Free will, determinism, and the theory of important criteria

Michael Slote

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The Theory of Important Criteria is used to argue that the age‐old problem of the compatibility of free will and determinism turns on the question of the importance of causal indeterminacy of choice as a criterion of being able to do otherwise. One's answer to this question depends in turn on one's evaluation of certain moral issues and of the force and significance of certain similes, analogies and diagrams in terms of which one can ‘depict’ a deterministic universe. It is further argued that the problem of free will and determinism is not a pseudo‐problem, but a genuine problem that is hard to solve because of the depth and complexity of the evaluative issues on which it hangs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-338
Number of pages22
JournalInquiry (United Kingdom)
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - 1969
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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