You are on page 1of 3

Will Thong 1

Compilation of Determinist and


Libertarian Arguments
Determinism: all Actions are Effects
1. All actions are physical events.

2. All physical events are causally determined effects.


--
3. Therefore, all actions are causally determined effects.

Determinism: the Physicalist's Argument


1. All of our actions are determined by the mind.

2. The mind is the brain.

3. The brain is determined by the laws of nature.


--
4. Therefore, all of our actions are determined by the laws of nature.

Libertarianism: the Argument from Intentionality


1. Mental processes are about something.

2. Physical processes are not about something; they simply are.

3. Two things which have different properties cannot be the same as each other
(Leibniz's law).
--
4. Therefore, mental processes are not the same as physical processes.

Libertarianism: the Argument from Qualia


1. Mental states and processes exhibit qualia.

2. Qualia are private and subjective.

3. Physical states and processes are publicly observable and objective.

4. Two things which have different properties cannot be the same as each other
(Leibniz's law).
--
5. Therefore, mental processes are not the same as physical processes.
Will Thong 2

Libertarianism: Applying the Physical/Mental Process Distinction


1. Everything which is physical is determined by the laws of nature.

2. Nothing which is non-physical is determined by the laws of nature.

3. Mental processes are non-physical.


--
4. Therefore, mental processes are not determined by the laws of nature.
--
5. Therefore, actions governed by mental processes are not determined by the laws
of nature.
--
6. Therefore, actions governed by mental processes are free.

Libertarianism: Reasons are Not Causes


1. Causally determined effects are to be explained with reference to past causes.

2. Reasons are to be explained with reference to the future.

3. Two things which have different properties cannot be the same as each other
(Leibniz's law).
--
4. Therefore, reasons cannot be the same as causes or causally determined effects.
--
5. Therefore, actions governed by reasons are not causally determined effects.
--
6. Therefore, actions governed by reasons are free.

Libertarianism: The Argument from Desert


1. People only genuinely deserve to be praised, blamed or punished if they could
have done otherwise than they did; that is, if they have a free will.

2. Some people genuinely deserve to be praised, blamed or punished.


--
3. Therefore, some people have a free will.

Libertarianism: The Argument from Desert, Kleptomaniac Edition


1. We can only distinguish between the thief who decides to steal and the
kleptomaniac who is determined to steal if the former could have done otherwise
than she did; that is, if she has a free will.

2. We can distinguish between the thief who decides to steal and the kleptomaniac
who is determined to steal.
--
3. Therefore, some people have a free will.
Will Thong 3

Libertarianism: The Argument from Desert, 'Ought → Can' Edition


1. It only makes sense to tell people what they ought to do if they could have done
otherwise than they did; that is, if they have a free will.

2. It makes sense to tell people what they ought to do.


--
3. Therefore, we have a free will.

Anti-Determinism: Ryle's Chess Analogy


1. Life is analogous to a chess game: the laws of nature are analogous to the rules of
chess and actions are analogous to moves in that game.

2. The rules of chess govern but do not determine the moves in a chess game, so the
chess player could have moved another piece than she did.
--
3. Therefore, the laws of nature govern but do not determine our actions, so we
could have acted otherwise than we did; in other words, we have free will.

Anti-Libertarianism: Ryle's Criticism of Substance Dualism


1. Mental processes cannot be separate entities from brain processes, since 'mental
processes' is just a collective term for the result of certain brain processes, in the
same way as 'Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School' is just a collective term for
certain students, teachers, buildings etc. combined.

2. Category mistakes are problems created by our use of language which occur when
things of one kind are presented as if they belonged to another.
--
3. Therefore, anybody who presents 'mental processes' as belonging to the category
of 'things', thereby reifying mental processes, makes a category mistake.
--
4. Therefore, substance dualism is wrong.