Freewill and Determinism Adam D. Moore I. Definitions: Mapping the Terrain A. Determinism is the thesis that for every event that occurs there are antecedent events such that given those antecedent events and the laws of nature, no other event could have happened. Causal determinism & Predictive determinism http://www.eequalsmcsquared.auckland.ac.nz/sites/emc2/tl/philosophy/dice.cfm Causal determinism says that every event is caused by, and hence determined by, previous events. Someone who believes in causal determinism is making what philosophers call an "ontological" claim, i.e., a claim about the nature of reality in itself. By way of contrast, predictive determinism says that if causal determinism is true, and if - in addition - we have knowledge about the causes of an event and the laws of nature that govern the occurrence of that sort of event, then we can have knowledge of (i.e., predict) future events. Someone who believes in predictive determinism is making what philosophers call an "epistemological" claim, i.e., a claim about our knowledge of reality. B. Distinction between Determinism and Fatalism: Fatalism is the thesis that all events are determined by fate (or sometimes that all important events are determined by fate) and are, therefore, unalterable by humans. Human actions (or intentions) are irrelevant to what happens. [Sometimes the view is that whatever humans do, while it may have effects, "plays into fate?s hands".] 2. Determinism holds that human actions and intentions, while caused like any other events, do (like other events) make a difference in what happens. Though there are many things which our actions cannot affect, there are many things that they do affect. C. Libertarianism is the view that there are some free actions ? that is, while most events etc. have a cause there are some that do not. Not all things are caused. D. Compatibalism is the view that everything is caused (in a sense) and there are free actions. II. Arguments for Determinism: A. Scientific Evidence: 1) LaPlace?s Boast: If a sufficiently clever demon knew the position and momentum of every particle in the universe at a given time, and all the laws of motion, she could predict (or retrodict) the complete state of the universe at any other time. 2) Unfortunately, the history of science in this century has been a retreat from determinism. The most popular interpretation of certain results in quantum physics is indeterministic. This interpretation (Heisenberg's) is not just sceptical (holding that we cannot know both the position and momentum of a sub-atomic particle) but metaphysical (holding that it is not true that the particle has a determinate position and momentum). A Possible Reply: Determinism at different levels A common view says that the behaviour of some sub-atomic particles is undetermined (quantum indeterminacy), whereas the behaviour at higher levels is determined On this view, determinism is false, strictly speaking Nevertheless, determinism holds at all higher levels. E.g. chemistry, molecular biology, neuroscience etc. http://220.127.116.11/search?q=cache:k-nl0vUjKrkJ:eis.bris.ac.uk/~plmes/Lecture2.ppt+g.e.+moore+compatibilism+ppt&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us B. Appeal to Intelligibility: 1. Some have argued that the world is unintelligible unless we suppose that determinism is true because we cannot make sense of an uncaused event. 2. Replies: a. Many philosophers and physicists claim to have no trouble conceiving of uncaused events. (Though, if it makes you feel any better, Einstein never accepted quantum physics because of its indeterminism saying, "God does not throw dice".) b. In any case, appeals to unintelligibility are weak arguments. Why should it be assume that the world is constructed in such a way as to be completely intelligible to us? C. Pragmatic justification: Some hold that determinism is a good working hypothesis for science, that believing that it is true leads us to the truth more often than would believing it is false. The idea is that part of what fuels the scientist?s curiosity is the insistent belief that there are causes to be found. D. The "Dilemma of Determinism" Many have argued that the truth of determinism would destroy the possibility of human freewill. The reasoning goes roughly as follows: Since human acts are events they are determined by earlier events, and whatever events determine human acts are themselves determined by still earlier events. This chain of causes can be traced back to events which happened before a person (or any persons) lived. The acts we perform today are, according to determinism, the inevitable effects of events that happened millions of years ago (events totally outside our control). So, no one is free to act differently than they in fact do act. This view is called ?incompatibilism?. Example: The Case of Leopold and Loeb Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold, Jr., more commonly known as Leopold and Loeb, were two wealthy young men who believed themselves to be so clever, respectable, and talented as to be able to commit the perfect crime without fear of punishment. On Wednesday, May 21, 1924, they set out to prove it. Leopold and Loeb, each 19 years of age, lured 14-year-old Bobby Franks, a distant relative of Loeb's, into a car, where they suffocated him, perhaps after bludgeoning him with a chisel. After dumping the body outside of Chicago, they did their best to make it seem that a kidnapping for ransom had taken place: The Franks family had enough money that a request for $10,000 in ransom was plausible. Before the family could assemble the ransom, though, railway workers found the body. Investigators saw at once that this couldn't be a simple kidnapping, since there would have been no reason for a kidnapper to kill Bobby Franks. