Study Guideline about Determinism
Chapter 3 - The Problem of Free Will and Determinism
Section 3.1 - The Luck of the Draw: Freedom as Chance
Hard determinism holds that there are no free actions and that we are not responsible for our actions. The argument for hard determinism goes like this: 1) Every event has a cause. 2) If every event has a cause, there are no free actions. 3) Therefore there are no free actions. 4) If there are no free actions, no one can be held responsible for what he or she does (or fails to do). 5) Therefore, no one can be held responsible for what he or she does (or fails to do). 2.
Although both science and common sense are said to confirm causal determinism, neither does so. Quantum mechanics shows that the world may well contain purely random (uncaused) events. 3.
Indeterminism holds that free actions are uncaused.
Taylor's unpredictable arm thought experiment shows that an uncaused event can't be a free action because where there is no intention, there is no action. Section 3.2 - The Mother of Invention: Freedom as Necessity
Compatibilists claim that actions can be free even if every action is caused. 2.
An action is free if you could have done otherwise, and traditional compatibilists offer a conditional analysis of "could have done otherwise:" you could have done otherwise if you are such that if you had chosen to do otherwise you would have done otherwise. 3.
According to traditional compatibilism, free actions are caused by one's will and not externally constrained. 4.
Taylor's drug addiction thought experiment shows that traditional compatibilism implies that the actions of a drug addict are just as free as those of a normal person. 5.
Frankfurt's decision inducer thought experiment is intended to show that you can be held responsible for an action even if you couldn't have done otherwise. 6.
Frankfurt distinguishes between first-order desires (desires for an object or a state of affairs) and second-order desires (desires about desires.) A second-order volition is a second order desire that we want to act on. 7.
According to Frankfurt's hierarchical compatibilism, free actions are caused by second-order volitions that one decisively identifies with. 8.
Slote's hypnotized patient thought experiment shows that there's more to acting freely than acting on a second-order volition because if that second-order volition is not your own (if it was implanted in your mind), your action isn't truly free. Section 3.3 - Control Yourself: Freedom as Self-determination 1.
The experience of choosing and deliberating provides prima facie evidence that our actions are free. 2.
Libertarianism holds that free actions are caused by agents (selves, persons). 3.
Agent causation is a species of event causation. Just as events bring about other events in virtue of the properties they possess, so agents bring about events in virtue of the properties they possess. 4.
Agent causation does not require substance dualism, but it does require property dualism. 5.
Agent-caused actions can be rational because the reasons upon which they’re based can be self-subsiuming; they can be justified by appeal to themselves. Thought Experiments
(A defense of the claim that everything is determined.)
Gardner’s Random Bombardier
(A counterexample to the claim that quantum indeterminacy is confined to the micro-world.) Taylor’s Unpredictable Arm
(A counterexample to the claim that undetermined events can be free actions.) Newcomb’s Paradox
(The problem in game theory posed by a perfect predictor.)
Locke’s Trapped Conversationalist
(A demonstration that voluntary acts may not be free.)
Taylor’s Ingenious Physiologist
(A counterexample to traditional compatibilism’s claim that unconstrained events caused by one’s will are free actions.) Taylor’s Drug Addiction
(Another counterexample to traditional compatibilism’s claim that unconstrained events caused by one’s will are free actions.)...
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