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PHIL 1000Y Lecture Notes - Compatibilism, Indeterminism, Fire Hydrant

Course Code
PHIL 1000Y
Duncan Macintosh

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Free Will
Two conflicting pictures of us in the world –
Science – people composed of particles of matter behave in accordance with the laws of
physics. Particles existed before you did; laws particles obey not created by you, just
result of the properties of matter. Been in place for 14 billion years.
Therefore it is not up to you what you do, or what your body does
There are morally good and morally evil choices. Praised for good choices, blamed for
bad choices. No one makes these choices but us. It is true that every now and then you do
something that has a bad result.
Ex. Accidentally killing someone, a killer killing someone, telling the judge the laws of
nature made him do it
Which picture is true?
Determinism – every event is caused by a past event caused by natural laws
Indeterminism – some events, some human actions, are not caused by anything (events
are random)
Libertarianism – Part 1 – If determinism is true, we aren’t responsible for any actions,
nature is, no free will. Part 2 – Determinism isn’t true.
Compatibilism – Even if Determinism is true, we can still be responsible for some of our
actions, still have some free will.
Hard Determinism – Determinism is incompatible with us having free will
Soft Determinism – Determinism is compatible with us having free will
Campbell (Paradigm Libertarian):
Some actions not responsible for, but something you do have the following characteristic:
not caused by laws of nature, things in the past, upbringing, genetic facts, cultural facts,
Sometimes a reasonable person kills somebody, a criminal starts a better life. The person
in question is acting as an agent. The only thing that causes your behaviours is you.
When this happens, the actions are caused by agent causation. Those actions which are
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