Chapter

Dialogues and Intuitions

J. R. Lucas

in The Freedom of the Will

Published in print September 1970 | ISBN: 9780198243434
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680687 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198243434.003.0027
Dialogues and Intuitions

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The Gödelian argument is easily misunderstood: partly because it is dialectical in structure, partly because it depends at two points on men being reasonable in an intuitive but unformalisable way. The argument is not a direct proof of the universal negative proposition ‘No human being can be completely described in purely physical terms’, but a schema of refutation which an intelligent man can adapt to refute any particular claim that a particular human being is completely described by a given, purely physical, description. Because the argument is dialectical — between two parties, perhaps different people, perhaps just me and my alter ego — it will work where no straightforward monologue of proof-sequences will apply, and it will draw finer distinctions than any monologous argument can: but equally, it will depend on the two parties ‘playing the game’ and will lack the coercive force of traditional, monologous, deductive logic.

Keywords: Gödelian argument; physical determinism; dialogue; intuition

Chapter.  3000 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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