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Durham e-Theses
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Free will and luck

Harrison, Gerald Kingsley (2005) Free will and luck. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



The problem of free will is a problem about control and luck. If causal determinism is true, then everything we do is ultimately a matter of luck, as it is if causal determinism is false. Either way we seem to lack free will of the kind needed for moral responsibility. In this thesis a case is built for a certain type of modest incompatibilist view on free will. It is argued that it makes no difference in terms of control whether determinism or indeterminism obtains. What matters is that we have a certain kind of ownership over what we do. Causal determinism rules this out, but indeterminism does not. This has the upshot that not only does free will turn out to be compatible with luck, exposure to a certain kind of luck is actually required, for unless we are exposed to this kind of luck our actions will not be truly ours. By providing luck with a positive role this thesis invites a re-evaluation of the reasons causal determinism destroys free will, and a re-evaluation of our attitudes towards luck. In short this thesis challenges the anti-luckism that lies behind the problem of free will.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:2005
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:09 Sep 2011 09:53

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