Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy


Hume on Free Will

Issue: • Author/s: Lorenzo Greco
Topics: Epistemology, Ethics, Metaphysics, Moral Philosophy, Philosophy of action, Theoretical philosophy

In this essay, I discuss David Hume’s reasoning on free will as he presents it in A Treatise of Human Nature and An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding. I proceed by showing how Hume’s compatibilist solution acquires meaning in the light of his sentimentally based science of human nature, which conceives human beings as reasonable, social, and active creatures. Within Hume’s empiricist, naturalistic, and sceptical approach, we deal only with perceptions and never with things themselves, and human experience is structured in a causal order which allows us to organise both…

Locke on Free Will and Epistemic Responsibility

Issue: • Author/s: Samuel C. Rickless
Topics: Epistemology, Ethics, Metaethics, Moral Philosophy, Philosophy of action, Theoretical philosophy

This article summarizes John Locke’s considered views on freedom, explaining that freedom is a power of the mind to act in accordance with its volitions, that freedom is a power that can belong only to substances, that we have the freedom to will in many cases, including the power to hold our wills undetermined and thereby suspend the prosecution of our desires.  This is a seemingly reasonable account of how our minds work, and should work, when we make (important) decisions.  But Locke takes us to be morally responsible and…

Spinoza on Freedom, Feeling Free, and Acting for the Good

Issue: • Author/s: Leonardo Moauro
Topics: Epistemology, Moral Philosophy, Philosophy of action, Theoretical philosophy

In the Ethics, Spinoza famously rejects freedom of the will. He also offers an error theory for why many believe, falsely, that the will is free. Standard accounts of his arguments for these claims focus on their efficacy against incompatibilist views of free will. For Spinoza, the will cannot be free since it is determined by an infinite chain of external causes. And the pervasive belief in free will arises from a structural limitation of our self-knowledge: because we are aware of our actions but unaware of their causes, we…