Randolph Clarke

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Randolph Clarke is a Professor of Philosophy at Florida State University. His interests are human agency, particularly intentional action, free will, and moral responsibility.

Clarke's book, Libertarian Accounts of Free Will, examines the contributions of indeterminism to free will models. He defends such libertarian views from common objections, but he finds the accounts inadequate. "If responsibility isn’t compatible with determinism, then," he thinks, "it isn’t possible."[1]

Libertarian accounts of free will

Clarke calls Daniel Dennett's two-stage model of decision making and Alfred Mele's "modest" libertarianism "deliberative," since quantum indeterminacy internal to the mind is limited to the deliberations. By contrast, he calls Robert Kane's model a "centered" event libertarian view, by which he means the quantum randomness is in the center of the decision itself.[2][3]

Clarke accepts the Kane view that if the agent's decision simply results from the events in the deliberation phase that that could not be what he calls "directly free." It would not produce Kane's "ultimate responsibility (UR).

Although Clarke says that a "centered event-causal libertarian view provides a conceptually adequate account of free will," he doubts that it can provide for moral responsibility. He says that

An event-causal libertarian view secures ultimate control, which no compatibilist account provides. But the secured ultimacy is wholly negative: it is just (on a centered view) a matter of the absence of any determining cause of a directly free action. The active control that is exercised on such a view is just the same as that exercised on an event-causal compatibilist account.[4]


  • Libertarian Accounts of Free Will. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.[5]

External links


  1. Research interests at FSU
  2. Libertarian Accounts of Free Will, p. 58-60
  3. Libertarian Accounts of Free Will, p. 71
  4. 'Libertarian Accounts of Free Will, p. 71
  5. Incompatibilist (Nondeterministic) Theories of Free Will on the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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