Introduction to Philosophy (Fall '09) - class#19

Introduction to Philosophy (Fall '09) - class#19 -...

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Unformatted text preview: Organizational Information The second assignment will be posted on the The class website next Tuesday. class It will be due in Discussion Section on Friday Dec. It 4th 4th It will have the exact same structure as the first It writing assignment. writing The final exam has been scheduled for 12/17 The at 8:00. at Duh! No class next Thursday. Review From Last Time There are two pairs of fundamental questions in the There traditional free will debate: traditional Pair #1 Question 1a: Is free will compatible with determinism? Question 1b: Do we have free will? Question 2a: Is moral responsibility compatible with Question determinism? determinism? Question 2b: Are we ever morally responsible for what we Question do? do? Pair #2 Our focus: 1a and 2a Review From Last Time Free Will X has free will at a time, t =def. at t, X can perform has can some action and X can also perform some other action. action. In other words, X has free will at a time just in In case X has a choice about what to do at that time. case And, in yet other words, X had free will at a time And, just in case X could have done otherwise than X actually did at that time. actually At most times in our lives we take At ourselves to have free will. ourselves Review From Last Time Determinism The world is deterministic =def. the complete initial state of the The deterministic world and the laws of nature determine the exact state of the world at every subsequent point in time. world If determinism is true there is but one physically possible If way that the world could unfold from the beginning of time to the end of time. If determinism is true, then everything that has happened, If is happening, and ever will happen--including everything every person has done, is doing, and will ever do--was determined by the laws of nature and the state of the world at the time of the Big Bang. world If determinism is true, at the time of the Big Bang, one could have If predicted, using the laws of nature, everything that will happen in the world till the end of time. the Review From Last Time Many contemporary physicists think that determinism Many is not true. is But even if determinism is not true, there is still this But interesting question: interesting If determinism were true would anyone ever have free will? That is, if determinism were true would anyone ever be able That to do otherwise than they in fact do? to Free Will Incompatibilism (FWI) is the thesis that if determinism is true, then no one can do otherwise than she in fact does. true, Free Will Compatibilism (FWC) iis the thesis that it is not the case s that if determinism is true, then no one can do otherwise than she in fact does. in Free Will Incompatibilists say no! Free Will Compatibilists reject FWI. Free FWI Review From Last Time Here is a line of reasoning that Here many Free Will Incompatibilists think shows that FWI is true: FWI “If determinism is true, then our acts are If the consequences of the laws of nature and events in the remote past. But it is not up to us what went on before we were born, and neither is it up to us what the laws of nature are. Therefore, the consequences of these things (including our present acts) are not up to us.” (Peter van Inwagen An Essay on Free Will, 56) An Review From Last Time But why do we care either whether free will is compatible with But determinism or whether we have free will? determinism Because, many people think, free will is necessary for moral Because, responsibility. responsibility. X iis morally responsible for doing something =def. X is either s morally morally blameworthy or morally praiseworthy for doing it. morally If one thinks that FWI is true and one thinks that free will is If FWI necessary for moral responsibility, then one is committed to the incompatibility of determinism and moral responsibility. incompatibility Responsibility Incompatibilism (RI) iis the thesis that if s determinism is true, then no one is morally responsible for anything. anything. The Problem of Free Will In addition to modus ponens and In modus tollens, there is another form of argument that is valid. argument Transitivity 1. If p, then q. If then 2. If q, then r. If then 3. Therefore, if p, then r. Therefore, then 1,2T The Problem of Free Will Master Argument for RI Master RI If determinism is true, then no one can If do otherwise than she in fact does. do 2. If no one can do otherwise than she in If fact does, then no one is morally responsible for anything. responsible 3. Therefore, if determinism is true, then Therefore, no one is morally responsible for anything. anything. 1,2T 1. The Problem of Free Will Justification for premise 1: Premise 1 is just FWI. Premise FWI The justification for that is the line of The reasoning I mentioned before: reasoning “If determinism is true, then our acts are the If consequences of the laws of nature and events in the remote past. But it is not up to us what went on before we were born, and neither is it up to us what the laws of nature are. Therefore, the consequences of these things (including our present acts) are not up to us.” (including The Problem of Free Will Justification for premise 2: People accept the second premise People because they endorse: because The Principle of Alternative Possibilities (PAP): A person, S, iis s Possibilities ): morally responsible for doing something only if S could have done otherwise than do it. do The Problem of Free Will The Master Argument for Responsibility The Incompatibilism is valid, so if one wants to reply to it one must reject one of its premises. reply For a long time most opponents of the For argument focused on the first premise. argument