Free Will in an Indeterministic World?

Van Inwagen’s Discussion of the Mind-Argument and a ‘Scientistic’ Critique of Free Will Revisited
Part of the Münster Lectures in Philosophy book series (MUELP, volume 4)


In his An Essay on Free Will Peter van Inwagen pursues two main strategies in order to argue for the conceivability of free will in an indeterministic world: discussing the Mind-argument and rejecting a so called ‘scientistic’ critique of free will. By analyzing the decision-making process, we pointedly formulate the problems which are fundamental to both of these strategies against the existence of free will, clarify how they are related, and try to identify the requirements of possible solutions to these problems. We conclude that in either case a person must be credited with a certain kind of causal ability if her act is supposed to be free. This type of causality is problematic for various reasons as it differs from our usual notions of causality and as it seems to be incompatible with our current physical theories. Although we agree in many ways with van Inwagen’s arguments, we are less skeptical about possible answers to the Mind-argument. But when we look at the free will debate from a rather physical point of view, the problems are, in our opinion, more severe than van Inwagen might be willing to admit.


Decision-making Free will Indeterminism Libertarianism Mental causation Mind-argument Physicalism Scientism van Inwagen 


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty for Catholic TheologyRuhr UniversityBochumGermany

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