1. Freedoms: Political, religious, moral, metaphysical

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1 Lecture Twelve: The Free Will Problem Philosophy 200 November 27, 2012 I. Administration A. Roll B. Schedule C. Extra credit opportunity D. Long paper discussion E. Thoughts on SF#2 F. Questions? II. The Problem of Free Will A. The Problem: we are a part of the causal structure of the universe, which is to say that our behavior should be as amenable to explanation in terms of causes as the behavior of any system; however, we also seem to believe that we are free, which is to say that we have some measure of control over our behavior, regardless of any events that might occur prior to our decision to behave in that way. But how could our behavior be determined by prior causes and we be free at the same time? B. The Context of Free Will 1. The Diagram 2. Where should we focus our investigative eye? Chisholm believes we should look in the vicinity of C 2 for free will, whereas Hume believes that the debate centers on C 3 and C 4 (i.e., the action). C. Different Varieties of Freedom 1. Freedoms: Political, religious, moral, metaphysical a. Freedom as spontaneity: an action performed by an agent entirely on her own, without constraint or force or external

2 control. b. Freedom as alternatives: one has this when one has both the ability to perform an action and perform a contrary action. c. Freedom as indifference: the will is not impelled in one direction rather than another. D. Different Flavors of Determinism: Determinism is the doctrine that events that take place in the world are determined to happen by circumstances that obtain prior to those events. This doctrine can be cashed out in several ways, but there are two that are of interest to us. 1. Causal Determinism: An event e is causally determined if it is an effect of prior events. This can also be cast in terms of natural laws, assuming that those are causal laws. 2. Logical Determinism: An event e is logically determined if the proposition that it obtains follows as a logical consequence from other true propositions. 3. Theological Determinism: An event e is theologically determined if it is brought about by an omniscient god who knows the future. 4. Temporal Determinism: An event e is temporally determined if time is another dimension like those of space in which events are permanently located. E. Various Views of the Free Will Problem 1. Incompatibilism: Free will and determinism are incompatible. a. Libertarianism: At least one event is free. b. Hard Determinism: There is no freedom. 2. Compatibilism: Free will and determinism are compatible---you can have both at once. (Hume) 3. Freedom is incoherent. 4. Determinism is incoherent. F. Free Will and Moral Responsibility 1. Free will, understood as requiring alternatives, is of especial concern

3 to many because of its perceived connection to moral responsibility. 2. This leads to a view of moral responsibility as requiring origination. III. Compatibilism and Incompatibilism A. The Free Will Problem resolves into two levels. 1. The first is defined by responses to the question: Can you have both freedom and universal determinism at the same time? Those who answer in the affirmative are compatibilists and those who answer in the negative are incompatibilists. 2. The second involves specifying what it means to be a compatibilist or an incompatibilist. On the side of incompatibilism, we have this question: Given that you regard freedom and universal determinism as incompatible, which of the two obtains? Those who choose freedom are libertarians and those who select universal determinism are hard determinists. (Note that you could say neither, e.g., if you were an indeterminist.) B. Compatibilism 1. This comes in two types: a. Those theories that contend universal determinism and freedom are closely related to one another. With these theories, you have a positive affirmation of both universal determinism and freedom. This is also known as soft determinism. (E.g., Hume) b. Those theories that contend universal determinism and freedom are unrelated to one another. With these theories, you typically have affirmation of freedom, whether or not universal determinism is true. (E.g., Strawson, Frankfurt) 2. The type of freedom typically on offer from the compatibilist is freedom as alternatives. a. This is true whether you focus on freedom of the will or freedom of action. b. When you are confronted by a choice, so long as there are alternatives that you could select from among and then act on, then you are free. Notice that there is an implicit counterfactual here: if you had chosen an alternative that you

4 C. Incompatibilism did not in fact select, then you could have/would have acted on that choice. 1. Incompatibilists dismiss compatibilism, arguing that it fails to supply a notion of freedom that accords with our intuitions. a. They argue that compatibilist alternatives are not real alternatives, since the important question is not whether you could have acted otherwise had you chosen otherwise, but rather whether you could have chosen otherwise that you did on the compatibilist view. b. Given that compatibilists are universal determinists, they must respond that you could not have chosen otherwise. c. If not, then the counterfactual does not really supply any kind of freedom worth the name. The counterfactual pushes you back one step, but in the process does not open the door to freedom. 2. The only kind of freedom worth having is freedom as spontaneity. a. That is, to be free, one must be able to spontaneously act in ways that are not determined by prior causes. b. In particular, the will cannot be determined by heredity or environment or other causes outside of the control of the agent. c. This type of freedom, though, is incompatible by definition with universal determinism. 3. Type of Incompatibilism: a. Libertarianism: Universal determinism is false and freedom as spontaneity is true. b. Hard determinism: Universal determinism is true and freedom as spontaneity is false. E.g., our decisions and actions could be determined by heredity and environment (i.e., temperament and training).

5 IV. Chisholm s Incompatibilism A. He argues that the ascription of freedom is incompatible with both determinism and indeterminism. 1. The argument against compatibilism turns on evaluating the stratagem according to which He could have done otherwise means If he had chosen to do otherwise, then he would have done otherwise (378). 2. This just pushes the problem back the latter could be true while the former is false. B. His own view is a form of libertarianism, and specifically, agent causal libertarianism. 1. He distinguishes between transeunt causation, which is normal event causation, and immanent causation, which is when an agent, as distinguished from an event, causes an event or state of affairs (380). 2. When an agent does something, by immanent causation, that can be regarded as a metaphysically free action, and one to which ascriptions of moral responsibility are appropriate. 3. We are prime movers unmoved (382). C. Objections and Replies 1. How can a person do anything to his brain, which is the first thing in the causal chain? Response: whenever a person does something A, then (by immanent causation ) he makes a certain cerebral event happen, and this cerebral event (by transeunt causation ) makes A happen. 2. What does agent causation consist of? Response: well, TC is no more murky than IC. V. Hume's Compatibilism A. Hume argues that the debate about freedom of action and determinism is just so much hot air---it is a verbal dispute that will reveal itself as such when the notions of necessity (i.e., determinism) and liberty (i.e., freedom) are defined.

6 B. Necessity 1. We come to have this idea by paying attention to the relation between cause and effect. a. Causation consists simply in "the uniformity observable in the operations of nature, where similar objects are constantly conjoined together and the mind is determined by custom to infer the one from the appearance of the other." b. The idea of necessity consists simply in this constant conjunction and inference of the imagination. 2. There is no other idea of necessity forthcoming from perception---no "unbreakable bond" between cause and effect. Our idea of necessity is a product of imagination. 3. This doctrine applies to causation in the external world and to human behavior, as is apparent from our actions. C. Liberty a. We might think that certain things happen randomly, but we think this only because we are ignorant of all of the relevant factors. Randomness is merely apparent. b. In our reasoning and planning, we assume necessity. 1. Not incompatible with necessity but with constraint. 2. "A power of acting or not acting according to the determinations of the will" (48). D. Compatibilism is necessary for morality---we need both liberty and necessity. 1. Without necessity, there would be no regularity in human behavior and without that, no room for moral laws. 2. Furthermore, there must be some regular connection between one's actions and one's motives if those actions

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