Freedom and Responsibility

Course Requirement Areas: 
Metaphysics and Epistemology
Course Description: 

The purpose of this course is to introduce students into some contemporary debates concerning the metaphysical issue of free will and responsibility. The course is organized around the discussion of the following questions: do freedom and responsibility require alternative possibilities? Are agents able to do otherwise if determinism is true? Is indeterminism compatible with the sort of control necessary for freedom? How to understand rational capacities relevant to agent’s freedom and responsibility?

Learning Outcomes: 

Students are expected to acquire the ability to reconstruct and analyze philosophical arguments or positions. These involve the understanding of validity and soundness of the arguments, the ability to identify background principles and assumptions as well as the ability to draw out the consequences of certain philosophical commitments. They are also expected to acquire certain oral communication skills such as the ability to formulate arguments concisely and accessibly in words, and to give short critical comments. They should also learn how to identify and execute an appropriate writing project. Finally, they should be familiarized with the main contemporary debates about philosophy of action. Learning outcomes shall be measured by term papers and oral presentations on the relevant topics.  


Students' performance shall be evaluated on the following grounds. First, students are required to attend classes regularly and to participate actively in seminar discussions. 30 % of their final grade shall be given on the basis of this in-class activity. Second, students are required to give one or two short presentations of some chosen topic(s). The choice of topic is optional, but overlap should be avoided. This will make up another 30 % of their final grade. Thirdly, students are required to submit a max. 4 000 word long term-paper. The chosen topic should be approved by the instructor and presented in the last class of the course. The term paper's contribution to the final assessment of students' performance is 40 %.

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