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Freedom of Will and Determinism


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Freedom of Will and Determinism

  1. 1. Freedom of Will andFreedom of Will and DeterminismDeterminism Introduction to PhilosophyIntroduction to Philosophy LIULIU Instructor: Abir ChaabanInstructor: Abir Chaaban
  2. 2. Determinism ( Hard Determinism)Determinism ( Hard Determinism) • Determinism is the theory that everything in the universe is governed by causal laws. (Thomas Hobbes ( See Facebook group and Baron D’ Holbach see Pojman 387-389). • The theory is based on the materialist physicalism theory of mind and body. • As we recall the materialist argues that everything that exists is matter. Humans have no souls or mind, and what determines action is desires interests and brain activities. ( See lecture on the Mind-Body Problem)
  3. 3. Determinism ( Hard Determinism)Determinism ( Hard Determinism) • Determinism argues that we have no moral choices and no moral responsibilities. • Our actions are predetermined by physical causes. • If we were omniscient we would predict everything that will happen in the future. • Therefore, every human actions are event. Human actions are determined ( they are not free choices) by causal laws. (Pojman Pp 378-379) • Vocabulary: omniscient: ‫العلم‬ ‫كلي‬ ,‫شىء‬ ‫بكل‬ ‫عالم‬
  4. 4. The structure of the ArgumentThe structure of the Argument • The basic argument of hard determinism is as follows: • P1: No action is free if it must occur. • P2: For any event X there are antecedent causes that ensure the occurrence of X in accordance with impersonal, mechanical causal laws. • C: No action is free. • Thus, since causes guarantee that their effects occur and since everything that happens is the effect of some cause or set of causes, everything must occur. So nothing is free.
  5. 5. Immanuel Kant Objection toImmanuel Kant Objection to DeterminismDeterminism • Kant argued that the principle of universal causality is a synthetic a priori-that is, an assumption that we cannot prove by experience but simply cannot conceive not to be the case. • Kant thought that w are programmed to think in deterministic manner. Nevertheless the notion of morality provided a powerful incentive to believe in freedom of will. Kant’s Dilemma (Pojman Pp. 379-380). • When I have a choice I ask about the what choices do I have and what reasons will cause my action.
  6. 6. Kant’s Objection to DeterminismKant’s Objection to Determinism • Kant says persons are like things in the sense that physical laws apply to their bodies; • Persons are NOT like things because they can be conscious of the operation of these laws. (A thing is just subject to laws; it is not conscious of being subject to laws.) • People can thus be aware of physical and psychological laws as observers, from the outside. • When a person thinks about how to behave, a person considers reasons not causes and effects. • Causes are never relevant to someone's action. When I have to make choices, and I choose my action on the basis of reasons.
  7. 7. Libertarianism ( freedom of will)Libertarianism ( freedom of will) • Libertarianism is the theory that we do have free wills. • Libertarians do not contend that all our actions are free, only some of them. • Libertarians offer two main arguments for this position: – The argument from deliberation and – the argument from moral responsibility. ( Pojman Pp. 381-382). • This position is argued by William James Pojman P.p 389-399 and by Corliss Lamont (Pojman Pp. 399-402).
  8. 8. The Argument from DeliberationThe Argument from Deliberation • The argument from deliberation sates that every human being is free to make the choices he does and that deliberations leading to these choices follows. ( Pojman P 381). Vocabulary • Deliberate: ‫موزون‬ ,‫مرو‬ ,‫متأن‬ ,‫فيه‬ ‫مروى‬ ,‫متعمد‬ ,‫,مدروس‬
  9. 9. The Argument from MoralThe Argument from Moral ResponsibilityResponsibility • Determinism conflicts with the thesis that we have moral responsibilities. • This moral responsibility implies that we have a choice to make between good and evil actions. • We take moral responsibility very seriously because we believe that do have duties, oughts, over which we feel rational guilt for failing to perform. • There can be no rational feelings of guilt if we were not essentially free.
  10. 10. CompatibilismCompatibilism • One of the answers to freedom of will and determinism is a middle ground between the two. • This view is called soft determinism or compatibilism. It is similar to Kant’s view. • Soft determinism or compatibilism argues that we are determined, but we still have moral responsibilities. The distinction is made between voluntary and involuntary actions. • The language of freedom and the language of determinism are both necessary for man kind. One is necessary for science and the other is necessary for morality and personal relationships. ( Pojman P.p 382- 383) • Walter T. Stace takes this position (Pojman 411-416)
  11. 11. Essay QuestionEssay Question Are human beings fully determined or are they free agents having a moral responsibility for their actions. Write a paper arguing your position on this question. In your paper you should summarize the different positions ( determinism, libertarianism and compatibilism and then present your position. Use real life examples to contextualize your answer. Is the Revolution in Egypt determined by existing causes or is it a call for freedom by free and rational agents seeking liberation, or is it a combination of causes and free will). In order to write your essay you should all read pages 37-383. Then you should read the articles of Baron D’Holbach (383-389), William James (389-399), Corliss Lamont (399-402) and W.T. Stace,(411- 417) to make a choice of the position you choose. Good luck