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date: 29 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the question of whether key features expected from moral conduct, such as freedom, choice, agency, and responsibility, can sufficiently exist within the natural world as understood by science. A secular, naturalistic view of the universe excludes the existence of nonphysical souls standing outside of the physical universe yet able to causally influence it, and it excludes the existence of a nonphysical deity that could be responsible for human agency and responsibility. Absent those possibilities, this chapter considers the prospects for freedom in a naturalistic universe, together with the issue of what sort of freedom (if any) is required for agency and moral responsibility. Three models of naturalistic agency are explained and discussed: compatibilism, event-causal libertarianism, and agent-causal libertarianism.

Keywords: morality, freedom, free will, agency moral responsibility, naturalism, compatibilism, libertarianism

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