Arguments in Favour of Physical Determinism

J. R. Lucas

in The Freedom of the Will

Published in print September 1970 | ISBN: 9780198243434
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680687 | DOI:
Arguments in Favour of Physical Determinism

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Physical determinism is not a simple extrapolation from the success of science. It selects one pattern of scientific explanation in preference to others, not because the others have been found to be less successful in practice, but because the one is felt to be more explanatory in principle. There is a rational appeal about regularity explanation which makes us feel that it must be the paradigm of explanation, quite apart from any practical success it has had. Moreover, materialism has great metaphysical charm. We often feel that it must be true, not because it has been borne out by science but because it seems the only possible world view. Much of the pressure towards determinism is generated by a metaphysical materialism which we find compelling on its own account, quite apart from its determinist implications. In order to understand physical determinism we therefore need to appreciate the metaphysical pressures in favour of materialism.

Keywords: physical determinism; materialism; metaphysics

Chapter.  2781 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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