David Palmer, assistant professor of philosophy, has been working on the problem of free will for several years now. Having published a series of articles in top journals — Journal of Philosophy, Philosophical Studies, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Synthese, Erkenntnis and Philosophia — and thereby established himself as a leading young scholar working on this problem, Oxford University Press contracted him to edit a volume devoted to recent work on the topic. Libertarian Free Will: Contemporary Debates (2014) was recently published by OUP. According to the libertarian position on free will, people sometimes exercise free will, but this freedom is incompatible with the truth of causal determinism.
Frequently maligned within the history of philosophy, this view has recently gained increasingly sympathetic attention among philosophers. But stark questions remain: How plausible is this view? If our actions are not causally determined, how can we have control over them? Why should we want our actions to be breaks in the deterministic causal chain? Drawing from, among other sources, the many scholarly contacts he has established over the years through the Philosophy Department’s annual “Tennessee Value and Agency Conference” as well as invited speakers for special symposia and graduate seminars, Palmer assembled an all-star cast of contributors and then edited and authored his own essay for a first-rate collection that will serve students and researchers for years to come.