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leopold_and_Loeb Loeb's family hired 67-year-old Clarence Darrow, who had fought against capital punishment for years, to defend the boys. When everyone expected them to plead not guilty by reason of insanity, Darrow surprised everyone by having them both plead guilty. In this way, he avoided a jury trial which, due to the strong public sentiment, would certainly have resulted in a pair of hangings. Instead, he was able to argue before a single judge, pleading for the lives of his clients. Darrow gave a lengthy speech which has justifiably been called the finest of his career. It may be, in fact, that he took the case in order to be able to make such a speech, since he knew that his strong argument against capital punishment would be reprinted in newspapers around the world. And if he could show that such heinous murderers should go free, perhaps he would make other capital punishment cases more difficult to prosecute. In the end, the judge sentenced each of Leopold and Loeb to a sentence of life in prison for the murder and 99 years for the kidnapping. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leopold_and_Loeb Darrow?s Defense: An Overview C. Darrow There are no accidents in nature. I know that effect follows cause. I know that if I were wise enough, and knew enough about this case, I could lay my finger on the cause. Children are born without knowledge - tabula rasa Loeb read detective stories - stories of crime - every day. State Statute: minors cannot read crime stories because it would produce criminal tendencies in the boys who read them. As a child Loeb began to shadow people and fantasize about criminal activity. How did this behavior develop? It seems to be as natural as the day following the night. He first conceived of the perfect crime - one that nobody could ever detect. This idea grew in his dwarfed and twisted brain - the mind of a child. Its growth was not due to any wickedness of Dickie Loeb - for he is a child. We don't hold children morally responsible for their actions because they don't know any better - Loeb is no different. Where did Loeb get this idea of the perfect crime? How was his life shaped? Was a boy of five or six to blame for it?? If we could get a psychologist to examine him these tendencies would be traced back to the gradual growth of the child. Nature is strong and she is pitiless. She works in her own mysterious way, and we are her victims. We have not much to do with it ourselves. All of these tendencies and character traits were handed to Dickie Loeb by his father, mother, governesses, and wealth. He did not make them himself. And yet he is to be compelled to pay. In England they used to convene court to try dogs and horses. Do you mean to tell me that Dickie Loeb had anything more to do with this making than any other product or heredity that is born upon the earth?? If anyone is responsible it is the parents. I know that one of two things happened to Richard Loeb: that this terrible crime was inherent in his organism, and came from ancestor; or that it came through his education and his training after he was born. The boy was not responsible for these things. Moreover, if it came from heredity it is not his fault either. Conclusion: Under every principle of natural justice, conscious, right, and law, he should not be made responsible for the acts of someone else. It would be an act of cruelty, of injustice, of wrong and barbarism to visit the death penalty upon this poor boy. See dilemma of determinism arg. (slide 11) 1. People who have accepted this line of reasoning, have argued in one of two ways: a) Hard Determinism: Premise 1. If determinism is true, then there is no freewill. Premise 2. Determinism is true. Conclusion: Therefore, there is no freewill. b) Libertarianism: Premise 1. If determinism is true, then there is no freewill. Premise 2. There is freewill. Conclusion: Therefore, determinism is not true. C. Others have rejected the common assumption of these arguments (incompatibilism), holding that determinism and freewill are compatible. This view is called, predictably, compatibilism. III. Libertarians, Determinists, and Compatibilists 1. If the thesis of determinism is true, then there are no free actions. 2. The thesis of determinism is true - everything is causally determined. 3. So, there are no free actions 4. If there are no free actions, then no one is responsible for her actions. 