The Zygote Argument Is Still Invalid: So What?

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In “The Zygote Argument is Invalid: Now What?”, Kristin Mickelson argues that Alfred Mele’s original Zygote Argument is invalid: its two premises tell us merely that the truth of determinism is (perhaps spuriously) correlated with the absence of free human agents, but the argument nonetheless concludes with a controversial explanation for that correlation, namely that deterministic laws (of the sort described by determinism) preclude—rule out, destroy, undermine, make impossible, rob us of—free will. Put another way, the original Zygote Argument commits the cum hoc, ergo propter hoc (with this, therefore because of/on account of this) fallacy. In a recent essay, Gabriel De Marco suggests that there is no reason to "fuss" over the difference between the correlation claim entailed by the two premises of the original Zygote Argument and its explanatory conclusion. However, he grants that the original Zygote Argument is fallacious for the reasons that Mickelson has identified. and develops two new solutions to her invalidity objection. In this essay, I argue that both of his proposed solutions are nonstarters. The first fails because De Marco merely restates, in his preferred jargon, a solution that had already been proposed by Mickelson and adopted by Mele; the second fails because it consists in an invalid variant of the original Zygote Argument.
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First archival date: 2018-08-03
Latest version: 7 (2020-07-29)
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