Chisholm and Free Will

Topics: Free will, Causality, Determinism Pages: 4 (1277 words) Published: April 26, 2005
Before I begin it is pertinent to note the disparate positions on the problem of human freedom. In "Human Freedom and the Self", Roderick M. Chisholm takes the libertarian stance which is contiguous with the doctrine of incompatibility. Libertarians believe in free will and recognize that freedom and determinism are incompatible. The determinist also follow the doctrine of incompatibility, and according to Chisholm's formulation, their view is that every event involved in an act is caused by some other event. Since they adhere to this type of causality, they believe that all actions are consequential and that freedom of the will is illusory. Compatiblist deny the conflict between free will and determinism. A.J. Ayer makes a compatibilist argument in "Freedom and Necessity".

In "Human Freedom and the Self" Chisholm rejects both determinism (every event that is involved in an act is caused by some other event) and indeterminism (the view that the act, or some event that is essential to the act , is not caused at all) on the basis that they are not contingent with the view that : human beings are responsbile agents. The main dilemma that he trys to resolve is as follows. If we adhere to strict determinism and indeterminism, then any act is either caused by a previous event or is not caused at all. Consider that we follow determinism and that we assume the act is caused by a previous event. If that is the case, and freedom conflicts with determinism, then the person who performed the act is not responsible for it. Also, if the act was not caused at all, the person cannot be responsible for it, that is, human responsibility and indeterminism conflict. So if either determinism or indeterminism were true, there would be no other alternate courses of action and people would not be morally responsible because they could not have done otherwise.

We've already established that Chisholm feels that humans can be morally praiseworthy or blameworthy only...
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