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Publication Date


Document Type

Honors Project




Free will and determinism, Fate and fatalism, Quantum theory, Naturalism-Methodology, Free will, Compatibilism, Incompatibilism, Determinism, Fatalism, Eternalism, Methodological naturalism


This thesis addresses metaphysical free will in response to the Existential Question by taking a methodologically naturalist approach. First analyzing the a priori debate as framed by the distinction between compatibilism versus incompatibilism and briefly outlining my methodology, I present two arguments against metaphysical free will. The first takes realism about the future, founded on contemporary scientific theories of time, to reconceptualize van Inwagen's Consequence Argument as fatalistic. The second argument considers interpretations of quantum mechanics to resolve that we can dismiss quantum indeterminacy as a method for incompatibilist freedom, concluding that we can therefore apply answers to the Determinism Question to the actual world. I finally consider implications of my analysis to ethics and neuroscientific research.




153 pages. Honors project, Smith College, 2016. Includes bibliographical references (pages 147-153)