Chapter 4Are you Free?
Freedom and Determinism
- Are we free?
Sometime we are not free, but most of the time we are
- Problem of free will: incompatibilism and compatibilism
Incompatibilism: hard determinism, indeterminism,
If you believe in free will, you have a problem believing
- Determinism – based on the scientific model of universe
John Stuart Mill
Definition: The view that every event, including human
actions, is brought about by previous events in
accordance with universal causal laws that govern the
world. Human freedom is an illusion.
E.g. if your car broke down
- Mechanics are causal engineers -- to identify the
cause of the problem
Reasoning: physical biological Humans are
physical and biolical Human action no free choice
- Hard determinism
Some people believe that genuine freedom of choice is
not always possible because our decisions and actions
are determined by factors beyond our control,
determinism as its most extreme form.
It believes that every behavior can be raced to a cause,
although they may disagree about what those causes
- Human nature: “People are born with certain basic
instincts that influence and determine how they
• Actions whether good or evil, are no more
than the natural expression of a universal
nature that is genetically hardwired into
• There is no possibility of free choice because
our actions follow from our inborn nature;
we cannot be other than we are. Philosophy 102
- The environment: “People are shaped by their
environment, conditioned by their experience to
be the kind of people they are.”
• Behaviours are the direct products of the life
experiences that people have.
• People cannot be held responsible for how
they behave because they didn’t choose
their environment; they were a passive
agent molded by forces beyond their
- Psychological forces: “People are governed by
psychological forces, many of them unconscious,
that cause them to think, feel, and act in certain
• Actions above are the direct result of deep
psychological impulses that have been
formed by people’s earliest relationships
• People think they are choosing to do the
things they are, but instead they are
puppets manipulated by unseen
• Feelings of freedom are illusory.
- Social dynamics: “People are social creatures who
are greatly influenced by the people around
- Compatibilism – Referred as “soft determinism”
The view that all events, including human actions, are
caused. However, we can consider human actions free if
they are the result of internal motivations, not the
product of external influences or constraints.
All human behavior is caused by previous events;
compatibilists contend that we can distinguish between
actions that are compelled by external constraints (is
unfree) and actions that are not.
- Indeterminism – People are absolutely responsible for what
they do Philosophy 102
The view that some events, including human actions
are not necessarily determined by previous events in
accordance with universal causal laws.
The view that humans are able to make authentically
free choices that are not determined by previous events
in accordance with universal causal laws, that were is a
meaningful sense that though we ma