Du Châtelet’s Libertarianism

History of Philosophy Quarterly 38 (3):219-241 (2022)
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There is a growing consensus that Emilie Du Châtelet’s challenging essay “On Freedom” defends compatibilism. I offer an alternative, libertarian reading of the essay. I lay out the prima facie textual evidence for such a reading. I also explain how apparently compatibilist remarks in “On Freedom” can be read as aspects of a sophisticated type of libertarianism that rejects blind or arbitrary choice. To this end, I consider the historical context of Du Châtelet’s essay, and especially the dialectic between various strands of eighteenth-century libertarianism and compatibilism.

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Aaron Wells
Paderborn University


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