Free Will and External Reality: Two Scepticisms Compared

Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 120 (1):1-20 (2020)
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Abstract

This paper considers the analogies and disanalogies between a certain sort of argument designed to oppose scepticism about free will and a certain sort of argument designed to oppose scepticism about the external world. In the case of free will, I offer the ancient Lazy Argument and an argument of my own, which I call the Agency Argument, as examples of the relevant genre; and in the case of the external world, I consider Moore’s alleged proof of an external world. I draw attention to analogies and disanalogies between the arguments offered in each case in order to suggest that although the Agency Argument shares with its Moorean relative the unfortunate property of being dialectically ineffective against some of those it is mainly hoping to convince, it will not be dialectically ineffective against all of them. It is also argued that the Agency Argument is less vulnerable than Moore’s proof to worries about its justificatory structure.

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Helen Steward
University of Leeds

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