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24 Freedom.docx

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Department
Philosophy
Course
Philosophy 1020
Professor
John Thorp
Semester
Fall

Description
24. Freedom (December 1, 2011) 1. The Classical Debate: determinism vs. freedom Missed this part, but this site explains it pretty well http://www.sfu.ca/~swartz/freewill1.htm 2. William James' position a) neither determinism nor indeterminism is proved b) neither determinism nor indterminism is provable c) determinism would force us to give up regret etc. d) we can't in any case live as though determinism is true Therefore, James’ concludes that clearly we should believe that determinism is false and thus live by said belief 3. The deeper problem: freedom is a very confused idea, and may be incoherent  The very concept of freedom may be incoherent  Even if we secure indeterminism in the physics or psychology, that does not give us freedom  Indeterminism does not equal freedom  Determinism is the view that everything that happens must happen Physics no longer believes in universal determinism o there is the view that the physical universe is governed by the laws of physics and since our brain are part of the physical world it is governed by physics and since what happens in our minds is governed by what happens in our brain what happens in our minds in governed by the laws of physics, so we are not free. But how can we escape this unhappy conclusion? We could observe that in recent years physicists have concluded that there is no iron clad control over very small particles, they allow that there can be random or non-physically determined events in the world. A natural candidate for this sort of events is microscopic brain events (eg whether electric charge is transmitted across a given synapse). o There is a school of thought in physics according to which at sufficiently small scales the law of causality does not hold. “the Copenhagen interpretation” which deals with very small particles in the brain falls under this category  alleged indeterminsim in the physics of the brain o sr john eccles- indeterminacy is evident in the position of a synaptic vesicle which operates at about 50 angstroms per millisecond (super tiny)  the brain as "quantum indeterminacy magnifier" o This indeterminacy in the position of a synaptic vesicle will produce indeterminacy as to when the charge is transmitted to the dendrite of the next cell, and that in turn produces indeterminacy as to when the next cell will fire. And that in turn pro
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