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The Consequence Argument Meets the Mentaculus

Loewer, Barry (2020) The Consequence Argument Meets the Mentaculus. [Preprint]

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The “Consequence Argument” has spawned an enormous literature in response. The most notable of these is David Lewis’ based on his account of counterfactuals. My excuse for adding to this literature is while Lewis’ diagnosis of the argument is on the right track the account of counterfactuals he relies on to rebut the argument is, as I will argue, defective. I will develop a response that is in some ways similar to Lewis’ but differs in that it is based on a different and better account of counterfactuals which itself is based on an approach to statistical mechanics that goes back to Boltzmann and has more recently been developed by David Albert in his book Time and Chance. This account, which Albert and I refer to as “the Mentaculus”, provides a framework for explaining and connecting the various so called “arrows of time” including those of thermodynamics, causation, knowledge, and influence. It is the last of these arrows that is key to my response to the consequence argument. If my response is effective, then it will turn out that physics (together with some philosophy) rather than conflicting with freedom is able to rescue it, at least, from the Consequence Argument.

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Item Type: Preprint
Subjects: General Issues > Determinism/Indeterminism
Depositing User: Unnamed user with email
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2020 03:29
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2020 03:29
Item ID: 17328
Subjects: General Issues > Determinism/Indeterminism
Date: 2020

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