The Externality of Explanations and The Problem of an Infinite Regress

Christopher Yeomans

in Freedom and Reflection

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199794522
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919253 | DOI:
The Externality of Explanations and The Problem of an Infinite Regress

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This chapter presents a form of doubt or scepticism about free will that derives from basic commitments to the form of explanation that the principle of sufficient reason requires us to hold as valid for worldly phenomena. The chapter argues that there is a coherent form to this scepticism that is independent of specifically modal or causal interpretations of explicability, and that the only way to respond to such scepticism is to get clear about what the explanatory relation involves. This form of doubt about the reality of free will is traced through Hegel's own modern predecessors and contemporaries, and also into the current philosophy of action, particular in the form of arguments that attempt to show that self-determination inevitably involves an infinite regress.

Keywords: Hegel; free will; Galen Strawson; principle of sufficient reason; explanation

Chapter.  2898 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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