Freedom and Reponsibility (Spring 2014) - Second Exam

Free Will - Second Exam (Spring 2014)

Before you begin writing, read this entire document.

Answer three (3) questions. All key terms, theories, and named objections must be explained. You have 2,100 words. (There is a 1,500 word minimum.)

I. Answer one question from 1 - 2. (Agent Causation)

1. Evaluate Reid's Burden of Proof Argument for the agent-causal theory of free will.

(This question requires evaluation. Make sure that you explain the argument as clearly as you can before you evaluate it. You should provide some textual evidence, but I do not want a collage. The core argument is in chapter 6, pp.336-344.)

2. Evaluate Campbell's Phenomenological Argument for the agent-causal theory of free will.

(This question requires evaluation. You should first explain his argument. Show how it is designed to move the burden of proof onto the skeptic. Then evaluate the argument.)

II. Answer one question from 3 - 4. (Free Will Skepticism)

3. Evaluate G. Strawson's Basic Argument. Does it assume what it is trying to prove? Why or why not?

(This question requires evaluation. Make sure that you explain the argument as clearly as you can before you evaluate it.)

4. Does Wegner's “I Spy” experiment give us good reason to think that we lack free will?

(This question requires evaluation. Explain the experiment and how it might be used in argument against the claim that we have libertarian free will. Then evaluate the argument.)

III. Answer one question from 5 - 6. (Alternate Possibilities)

5. Explain the Indeterministic World Objection to Frankfurt's Jones4 argument against PAP.

(This question does not ask for evaluation. Make sure that you explain and motivate PAP. Then explain Frankfurt's objection. Finally, present the Indeterministic World Objection to Frankfurt's argument.)

6. How might Chisholm reply to the "character argument" against PAP?

(Suggested plan: Explain PAP. Then explain the character argument against PAP. Then think about Chisholm's remarks about Cato. How might he reply to the character argument in support of PAP? Chisholm discusses Cato in the first full paragraph on p.145 of "Human Freedom and the Self.")

Note: When evaluating an argument, you need to build up the argument and then show where it might go wrong. To build up an argument, you must do more than merely offer a formalization. You must explain the argument. Explain why someone might believe the premises. Typically, showing where an argument goes wrong will require arguing that one of the premises is false. When providing your own evaluations, be sure to consider obvious, compelling replies to your objections. If you think an argument is good, then you will need to defend it against the strongest objections that you can think of.

Note: Keep quotations to an absolute minimum. Never use a quotation to speak for you. I can't think of a good reason why you would need to use many quotes.

Due Date

Thursday, 4/17/2014


The exam should be in total no more than 2,100 words. This is approximately 7 pages double-spaced with Arial 12 point font. The exam should be no less than 1,500 words. (I will deduct an additional letter grade for every 200 words shy of the minimum.)


You don't have much space, so you will need to be clear and to the point. Clarity should be your chief goal in writing the answers. Pick your words carefully. Write to be understood. Assume that you are writing the paper to be read by someone completely unfamiliar with the issues.

I want you to explain the theories and objections as clearly as you can within the space allotted. I do not want papers that are longer than the word limit. The space limitation is designed to force you to practice verbal economy. That said, it is impossible to write a set of adequate answers in much less than the allocated space. You'll have to use most of the space, and use it well.


The exam must be typed. It should be double spaced. It should have one inch margins. You should use a 12 point font. I prefer Arial, since it is easy to read. Please follow the general paper and exam instructions under the "writing" section on the course Blackboard page.

Write a separate essay for each answer. Do not try to answer all the questions in a single essay. Formal introductions and conclusions are unnecessary, though you must use paragraphs.

Please skip a line or two between your answers. You do not need to start a new page. Include the number of the question at the start of each answer. Do not copy the questions.

You should include a bibliography on the final page. Use the Chicago manual "notes and bibliography" citation style:


You are required to hand in a paper copy at the start of class on the due date. In addition you must submit the midterm through Safe Assign via Blackboard by 11:59 pm on the due date. (11:59 pm is after class, not to be confused with the night before.) Safe Assign is a plagiarism detection tool. It will compare your paper against others available online, in journals, submitted in this class, RIC, and from all other universities that use the software.

*If you are unable to submit the paper to Safe Assign due to technical difficulties, you must send an email to the helpdesk <> explaining the problem. Make sure to CC me. If this happens, send me a copy of your paper as an attachment. Note: I will not accept your paper if you don't report the problem to the helpdesk.

Note: Plagiarism will result in a failing grade in the class, not just on this assignment. I recommend that you not use any outside sources. If you do, you must cite them even if you don't quote them. You must attribute all ideas to their proper sources.


Before writing, you must read three documents under the writing section of the course Blackboard page: 1. Writing Tip Sheet, 2. General Instructions, and 3. Pryor's "Writing Philosophy Papers."