Reasons, Causes, and Chance-Incompatibilism

Philosophia 45 (1):335–347 (2017)
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Libertarianism appears to be incoherent, because free will appears to be incompatible with indeterminism. In support of this claim, van Inwagen offered an argument that is now known as the “rollback argument”. In a recent reply, Lara Buchak has argued that the underlying thought experiment fails to support the first of two key premises. On her view, this points to an unexplored alternative in the free will debate, which she calls “chance-incompatibilism”. I will argue that the rollback thought experiment does support the second key premise of the argument, and, more importantly, that libertarianism is committed to the first premise for independent reasons concerning the relationship between the normative and causal strength of the agent’s reasons. The upshot will be that chance-incompatibilism is not a promising new alternative in the free will debate, and we will see that the debate around those issues can benefit from more attention to the role of the agent’s reasons for action.
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