterministic possible worlds are voted in and not of. In this way free choice can change things even if every event is fully governed by deterministic laws: free choice substitutes one deterministic world for another. One way to look at the actual world on this theory is as a patchwork of segments of possible worlds. This gives the theory two advantages over familiar compatibilisms: it explains how the future is unsettled until chosen, and it allows that free choices are spontaneous.

Author's Profile

Donald L. M. Baxter
University of Connecticut

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