There are a number of ways one might try to reject There FWI. FWI. We’re not going to look at replies to the argument We’re that involve rejecting FWI. that The Problem of Free Will Until relatively recently (the 1960s!) Until most people thought premise 2 was unquestionable because it follows from PAP. PAP. And PAP seems unquestionable. We seem to implicitly appeal to PAP all We the time. The Problem of Free Will In “Alternate Possibilities and Moral In Responsibility” Harry Frankfurt offered an ingenious argument for the claim that PAP is false. that Frankfurt’s argument convinced a lot of Frankfurt’s people that PAP is false. The Problem of Free Will “A dominant role in nearly all recent inquiries into the dominant free-will problem has been played by a principle which I shall call “the principle of alternate possibilities.” This principle states that a person is morally responsible for what he has done only if he could have done otherwise…. Practically no one, however, seems inclined to deny or even to question that the principle is true. It has generally seemed so overwhelmingly plausible that some philosophers have even characterized it as an a priori truth…. priori But the principle of alternate possibilities is false. A But person may well be morally responsible for what he has done even though he could not have done otherwise.” otherwise.” The Problem of Free Will Frankfurt then goes on to offer a Frankfurt counterexample to PAP. counterexample A counterexample to a principle is a counterexample possible hypothetical scenario which demonstrates the falsity of that principle. The Problem of Free Will Frankfurt’s Story (part 1) “Suppose someone -- Black, let us say -- wants Jones Suppose to perform a certain action. Black is prepared to go to considerable lengths to get his way, but he prefers to avoid showing his hand unnecessarily. So he waits until Jones is about to make up his mind what to do, and he does nothing unless it is clear to him (Black is an excellent judge of such things) that Jones is going to do something other than what he wants him to do. other If it does become clear that Jones is going to decide to do something else, Black takes effective steps to ensure that Jones decides to do, and that he does do, what he wants him to do. Whatever Jones’s initial preferences and inclinations, then, Black will have his way.” way.” The Problem of Free Will Frankfurt’s Story (part 2) “What steps will Black take, if he believes he must take What steps, in order to ensure that Jones decides and acts as he wishes?… Let Black pronounce a terrible threat, and in this way both force Jones to perform the desired action and prevent him from performing a forbidden one. Let Black give Jones a potion, or put him under hypnosis, and in some such way as these generate in Jones an irresistible inner compulsion to perform the act Black wants performed and to avoid others. Or let Black manipulate processes of Jones’s brain and nervous system in some more direct way, so that causal forces running in and out of his synapses and along the poor man’s nerves determine that he chooses to act and that he does act in one way and not in any other. Given any conditions under which it will be maintained that Jones cannot do otherwise, in other words, let Black bring it about that those conditions prevail.” about The Problem of Free Will Frankfurt’s Story (part 3) “Now suppose that Black never has to show his hand Now because Jones, for reasons of his own, decides to perform and does perform the very action Black wants him to perform. In that case, it seems clear, Jones will bear precisely the same moral responsibility for what he does as would have borne if Black had not been ready to take steps to ensure that he do it. It would be quite unreasonable to excuse Jones for his action, or to withhold the praise to which it would normally entitle him, on the basis of the fact that he could not have done otherwise. This fact played no role at all in leading him to act as he did. He would have acted the same even if it had not been a fact. Indeed, everything happened just as it would have happened without Black’s presence in the situation and without his readiness to intrude.” situation The Problem of Free Will Frankfurt’s Argument Against PAP 1. If PAP is true, then Jones is not morally If responsible for his action in Frankfurt’s story. story. 2. It is not the case that Jones is not morally It responsible for his action in Frankfurt’s story. story. 3. Therefore, it is not the case that PAP is Therefore, true. true. 1,2MT The Problem of Free Will Justification for premise 1: According to PAP, if you can’t do otherwise than According you in fact do, then you are not morally responsible for what you do. responsible But, in Frankfurt’s story, because of Black’s But, presence in the background and his readiness to make Jones do what he wants him to do if he shows any inclination not to, Jones can’t do otherwise than he ends up doing. otherwise So, if PAP is true, it must be the case that Jones is So, not morally responsible for what he does in Frankfurt’s story. Frankfurt’s The Problem of Free Will Justification for premise 2: It seems intuitive that Jones is morally responsible It for what he does in Frankfurt’s story. for After all, in the story Black didn’t influence Jones After at all. at Jones does what he does in the story for his own Jones reasons, and, it seems, “his moral responsibility for doing it is not affected by the fact that Black was lurking in the background with sinister intent, since this intent never comes into play”. since ...
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This note was uploaded on 10/12/2010 for the course PHIL 100 taught by Professor Jeremy during the Spring '08 term at UMass (Amherst).

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