HHU StartPhilosophische FakultätPhilosophyProfessorshipsProf. Dr. Gerhard SchurzDCLPSEventsConference: Free Will and Causality (September 26 to 27, 2019)

International Conference

Free Will and Causality 

September 26-27, 2019, Duesseldorf, Germany



The conference aims at bringing together experts on free will and causality in order to explore what the debates about these topics can learn from each other. In particular, the connection between metaphysical aspects of the free will problem and how they depend on or relate to causation in general as well as to more specific theories of causation shall be investigated. It is, for example, widely believed that free will requires control and that control is a causal notion. Whether one is a compatibilist or a libertarian, one must have a theory of control that the agent exerts over her actions. Another important requirement for free will, according to sourcehood libertarians, is ultimate origination of one’s actions: to have free will is to be able to initiate causal chains, i.e., to have a certain causal ability, sometimes referred to as a ‘causal power’. These causal notions might greatly profit from being treated in accordance with different accounts of causation. Different understandings of free will might, the other way round, support different theories of causation or might help in solving tasks such as identifying causal structure.


Our conference will address questions like the following ones:  


  • What concepts of causation are required by libertarian and compatibilist theories of free will?
  • Which constraints and consequences follow from the endorsement of specific theories of causation for one’s understanding of control that the agent exerts over her actions?
  • What is the relation between concepts such as free will, agency, sourcehood, control, intervention, causation, and (in)determinism?


Questions to be addressed at the conference might also include traditional problems regarding the compatibility of free will with physical determinism and indeterminism or the conceptual relations between free will, rational deliberation, and moral responsibility as well as their bearing for different understandings of causation.


The conference will, in addition to contributed papers, also feature talks by several invited speakers. We are happy to announce the following invited speakers:


  • Sander Beckers, LMU Munich
  • Hans Briegel, University of Innsbruck & University of Constance
  • Laura Ekstrom, College of William & Mary in Virginia
  • Nadine Elzein, University of Oxford
  • John Lemos, Coe College
  • Christian Loew, Umeå University
  • Timothy O'Connor, Indiana University


The conference is organized by Maria Sekatskaya (DCLPS, University of Duesseldorf), Alexander Gebharter (University of Groningen), and Gerhard Schurz (DCLPS, University of Duesseldorf). The event is funded by the DFG (German Research Foundation) research group FOR 2495: Inductive Metaphysics.

More information about the conference can be found at http://dclps.phil.hhu.de/freewill

There is no conference fee and attendance is open to all. Attendees not giving a presentation are required to register via sending an email to maria.sekatskaya(at)gmail.com before September 1, 2019. Because space is limited, early registration is strongly recommended to ensure your participation.

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