A number of scientists have claimed that discoveries in the sciences (neuroscience, biology, psychology, etc.) show that people do not have free will. This talk argues that there are general and principled reasons to doubt such claims, and that we should be skeptical about any easy path from scientific findings to the rejection of free will. The reason is that many statuses and categories that are of interest to us—including concepts like freedom and responsibility—are of a sort that insulates them from being readily overturned by science, even when scientific results put pressure on ordinary understandings of these categories. Acknowledging the complicated relationship between science and these “socially insulated” categories does not show that scientific findings are irrelevant to our understanding of free will and responsibility. More plausibly, what it shows is that philosophy and the sciences (perhaps especially neuroscience) will have to work in tandem.
Contact Sue McKinney for Zoom link
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