• Libertarian Free Will and the Principle of Alternate Possibilities

    So I am arguing in many different forums at the moment about free will, and in particular, about whether Libertarian Free Will (LFW) is compatible with the Kalam Cosmological Argument.

    i define LFW here as the ability to choose otherwise. That means I invoke the Principle of Alternate Possibilities. This means that given a particular situation (CC1), I could choose A or B, and if we rewound time to CC1, and given that everything would remain the same in CC1 (ceteris paribus), then the agent could somehow choose differently, invoking a freedom of the will.

    What is frustrating the bejesus out of me just now is that theists seem to advocate such a position, but be entirely unable to defend it coherently. They invoke the will or intention as being able to do the job of freely choosing but they cannot bypass this issue:

    Given a causal circumstance (CC1), an agent chooses A.

    Rewinding time back to CC1, the agent is able to choose not A.

    In effect, in CC1, the agent is able to choose A and not A.

    Or, in CC1, A and not A is true.

    Surely this breaks the law of non-contradiction.

    How, assigning truth values to counterfactuals is famously problematic. But this is a big issue nonetheless. Without the truth value problem, the LFWer has to provide reason why the agent would choose not A ceteris paribus. The situation is identical – what could possibly make the agent choose differently apart from random or something synonymous with it’?

    Category: Free Will and Determinism


    Article by: Jonathan MS Pearce