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Making a DifferenceEssays on the Philosophy of Causation$
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Helen Beebee, Christopher Hitchcock, and Huw Price

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198746911

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198746911.001.0001

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The Consequence Argument Disarmed

The Consequence Argument Disarmed

An Interventionist Perspective

(p.307) 16 The Consequence Argument Disarmed
Making a Difference

Peter Menzies

Oxford University Press

This chapter scrutinizes the Consequence Argument for the incompatibility of free will and determinism within an interventionist causal-modelling framework. Traditional discussions of the argument presuppose that causal reasoning concerns the temporal evolution of total states of the universe. By contrast, interventionism focuses on how local, small-scale systems evolve according to causal generalizations that fall short of being laws. It also assigns an important role to interventions: external influences on a system that disrupt the causal generalizations which apply to it. When the Consequence Argument is recast in interventionist terms, the argument can be seen to rely on a false premise. In particular, interventionism supports at most a qualified variant of determinism, which is insufficient for the Consequence Argument to go through. Finally, the chapter compares the present response to the argument with David Lewis’s local miracle compatibilism.

Keywords:   free will, consequence argument, compatibilism, causation, interventionism, laws, determinism, local miracle compatibilism

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