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Laws, Mind, and Free Will$
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Steven Horst

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262015257

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262015257.001.0001

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Freedom, Determinism, and Two Accounts of Laws

Freedom, Determinism, and Two Accounts of Laws

(p.107) 8 Freedom, Determinism, and Two Accounts of Laws
Laws, Mind, and Free Will

Steven Horst

The MIT Press

This chapter argues that the Empiricist account provides a direct link between laws and determinism, and that the causal account does not. The popularity of the Empiricist account of laws in the twentieth century may explain the prevalence of the assumption that a law-governed world must also be deterministic. However, the argument from Empiricist laws to determinism is no better than its premises, and it has already been seen that there are compelling objections to the Empiricist account of laws. These objections also weaken any support that account might give to determinism. To the extent that we ought to favor a causal account of laws, whether those posed by Cartwright and Hacking or the one developed in the Cognitive Pluralist formulation, a commitment to such laws is perfectly compatible with a commitment to free will.

Keywords:   laws, determinism, Empiricist account, causal account, law-governed world, Cartwright, Hacking, Cognitive Pluralist formulation, free will

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