Faculty of Arts

PHIL 763

Special Topic: Freedom: its nature, value and future

Please note: this is archived course information from 2018 for PHIL 763.


This course combines issues in metaphysics, meta-ethics, moral philosophy, philosophy of religion and political philosophy. The unifying theme is the role of freedom in our moral lives.

We will begin with debates about the nature of free will: Do human beings possess free will? Is free will compatible with determinism? Is free will compatible with a scientific view of human beings? Is free will compatible with theism? Is God free? Is free will a peculiarly Western notion, or is it found in all philosophical traditions?

We will then explore the value of freedom: Is free will necessary for moral responsibility? Is free will essential for a flourishing human life? What freedoms are valuable? How does valuable freedom connect with metaphysical debates about free will?

Finally, we will explore some philosophical puzzles regarding the future of freedom: Could artificially intelligent beings ever be free? Will the rise of predictions based on "Big Data" undermine our belief in either free will or the value of freedom? What freedoms will future people value?

Availability 2018

Not taught in 2018


Lecturer(s) Professor Timothy Mulgan


PHIL 763: 15.0 points

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