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Issue 1: Can I be held responsible
for my actions?
• In 1924 US attorney
Clarence Darrow
took on the case of
two teenage
murderers, Leopold
and Leob.
Darrow’s defence argument
• “This terrible crime was inherent in his
organism, and it came from some
ancestor…is any blame attached
because somebody took Nietzche’s
philosophy and fashioned his life on it?”
• Verdict: not guilty of first degree
murder
• Sentence: life imprisonment
Issue 2: Is the will just a cause, like
a physical cause, in a long chain…or
its it a special type of cause?
• Josef Fritzl (who
imprisoned his
daughter and had
seven children one of
which he murdered)
was an unwanted child
whose mother beat
him.
Issue 3: can right and wrong exist if
determinism is true?
• Humans are said to have a conscience.
How might a determinist (like Freud)
explain conscience?
• Is our sense of “wrong” simply an
expression of disapproval (as Ayer
suggested)? Or does it imply some
objective morality (as Kant and Aquinas
believed?).
What is freedom?
• Exercise 1: write down your own
definition of free will.
Robert Kane: deep freedom
there are no
obvious constraints on me.
acting on our will, free
from any manipulation or influence.
Is this man responsible?
• Exercise 2: Kane asks us to consider
the case of a man on trial for assault
and robbery:
“As we listen daily to how he came to
have the mean character and perverse
motives he did- a sad case of neglect,
child abuse, sexual abuse and bad role
models – some of our resentment is
shifted over to the parents and others who
abused him”
Two questions:
? To what extent is this man responsible
for who he has become?
? Was the man merely a product of his
background? Or can we hold him
responsible (with implications for how
and why we punish him)?
Three possibilities
Free will?
Hard Determinism Compatibilism Libertarianism
•Everything has
a cause
•Freedom is an
illusion
• Everything has a
cause
•The will is a
special type of
cause
•The will is
metaphysical
•Reason governs
the will
Hard determinism
• Science has proved that the world is
governed by cause and effect
• Human beings are the same as material
things
• Our wills are a product of a causal chain
stretching into childhood (Skinner) or
produced by genes (Dawkins)
Baron d’Holbach
• “Man’s life is a line that nature
commands him to outline upon the
surface of the earth without ever being
able to swerve from it, even for an
instant.”
But… quantum physics suggests a
randomness
Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle
states that photons of light measuring
subatomic particles cause it to move
significantly, altering their velocity. In
the attempt to measure the position,
the information on velocity becomes
useless. In other words, the observer
affects the observed.
John Locke: analogy of the locked
room
• Active power produces change
• Real freedom means going against our
first thoughts but…
“If a man is in a locked room and prefers
his stay to going away… he has not
freedom to be gone… so that liberty is not
an idea belonging to volition…. But to the
person having the power of doing
according to the mind shall choose”.
Locke continued…
• We are able to act when we can translate
mental choice into doing or not doing
something
• Freedom is a further power to perform the
actions we choose
• But… human freedom is a capacity to act
even when our wills have been determined
• In the end Locke seems to apply that free will
and determinism can co-exist.
Ted Honderich
• Free will is an
illusion
• We must give up
the idea of
originating action
• We must abandon
hope of
determining the
future
Honderich Quotes:
• “ There can be no such hope if all the
future is just an effect of effects.”
• “States of the brain are, in the first
place, effects, the effects of other
physical states… all actions are
movements caused by states of the
brain.”
Essays on Freedom of Action 1973:187
Libertarianism
• Personality is different from the moral
self
• Personality is determined by upbringing,
genes, experience etc.
• The moral self is rational – sets us apart
from the animal world (Aquinas) or the
slavery to feelings (Kant)
• Our freedom is experienced in acts of
will
Kant
• Assumed autonomy of the will
• Freedom is necessary for responsibility
• Reason (from the noumenal world)
over-rides feelings (in the phenomenal
world), so making us free
• Kant argues against Hume who said
“reason is the slave of the passions”
Kant quotes
• “ Freedom is the only one of all ideas in
the speculative reason of which we
know the possibility a priori (without,
however, understanding it) because it is
a condition of the moral law which we
know”.
Critique of Practical Reason page 829
Kant quotes contd.
• Kant concluded that free will is a
mystery belonging to the noumenal
world (the world of the a priori, or of
things in themselves, of “categories”
created by the human mind)
• “ The will, in the phenomenal sphere, is
subject to the law of nature, and in so far,
not free, and on the other hand, as belonging
to the thing in itself, it is not subject to that
law, and so, is free”
Say, the situation is this:
• The local government is issuing a city ordinance on the
absolute implementation of a city-wide curfew. It’s
implementation will directly affect those young fellows,
ages 17 below, as to not to go beyond 10 pm outside
their house premises. This decision is rooted from the
rapid outbreak in number of juvenile delinquents being
involved in some serious crimes during vine yard hour.
But, some law experts claim that those ordinances are a
tool that abuses the right or freedom of young individuals
for sovereignty as a member of our society.
