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Free Will And Moral Responsibility Notes

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Freedom & Responsibility An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding - Hume
?????"Beyond the constant conjunction of similar objects, and the consequent inference from one to the other, we have no notion of any necessity or connexion."
?????Hume is a compatibilist wrt liberty and necessity.
? "The only proper object of hatred or vengeance is a person or creature, endowed with thought and consciousness; and when any criminal or injurious actions excite that passion, it is only by their relation to the person, or connexion with him." Free Will - Gary Watson
? The consequence argument (incompatibilist): o If determinism is true, everything, including human actions, is causally necessitated by the prior state of the universe in accordance with the laws of nature. o If human actions are causally necessitated by the past together with the laws of nature, then we cannot ever do otherwise than what we do, unless we can falsify the laws of nature or the description of the past. o We cannot falsify the laws of nature or the description of the past. o If we cannot act otherwise than we do, then we lack free will. o Hence, if determinism is true, we lack free will.
? Often extended with: o If we lack free will, we cannot appropriately hold one another responsible. o Hence, if determinism is true, we cannot appropriately hold one another responsible.
? Wiggins: "even if action and choice are not reducible to material processes, determinism still rules out virtually every significant human option. For determinism implies that your body cannot move in any different way from the way it in fact moves."
? The compatibilist claim that ability to act otherwise is not inconsistent with causal necessity ('would have done otherwise if had decided/chosen to') is weak because the antecedent of the 'if-then' statement is never true.
? More sophisticated compatibilism: an agent is free when her behaviour depends on her unimpaired capacity for rational choice.
? "Incompatibilists complain that the conditional interpretation preserves alternative possibilities only by arbitrarily abstracting from the agent's causal environment."
? Responses to Harry Frankfurt's cases: o Even if his examples succeed in refuting PAP (the Principle of Alternate Possibilities), "the denial of PAP does not establish compatibilism about responsibility"

since "determinism may undermine responsibility for different reasons." o "Frankfurt's essay teaches us that what matters for responsibility is the actual explanation of our behaviour." o F's conclusion is that "acting and willing freely does not require being free to act or will otherwise." o Widerker: "PAP is not impugned by Frankfurt's examples because the cases either beg the question against the libertarian conception of responsibility or leave the individual's freedom to choose otherwise intact."
? "[E]ven if the presence of the counterfactual intervener does not itself rob A of responsibility, C's power depends on a knowledge of conditions that do, namely the deterministic processes that C is monitoring."
? Or, "if the relation between [e.g.] the twitch and the decision is not deterministic, then there is no reason to concede that A could not have done otherwise."
? Fischer's semi-compatibilism: determinism is incompatible with the freedom to will/choose/do otherwise, but not with responsibility.
? "The assumption that determinism is false is not enough to vouchsafe free agency." o People as loci at which the forces of nature (deterministic or not) play out, rather than as authors or originators of their behaviour.
? J.J.C. Smart: our choices are either determined or a matter of chance - these options are logically exhaustive, but the libertarian (incompatibilism + indeterminism) doesn't want to accept either. o Might be seen as question-begging, since it is precisely the libertarian thesis that there is a non-deterministic form of explanation distinctive of free agency. o Chisholm says the options are not logically exhaustive: it is false that all causal explanation appeals to eventcausation.
? But this commits us to a very strange view of the self.
? "If free and responsible actions were not lawfully related to the states and processes of individuals, including their beliefs, values, and critical reasoning, then exercises of agent-causation would seem to be divorced from psycho-physical reality, the rationally inexplicable outbursts of a structureless substance." 'Freedom and Resentment' - P. Strawson

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