5. So, no one is responsible for her actions Determinist Libertarian Compatibilist #1 accepts accepts rejects #2 accepts rejects accepts #3 accepts rejects rejects #4 accepts accepts accepts #5 accepts rejects rejects A. Libertarian position: Accepts premises 1 and 4 of the determinist argument. Rejects 2, 3 and 5 of that argument. Notice that the libertarian and the determinist have something in common - They both accept premise 1. This is why they are both Incompatibilists. Both Determinists and Libertarians think that the thesis of determinism and the claim that there are free actions are incompatible - they cannot both be true. Note, only the Compatibilist rejects this premise - this is why they are called compatibilists. So, how does the libertarian defend his position?? The main strategy in the Libertarian argument is to try to show that there are some free actions. Then given P1 asserting the incompatibility of determinism and free actions, the Libertarian concludes that determinism is false. The Libertarian Argument 1. If there are free actions then the thesis of determinism is false 2. There are free actions 3. So, the thesis of determinism is false Note: The conclusion of the determinist argument is denied in the 1st premise of the L argument and vice versa. Even so, they share a common assumption - that being - if determinism is true then there are no free actions or if there are free actions then determinism is false. So, the upshot is both must argue for their second premise given that they both accept some form of P1. (Let?s start with determinism) B. Determinist Arg. For P2. 1. He points out that his P2 - the thesis of determinism - is widely believed. It is a matter of common sense. 2. He also points out that no matter how hard we try, we seem unable to think of a counterexample to P2. To find a counterexample to the thesis of determinism one needs to find a clear and reasonably uncontroversial example of some actual event that has no cause (not merely an event whose cause we don't know yet). But nobody seems able to do this. This inability is good evidence for the thesis of determinism. IV. Libertarian Arguments For Free Actions A. The argument from deliberation shows that we all believe that we have free actions - it is a matter of common sense. To deliberate about whether to eat pizza or drink beer implies that we actually have a choice in the matter - these actions are free. B. The Introspection Argument. 1. We often find by introspection that we have the feeling of being free. 2. This feeling of being free is evidence that we are free. 3. So, we have good evidence that we are sometimes free Evidence that a murder happened is an experience - suppose you witness the killing. In much the same way, evidence that you have freewill is based on experience - like those we have when we introspect. C. Determinist Reply: But many of our experiences are fallible. Consider the information we obtain from our senses - many times we believe things that are false. D. Libertarian Ans.: Yes, it is the case that sometimes our senses deceive us but this is not a good reason to reject all beliefs based on sensation. Our senses give us false information (sometimes) but this is not sufficient to eliminate sensory information from grounding knowledge. It is the same with introspection. E. Empirical Evidence That We Could Have Done Otherwise 1. We sometimes have adequate empirical evidence that we could have done otherwise (e.g. hand raising experiment). 2. If we sometimes have adequate empirical evidence that we could have done otherwise, then we also sometimes have adequate evidence that we perform free actions. 3. If we sometimes have adequate empirical evidence that we perform free actions, then we have adequate empirical evidence that the thesis of determinism is false. 4. So, we have adequate empirical evidence that the thesis of determinism is false. V. Compatibilism (Sometimes called Soft-Determinism) A. The compatibilist rejects P1 of both the determinist (see below) and Libertarian arguments - If the thesis of determinism is true then there are no free actions - or equivalently - If there are free actions, then the thesis of determinism is false. The Deteministic Arg. Premise 1. If determinism is true, then there is no freewill. Premise 2. Determinism is true. Conclusion: Therefore, there is no freewill. B. The first attempt by the Compatibilist to show that free action and determinism are really compatible involves the idea that a full definition of what an action is reveals that actions have mental components as parts. It is these mental components that are the causes of one's behavior. C. Reply: This line of argument forgets about the fact that this mental component - whatever we call it - is also ancestorally determined. It, too, depends of factors that existed before the person was born - factors which are not in the person's control. D. A New Way to Think About Compatibilism: First, argue that the faculty of volition is caused by evolution and the faculty allows humans to start causal chains. In this way it could be argued that everything is caused but there are still free actions. Compatibilism and Freedom ?They believe that to have free will, to be a free agent, to be free in choice and action, is simply to be free from constraints of certain sorts. Freedom is a matter of not being physically or psychologically forced or compelled to do what one does. Your character, personality, preferences, and general motivational set may be entirely determined by events for which you are in no way responsible (by your genetic inheritance, upbringing, subsequent experience, and so on). But you do not have to be in control of any of these things in order to have compatibilist freedom. They do not constrain or compel you, because compatibilist freedom is just a matter of being able to choose and act in the way one prefers or thinks best given how one is. As its name declares, it is compatible with determinism.? http://www.rep.routledge.com/article/V014SECT1 What You Should Know Determinism Definition and arguments for and against Libertarianism Definition and arguments for and against Compatibalism, def. The differences and similarities between these theories.
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