How will the following beliefs resolve the situation?
a. Hard determinist
b. Libertarians
c. compatibilist

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freewillanddeterminism.pptx

  • 1.
  • 2. Issue 1: Can I be held responsible for my actions? • In 1924 US attorney Clarence Darrow took on the case of two teenage murderers, Leopold and Leob.
  • 3. Darrow’s defence argument • “This terrible crime was inherent in his organism, and it came from some ancestor…is any blame attached because somebody took Nietzche’s philosophy and fashioned his life on it?” • Verdict: not guilty of first degree murder • Sentence: life imprisonment
  • 4. Issue 2: Is the will just a cause, like a physical cause, in a long chain…or its it a special type of cause? • Josef Fritzl (who imprisoned his daughter and had seven children one of which he murdered) was an unwanted child whose mother beat him.
  • 5.
  • 6. Issue 3: can right and wrong exist if determinism is true? • Humans are said to have a conscience. How might a determinist (like Freud) explain conscience? • Is our sense of “wrong” simply an expression of disapproval (as Ayer suggested)? Or does it imply some objective morality (as Kant and Aquinas believed?).
  • 7. What is freedom? • Exercise 1: write down your own definition of free will.
  • 8. Robert Kane: deep freedom there are no obvious constraints on me. acting on our will, free from any manipulation or influence.
  • 9. Is this man responsible? • Exercise 2: Kane asks us to consider the case of a man on trial for assault and robbery: “As we listen daily to how he came to have the mean character and perverse motives he did- a sad case of neglect, child abuse, sexual abuse and bad role models – some of our resentment is shifted over to the parents and others who abused him”
  • 10. Two questions: ? To what extent is this man responsible for who he has become? ? Was the man merely a product of his background? Or can we hold him responsible (with implications for how and why we punish him)?
  • 11. Three possibilities Free will? Hard Determinism Compatibilism Libertarianism •Everything has a cause •Freedom is an illusion • Everything has a cause •The will is a special type of cause •The will is metaphysical •Reason governs the will
  • 12. Hard determinism • Science has proved that the world is governed by cause and effect • Human beings are the same as material things • Our wills are a product of a causal chain stretching into childhood (Skinner) or produced by genes (Dawkins)
  • 13. Baron d’Holbach • “Man’s life is a line that nature commands him to outline upon the surface of the earth without ever being able to swerve from it, even for an instant.”
  • 14. But… quantum physics suggests a randomness Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle states that photons of light measuring subatomic particles cause it to move significantly, altering their velocity. In the attempt to measure the position, the information on velocity becomes useless. In other words, the observer affects the observed.
  • 15. John Locke: analogy of the locked room • Active power produces change • Real freedom means going against our first thoughts but… “If a man is in a locked room and prefers his stay to going away… he has not freedom to be gone… so that liberty is not an idea belonging to volition…. But to the person having the power of doing according to the mind shall choose”.
  • 16. Locke continued… • We are able to act when we can translate mental choice into doing or not doing something • Freedom is a further power to perform the actions we choose • But… human freedom is a capacity to act even when our wills have been determined • In the end Locke seems to apply that free will and determinism can co-exist.
  • 17. Ted Honderich • Free will is an illusion • We must give up the idea of originating action • We must abandon hope of determining the future
  • 18. Honderich Quotes: • “ There can be no such hope if all the future is just an effect of effects.” • “States of the brain are, in the first place, effects, the effects of other physical states… all actions are movements caused by states of the brain.” Essays on Freedom of Action 1973:187
  • 19. Libertarianism • Personality is different from the moral self • Personality is determined by upbringing, genes, experience etc. • The moral self is rational – sets us apart from the animal world (Aquinas) or the slavery to feelings (Kant) • Our freedom is experienced in acts of will
  • 20. Kant • Assumed autonomy of the will • Freedom is necessary for responsibility • Reason (from the noumenal world) over-rides feelings (in the phenomenal world), so making us free • Kant argues against Hume who said “reason is the slave of the passions”
  • 21. Kant quotes • “ Freedom is the only one of all ideas in the speculative reason of which we know the possibility a priori (without, however, understanding it) because it is a condition of the moral law which we know”. Critique of Practical Reason page 829
  • 22. Kant quotes contd. • Kant concluded that free will is a mystery belonging to the noumenal world (the world of the a priori, or of things in themselves, of “categories” created by the human mind) • “ The will, in the phenomenal sphere, is subject to the law of nature, and in so far, not free, and on the other hand, as belonging to the thing in itself, it is not subject to that law, and so, is free”
  • 23. Say, the situation is this: • The local government is issuing a city ordinance on the absolute implementation of a city-wide curfew. It’s implementation will directly affect those young fellows, ages 17 below, as to not to go beyond 10 pm outside their house premises. This decision is rooted from the rapid outbreak in number of juvenile delinquents being involved in some serious crimes during vine yard hour. But, some law experts claim that those ordinances are a tool that abuses the right or freedom of young individuals for sovereignty as a member of our society. How will the following beliefs resolve the situation? a. Hard determinist b. Libertarians c. compatibilist