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Gothenburg Responsibility Conference 2016: Helen Steward on What is Determinism: Why We Should Ditch the Entailment Definition?


J.L. Austin once famously claimed that determinism was "a name of nothing clear" ('Ifs and Cans', Philosophical Papers, p.231). But today many philosophers working on the free will problem operate happily with a definition of determinism that is pretty well accepted on all hands. Professor Helen Steward (University of Leeds) call it the ‘entailment definition’ and it states, roughly, that determinism is the thesis that for any given time, a complete statement of the nonrelational facts about that time, together with a complete statement of the laws of nature, entails every truth as to what happens after that time. In this paper, Steward argue that acceptance of the entailment definition has been a mistake – and make some suggestions about what ought to be put in its place.

Page Manager: Andreas Ott|Last update: 9/26/2016

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