Blog Coordinator

« Problems of the Self at CEU | Main | Crowd-sourcing my SPA Remarks »

02/07/2012

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Randy,

Maybe he thought it would be super-cool to be known as having the first initial, "R."

John

He probably knew how hard it was to get a job with free will as your AOS.

(This was before the society for philosophy of agency...)

While I am tempted to say that anyone who has actually been to Hobart (Tasmania) will appreciate how free will is inconceivable there, I will resist temptation.

Here's a speculation. Miller was a student, and then friend, of James. The paper itself was critical of James' view. Hence the pseudonym.
One problem with the speculation is that James was dead, but Miller may nevertheless have preferred to avoid being seen to criticize him.

He knew his reputation as a compatibilist would have his career.

John, that hypothesis hadn't occurred to me, but it sounds very reasonable. Tamler, could be, though I don't know that Miller had plans to return to academia. Neil, that sounds plausible except for the "one problem" part. Joe, yes, it's risky work.

The Paul Edwards edited *Encyclopedia of Philosophy* answers your question. He did it "for obscure reasons". I'm not quite sure what that means, but I think it means it was agent-caused.

I'm relieved that he did it for reasons, however obscure.

Manuel--wouldn't Miller say he did it from "obscure causes" even if they mapped some sort of epiphenomenal "obscure reasons"? Though of course he could have done otherwise had other obscure causes obtained. This thread is fun indeed--though I must confess I've always wondered (with Clarke) why he did it in the sense of justifying the fake moniker (at least to himself).

Now is the time to own up if anyone here is operating under a pseudonym.

I confess. This is not my real name.

I think Jack Smart used to tell a story explaining this: apparently Miller used the pseudonym because he was concerned to avoid rejection for ageist reasons. Hobart apparently refers to Hobart College, where he must have studied.

According to the Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Miller published 4 papers (in 1937, 1945, 1949, and 1951) under his own name after publishing the free will paper (in 1934) under the pseudonym.

Altogether he published 3 papers in Mind, one (in 1929) under his own name and two under the pseudonym. The other Hobart paper was "Hume Without Scepticism."

Relevant to this topic, see Bob Doyle's discussion of how many people misquote the title of the Hobart/Miller article (end of this page):
http://www.informationphilosopher.com/solutions/philosophers/hobart/

If he's right about all these cases, how the hell did that happen? Of course, it won't help future citations that it is also misquoted at PhilPapers: http://philpapers.org/s/R.%20E.%20Hobart

Within the paper, Hobart (Miller) usually calls the thing in question "determinism."

I think Bob is unfair to philosophers in suggesting that those who misquote the title haven't read the paper. This kind of substitution of a familiar word for an unfamiliar is just a slip. I myself think free will probably does require determination, though not determinism.

That's what I get for posting without having read the paper (for a decade or so). So, Randy, is it fair to say that Hobiller (Millbart?) treats "determinism" and "determination" as synonyms?

The first sentence of the paper mentions "the controversy between the doctrine of free will and determinism." Hobart/Miller says "the two assertions are entirely consistent, [and] one of them strictly implies the other."

Perhaps *determination* of everything is what we have when *determinism* is true.

I became familiar with Hobart/Miller's article in the late 80s when I argued in Analysis that that paper attempted to show (in effect)that the points of the Mind and Ethics arguments were consistent with each other. In fact I think the title shows that: FW as involving determination AND inconceivable without it (Ethics and Mind combined to produce the free action of causally determined agents parsed as FW). The title isn't being long-winded--it's indicative of its thesis.

I'd say that the distinction between the two terms is that determination denotes any process/events/states governed by determinism. So consequential processes/events/states of FW involve determination by antecedent processes/events/states as governed by determinism (rather than by fate, say).

The comments to this entry are closed.

Books about Agency


3QD Prize 2014: Marcus Arvan