Philosophical Studies

, Volume 166, Issue 3, pp 475–493

Against libertarianism


DOI: 10.1007/s11098-012-0042-1

Cite this article as:
Finch, A. Philos Stud (2013) 166: 475. doi:10.1007/s11098-012-0042-1


The so-called Mind argument aims at the conclusion that agents act freely only if determinism is true. The soundness of this argument entails the falsity of libertarianism, the two-part thesis that agents act freely, and free action and determinism are incompatible. In this paper, I offer a new formulation of the Mind argument. I argue that it is true by definition that if an agent acts freely, either (i) nothing nomologically grounds an agent’s acting freely, or (ii) the consequence argument for incompatibilism is unsound. I define the notion of nomological grounding, and argue that unless an agent’s acting freely is nomologically grounded, unacceptable consequences follow. I then argue that if agents act freely and the consequence argument is sound, a vicious regress ensues. I conclude by considering the libertarian’s dialectical options.


Free willLibertarianismIncompatibilismMind argumentConsequence argumentGrounding

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyNorthern Illinois UniversityDekalbUSA