, Volume 169, Issue 1, pp 39-50
Date: 15 Mar 2012

The metaphysical importance of the compatibility question: comments on Mark Balaguer’s Free Will as an Open Scientific Problem

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Mark Balaguer’s Free Will as an Open Scientific Problem is a fascinating, imaginative and highly controversial book. It is also extremely well written. Balaguer’s style is clear and lucid, trading plain language for technical expression wherever possible, while at the same time never compromising on philosophical sophistication. His central contention is that the free will problem, construed as a metaphysical issue, reduces just to an empirical question about the actual etiology of exercises of human agency. But, Balaguer argues, at the present time the science is not sufficiently sophisticated to shed any light on the pertinent question, and so there is no reason even to assign any degree of credence one way or the other as to whether human persons have a particular sort of freedom. The question at issue simply has to do with whether or not a certain kind of indeterminism obtains. To explain: Consider those cases in which an agent’s deliberative resources have been exhausted and she f ...

Prepared for a 2011 APA Pacific Division Author-Meets-Critics Session.