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Week 3 Free Will

NTU METAPHYSICS

9 March, 2017

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Introductory text: Carroll and Markosian (2010), An Introduction to
Metaphysics (Cambridge University Press), Chapter 3.

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OUTLINE

1 Introduction: the puzzle

2 Compatibilism

3 Frankfurt-style counterexamples

4 Libertarianism

5 The consequence argument for incompatibilism

6 Bibliography

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Section 1

Introduction: the puzzle

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THE PUZZLE: THE MYSTERY OF FREE WILL
Three apparently convincing claims:
(1) There is freedom of will (for there to be moral responsibility).
(2) Free will is incompatible with determinism.
(3) Free will is incompatible with indeterminism.
Motivations for (1):
- evidence from introspection
- requirement by moral responsibility
Motivations for (2):
- If determinism is true, then my actions are already determined long ago.
- If my actions are determined long ago, then I am not free.
Motivations for (3):
- If determinism is false, some of my actions have no determining cause.
- If my action A has no determining cause, then its occurrence is a
matter of chance.
- If As occurrence is a matter of chance, then its not my free action.

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CLASSIFICATION

compatibilism incompatibilism

hard determinism libertarianism


The PhilPaper survey:

compatibilism libertarianism no free will other


59.1% 13.7% 12.2% 14.9%

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Section 2

Compatibilism

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CONDITIONAL ANALYSIS
G. E. Moore (1912)
- The apparent incompatibility:
(1) that we could have done what we didnt do (free will)
(2) determinism (i.e. that everything is caused).
- Moores analysis: I could = I should, if I had chosen
- So (1) means that we could have done otherwise if we had chosen,
which does not contradict (2)
Problem: what if we couldnt have chosen otherwise?
- Moores reply: we could have chosen otherwise, for
- I could have chosen = I should have chosen, if I had chosen to make
the choice, which doesnt contradict (2).
counterexamples for conditional analysis
- I could without I should if I had chosen: Austins (1956) golf case
- I should if I had chosen without I could: Broads (1934) addict case

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PARADIGM CASE ARGUMENT
The idea: there are clear cases of free will, no matter whether
determinism is true (cf. van Inwagen 1983:109)
W. T. Stace (1952) (from Carroll and Markosian, p. 57)
- an action is free iff unconstrained i.e. not inhibited in any unusual way
- our actions are sometimes free no matter whether determinism is true.
Peter Strawson (1962)
- moral responsibility consists in reactive attitudes (i.e. holding people
responsible, e.g. resentment), which is part of our form of life
- this is what we would not give up even if we accept determinism
Hilary Bok (1998)
- In practical reasoning (as opp. to theoretical reasoning), we regard
ourselves as acting free
- This is so whether determinism is true.
Objection (van Inwagen 1983)
- As an argument for compatibilism, this argument is invalid
- Its possible that we regard our actions as free but in fact they are not.

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SECOND-ORDER VOLITION
Harry G. Frankfurt (1971): free will as second-order volition
- second-order desires:
(i) the desire to have some first-order desire
(ii) the desire that some first-order desire to move him effectively to act
- (ii) is called second-order volitions (essential to persons)
- wanton: creatures with second-order desires but no second-order
volitions (e.g. an addict without unwillingness; also unfree)
- unwilling addict: a person with unfree 2nd-order volition
Compatibility with both determinism and indeterminism:
- its possible: causally determined that a person is free to want what he
wants to want
- its possible: by chance a person is free to have the will he wants
problem (Watson 1975):
- Infinite regress: using higher-order desires to identify a certain desire as
more truly the agents
- But cant one be a wanton w.r.t. his second-order volitions?

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Section 3

Frankfurt-style counterexamples

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FRANKFURT-STYLE EXAMPLES
The Principle of Alternative Possibilities (PAP):
- A person is morally responsible for what he has done only if he could
have done otherwise.
Lockes example
- Jones decided to stay in his room. Unbeknownst to him, the door was
locked. So in fact he couldnt have left the room.
the Frankfurt case:
- Black wants Jones to perform some action A (killing Smith).
- Black waits until Jones is about to decide.
- (Black is a perfect predictor, or Black is to detect some prior sign
(e.g. blushing) indicating Joness decision to A)
- If Jones is going to decide to do A, then Black does nothing
- If Jones is going to decide to do otherwise, then Black takes effective
steps to ensure that Jones decides to do A.
- In fact, Jones decided to do A, and Black did nothing.
- Intuitively, Jones couldnt have done otherwise, but is responsible

