Marius Backmann (LSE): “Time for Freedom”
Views on free will are classically classified along their compatibility with determinism. Accounts that require a power to do otherwise require the existence of alternative future possibilities, which are taken to be incompatible with determinism. I argue that determinism does not automatically imply that the future is not settled, and neither does indeterminism automatically imply an open future, depending on other basic ontological assumptions about the nature of laws and temporal ontology. It is thus not determinism, but the question whether the future is open that should be the crucial issue in the free will debate. Given that one of the results of this discussion is that accounts of freedom that require the power to do otherwise are incompatible with temporal ontologies with a fixed future, I will at the end briefly outline an intermediary position between classical incompatibilist libertarianism and classical compatibilism, which is compatible with a fixed future.
Marius Backmann is an LSE Fellow in the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method.