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Philosophy Major Presents Research at National Conference  

Felipe PereiraPhilosophy major Felipe Pereira presented a paper at the 12th annual undergraduate philosophy conference at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, which took place on October 20th and 21st. Pereira was selected to present his original research paper "Libertarianism and a Counterfactual Account of Freedom" at the esteemed conference.

Pereira's paper provides a unique contribution to the philosophical literature on free will. In it, he argues that one of the more influential accounts of causation (i.e. the counterfactual account) provides reason to believe that the libertarian criteria for free will are actually satisfied. Libertarians about free will (which are distinct from political libertarians) believe that free actions require some level of indeterminism. Simply put, Pereira argues that if a plausible account of causation is true, then there is reason to believe we have free will.

Pereira originally wrote this paper for a class on philosophy taught by Dr. Mark Couch. Pereira made sure to note that "Dr. Couch's Metaphysics course made a great impression on me. I was introduced to many interesting topics in his class, including the question of free will. He did a good job showing us how problems in metaphysics are relevant to everyone – for example, by relating free will to moral responsibility. I am very interested at how abstract theories can often influence us in very concrete ways."

This research will serve as a foundation for some of Pereira's future work. He is interested in the intersection between free will, moral responsibility, and social justice, and seeing how these can inform some of the most important debates in practical ethics.

After completing his BA in Philosophy at Seton Hall University, Pereira plans to pursue a PhD in philosophy. He will be well prepared with the help of the Seton Hall faculty. Pereira added that "Dr. Michael Maloney, from the Honors Program, and Dr. Couch have helped me become a more lucid writer. Also, Dr. Judith Stark and Dr. Travis Timmerman from Philosophy have often taken time to advise me and encourage me to continue writing. This paper would not have existed without these people."

In addition to exploring questions about freewill, studying philosophy at SHU will expose you to some of the most fundamental and intellectually interesting questions about the world and our place in it. What is the nature of reality? Do you exist? What is the purpose of the law? What constitutes a life worth living? Is death bad for you? You will also acquire superior critical and analytic reasoning and writing skills, which provide excellent preparation for many different career paths.

For more information about the Philosophy Department, please visit our web-site and contact Dr. Abe Zakhem at

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For more information, please contact:

  • Abe Zakhem
  • (973) 761-9480
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