Chimera of Naturalism and Free Will

23 March, 2023

Kuznetsov A.
Epistemology & Philosophy of Science 2023, vol. 60, no. 1, pp. 221–240.

This article is devoted to the analysis of arguments from empirical science against free will. Its main purpose is to reveal their deep anti-naturalism. This anti-naturalism lies in the use of a concept of free will that cannot be the subject of naturalistic consideration, as well as in the various explanatory and ontological paradoxes that arguments from empirical science lead in case when someone is trying to generalize the explanatory principles underlying them. At the beginning of the article, the author gives a general notion of the free will problem, a working definition of naturalism and the place of arguments from empirical science in discussions about free will. To achieve the main goal of the article, the author suggests a classification of arguments from empirical science, which includes five types: from prediction, from manipulation, from the brain, from illusion, from the substitution of concepts. In accordance with this classification, the structure of the article is defined, where each of the presented types is sequentially considered. The logic of considering each type of argument is approximately the same: explication of the essence of the argument of a particular type, its analysis, identification of basic principles and their generalization, demonstration of the negative consequences that it leads to, and answers to possible objections. In the course of the consideration, the author formulates an ontologically neutral concept of free will as a set of abilities associated with the agent’s control over his actions. At the end of the article, the main points is summed up, the idea of naturalistic compatibilism is proposed, the role of arguments from empirical science in discussions about free will is clarified, as is the problem of free will itself, the question of the sources of “chimerization” of naturalism is briefly highlighted, and the problem of completeness of the proposed reasoning is touched upon.