Professor Mele will give a public lecture entitled “Neuroscience and Free Will” on Thursday 10/9 at 5:30pm. The talk will be at Seattle Pacific University, Demaray Hall 150 and it is free and open to the general public.
He will also give a talk for philosophy students and faculty entitled “On The Situationist Challenge to Free Will” on Friday, Oct. 10 at 3:30pm (Seattle Pacific University, library seminar room, 2nd floor).
Professor Mele is the William H. and Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy at Florida State University. He is the author of several books on topics such as free will, agency, weakness of will, and self-deception, including A Dialogue on Free Will and Science (Oxford UP, 2014), Backsliding: Understanding Weakness of Will (Oxford UP, 2012), Free Will and Luck (Oxford UP, 2006).
“What is so special about agency? Constitutivism and Inescapability”
A talk by
Professor of Philosophy,
University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee
Friday, October 3 @ 4:00pm
Abstract: What grounds the objective authority of the norms of practical rationality and morality? According to an influential view—known as constitutivism—the ground is to be found in the nature of agency. For the constitutivist, failing to be governed by the norms of rationality and morality would ultimately amount to the loss of agency. But giving up agency might not be an option for us. If agency is ‘inescapable’, then we cannot but be unconditionally bound by its standards and by the norms that can be derived from them. Not all the ways in which agency might be thought to be inescapable, however, are able to support this strong conclusion. In this talk, I will show that there is only one kind of inescapability that might help constitutivism, viz.: the closure of reflective agency under its characteristic operation. But I will also argue that this is only a first step and much more work needs to be done to make constitutivism compelling.