Phi1Handout8 - Phi 1: Introduction to Philosophy Fall 2010...

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Phi 1: Introduction to Philosophy Fall 2010 Handout 8 I. The problem of free will A. Free action: an action done when the agent could have done otherwise. B. Free actions are the ones for which agents are held responsible. Lack of freedom constitutes a reason an agent is not responsible for an action. C. Free will: the ability to perform free actions. D. It strongly seems to us that we have free will (e.g. van Inwagen’s examples of deciding whether to marry someone or signing a DNR order). II. The apparent conflict between free will and determinism A. Determinism : the initial state of the world, plus the laws that govern it, determine its subsequent states. Hence, given an event that takes place today, that the event occurs is a consequence of the laws, plus the state of the world at some distant past time. B. Consequence of determinism: at any given point in time, there is only one course of events that is open (in van Inwagen’s terms, no branches among the open alternative futures). C. The incompatibilist argument (easy version): if there are no branches for different open futures, you could not really have done anything else, so there is no free will.
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This note was uploaded on 11/18/2010 for the course PHILOSOPHY 75011 taught by Professor Glanzberg during the Spring '10 term at UC Davis.

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Phi1Handout8 - Phi 1: Introduction to Philosophy Fall 2010...

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