PH100 Lecture Notes

Determinism is false not all actions are caused •

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Unformatted text preview: Determinism is false: not all actions are caused • Humans are special: they transcend natural and physical laws. • Human actions are free. • There is free will. • Problems: ◦ Libertarianism must provide an account that explains what makes us special ▪ Are we special because we are not entirely physical beings? ▪ Or are we special because we are not subject to the laws of nature that govern everything else? ▪ Ad hoc (something every arbitrary) ◦ What is freedom? ▪ Suppose that libertarianism is true: determinism is false and therefore, some actions are uncaused. But does “uncaused mean “free”? ▪ An uncaused event seems to be a random event. ▪ Suggestion: an action is free if it is caused by an agent. ( agent causality ) – action caused by you, but not is any mechanistic way ▪ Either my action was the product of my beliefs and desires or it was not. (if no, the actions is random; if yes, back to determinism) 3. Soft determinism or Compatibilism • Freedom is compatible with determinism • We have misunderstood the concept freedom • We should not think of free events as uncaused events • Events which are caused by prior events can be free • Sider, p. 127 Suggestions to the meaning of “free” 1. A free action is one that is caused by the person's beliefs and desires. 2. A free action is one that is caused by the person's beliefs and desires, provided that the person was not compelled by another person to have those beliefs and desires. 3. A free action is one that is caused by the person's beliefs and desires, provided that those beliefs and desires flow from “who the person is”. (Frankfurt) Evaluating the suggestions 1. A free action is one that is caused by the person's beliefs and desires • Actions that are coerced do no count as free. • Actions that are performed due to our own beliefs and desires do count as free, even if determinism is true. • Problem: We might be forced to want to perform certain actions (e.g., by hypnotic suggestion). In that case, the performance of those actions will be free according to the first suggestion. 2. A free action is one that is caused by the person's beliefs and desires, provided that the person was not compelled by another person to have those beliefs and desires. • Question: what's the meaning of “compelled” ◦ “compelled” = caused • Actions that are the result of hypnotic suggestion do not count as free – even if we want to do those actions. • Problem: This suggestion turns out to be too strong: too many actions will be counted as not free. ◦ Sider, p. 130 3. A free action is one that is caused by the person's beliefs and desires, provided that those beliefs and desires flow from “who the person is”....
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Determinism is false not all actions are caused • Humans...

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