Talks by Alfred R. Mele

The CEU Department of Philosophy and the Institute of Philosophy, RCH HAS cordially invites you to the following talks of

Alfred R. Mele
(Florida State University)

Free Will, Moral Responsibility, and Agents’ Histories

Date: 26 March, 17:30-19:00
Venue: Central European University, Nádor str. 15, Room 103.

Abstract: A common idea in the literature on free will and moral responsibility is that all that is needed for free action and for moral responsibility for an action is present in an agent’s internal condition at the time of action. Here, an agent’s internal condition at a time may be understood as something specified by the collection of all psychological truths about the agent at the time that are silent on how he came to be as he is at that time. I will argue that this idea should be rejected and, moreover, that it should be rejected both by compatibilists about free will and moral responsibility and by incompatibilist believers in free will and moral responsibility. Topics addressed include the bearing of various cases of manipulation on the assessment of the common idea at issue and how incompatibilist believers in free will and moral responsibility may plausibly deal with the problem of present luck.

Free Will and Neuroscience: Old and New

Date: 27 March, 16:00-17:30
Venue: Institute of Philosophy, Research Centre for the Humanities of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Tóth Kálmán str. 4, Floor 7, Trapéz Room (B.7.16)

Abstract: A major source of scientific skepticism about free will is the belief that conscious decisions and intentions never play a role in producing corresponding actions. I present three serious problems encountered by any attempt to justify this belief by appealing to existing neuroscientific data. Experiments using three different kinds of technology are discussed: EEG, fMRI, and depth electrodes. I focus on three questions: When are decisions made (or intentions acquired) in the experiments at issue? When, in these experiments, is the point of no return reached for the featured overt actions? And can we properly generalize from the experimenters’ alleged findings to all decisions?

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