(In)compatibilism

In Joe Campbell, Kristin M. Mickelson & V. Alan White (eds.), Wiley-Blackwell: A Companion to Free Will. Wiley. pp. 58-83 (2023)
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Abstract

The terms ‘compatibilism’ and ‘incompatibilism’ were introduced in the mid-20th century to name conflicting views about the logical relationship between the thesis of determinism and the thesis that someone has free will. These technical terms were originally introduced within a specific research paradigm, the classical analytic paradigm. This paradigm is now in its final stages of degeneration and few free-will theorists still work within it (i.e. using its methods, granting its substantive background assumptions, etc.). This chapter discusses how the ambiguity of the terms ‘incompatibilism’ and ‘compatibilism’ took root and why it matters to the contempory debate. I explain why the ambiguity of these anachronistic terms, though relatively innocuous when they were first introduced, is now encouraging theorists to tolerate and perpetuate serious philosophical errors (e.g. to conflate relations as different in kind and importance as correlation and causation, to knowingly promote invalid arguments, and to equivoate on jargon in ways that keep the free-will debate mired in psuedo-stalemates). I also suggest a new paradigm for anyone looking for relief from the confusion and deadlock created by the use of inadequate classical narratives and jargon. A selection from the publication is available to download here. For full version, please gmail me, username: kristin.mickelson.42

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Kristin M. Mickelson
University of Colorado, Boulder (PhD)

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