By Gavin Ardley
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I want to begin my argument for (iv) by saying why someone might want to reject it. Thus, consider the following counterargument or objection to (iv): Until we determine what free will is, we can’t determine whether humans have free will because we won’t even know what we’re talking about, or looking for. Thus, the what-is-free-will question is obviously relevant to the do-we-have-free-will question, and moreover, philosophers who are engaged in trying to answer the what-is-free-will question are doing metaphysics because they’re doing something that’s centrally important to the task of answering the do-we-have-free-will question, which is clearly a metaphysical question about the nature of human beings.
Let me begin here by changing the example and showing how awkward the line of thought in the above objection would be if we employed it in other settings. To this end, suppose that Carstairs and Caruthers are linguists (or sociologists or psychologists or whatever) who specialize in trying to figure out the ordinary-discourse meanings of scientific terms, as they’re actually used by working scientists (and perhaps ordinary folk); and suppose in particular that Carstairs and Caruthers have competing theories of the ordinary-discourse meaning of the word ‘planet’.
Before giving my argument, I want to say what I mean by ‘metaphysically interesting’. In the present context, I’m using ‘metaphysical’ to mean something like about the world; thus, since the topic here is human decision-making processes and human freedom, ‘metaphysical’ is being used to mean something like about human beings or human decision-making processes. Thus, if I say that a question is not relevant to the do-we-have-freewill question in any metaphysically interesting way, what I mean is essentially that it’s not relevant to that question in a way that’s substantively relevant to the goal of discovering the nature of human beings and, in particular, human decision-making processes.
Aquinas And Kant - The Foundations Of The Modern Sciences by Gavin Ardley