Announcements • On Thursday we will be covering Frankfurt‟s „Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person‟ and Nagel‟s „Moral Luck‟ • Tutorial discussion questions will be posted tomorrow night Richard Taylor, „A Defense of Libertarian Freedom of the Will‟ Incontrovertible Facts • (1) „that my behavior is sometimes the outcome of my deliberation‟ (342) • (2) „that in these and other cases it s sometimes up to me what I do‟ (342) • Thesis: The debate over determinism verses freedom, and what model of causality we adopt MUST accommodate these facts. It will not do for Taylor to state that they are fictions or illusions in the name of a philosophical theory. Incontrovertible Facts • For Taylor such facts are more „real‟ than any metaphysical theory could be. They are the data that a theory is to explicate: the theory is to fit this data and not vice-versa. • Point of Debate: if our philosophical theories conflicts with „common sense‟ or our experience what goes? For example, did the problem of the „external world‟ really trouble or disturb people‟s robust realism? A Look at Deliberation • Since this is the data, the „truths, that our theories must respect‟, lets take a little closer look at „deliberation‟. • 4 Characteristics • (1) I deliberate only about my own behaviour, not others (342): We may try to control another person or speculate on what they will do but we can never deliberate for them. A Look at Deliberation • (2) I can deliberate only about future actions (343): the past is no longer, the present is just what we are actually doing now. It‟s the future that we deliberate about. • (3) Deliberation involves decision and decision involves that I don‟t already know what I am going to do (343): no point deliberating about the inevitable. Interesting aside: can we imagine an advanced science that will make deliberation redundant if we believe in determinism? A Look at Deliberation • (3) Presumably such a science would also make science redundant since it will be able to predict all future theories. • (4) To deliberate implies „it is up to me‟: it is under my control (342) • Now that we have our theoretical constraints in place lets take a look at some theories A Reconciliation: soft determinism • Three Theses • (1) „that the thesis of determinism is true, and that accordingly all human behavior, voluntary or not…arises from antecedent conditions, given which no other behavior is possible - …that all human behavior is caused and determined‟ (339) • (2) „that voluntary behavior is nonetheless free to the extent that it is not externally constrained or impeded‟ (339) A reconciliation: soft determinism • Three Theses continued • (3) „that, in the absence of such obstacles and constraints, the causes of voluntary behavior are certain states, events, or conditions within the agent himself; namely, his own acts of will or volitions, choices, decisions, desires and so on‟ (339- 340) A reconciliation: soft determinism • Thus, we are causally determined to act – respecting the causal laws of nature – and also free and morally responsible for what we do: a compatibility • Some Background: the version of „compatibilism‟ that Taylor considers is one made famous in this century by G.E. Moore The Compatibilist Argument • „For to say that I could have done otherwise, he says, means, only that I would have done otherwise if those inner states that determined my action had been different; if that is, I had decided or chosen differently‟(340) • The argument • (1) She could have done otherwise. • Just means: • (2) If she had chose to do otherwise then she would have done otherwise. The Compatibilist Argument • As Moore states from his Ethics: • „There are certainly good reasons for thinking that we very often mean by „could‟ merely „would, if so and so had chosen.‟ And if so, then we have a sense of the word „could‟ in which the fact that we often could have done what we did not do, is perfectly compatible with the principle that everything has a cause: for to say that, if I had performed a certain act of will, I should have done something which I did not do, in no way contradicts this principle‟ The Compatibilist Argument • For Moore, this view differentiates freewill from fatalism for fatalism states that no matter what we have chosen the same end results which is what (2) denies. • (2) is consistent with determinism: even if all of a person‟s actions were causally determined the person could still be such that IF she had chosen otherwise, then she would have done otherwise The Compatibilist Argument • (1) = (2) • (2) is compatible with the determinist thesis • Therefore, (1) is compatible with determinism • Since the cause of one‟s actions comes from one‟s own internal motives, beliefs and desires she is responsible. They are YOUR inner states; therefore, YOU must be responsible for them A Refutation of This • The problem: inner states – volitions, desires and beliefs – are themselves caused on the soft determinist position: given just these states this action MUST have happened. We can logically deduce given the complete data of such inner states what will happen. However, we want to be in control – think of our primary data - of these inner states. What we want for freedom is for (1) to read: (3) She COULD HAVE done otherwise A Refutation of This • If (3) is false, then so is (1) above. However, (2) in the soft determinist argument could be true while (1) is false: it could still be the case that she could not have done otherwise and it would yet still be true that if she had chosen to do otherwise then she would have done otherwise. The hypothetical „if‟ in (2) represents logical possibility – IF beliefs/desires were different then action would be – but that is little comfort when we wish to consider ontological possibility. A Refutation of This • Therefore, contra Moore and soft determinism, (2) is not a proper analysis of (1). Given the determinist position with respect to such inner states we are led to : „Indeed, if determinism is true, as the theory of soft determinism holds it to be, all those inner states which cause my body to behave in whatever ways it behaves must arise from circumstances that existed before I was born; for the chain of causes and effects is infinite, and none could have been the least different, given those that preceded.