Lay summary
The main motivation for the present Doctoral Program, where different research projects are united in one collaborative scheme, is the integration of the topics presented in the different Research Modules. Those topics present a variety of common lines of interest and inquiry. Here are some.
One of the aims of the project Causal properties and laws of nature (M2) is to inquire into the difference between Humean and causal theory of properties and on the consequences of these views with respect to our conception of laws of nature. Where on the Humean view laws of nature are at best representations of regularities in the distribution of properties, on the causal conception those laws express powers properties endow their bearers with. The project looks at the consequences of these two views with respect to both, deterministic and probabilistic laws. Now, this issue is obviously relevant for the question about the veridicality of our alledged experience of free agency. This is one of the main questions the project First person access, phenomenological reflection and phenomenal concepts (M1) aims to deal with. We need to know what a deterministic conception involves in order to establish the conditions under which the experience of agency would be veridical (or illusiory, as some maintain). But on the other side it is also relevant to establish whether our notion of free action is indeed compelled to stand against considerations that emerge from our study of the laws of nature. This point impinges on methodological considerations that are at issue in the two projects. What is the relevance, for instance, of empirical findings in the study of the phenomenology of the experience of agency? Results on this issue that are expected to emerge from M1 should be relevant for an evalution of the consequences a theory concerning the laws of nature can have on our understanding of the mind.
The research module on Epistemic Evidentialism (M5) addresses the recent debate about the role of evidence in the justification of our beliefs. One of the issue raised in that project is related to epistemic normativity. Epistemic norms are norms of belief and so they concern the reasons we use in the process of forming beliefs. This yields an obvious relation to the question concerning the nature of practical reasons addressed in M3. But the debate concerning the nature of mental action, as it is described under M1, could also help to shed new light on the difference between practical and theoretical rationality, as it emerges i.a. in M3.