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Freedom.doc

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Department
Philosophy
Course
Philosophy 1020
Professor
John Thorp
Semester
Winter

Description
Freedom November-29-12 Determinism: every single thing is pre-planned in life 1. Mitigating Hard Determinism • Two approaches 2. Libertarianism 3. Compatibilism (tutorials) - freedom is compatible with determinism We have seen the hypothesis called "hard determinism" • Everything that happens must happen, as a matter of iron-clad causal law • And the crucial point is that human decisions and actions are caught in this web • Whether through psychological determinism, or physical determinism of some kind 1. Mitigating hard determinism a. The bogeymen • Daniel Dennett asks whether this result is really as bad as philosophers make it out to be o Whether hard determinism is so bad • Argues that some of the metaphors used by philosophers to describe the result of hard determinism are misleading. He called these the bogeymen o Examples: the invisible jailer, makes us think we're in jail o The nefarious neurosurgeon, technology and a surgeon could control our brains o The malevolent mind reader, psychological determinism, could see into our minds b. Necessity vs. Probability • Another way of mitigating hard determinism has been to draw a distinction between necessity and probability. • We may be able to predict what our friend will decide-we know what he will probably decide-but that does not mean that he was forced to decide that way 2. Libertarianism (Indeterminism) • Some philosophers have thought that the way to resist physical determinism is rather through the acknowledgement in physics that the physical world is not deterministic. a. Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle • "it is impossible to know both the position and momentum of a subatomic particle, at a given time" • This Principle has had two different interpretations: 1. The epistemological interpretation: the problem has to do with us and our ability to discover things • Problem due to our lack of cognitive equipment in regards to what’s going on in the world 2. The ontological interpretation: small particles genuinely lack precise position AND momentum at a moment. • The particles have indeterminism position or momentum • We aren't uncertain about how the world work, but the world is actually uncertain • If the ontological interpretation is true (and it is the favoured one) then it would seem that the causal determinist thesis is done for-at least the physical ones. • The physical universe is not deterministic after all • In the small scale there are causally undetermined events Maybe this is the way to secure free will after all. This position is known as Libertarianism Libertarianism is the view that we have free will, and that that freedom is secured by the small-scale causal indeterminacies in the physical world b. The problem with Libertarianism • At first, this looks really attractive, but when you think more closely about it there are problems • Suppose a free decision is correlated with a random (uncaused) event in your brain. Is that a true freedom? • Aren't we out of the frying
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