‟ (341) A Refutation of This • According to soft determinism I have been born into a chain of causes and effects, without my permission or any choice/say on my part. Such a chain includes what I take to be „my volitions‟ and inner states: again without any control or say on my part. • Is this freedom? Taylor: No • The supporting thought experiment; the „ingenious physiologist‟ – doesn‟t the exact same point apply to an „impersonal‟ causal chain? Simple Indeterminism • We can be brief here • Indeterminism = randomness • This won‟t due – random acts are not „up to me either‟ • They just happen – a scary thought with respect to ourselves A Question Concerning Deliberation • Taylor argues (343) that if determinism were true we could not deliberate „for there is nothing left to decide…I can wait and see; but I cannot deliberate. I deliberate in order to decide what to do, not to discover what it is that I am going to do.‟ (343) • Is this true? What if determinism were true but yet with – as it will have to be – an ineliminable „epistemic gap‟ making all such „discovering‟ impossible? Are we not forced to „deliberate‟? Taylor‟s solution: Agent Causation • I – the agent – am the cause of my action. There are some events that are not caused by other events or states of affairs which would place us back into the infinite causal chain, but by the agent who is not himself an event or state of affairs – an immanent cause. • We are – in Aristotle‟s terms defining God – the prime mover unmoved. Nothing causes us to cause those acts. Agent Causation • But here is the strange position: we cause the event – via activating brain states say – but there was nothing that we did to cause the event – „ an agent is sometimes a cause without being an antecedent sufficient condition „(344) • Why? • If there was something we did to cause the event then that thing would be an event and therefore we can ask what caused it as well: that event would be part of the infinite causal chain Agent Causation • However, this chain stops with the agent himself; in fact, he inaugurates a new causal chain with his act. He was not caused to make this chain happen. We just perform the event without being able to specify antecedent causal conditions other than to say that we did it. Two metaphysical corollaries • (1) A substantial view of the self, the agent. • The self is a substance that causes events. Only so, can the event/event causal chain be „escaped‟ • (2) An „extraordinary conception of causation‟ – some philosophers would say absurd Extraordinary Conception of Causation • How so? What is meant by the statement that being a cause „just means “being an antecedent sufficient condition or set of conditions‟ (344)? • Some Examples – on board • The accusation of mysteriousness: an „explanatory gap‟ with agent causation that we do not have with the traditional account of cause. Can we accept such an explanatory gap? How is such an explanatory gap fundamentally different from indeterminism? Taylor Concedes • Taylor concedes the mysteriousness here: „ No one seems able, as we have noted, to describe deliberation without metaphors, and the conception of a thing‟s being “within‟s one‟s power” or “up to him” seems to defy analysis or definition altogether, if taken in a sense which the theory of agency appears to require‟ (345) Substance view of Self • I am causing my action • I as „a substance and a self-moving being‟ (344) • As self-moving, I initiate a new causal chain • Once again, unusual model of causation: substance causation • Unusual – think of the explanatory gap and the mysteriousness this involves Unusual • To refresh: Can‟t I say definitively what reasons, beliefs and desires caused my action? • Taylor: NO! That would appeal to inner states that again immerses us in determinism and the causal chain. Such „inner states‟ becomes „antecedent conditions‟ that are caused. • Our reasons, beliefs and desires can partially explain why we did the action by telling us what led us to the action but it does not take us all the way. It is still „up to me‟ – my DECISION Unusual • Ultimately, all I can say is „I did it‟ with the partial explanation mentioned earlier. • Can we accept this? • Taylor‟s concessions • 1. This conception of ourselves and how we act is „strange indeed, if not positively mysterious‟ (345) • 2. Our theoretical constraints, our „data‟ could be doubted – we may not be free or „really‟ deliberate: „these data might simply be illusions‟ Taylor‟s Concessions • We may only think that we are deliberating. • However, for Taylor such data is more secure than any metaphysical theory and/or doubt. Thus, if agent causation is the only theory that can accommodate and explain such data, then no matter how strange some of its tenets may be, it is still to be preferred. • Do we agree?
Pages to are hidden for
"Announcements"Please download to view full document