July 3, 2020

The Council

A modern day council!

Is “Freewill” the Issue?

A good statement I say in regards to the free will debate was by Peter Van Inwagen. I saw in over on T-blog and I’ll quote it here because I liked it:

The most salient change I would make, although perhaps not the philosophically most important one, is that I would not now use the phrase ‘free will’. In fact, I would not use even the adjective ‘free’—I would not speak of free actions, free agents, or free choices. Nor would I use the adverb ‘freely’ and the noun ‘freedom’. In my view, these words have little meaning beyond that which the philosopher who uses them explicitly gives them, and yet philosophers persist in arguing about what they do or should mean. They enter into disputes about what “free will” and “free choices” and “acting freely” and “freedom” really are. These philosophers have fallen prey to what I may call verbal essentialism. That is to say, it is essential to their discussions that they involve certain words: ‘free’, ‘freely’, ‘freedom’. … It would be impossible to translate their discussions into language that did not involve those words. Peter van Inwagen, The Harvard Review of Philosophy (2015), 22:16-17.




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