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Mortimer Adler
Rogers Albritton
Alexander of Aphrodisias
Samuel Alexander
William Alston
Louise Antony
Thomas Aquinas
David Armstrong
Harald Atmanspacher
Robert Audi
Alexander Bain
Mark Balaguer
Jeffrey Barrett
William Belsham
Henri Bergson
Isaiah Berlin
Bernard Berofsky
Robert Bishop
Max Black
Susanne Bobzien
Emil du Bois-Reymond
Hilary Bok
Laurence BonJour
George Boole
Émile Boutroux
Michael Burke
Joseph Keim Campbell
Rudolf Carnap
Ernst Cassirer
David Chalmers
Roderick Chisholm
Randolph Clarke
Samuel Clarke
Anthony Collins
Antonella Corradini
Diodorus Cronus
Jonathan Dancy
Donald Davidson
Mario De Caro
Daniel Dennett
Jacques Derrida
René Descartes
Richard Double
Fred Dretske
John Dupré
John Earman
Laura Waddell Ekstrom
Herbert Feigl
John Martin Fischer
Owen Flanagan
Luciano Floridi
Philippa Foot
Alfred Fouilleé
Harry Frankfurt
Richard L. Franklin
Michael Frede
Gottlob Frege
Peter Geach
Edmund Gettier
Carl Ginet
Alvin Goldman
Nicholas St. John Green
H.Paul Grice
Ian Hacking
Ishtiyaque Haji
Stuart Hampshire
Sam Harris
William Hasker
Georg W.F. Hegel
Martin Heidegger
Thomas Hobbes
David Hodgson
Shadsworth Hodgson
Baron d'Holbach
Ted Honderich
Pamela Huby
David Hume
Ferenc Huoranszki
William James
Lord Kames
Robert Kane
Immanuel Kant
Tomis Kapitan
Jaegwon Kim
William King
Hilary Kornblith
Christine Korsgaard
Saul Kripke
Andrea Lavazza
Keith Lehrer
Gottfried Leibniz
Michael Levin
George Henry Lewes
David Lewis
Peter Lipton
John Locke
Michael Lockwood
E. Jonathan Lowe
John R. Lucas
Ruth Barcan Marcus
James Martineau
Storrs McCall
Hugh McCann
Colin McGinn
Michael McKenna
Brian McLaughlin
John McTaggart
Paul E. Meehl
Uwe Meixner
Alfred Mele
Trenton Merricks
John Stuart Mill
Dickinson Miller
C. Lloyd Morgan
Thomas Nagel
Friedrich Nietzsche
John Norton
Robert Nozick
William of Ockham
Timothy O'Connor
David F. Pears
Charles Sanders Peirce
Derk Pereboom
Steven Pinker
Karl Popper
Huw Price
Hilary Putnam
Willard van Orman Quine
Frank Ramsey
Ayn Rand
Michael Rea
Thomas Reid
Charles Renouvier
Nicholas Rescher
Richard Rorty
Josiah Royce
Bertrand Russell
Paul Russell
Gilbert Ryle
Jean-Paul Sartre
Kenneth Sayre
Moritz Schlick
Arthur Schopenhauer
John Searle
Wilfrid Sellars
Alan Sidelle
Ted Sider
Henry Sidgwick
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
Saul Smilansky
Michael Smith
Baruch Spinoza
L. Susan Stebbing
George F. Stout
Galen Strawson
Peter Strawson
Eleonore Stump
Francisco Suárez
Richard Taylor
Kevin Timpe
Mark Twain
Peter Unger
Peter van Inwagen
Manuel Vargas
John Venn
Kadri Vihvelin
G.H. von Wright
David Foster Wallace
R. Jay Wallace
Ted Warfield
Roy Weatherford
William Whewell
Alfred North Whitehead
David Widerker
David Wiggins
Bernard Williams
Timothy Williamson
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Susan Wolf


