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Nature's Challenge to Free Will$
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Bernard Berofsky

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199640010

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199640010.001.0001

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Causal Compatibilism

Causal Compatibilism

(p.93) 6 Causal Compatibilism
Nature's Challenge to Free Will

Bernard Berofsky

Oxford University Press

For a compatibilist, a free agent is one whose decision or behavior is subsumable under appropriate psychological laws. These laws have the same lawmaking properties as laws in the natural sciences. Robust nomological compatibilism, the claim that freedom is not undermined by the discovery of physical determinism, rests on causal compatibilism, the view that psychological laws are not precluded by physical laws accounting for the underlying physical processes. Defenses of causal compatibilism by the Macdonalds, Peter Menzies, Terence Horgan, and Stephen Yablo are all found to be inadequate. A much strengthened version of the generalization argument for causal compatibilism is advanced and Jaegwon Kim’s objections are rejected. A defense of psychological laws is mounted through responses to the objections of John McDowell, John Earman and John Roberts, Philip Pettit, and Ruth Millikan. The theory of Bounded Rationality is advanced as a possible source of psychological laws.

Keywords:   psychological laws, nomological compatibilism, causal compatibilism, bounded rationality, Macdonalds, Menzies, Horgan, Yablo, Kim, McDowell

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