Question of Free Will: (Determinism vs Libertarianism)

Topics: Free will, Determinism, Libertarianism Pages: 2 (606 words) Published: April 3, 2013
Free Will is defined as the ability of agents to make choices unconstrained by certain factors. Libertarians believe in free will and recognize that freedom and determinism are incompatible.. The determinist also follow the doctrine of incompatibility.

According to A.J. Ayer, the problem of free will arises from the apparent incompatibility of two common assumptions about human action : excepting certain rare and easily identifiable cases, human action is free in the sense required for holding agents responsible for their actions, and that like all events, human actions are governed by deterministic causal laws. If human actions are governed by such laws, it would seem that we are never free to act otherwise than we do and hence that we can never be held responsible for what we do. Much of the free will debate has proceeded with determinists on one side affirming and denying and those Ayer calls “moralists” doing exactly the opposite in an attempt to preserve the reality or legitimacy of moral responsibility. Ayer believes that this way of proceeding is hopeless for the moralists because so long as we understand the freedom required for moral responsibility as freedom from causal determination, then will be false whether it is true or not. Ayer argues that the freedom required for moral responsibility should not be construed as freedom from causal determination, but rather as freedom from compulsion or constraint. This kind of freedom, he argues, is compatible with the principle that all events are causally determined. The moralist agrees with the determinist that if our actions are determined by causal laws, then we are not free in the sense required by moral responsibility. So, if he is to maintain that we are free and responsible, he must deny Determinism. But, Ayer would demand, the denial of Determinism can be of no help to the moralist. If our actions are not under the purview of causal laws, then to that extent, they are random and...
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