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Degrees of freedom

Thyssen, Pieter and Wenmackers, Sylvia (2020) Degrees of freedom. Synthese. ISSN 1573-0964

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Abstract

Human freedom is in tension with nomological determinism and with statistical determinism. The goal of this paper is to answer both challenges. Four contributions are made to the free-will debate. First, we propose a classification of scientific theories based on how much freedom they allow. We take into account that indeterminism comes in different degrees and that both the laws and the auxiliary conditions can place constraints. A scientific worldview pulls towards one end of this classification, while libertarianism pulls towards the other end of the spectrum. Second, inspired by Hoefer, we argue that an interval of auxiliary conditions corresponds to a region in phase space, and to a bundle of possible block universes. We thus make room for a form of non-nomological indeterminism. Third, we combine crucial elements from the works of Hoefer and List; we attempt to give a libertarian reading of this combination. On our proposal, throughout spacetime, there is a certain amount of freedom (equivalent to setting the initial, intermediate, or final conditions) that can be interpreted as the result of agential choices. Fourth, we focus on the principle of alternative possibilities throughout and propose three ways of strengthening it.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Thyssen, Pieterpieterthyssen@gmail.com0000-0003-3080-6374
Wenmackers, Sylviasylvia.wenmackers@kuleuven.be0000-0002-1041-3533
Keywords: free will libertarianism physical theory auxiliary conditions principle of alternative possibilities nomological determinism statistical determinism indeterminism block universe phase space
Subjects: General Issues > Determinism/Indeterminism
General Issues > Laws of Nature
Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
General Issues > Structure of Theories
Depositing User: Dr. Pieter Thyssen
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2020 07:05
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2020 07:05
Item ID: 17304
Journal or Publication Title: Synthese
Publisher: Springer (Springer Science+Business Media B.V.)
Official URL: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11229-02...
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-020-02714-z
Subjects: General Issues > Determinism/Indeterminism
General Issues > Laws of Nature
Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
General Issues > Structure of Theories
Date: 9 June 2020
ISSN: 1573-0964
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/17304

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