Ayer, A.J. "Freedom and Necessity."

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Philosophy 1301. 1002
Ayer, A.J. “Freedom and Necessity.”

In the following paper I will talk about A.J. Ayer’s “Freedom and Necessity,” and I will explain the dilemma of determinism and Ayer’s compatibilist solution to it. I will explain some of the examples Ayer uses to explain the difference between cause and being constrained, and how both affect one’s free will. I will also discuss on why Ayer’s compatibilism solution to the dilemma is the best solution so far.

According to A.J. Ayer, the problem of free will is the result from the conflict of two different assumptions, which are men acting freely while being morally responsible for their actions, and that human behavior comes from causal laws. Ayer begins by attacking the determinist for the most part. Determinism is the view that there is no freewill, and all events and actions are determined by causal laws. Causal laws cast doubt on freewill because a person may not act freely if their actions are causally determined. In other words determinist believe that every thing one does, has done, and will do; are actions that have been pre-determined at the origin of the universe. It is here where the dilemma of determinism begins.

The dilemma of determinism begins with the question asking oneself, how did I come to make my choice? Was it an accident or was it not? An accident is a matter of change, and no choice is involved. Well what is choice? Choice is an act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities. If one’s choice is not an accident, then presumably their is some causal explanation of one’s choice. In which this leads back to determinism. Compatibilism is the solution offered to solve the problem of determinism.

Compatibilism is the belief that determinism and freewill are compatible ideas. In other words, both moral responsibility and determinism can exist at the same time. Since determinist believe that the opposite of being free is caused and determinism,...
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