[SydPhil] Seminar at Macquarie University, Friday 2nd of November, with Katrina Hutchison

Paul Formosa pc.formosa at gmail.com
Fri Oct 26 14:25:05 AEDT 2012

The Department of Philosophy at Macquarie University is hosting a 
research seminar next Friday, the 2nd^of November, from 1:30-3:30pm, in 
Bld. W6A, room 127. The presenter will be Dr Katrina Hutchison from 
Macquarie University. The title and abstract are below and everyone is 
welcome to attend.

Title: Giving compatibilists more to say

P. F. Strawson described his well known essay "Freedom and Resentment" 
as an attempt to give compatibilists something more to say -- something 
that might convert libertarians about free will to a different view. 
  However, current 'Strawsonians' such as R. Jay Wallace do not seem 
interested in giving the compatibilist more to say, and indeed have 
conceded that libertarians might be correct about free will after all. 
  Rather than engaging with the debate about free will and determinism, 
Wallace applies Strawson's account of our morally reactive attitudes to 
a narrower set of questions, taking a Strawsonian approach to moral 
responsibility while explicitly keeping a distance from questions about 
free will and determinism.

In this paper I sketch out a different kind of Strawson-inspired 
compatibilism.  I develop the arguments in "Freedom and Resentment" in 
light of Strawson's later work, particularly from his Woodbridge 
Lectures, published as/Skepticism and Naturalism: Some Varieties/. 
  Central to this approach is a rejection of the assumption by 
libertarians and free will sceptics, as well as some compatibilists, 
that there is some absolute point of view (provided, for example, by 
science or God) from which a relevant and objective ruling on whether or 
not we have free will could in principle be made.  Rather, there is no 
such [relevant] absolute perspective on human free will.  I give some 
text-based support for thinking that this is a good interpretation of 
the argument in "Freedom and Resentment".  More importantly, I argue 
that a compatibilist argument along these lines does not amount to a 
mere rationalisation of existing beliefs or practices, but rather that 
it can provide a compelling argument for compatibilism.

Dr Paul Formosa
ARC DECRA Research Fellow
Department of Philosophy
Macquarie University, NSW 2109, Australia
E:Paul.Formosa at mq.edu.au <mailto:Paul.Formosa at mq.edu.au>

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