FREE WILL, SCIENCE AND CAUSES OF BEHAVIOR

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Transliteration of original Title: 
Svoboda voli, nauka i prichiny povedeniya
Author(s): 
Sergei M. Levin
National Research University Higher School of Economics (Saint Petersburg)
Issue number: 
No.2 (Vol.55)
Pages: 
153-164
Abstract: 

Some scientists and philosophers, based on scientific discoveries and empirical evidence, argue that free will does not exist. Some authors defend the opposite opinion. The universality of their reasoning unites opponents. They seek to correlate scientific knowledge with the entire sum of human actions and, consequently justify the existence of freedom of will or its absence. In the paper, I propose to narrow the focus of the issue to the study of the degree of freedom of individual actions or certain classes of actions. For this, I introduce the epistemic criterion, according to it, recognition of the action as not free requires knowledge of the causes of the action for which the agent is not responsible. I analyse two groups of cases: those where scientific knowledge reveals hidden causes of behavior and those where the causes remain unknown. Actions from the second group still constitute an essential part of our behavior. The amount of knowledge about the causes of actions will increase over time, but this knowledge will never be comprehensive.

Keywords: 
knowledge, free will, determinism, causation, compatibilism, science, moral responsibility
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DOI: 
10.5840/eps201855235
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