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Chapter 4

Chapter 4 Freedom & Determinism.doc

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University of British Columbia
PHIL 101
Rana Ahmad

Philosophy 102 Chapter 4Are you Free? Freedom and Determinism Free Will - Are we free?  Sometime we are not free, but most of the time we are free. - Problem of free will: incompatibilism and compatibilism  Incompatibilism: hard determinism, indeterminism, libertarianism  If you believe in free will, you have a problem believing in god - 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  Baron D’Holbach  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 are. - Human nature: “People are born with certain basic instincts that influence and determine how they behave.” • Actions whether good or evil, are no more than the natural expression of a universal nature that is genetically hardwired into every person. • 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 control. - Psychological forces: “People are governed by psychological forces, many of them unconscious, that cause them to think, feel, and act in certain ways.” • Actions above are the direct result of deep psychological impulses that have been formed by people’s earliest relationships and experiences. • People think they are choosing to do the things they are, but instead they are puppets manipulated by unseen psychological strings. • Feelings of freedom are illusory. - Social dynamics: “People are social creatures who are greatly influenced by the people around them.” - 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. - Libertarianism  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
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