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Free Will, Luck, and Indoctrination

Title: Free Will, Luck, and Indoctrination.
Name(s): Perez de Calleja, Mirja, author
Mele, Alfred R., 1951-, professor directing dissertation
Kaschak, Michael P., university representative
Clarke, Randolph K., committee member
Kearns, Stephen, 1979-, committee member
Schwenkler, John Louis, committee member
Florida State University, degree granting institution
College of Arts and Sciences, degree granting college
Department of Philosophy, degree granting department
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Doctoral Thesis
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2018
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource (106 pages)
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: This dissertation consists of three independent papers about free will: two on the problem of present luck, and one on autonomy and indoctrination. Chapters 2 and 3 (on the luck problem) concern freedom of choice, and Chapter 4 (on indoctrination) concerns self-government of theoretical and practical reasoning. The arguments in Chapters 2 and 3 are independent from the main argument of Chapter 4. The problem of present luck is often considered to be a good reason to reject libertarianism about free will, namely the view that incompatibilism is true and that some people have free will. (Incompatibilism says that free will and determinism are incompatible, and compatibilism denies this. Determinism is the thesis that, at any point in time, the past and the laws of nature are compatible with exactly one future.) Libertarians typically claim that a decision is free only if what the agent will choose remains undetermined right until the moment of choice, in such a way that the past and the laws of nature are compatible with her choosing otherwise then. The problem is that, if this condition is met, then nothing about the agent makes it the case that she chooses as she does instead of otherwise, and the choice is subject to present luck, namely luck about choosing as one does at a particular moment instead of choosing something else that one might also have chosen then. Thus, the undetermined choices that meet libertarian sufficient conditions for freedom are actually beyond our control (a matter of luck), and hence not free. Chapter 2 argues that determinism is compatible with present luck, and hence present luck is not brought about by any indeterminism condition that only libertarians endorse. Thus, compatibilists must also face the problem that decisions that meet what would otherwise seem to be sufficient conditions on freedom can be subject to present luck. Chapter 3 develops and clarifies the main argument in Chapter 2, and responds to Alfred Mele’s (2015) and Ishtiyaque Haji’s (2016) objections to that argument. I grant Mele’s (2015) point that present luck raises a more serious threat to libertarianism than it does to compatibilism, because only libertarianism postulates a necessary condition on freedom of choice that implies present luck. But, I argue, any account – compatibilist or libertarian – that claims that a decision can be free even if the agent might have chosen otherwise at that time and in that state of mind is committed to the freedom of choices that are subject to present luck. And both compatibilists and libertarians can have plausible reasons to claim that freedom of choice is compatible with the capacity to have chosen otherwise in the same state of mind. Finally, I discuss my disagreements with Neil Levy and others regarding determinism’s implications for the final difference-makers of choices, and I argue that Ishtiyaque Haji’s (2016) objection to my (2014) argument that present luck is a problem for compatibilists does not actually apply to my argument. Chapter 4 focuses on a certain kind of online indoctrination that some terrorist groups use to recruit militants. Relying on recent empirical studies of this kind of indoctrination, I argue that, at the first stages of conversion, many subjects meet all of the conditions that have been postulated by existing accounts of autonomy (including conditions concerning critical scrutiny), despite the fact that their theoretical and practical thinking is clearly not autonomous. Therefore, we must add a new condition, concerning specifically emotions, on self-governed theoretical and practical reasoning, and on the autonomous reflective endorsement of views, values, desires, practical commitments, and goals.
Identifier: 2018_Sp_PerezdeCalleja_fsu_0071E_14526 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Philosophy in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Degree Awarded: Spring Semester 2018.
Date of Defense: April 18, 2018.
Keywords: autonomy, determinism, free will, indoctrination, luck, present luck
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Alfred Mele, Professor Directing Dissertation; Michael Kaschak, University Representative; Randolph Clarke, Committee Member; Stephen Kearns, Committee Member; John Schwenkler, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Philosophy
Persistent Link to This Record:
Host Institution: FSU

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Perez de Calleja, M. (2018). Free Will, Luck, and Indoctrination. Retrieved from