AP/PHIL2170 3.0 A: Freedom, Determinism and Responsibility

Offered by: PHIL


Fall 2019






Calendar Description / Prerequisite / Co-Requisite

An investigation of different concepts of freedom, and how they relate to arguments for free will and determinism, the adjudication of people's responsibility for their actions, the justification of punishment and some related moral problems.

Course Website

Many courses utilize Moodle, York University's course website system. If your course is using Moodle, refer to the image below to access it.

    Additional Course Instructor/Contact Details

Dr. Oisin Deery


Office Location: S442 Ross

Phone Number: (416) 736-2100 Ext: #77593

Office Hours:  TBA

    Expanded Course Description

The problem of free will is one of the great perennial issues in philosophy, covering metaphysics, morals, and matters of central importance not only for philosophy but also for law, theology, psychology, and the social sciences. What is at stake is nothing less than our self-image as responsible agents who are in control of our own destinies. During the past few decades, the free-will debate has developed in exciting new ways, with the result that most parties to the debate have had to revise their positions in order to respond to the arguments of critics. In this course, we will look at some of the most important contributions to this on-going discussion.

    Required Course Text / Readings
  1. Paul Russell & Oisin Deery, Eds. (2013). The Philosophy of Free Will: Essential Readings From The Contemporary Debates. Oxford University Press. ISBN-10: 0199733392
  2. Michael McKenna & Derk Pereboom. (2016). Free Will: A Contemporary Introduction. Routledge/Taylor & Francis. ISBN-10: 0415996872
    Weighting of Course

Assessment for the course is by two brief expository assignments (20% each),
one essay (40%),
and an exam (20%).  The exam will comprise both multiple-choice and short-answer questions.

    Organization of the Course

This course is mostly lecture-based, with two lectures per week. In the lectures, students are invited to ask questions and contribute to discussion. The lectures will occasionally be broken up in order to engage in either individual or group learning exercises.

    Course Learning Objectives

To introduce students to the main strands of philosophical thought about free will and moral responsibility, both historically and in relation to contemporary debates.

    Relevant Links / Resources