PHIL491/591 FA19

Special Topics: Free Will in Early Modern Philosophy
Professor: Marie Jayasekera
Mondays and Wednesdays  ·  12:30pm–1:45pm  ·  LA1–308
If everything we do must happen because of events in the past, do we really have a say in what we do? Are we responsible for our choices if they are determined by our desires? If God preordains a plan for the history of the created universe down to the smallest details and creates the universe accordingly, are we not mere puppets? And, most importantly, what is our actual predicament: are we free?
In this course, we will explore the answers to these questions advanced by a variety of early modern philosophers: Hobbes, Descartes, Locke, Leibniz, Hume, and Reid. We will investigate how these thinkers conceive of human freedom and related issues, including determinism, human action, divine providence, and divine freedom. In so doing, we will also make sense of the contours of the problem of free will as it is conceived in the early modern period.