How Not to Argue for Incompatibilism
- Cite this article as:
- Kremer, M. Erkenntnis (2004) 60: 1. doi:10.1023/B:ERKE.0000005087.33155.fc
Ted A. Warfield has recently employed modal logic to argue that compatibilism in the free-will/determinism debate entails the rejection of intuitively valid inferences. I show that Warfield's argument fails. A parallel argument leads to the false conclusion that the mere possibility of determinism, together with the necessary existence of any contingent propositions, entails the rejection of intuitively valid inferences. The error in both arguments involves a crucial equivocation, which can be revealed by replacing modal operators with explicit quantifiers over possible worlds. I conclude that the modal-logical apparatus used by Warfield obscures rather than clarifies, and distracts from the real philosophical issues involved in the metaphysical debate. These issues cannot be settled by logic alone.