Many proponents of the metaphysical accounts of free will take the metaphysical intuitions about the concept of free will as given and then search for the metaphysical conditions that must obtain in order for this concept to apply to the agents in a world. The proponents of the psychological accounts usually start from the actual practices of ascribing freedom and moral responsibility to agents, and conclude that since these practices are an essential part of our psychological life, they cannot be abandoned regardless of what metaphysical conditions underly them. I will suggest an abductive approach to free will. According to this approach, the thesis that people have free will should be seen as an abductive hypothesis that gives the best explanation of most of the available data, including our psychological attitudes, our practices of ascribing freedom and moral responsibility, as well as the relevant data from the social and natural sciences. I will argue that our belief that free will is real is better justified than skeptical or incompatibilist conclusions drawn from the corresponding metaphysical intuitions about the necessary conditions for free will. And, unlike on psychological accounts, it is more than just a part of our psychological attitudes and practices: ‘free will’ is a theoretical concept that refers to a real phenomenon.
About the speaker
Maria Sekatskaya is a post-doctoral research fellow at the Heinrich Heine University Duesseldorf, DCLPS. She defended her Ph.D. dissertation and worked as a senior lecturer at the Saint Petersburg State University (Russia). Maria Sekatskaya was a visiting scholar at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland), University of California, Berkeley (USA), and the University of Mainz. Her main research interests are in philosophy of mind and metaphysics, with a special emphasis on the problems of free will and personal identity.