P. F. Strawson’s Free Will Naturalism

In: International Journal for the Study of Skepticism
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  • 1 Washington State University, United States

This is an explication and defense of P. F. Strawson’s naturalist theory of free will and moral responsibility. I respond to a set of criticisms of the view by free will skeptics, compatibilists, and libertarians who adopt the core assumption: Strawson thinks that our reactive attitudes provide the basis for a rational justification of our blaming and praising practices. My primary aim is to explain and defend Strawson’s naturalism in light of criticisms based on the core assumption. Strawson’s critiques of incompatibilism and free will skepticism are not intended to provide rational justifications for either compatibilism or the claim that some persons have free will. Hence, the charge that Strawson’s “arguments” are faulty is misplaced. The core assumption resting behind such critiques is mistaken.

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  • 9

    At least one critic (Sosa 1998: 366–367) interprets Strawson as providing a similar justification for our belief in the external world. See below and Strawson (1998e) for a reply to this interpretation.

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