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RESPONSE (1): DILEMMA DEFENCE
The dilemma defence (Widerker 1995; cf. Robert Kane 2005)
Q: Given the prior sign, is Joness decision already determined?
the deterministic horn:
- given the prior sign, Joness decision is already determined
- (e.g. the blushing is grounded on some causally sufficient conditions for
Joness decision, independent of Blacks mechanism)
- Black is redundant (not even need to implant any device).
- then Jones couldnt have done otherwise, but is not responsible
the indeterministic horn:
- given the prior sign, Joness decision is still undetermined
- then even given the blushing, its possible for Jones to do otherwise
- then Jones is responsible, but could have done otherwise
- (if Black is to ensure Joness action, he has to intervene even given the
prior sign, but then Jones isnt responsible)
More sophisticated Frankfurt-style cases
- Hunt 2000, Mele and Robb 1998, Pereboom 2000

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RESPONSE (2): DIVIDE AND CONQUER
(PAP) one is morally responsible only if he could have done otherwise
van Inwagen (1983): but responsible for what?
1. unperformed acts
(PPA) A person is morally responsible for failing to perform a given act only if
he could have performed that act. (principle of possible action)
2. event-particulars
(PPP1) A person is morally responsible for a certain event-particular only if he
could have prevented it. (principle of possible prevention)
- but Joness decision-killing Smith and Blacks intervention-killing Smith
are different event-particulars
- Joness could have prevented it by letting Blacks event occur
3. states of affairs
(PPP2) A person is morally responsible for a certain state of affairs only if he
could have prevented it from obtaining
- Jones is not responsible for Smiths being killed by someone, or Smiths
being dead, or Smiths being mortal (taken as universals)
- for these states of affair would obtain no matter what Jones had done
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Section 4

Libertarianism

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AGENT CAUSATION
Libertarian thesis: incompatibilism + free will (hence indeterminism)
The Mind Argument (van Inwagen 1983)
If an agents acts are undetermined, then how he acts on a given
occasion is a matter of chance.
If how an agent acts is a matter of chance, then he has no free will.
The main task: explain how we can act on the supposition that our
acts are not causally determined by any prior event
Agent causation (Chisholm, OConnor, etc.)
The act is not caused by any prior event.
But the act is not uncaused either.
The act is caused by the agent himself.
The problem of luck (cf. Clarke 2005)
Leo is deliberating whether to tell the truth or to lie. He tells the truth.
His decision is not caused by any prior event. (In some worlds he lies.)
These worlds do not diverge until Leo makes a decision. There is no
difference before t that can explains his decision.
So his telling the truth is just a matter of luck.
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OTHER LIBERTARIAN ACCOUNTS
Simple indeterministic views (Ginet 1990)
Free actions are mental events (i) undetermined by any prior events,
and (ii) with a certain actish phenomenal quality
i.e. seeming to the agent that it is as if he is directly producing it
as opposed to agent-causation, this is a phenomenal sign
How to explain the agents act? By the following reasons explanation:
a prior to V -ing, S had a desire that p, and
b concurrently with V -ing, S remembered that prior desire and intended
of this V -ing that it satify that desire.
(Event-)causal indeterministic views (Robert Kane 1996, 1999)
somewhere in the history of events leading to an action, there are some
mental actions not causally determined (self-forming actions: SFAs)
microlevel physical indeterminacies in the brain (quantum jump)
indeterminism doesnt undermine control: e.g. solving a math problem
with some chance of failing (undetermined, but responsible)
in typical cases (e.g. deliberating whether to tell the truth): the agent
is trying to realise conflicting SFAs (like trying to solve two math prob.)
- Whichever way he succeeds, he is responsible (though undetermined).
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Section 5

The consequence argument for incompatibilism

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THE CONSEQUENCE ARGUMENT
If determinism is true, then our acts are the consequences of the laws of
nature and events in the remote past. But it is not up to us what went on
before we were born, and neither is it up to us what the laws of nature are.
Therefore, the consequences of these things (including our present acts)
are not up to us (van Inwagen 1983: 56).

The thesis of determinism: the conjunction of


a. for any t, there is a proposition expressing the state of the world at t;
b. for any p1 and p2 that express the states of the world at t1 and t2
(t1 < t2 ), the conjunction of p1 with the laws of nature entails p2 .
two inference rules (: logical necessity; N : its not up to us)
() p ` N p
() N (p q), N p ` N q

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INFORMAL VERSION
van Inwagen (1975): consider whether J could have raised his hand
- Let P0 express the state of the world at t0
- Let P express the state of the world at t
- Let L express the laws of nature
(1) If determinism is true, then the conjunction of P0 and L entails P .
(2) If J had raised his hand at t, then P would be false.
(3) If so, then J could have rendered P false.
(4) If so, then J could have rendered the conjunction of P0 and L false.
(5) If so, then J could have rendered L false.
(6) J could not have rendered L false.
(7) If determinism is true, J could not have raised his hand at t.
Notice that (4) uses the rule ()

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COMPATIBILIST RESPONSE (1): IS INVALID
Widerker (1987): indeterministic case
reject the principle : N (p q), N p ` N q
counterexample: Sam prevents the emission by destroying r
p: Its not the case that bit of radium r emits a subatomic particle at t
q: Its not the case that Sam destroys r before t
N p is true, for Sam has no choice about whether p is true.
N (p q) is true, for its not within Sams power to render p q false,
for he has no power to render p true.
McKay and Johnson (1996)
reject the agglomeration principle: N P &N Q ` N (P &Q)
counterexample: I do not toss a coin, but could have.
P : the coin does not fall heads
Q: the coin does not fall tails
Both N P and N Q are true. (For I couldnt render either false.)
But I can render P &Q false by tossing it.

