Leibniz, G. W.; Parkinson, G. H. R. (trans.)'s De summa rerum PDF

By Leibniz, G. W.; Parkinson, G. H. R. (trans.)

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One is, of course, the compatibilist, who will want to say that even human agency does not imply a future that is open in the requisite sense. The compatibilist will insist that even if it is true that there is some sense in which the existence of agency implies that the future is open, it is not the sense given by the notion of physical possibility—that the future can perfectly well be open relative to one conception of possibility, but closed relative to others—and that it is a confusion to suppose that the sense in which futures must be open if there are to be self-moving animals is a sense which requires the falsity of universal determinism.

For example, I shall assume that, when an agent turns on a light by flicking a switch her turning on of the light is to be identified with her flicking of the switch and that both of these can in turn be identified with the agent’s moving of her finger. But I shall not make what is the very common additional assumption of the Anscombe–Davidson view that an action has to be intentional under at least one of these descriptions (nor that an action has to be done ‘for a reason’). It might, of course, be perfectly legitimate to adopt, for certain philosophical purposes, a conception of action which did limit the class to those movings that can be regarded as identifiable with intentional doings.

But the trouble with the argument—and also with others of the same ilk—is that compatibilists are likely to deny that Rule (â) has to be accepted. Slote, for example, has argued that certain kinds of necessity may possess a feature that he calls selectivity, which results in the relevant operator’s failing to be agglomerative (that is, it fails to sustain the inference from ‘Np’ and ‘N(p ⊃ q)’ to ‘N(p. p ⊃ q)’ (which is a sub-inference needed for the move from ‘Np’ and ‘N(p ⊃ q)’ to ‘Nq’) and failing also to be closed under entailment (which is the other sub-inference needed for the move from ‘N(p.

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De summa rerum by Leibniz, G. W.; Parkinson, G. H. R. (trans.)


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