“Choice and Error”

Freedom Center Colloquium Series

On November 20th, Shaun Nichols will be giving a talk entitled, “Choice and Error,” as part of the Freedom Center Colloquium Series. Shaun is a Professor of Philosophy here at the University of Arizona. Here is an abstract for the talk:

Like other eliminativist arguments in philosophy, arguments that free will doesn’t exist seem to depend on substantive assumptions about reference (Stich 1996). According to free will eliminativists, people have deeply mistaken beliefs about free will and this entails that free will doesn’t exist (e.g. Pereboom; Strawson). However, an alternative reaction is that free will does exist, we just have some deeply mistaken beliefs about it (e.g. Jackson, Vargas). This paper adopts the view that reference is context sensitive. In some contexts, it is appropriate to take a restrictive view about whether a term embedded in a false theory refers; in other contexts, it’s appropriate to take a permissive view about whether a token of the very same term embedded in the same false theory refers (Nichols, Pinillos, Mallon forthcoming). This affords the possibility of saying that the sentence “free will exists” is false in some contexts and true in others. This in turn affords a flexibility in whether we embrace the eliminativist claim.

Please join us in the Kendrick Room at the Freedom Center for Shaun’s talk!