Volume 15, 2008
Scientific Essentialism, Could’ve Done Otherwise, and the Possibility of Freedom
Philosophers concerned with the problem of freedom and determinism differ strikingly over the analysis of the concept of human freedom of the will. Compatibilists and incompatibilists, determinists and indeterminists populate the conceptual landscape with a dizzying array of theories differing in complex and subtle ways. Each of these analyses faces an under-appreciated potential challenge: the challenge from scientific essentialism. Might all traditional analyses of freedom of the will be radically ill-conceived because the concept—the nature of freedom itself—is something discoverable only by empirical science? I explore this vexing question.