V Freedom _ Determinism

V Freedom _ Determinism - V. Freedom and Determinism...

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V. Freedom and Determinism Introduction [ 378-383] D’Holbach, “We are Completely Determined” Taylor, no reading
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A. Introduction
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1. Determinism : Everything that happens is determined by causal laws Nothing just happens Every event that has occurred in the past had to occur just as it did Every event that will occur in the future must occur; the future cannot be changed No event escapes the causal laws of nature
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Example: Throwing dice Seems random Dice are used in games because it adds a randomizing effect, BUT. .. Given the initial force, friction, initial angular momentum, etc., the dice must come up exactly as they do In fact, if we knew the initial conditions, any physicist could accurately predict how the dice will come up Given the laws of mechanics, it must Not really random
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Application: our bodies and brains are subject to these laws of nature The particles in my brain are subject to the same causal laws as every other particle Just like billiard balls, my next brain state is determined by the one I’m having right now, plus input from my senses, plus the laws of nature But real free will implies that future events are not fully determined by the present, that things might be different depending on how one chooses Hence if determinism is true, freedom of choice is one big illusion
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Some Types of Determinism Causal Determinism Determinism by way of the causal laws of nature Laplace and Newton’s Laws Theological Determinism Determinism by way of God’s foreknowledge Spacetime Determinism Determinism by way of an actually existing block universe
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2. Libertarianism : A person’s decisions and choices are not fully determined. People have the ability to choose between options Right now, you have the option of doing many different acts Which occurs all depends on your free decision Your decision had no prior cause There are no strict laws governing your choices and thought processes Even people with strong predispositions (e.g., alcoholics) have the ability to choose to do otherwise on a given occasion
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Evidence of freewill: Deliberation There is a difference between involuntary acts (sneezing) and those we choose to do (lifting my arm) When faced with options, it seems clear that we could choose any of them That’s why it takes time to decide It’s up to us
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Evidence of freewill: Moral Responsibility Many Nazi leaders were captured and executed
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V Freedom _ Determinism - V. Freedom and Determinism...

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