skip to: page content | skip to: site navigation | skip to: section navigation | site information

University of Wisconsin-Sheboygan

Speakers’ Series lecture at UW-Sheboygan set for Dec. 3


Free Will is the metaphysical ability, as opposed to the political options, to make individual free choices. It is important for our moral responsibility, and moral responsibility is essential for praise, blame, reward and punishment in our society.

What if our society believed and accepted that all of our behaviors were out of our control and, therefore, we should never be held responsible for any of our actions. What if free will was an illusion?

This will be the subject of a presentation by UW-Sheboygan Professor of Philosophy Dr. David Louzecky at the next UW-Sheboygan Speakers’ Series Lecture on Tuesday, December 3 at 7 p.m.

“Our judicial and penal systems, our school systems, and the ways we treat one another presuppose (free will). Even our exceptions to responsibility display the connection with free will – not guilty by reason of insanity or not responsible for exam performance because of post-surgical medication,” Louzecky explained. “Recent work in cognitive neuroscience, however, suggests that all the behavior of all of us is casually determined and, thus, precludes free will. This work is entering our court rooms and classrooms, and many neuroscientists argue that no one should ever be praised or blamed – or rewarded or punished.”

According to Louzecky, what some scientists are proposing is that our behaviors are casually determined and none of our actions are decisions that are made freely in the sense required for moral responsibility.

This lecture will discuss and debate how we as a society can’t restrain ourselves from holding others responsible for our actions. The presentation will delve into the large social changes required if we accept that free will does not exist.

“But the feeling and inability to restrain our thinking is just what one would expect of an ‘illusion,’” Louzecky said. “Free will is an illusion.”

Dr. Louzecky received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from UW-Madison and is the author of The Good Life. He also has served as Chair of the UW Colleges Philosophy Department and is a past recipient of the Wisconsin Professor of the Year Award by the Carnegie Foundation. His research interests focus on the problems of consciousness, the nature of rationality, and what it is to live well.

All presentations are held in the Wombat Room (Room 2114) at 7 p.m. Admission is free to the community and students. Upcoming presentations also will be offered during the Spring 2014 semester. Watch for future notices on specific lectures.

For more information on the Speakers’ Series or UW-Sheboygan, contact Carrie Hoppe, UW-Sheboygan Director of University Relations, at (920) 459-6612 or e-mail

Images of the people and places of UW-Sheboygan County