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COMPATIBILIST RESPONSE (2): BREAKING THE LAW
van Inwagens argument
(5) If I could have raised my hand, then I could have rendered L false.
(6) I could not have rendered L false.
Lewiss (1981) reply: (5) and (6) cannot both be true
weak sense of rendering a proposition false
I was able to do something such that, if I did it, the proposition would
have been falsified (though not necessarily by my act)
in this sense, (5) is true, but my act itself wouldnt falsify L
for its possible that my act occurs yet L is false, provided that some
event M occurs (a divergent miracle) which falsifies L (for its
impossible that both M occurs and L is true).
strong sense of rendering a proposition false
I was able to do something such that, if I did it, the proposition would
have been falsified either by my act or by some event caused by my act
in this sense (6) is true (my act wouldnt falsify L)
but (5) is false: my act directly falsifies A, but not L
A similar response (Perry 2004) weak sense of changing the past
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Section 6

Bibliography

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BIBLIOGRAPHY I
Aune, Bruce (1967).
Hypotheticals and Can: Another Look.
Analysis, 27(6):191195.

Austin, J. L. (1956 [1961]).


Ifs and Cans.
In Proceedings of the British Academy.
Reprinted in J. O. Urmson and G. J. Warnock eds. (1961), Philosophical
Papers, pp. 153180.
Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Bok, Hilary (1998).


Freedom and Responsibility.
New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY II
Broad, Charlie Dunbar (1934).
Determinism, Indeterminism, and Libertarianism.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Chisholm, Roderick M. (1964 [2003]).


Human Freedom and the Self.
In The University of Kansas Lindley Lecture, pp. 315.
Reprinted in G. Watson ed. (2003), Free Will, pp. 2637.
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2nd edition.

Clarke, Randolph (2005).


Agent Causation and the Problem of Luck.
Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 86(3):408421.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY III
Fischer, John Martin (2005).
Frankfurt-Type Examples and Semi-Compatibilism.
In R. Kane (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Free Will, pp. 281308.
Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Frankfurt, Harry G. (1969).


Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility.
The Journal of Philosophy, 66(23):829839.

Frankfurt, Harry G. (1971).


Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person.
The Journal of Philosophy, 68(1):520.

Ginet, Carl (1990).


On Action.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY IV
Hunt, David P. (2000).
Moral Responsibility and Unavoidable Action.
Philosophical Studies, 97(2):195227.

Kane, Robert (1996).


The Significance of Free Will.
Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kane, Robert (1999).


Responsibility, Luck, and Chance: Reflections on Free Will and
Indeterminism.
The Journal of Philosophy, 96(5).

Kane, Robert (2005).


A Contemporary Introduction to Free Will.
Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY V
Lewis, David (1981).
Are We Free to Break the Laws?.
Theoria, 47(3):113121.

McKay, Thomas J. and Johnson, David (1996).


A Reconsideration of an Argument against Compatibilism.
Philosophical Topics, 24(2):113122.

Mele, Alfred R. and Robb, David (1998).


Rescuing Frankfurt-Style Cases.
The Philosophical Review, 107(1):97112.

Moore, G. E. (1912).
Ethics.
London: Williams and Norgate.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY VI
OConnor, Timothy (1995 [2003]).
Agent Causation.
In T. OConnor (ed.), Agents, Causes, and Events: Essays on Indeterminism
and Free Will, pp. 6179.
Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Reprinted in G. Watson ed. (2003), Free Will, pp. 257284.
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2nd edition.

Pereboom, Derk (2000).


Alternative Possibilities and Causal Histories.
No
us, 34:119137.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY VII
Perry, John (2004).
Compatibilist Options.
In J. K. Campbell, M. ORourke, and D. Shier (eds.), Freedom and
Determinism, pp. 231254.
Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press.

Stace, W. T. (1952).
Religion and the Modern Mind.
Philadelphia and New York: J. B. Lippincott Co.

Strawson, Peter F. (1962).


Freedom and Resentment.
Proceedings of the British Academy, 48:125.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY VIII
van Inwagen, Peter (1975).
The Incompatibility of Free Will and Determinism.
Philosophical Studies, 27(3):185199.

van Inwagen, Peter (1983).


An Essay on Free Will.
Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Watson, Gary (1975).


Free Agency.
Journal of Philosophy, 72(8):20520.

Widerker, David (1995).


Libertarianism and Frankfurts Attack on the Principle of Alternative
Possibilities.
The Philosophical Review, 104(2):247261.

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