Chapter

The Consequence Argument and Determinism

Bernard Berofsky

in Nature's Challenge to Free Will

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199640010
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738197 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199640010.003.0007
 						The Consequence Argument and Determinism

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Michael Huemer’s version of the incompatibilist consequence argument as applied to decisions is shown to require supplementation by a premise stating that decisions supervene on physical states. Further, the reference to laws in the first (determinism) premise, which states that the laws plus the past imply a certain physical state, is assumed to include superlaws and ceteris paribus laws. For fundamental physical laws are insufficient for the derivation. Historical and contemporary efforts to define determinism are presented. In the context, a metaphysical rather than an epistemological definition is required. Definitions in terms of laws are compared with definitions in terms of recurrence or periodicity. The impact of current physical theories on determinism is examined. Problems in the analysis of a state are presented. Although many unclarities remain, critique of the consequence argument will not depend on problems with the determinism premise.

Keywords: Huemer; consequence argument; supervenience; determinism; superlaws; ceteris paribus laws; periodicity

Chapter.  9734 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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