The ninth in the series of special invited lectures for Roots of Responsibility will be given by Professor SImon-Pierre Chevarie-Cossette (Neuchâtel), on Friday 2 December 2022, from 14:00, in Meeting Room 1, Rockefeller Building, UCL.
Deliberation and the Possibility of Scepticism
ABSTRACT. Here is a radical idea: no one is responsible for their actions because free will is an illusion—our every choice is in fact unavoidable. We should, accordingly, reform our practices such as punishment and blame. Is this a serious doctrine, one that we could live by? If not, it would seem reasonable not to take the possibility of scepticism too seriously. The sceptic faces several challenges regarding the liveability of her doctrine. This paper focusses on a challenge about deliberation. Must the sceptic silently renege her doctrine whenever she deliberates about what to do? It seems, after all, that when we deliberate, we must presume that we have alternatives, pace free will scepticism. This paper argues that the sceptic must in fact abandon her doctrine whenever she deliberates. The attempts by Nelkin, Pereboom, Clarke, Waller, etc. to secure a deliberation without alternatives fail because they implicitly use the conditional analysis of 'can'. But if this analysis can be used, scepticism is false. So, either scepticism is false, or sceptics cannot deliberate qua sceptics. This makes a dogmatic (Moorean) rebuttal of scepticism more reasonable.
Attendance to the event is free, but space is very limited. In order for us to have an idea of the number of people to expect, if you will attend, please submit the form on the following page:
Here is a link to a map for Rockefeller Building. And here is another map showing the path thereto from 19 Gordon Square (Department of Philosophy, UCL):