Michael Arbib
Bernard Baars
Gregory Bateson
John S. Bell
Charles Bennett
Ludwig von Bertalanffy
Susan Blackmore
Margaret Boden
David Bohm
Niels Bohr
Ludwig Boltzmann
Emile Borel
Max Born
Satyendra Nath Bose
Walther Bothe
Hans Briegel
Leon Brillouin
Stephen Brush
Henry Thomas Buckle
S. H. Burbury
Donald Campbell
Anthony Cashmore
Eric Chaisson
Jean-Pierre Changeux
Arthur Holly Compton
John Conway
John Cramer
E. P. Culverwell
Charles Darwin
Terrence Deacon
Louis de Broglie
Max Delbrück
Abraham de Moivre
Paul Dirac
Hans Driesch
John Eccles
Arthur Stanley Eddington
Paul Ehrenfest
Albert Einstein
Hugh Everett, III
Franz Exner
Richard Feynman
R. A. Fisher
Joseph Fourier
Lila Gatlin
Michael Gazzaniga
GianCarlo Ghirardi
J. Willard Gibbs
Nicolas Gisin
Paul Glimcher
Thomas Gold
Brian Goodwin
Joshua Greene
Jacques Hadamard
Patrick Haggard
Stuart Hameroff
Augustin Hamon
Sam Harris
Hyman Hartman
John-Dylan Haynes
Martin Heisenberg
John Herschel
Werner Heisenberg
Jesper Hoffmeyer
E. T. Jaynes
William Stanley Jevons
Roman Jakobson
Pascual Jordan
Ruth E. Kastner
Stuart Kauffman
Simon Kochen
Stephen Kosslyn
Ladislav Kovàč
Rolf Landauer
Alfred Landé
Pierre-Simon Laplace
David Layzer
Benjamin Libet
Seth Lloyd
Hendrik Lorentz
Josef Loschmidt
Ernst Mach
Donald MacKay
Henry Margenau
James Clerk Maxwell
Ernst Mayr
Ulrich Mohrhoff
Jacques Monod
Emmy Noether
Howard Pattee
Wolfgang Pauli
Massimo Pauri
Roger Penrose
Steven Pinker
Colin Pittendrigh
Max Planck
Susan Pockett
Henri Poincaré
Daniel Pollen
Ilya Prigogine
Hans Primas
Adolphe Quételet
Juan Roederer
Jerome Rothstein
David Ruelle
Erwin Schrödinger
Aaron Schurger
Claude Shannon
David Shiang
Herbert Simon
Dean Keith Simonton
B. F. Skinner
Roger Sperry
Henry Stapp
Tom Stonier
Antoine Suarez
Leo Szilard
William Thomson (Kelvin)
Peter Tse
Heinz von Foerster
John von Neumann
John B. Watson
Daniel Wegner
Steven Weinberg
Paul A. Weiss
John Wheeler
Wilhelm Wien
Norbert Wiener
Eugene Wigner
E. O. Wilson
H. Dieter Zeh
Ernst Zermelo
Wojciech Zurek


Free Will
Mental Causation
James Symposium
Democritus and his teacher Leucippus replaced theological and supernatural explanations of phenomena with natural materialist explanations. They assumed the world was completely made of matter, which they postulated to consist of just a few types of invisible particles that could be combined to make all of the visible objects, their properties, and their behaviors.

The fundamental elements of their time - earth, water, air, and fire - were in turn simply compounds of sub-elementary particles they called atoms (indivisibles) in a void or vacuum between the atoms.

"By convention hot, by convention cold, but in reality atoms and void."
(Fragment 117, Diogenes Laertius IX, 72)
Parmenides had denied the possibility of the void with the simple logical argument that if nothing was between two bodies, it follows that they are in contact with one another. Plato and Aristotle generally preferred Parmenides' idea of a continuous filled plenum and opposed the atomists' ideas of discrete particulate objects separated by nothing.

Democritus denied the arbitrariness of phenomena that was implied if they were the free actions of the gods. He replaced that explanation with the idea of deterministic laws governing the behavior of the atoms, and as a consequence explaining all phenomena made of atoms, including human beings and their actions. Leucippus had denied that anything happened at random (μάτην),

"Nothing occurs at random, but everything for a reason and by necessity."
(Leucippus, Fragment 569 - from Fr. 2 Actius I, 25, 4)
All the events in the world would now be connected in an eternal deterministic causal chain with a single possible future, possibly one that would loop back and repeat itself in a cosmic "great cycle."

In denying the gods and their freedom, Democritus was no doubt aware of the negative implications for human freedom and moral responsibility. Would causal material explanations reduce all events to mere happenings, with no room for intentions, purposes, and human wills?

Moral responsibility was very important to Democritus. It was a large part of his reason for eliminating the gods and the idea of fate. Unfortunately, eliminating the gods was impolitic and Democritus' work was shunned by many philosophers, starting with Socrates and Plato.

Nevertheless, his view of atoms and a void working by natural causal laws was such a gain over the traditional view of arbitrary fate and capricious gods, that Democritus simply insisted that determinism provided enough responsibility. In this respect, Democritus seems to anticipate the idea of the semi-compatibilism of determinism and moral responsibilty.

A couple of centuries later, the atomist Epicurus added an element of chance to break the causal chain and provide still more control and moral responsibility than physical determinism could provide, because in his opinion, the strict causal determinism of Democritus was worse that the arbitrary fate of the gods. At least one might appeal to the gods for some mercy.

Epicurus said, in his Letter to Menoeceus, 134,

It is better to follow the myth about the gods than to be a slave of the "fate" of the physicists: for the former suggests a hope of forgiveness, in return for honor, but the latter has an ineluctable necessity.
For Teachers
For Scholars
νόμωι χροιή, νόμωι γλυκύ, νόμωι πικρόω, ἑτεῆι δ’ ἄτομα καὶ κενόν (Diels Kranz, fragment B125)

Chapter 1.4 - The Philosophy Chapter 1.6 - The Scientists
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