What is Free Will? Does Determinism threaten our Free Will? How should we respond to the arguments of the Fatalist? In this course we will look at various attacks on the idea that we have free will. Some of these attacks are based on the thesis of Determinism: the thesis that the future is fixed uniquely by the past and laws of nature. This appears to undermine the idea that we freely choose our actions. We will critically examine this thesis as well as the two most prominent strategies of response: that of Compatibilism and Libertarianism. Other attacks on free will are based on the thesis of Fatalism: the thesis that future contingent truths or future facts constrain or undermine our freedom. This line of attack has a long and distinguished history, stretching back to Aristotle's sea-battle argument. We will look at various facets of this famous debate and consider how it applies to contemporary disputes.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:Upon completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Analyse the central ideas of free will and determinism;
- Critically evaluate the argument that free will and determinism are incompatible;
- Examine the range of different fatalist arguments against free will and contrast them with arguments based on determinism; and,
- Think about what they have learnt as it relates to the themes of the course.
Indicative Assessment2 x 2000 word essays (45% each) Learning Outcomes 1-4
Tutorial participation (10%) Learning Outcomes 1-4
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Workload130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 35 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures, and 11 hours of tutorials; and,
b) 95 hours of independent student research, reading and writing
Requisite and Incompatibility
Prescribed TextsReadings will be placed on WATTLE.
Preliminary ReadingB Garrett What is this thing called Metaphysics? (Routledge 2017 3rd ed), esp Chs 7, 8 & 9
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- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 6 units
If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees. Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.
Offerings and Dates
|Class number||Class start date||Last day to enrol||Census date||Class end date||Mode Of Delivery||Class Summary|
|8526||27 Jul 2020||03 Aug 2020||31 Aug 2020||30 Oct 2020||In Person||N/A|