A Pragmatic Approach to Libertarian Free Will argues that the kind of free will required for moral responsibility and just desert is libertarian free will. It is a source of great controversy whether such a libertarian view is coherent and whether we should believe that we have such free will. This book explains and defends Robert Kane’s conception of libertarian free will while departing from it in certain key respects. It is argued that a suitably modified Kanean model of free will can be shown to be conceptually coherent. In addition, it is argued that while we lack sufficient epistemic grounds supporting belief in the existence of libertarian free will, we may still be justified in believing in it for moral reasons. As such, the book engages critically with the works of a growing number of philosophers who argue that we should jettison belief in the existence of desert-grounding free will and the practices of praise and blame and reward and punishment which it supports.
Table of Contents
2. Kane’s Libertarian Theory
3. Libertarianism, Luck, and Manipulation Arguments
4. Kanean Libertarianism Examined
5. A Consideration of Alternative Event-causal Libertarian Models of Basic Free Actions
6. Moral Responsibility Denial and the Problem of Punishment
7. Libertarian Free Will and Moral Obligation
8. Hardheartedness and Libertarianism
John Lemos is the Joseph McCabe Professor of Philosophy at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He is the author of Commonsense Darwinism: Evolution, Morality, and the Human Condition (2008) and Freedom, Responsibility, and Determinism: A Philosophical Dialogue (2013). He has also published over 30 articles in various philosophical journals, such as The American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, Dialectica, Law and Philosophy, Metaphilosophy, Philosophia, and The Southern Journal of Philosophy.
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"In A Pragmatic Approach to Libertarian Free Will, John Lemos offers a resourceful and rigorous defense of Robert Kane’s libertarian theory of free will while revising and strengthening the model at key points. The resulting libertarian theory remains true to the spirit and concerns of Kane, but revises and develops the model in ways that deal with the strongest criticisms and greatest vulnerabilities of Kane’s view. The result is a vigorous and inventive libertarian theory of free will that avoids any taint of mystery or miracles and fits solidly within the scientific naturalist framework. Any future criticism of libertarian free will that fails to engage seriously with the Kane-Lemos model will be guilty of the strawman fallacy." – Bruce N. Waller, Youngstown State University, USA