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Phi1Handout9 - what kind of cause it has D Why given causal...

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Phi 1: Introduction to Philosophy Fall 2010 Handout 9 I. Compatibilism A. Compatibilism : the thesis free will and determinism are compatible. B. Ayer’s version: 1. Accepts the argument which concludes that some form of determinism must hold for free actions. 2. Tries to show how in spite of this, some of our actions can be free. II. Ayer’s defense of compatibilism A. Ayer defends compatibilism by arguing that free action is not the opposite of determined action, but of a different notion of constrained action . 1. Examples of constraint: a. Physical compulsion (someone moving your hand). b. Hypnosis. c. Gun-to-the-head. d. ‘Habitual ascendancy’. e. Kleptomania. 2. In each of these cases, the agent either has no choice, or their choice is not relevant to the action taken. B. Actions are free if they are done without constraint. One is not responsible for an action done under constraint. C. Hence, whether an action is free depends not on whether it has a cause, but on
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Unformatted text preview: what kind of cause it has. D. Why, given causal determinism, is this the relevant notion? Ayer replies by sketching an account of causation: 1. An event of type A causes an event of B if whenever an A event occurs, a B event occurs. Usually, furthermore, there is a general law that implies that this relation holds. 2. The only results of this notion of cause are that causal connections are regular and (usually) explicable. E. Ayer suggests this notion of cause is to weak to generate the incompatibility of free will and causal determinism. He maintains that only the stronger notion, constraint, is incompatible. III. Incompatibilist objections A. Ayer’s argument appears to imply that we are free to break the laws of physics. B. This appears to show that his notion of causation is too weak....
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