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Philosopher gets $4m to figure out free will

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• Is the world eternal? YES
• Do humans have contra-causal free will (i.e., can humans do otherwise)? NO
• Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? YES
• Do humans have souls? YES
• Are there natural rights? YES
• Is it morally permissible to eat meat? NO
• Is the unexamined life worth living? NO
• Is truth subjectivity? YES
• Is virtue necessary for happiness? YES
• Can a computer have a mind? YES
• Can humans know reality as it is in itself? YES
• Is hell other people? YES
• Can art be created accidentally? NO
• Can we change the past? NO
• Are numbers real? NO
• Is it always better to know the truth? YES

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More details here. Alfred Mele, the philosopher in question, has a very solid reputation, and has published interesting and important theories about agents and actions. I’m sure anything he comes up with will be worth studying. But it is funny to read how his university has tried to spin this news — they are working like mad to get him to say he’ll solve the free will problem, and he keeps cautioning that he doesn’t expect to do quite that.

The givers of the award, the Templeton foundation, have very deep pockets, but as we’ve discussed before, not everyone thinks it’s right to accept their money.



  1. Kleiner says:

    Let’s hope he finally settles it. Otherwise the money might have been better spent paying for 1,500 philosophy courses (assuming adjunct pay) for students wanting to take a philosophy class (say around 75,000 students).


  2. Huenemann says:

    Now, now. We can’t just start throwing money around irresponsibly, can we?


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