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Hardwired Freedom: Illusion as a Vehicle for Moral Responsibility

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  • This thesis explores how Peter Strawson’s notion of reactive attitudes enriches Drew McDermott’s illusionist view regarding free will by supplementing McDermott’s theory with a compatibilist framework that preserves moral responsibility within McDermott’s deterministic and mechanistic vision of the mind. In addition to providing McDermott’s theory of mind with a robust moral framework, the reactive attitudes are fortified by being grounded in McDermott’s notion of a selfmodel. The reactive attitudes and McDermott’s conception of self-modelling (along with the illusionism inherent in McDermott’s self-model view) reinforce each other. This thesis also explores the possibility of the compatibility of freedom and quantum indeterminacy as found in Robert Nozick’s contemplations in his Philosophical Explanations. Although such a view is capable of accounting for genuinely open alternatives, such indeterminacy can, at most, amount to some (often quite limited) degree of self-formation and/or re-formation, which substantially narrows the scope of human freedom.

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    Research Material
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    Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International