Philosophy professor's book is focus of Responsibility Project

​Grove City College Assistant Professor of Philosophy Dr. Christopher Franklin’s upcoming book will be the subject of a seminar later this month under the auspices of a prestigious Swedish research group.

Franklin’s book – “A Minimal Libertarianism: Free Will and the Promise of Reduction” – is slated for publication later this year by Oxford University Press. 

The work has been selected for review and discussion by researchers from the Gothenburg Responsibility Project. Franklin and international scholars who have studied individual chapters will meet Feb. 27 to March 2 at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, for question-and-answer sessions and additional discussion. He will also deliver a public lecture at the university.

“I argue that human freedom consists of two dimensions,” said Franklin, whose work focuses on metaphysics, philosophy of action and mind and philosophy of religion. “The first dimension consists in the powers of reflective self-control: powers to reflect on, evaluate and modify our fundamental desires, aims or purposes. The second dimension is the freedom to exercise these powers in variety of different ways.”

“While human biology, social environment, laws of nature and even God’s providence constrain how humans act, these factors nonetheless leave open a range of alternatives for how humans exercise their powers of reflective self-control,” Franklin said.

The Gothenburg Responsibility Project is an initiative of the Swedish Research Council and the university that is focused on research into free will, human agency and incapacity, collective responsibility, excuses and mitigation, the implications of neuroscience for human freedom and responsibility and the normative principles governing practices relating to accountability and punishment. 

Members of the research group are also concerned with more applied aspects, including responsibility and mental illness, business and corporate responsibility, medical ethics, and the political dimension of responsibility as it arises in problems such as immigration, social justice and the environment. 

The primary aim of the Gothenburg Responsibility Project is “to generate and deliver substantial research contributions on this wide set of problems and issues and to become a leading center for the study of these fundamental problems and concerns in all aspects of human life.”

“We are so proud that Dr. Franklin is addressing this from within his discipline with such prestigious support, publishing and indeed international scholarly attention,” Dr. David Ayers, dean of the Caldwell School of Arts and Letters at Grove City College, said.

“The fundamental question of reconciling human freedom and responsibility with not only God’s omnipotence but the influence on human behavior of very powerful influences of biology, nutrition, upbringing, culture, social pressure and so on is a perennial but pivotal one in many areas of inquiry in the humanities and social sciences. There will never be some ‘final theory’ to explain all of that harmoniously in all its complexity, and yet it remains exceedingly fruitful and of real practical importance,” Ayers said.

Philosophy professor's book is focus of Responsibility Project

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