MIT24_120s09_lec17 - MIT OpenCourseWare http/ocw.mit.edu 24.120 Moral Psychology Spring 2009 For information about citing these materials or our

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MIT OpenCourseWare http://ocw.mit.edu 24.120 Moral Psychology Spring 2009 For information about citing these materials or our Terms of Use, visit: http://ocw.mit.edu/terms .
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24.120 MORAL PSYCHOLOGY RICHARD HOLTON XVII Free Will V: Choice ASPECTS OF FREE WILL Nietzsche: the will “is a unit only as a word”. ( Beyond Good and Evil § 19 ) Some different dimensions: moral; theological; agential; phenomenological. Much of the intuitive pressure for free will comes from the phenomenology. Johnson: “Sir we know our will is free, and there’s an end on’t”. “You are surer that you can lift up your finger or not as you please than you are of any conclusion from a deduction of reasoning.” “All theory is against the freedom of the will; all experience for it”. (All quotations from Boswell’s Life . Compare Locke: “I cannot have a clearer perception of any thing than that I am free”, letter to Molyneux 1693 ) Libertarianism misses this point, as noted, for instance, by Anthony Collins who objects to those who appeal to vulgar experience to support libertarian views, “yet, inconsistently therewith, contradict the vulgar experience, by owning it to be an intricate matter , and treating it after an intricate matter.” ( An Inquiry Concerning Human Liberty , Second Edition 1717 , p. 30 ) THE PHENOMENOLOGY OF FREEDOM What is the nature of the experience? Even here, many aspects: phenomenology of agency (absent in anarchic hand syndrome); phenomenology of deliberation; phenomenology of choice. The concern here is with the last of these. This is an experience of an act of choice or decision (i.e. a decision to, not a decision that) . Central contention: there is an activity of making a choice; it happens when the question of what to do arises (for many actions it never does: dual process model); it is significant because of: The necessity of choice for certain actions. Once the question of what to do has arisen, in order to move to action we need to make a choice about what to do. The beliefs and desires that we have are not, on their own, enough. Moreover they are not enough to cause our choices. Thus neither our actions nor our choices are determined by our prior beliefs and desires. The sufficiency of choice for certain actions. Standardly, having made the choice we will now act: given the right context, the choice is effective in taking us to action. Both of these are features that we can defeasibly be aware of in experience. They are, however, compatible with determinism. They are only incompatible with a particular way in which our actions might be determined, i.e. by beliefs and desires. (For some reason most compatibilists seem to have given themselves the job of analysing freedom in terms of beliefs and desires. This is mistaken twice over; firstly, in trying to give an analysis at all; secondly in trying to do it in terms of beliefs and desires.)
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This note was uploaded on 01/25/2012 for the course PHIL 201H1F taught by Professor Derekallen during the Fall '10 term at University of Toronto- Toronto.

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MIT24_120s09_lec17 - MIT OpenCourseWare http/ocw.mit.edu 24.120 Moral Psychology Spring 2009 For information about citing these materials or our

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