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Durham University

Department of Philosophy


Publication details for Professor Stephen Mumford

Mumford, Stephen & Anjum, Rani Lill (2015). Freedom and Control: on the Modality of Free Will. American Philosophical Quarterly 52(1): 1-11.

Author(s) from Durham


Free will is a problem of modality, hampered by a commitment to modal dualism: the view that there is only necessity and pure contingency. If we have necessity, then things couldn't have been otherwise, against the Principle of Alternate Possibilities (AP). If there is complete contingency, then the agent seems to have no control over her actions, against the principle of Ultimate Authorship (UA). There is a third modality in natural causal processes, however. AP and UA can be reconciled if we allow both causation and agency to involve the dispositional modality.