Seminar: The Free Will Problem

Do we ever act with freedom of the will? To address this question, philosophers typically start by analyzing the concept of free will. Some conclude that a choice that is caused by antecedent states or is causally determined could not be an instance of free will. This approach can lead to skepticism about whether free will actually exists. Others start with the assumption that free will must exist because it is the trait that explains and justifies our practice of holding people responsible for what they do. This approach leaves open what free will might turn out to be. We will study variations on these two strategies in the work of historical and contemporary philosophers. We will also consider what feminist philosophers say about socio-political contexts that may impede or obstruct the exercise of free will.

Units: 1

Max Enrollment: 16

Prerequisites: At least one course in philosophy or permission of the instructor.

Instructor: Walsh

Distribution Requirements: EC - Epistemology and Cognition

Semesters Offered this Academic Year: Not Offered