Unformatted text preview: Essay Evaluation Key // Exam #2 Rand // Philosophy 2010 Fall 2010 The topic statement: In "Why We Have No Free Will and Can Live Without It," Derk Pereboom argues for something he calls "hard incompatibilism." This position includes the rejection of the kind of "agent causation" Roderick Chisholm argues for in "Human Freedom and the Self." What is agent causation? How does it differ from whatever other kind(s) of causation there are? What is Chisholm's argument in favor of agent causation? (If you think he has more than one, just talk about his best one.) What is Pereboom's argument against this type of causation? Who is right, Chisholm or Pereboom? Whoever you think is right, show that they are right by picking some argument against their position (either from the other, or from van Inwagen's article), and then defending them from that argument. If you think that there is a relevant point that these authors missed, talk about it at the end of your essay. The key: What is agent causation? - Proponents of agent causation assert that the cause of an event may be an agent (or "person" or "human") rather than simply another event. How does agent causation differ from whatever other kind(s) of causation there are? - Agent causation ("AC") is most often contrasted with event causation ("EC"). Proponents of EC claim that only an event can cause an event. Proponents of AC claim that some events may be caused by agents. o [Note: Chisholm seems to say both that for any event caused by an agent, we may choose to locate the agent-cause at a number of different stages of remove from the event, and that for any event caused by an agent, there must be some event only caused by an agent, and not also caused by an event; see p. 433L: "We may say that the hand was moved by the man, but we may also say that the motion of the hand was caused by the motion of certain muscles; and we may say that the motion of the muscles was caused by certain events that took place within the brain. But some event, and presumably one of those that took place within brain, was caused by the agent and not by any other events.") What is Chisholm's argument in favor of agent causation? - Argument from Responsibility: 1. If determinism is true, then, if EC is the only kind of causation, then there is no human responsibility. 2. If indeterminism is true, then, if EC is the only kind of causation, then there is no human responsibility. 3. Either determinism is true, or indeterminism is true. 4. Therefore (from 1, 2, and 3), if EC is the only kind of causation, there is no human responsibility. 5. There is human responsibility. 6. Therefore (from 4 and 5) EC is not the only kind of causation. 7. AC is (i) compatible with human responsibility, (ii) compatible with our normal ways of talking about and explaining human actions, and (iii) logically consistent. 8. Therefore (from 5, 6, and 7), we can and should endorse AC as another kind of causation. - There are other options here: o Argument from causation generally (infinite regress of causes) What is Pereboom's argument against AC? - Argument from Quantum Mechanics: 1. AC attributes "enhanced control" over supposedly undetermined mental processes to agents by claiming that agents cause event-effects that are themselves uncaused by event-causes. 2. The event-effects caused by agents (or further event-effects of those event- effects) include changes in the natural world. 3. Therefore (by 1 and 2), AC requires that there are changes in the natural world that are not caused by event-causes. 4. AC requires that the event-effects (including changes in the natural world) caused by agents not be governed by determinate statistical regularities. 5. Our best physical theories assert either that all changes in the natural world are caused by event-causes (classical and relativistic theories), or that all changes in the natural world occur with determinate statistical regularity (quantum theory). 6. Therefore (by 3, 4, and 5), AC contradicts our best physical theories. 7. Accounts of free will that contradict our best physical theories are false. 8. Therefore (by 6 and 7), accounts of free will relying on AC are false. - There are other options here: o Argument from lack of moral criterion Who is right? - This part is judged on a case-by-case basis. Grading Four elements: (1) Definitions (2) Chisholm Argument Reconstruction (3) Pereboom Argument Reconstruction (4) Evaluation of their arguments Values: Excellent, Very Good, Good/OK, Fair, Poor Values combine to result in final grade ...
View Full Document
- Fall '10
- Philosophy, Causality, Chisholm