It is an introduction that reflects its author's own predilection in the subject. Are introductions better when they do that?
It is a topic in metaphysics and ethics as much as in the philosophy of mind. Philosophers give very different answers to these questions. Consequently they give very different answers to two more specific questions, which are questions about ourselves: They have this name because they hold that free will is compatible with determinism.
Briefly, determinism is the view that the history of the universe is fixed: According to compatibilists, freedom is compatible with determinism because freedom is essentially just a matter of not being constrained or hindered in certain ways when one acts or chooses.
Suppose one is a normal adult human being in normal circumstances. Then one is able to act and choose freely. One is not being threatened or manhandled. One is not drugged, or in chains, or subject to a psychological compulsion like kleptomania, or a post-hypnotic command.
Compatibilism has many sophisticated variants, but this is its core, and to state it is to see what motivates its opponents, the incompatibilists.
The incompatibilists hold that freedom is not compatible with determinism. It entirely fails to satisfy our natural convictions about the nature of moral responsibility.
The incompatibilists have a good point, and may be divided into two groups. Libertarians hold that we are indeed free and fully morally responsible agents, and that determinism must therefore be false.
Their great difficulty is to explain why the falsity of determinism is any better than determinism, when it comes to establishing our free agency and moral responsibility. For suppose that not every event is determined, and that some events occur randomly, or as a matter of chance.
How can this help with free will?
How can our claim to moral responsibility be improved by the supposition that it is partly a matter of chance or random outcome that we and our actions are as they are? This is a very difficult question for libertarians. The second group of incompatibilists are less sanguine.
Accordingly, they conclude that we are not genuinely free agents or genuinely morally responsible, whether determinism is true or false. One of their arguments can be summarized as follows.
When one acts, one acts in the way that one does because of the way one is. But nothing can be causa sui—nothing can be the ultimate cause of itself in any respect.
So nothing can be truly morally responsible. Suitably developed, this argument against moral responsibility seems very strong.
Some objections will be considered in the main article. But in many human societies belief in ultimate moral responsibility continues unabated.
In many human beings, the experience of choice gives rise to a conviction of absolute responsibility that is untouched by philosophical arguments that put it in question.
This conviction is the deep and inexhaustible source of the free will problem: But these arguments keep coming up against equally powerful psychological and cultural reasons why we continue to believe that we are ultimately morally responsible.
More than senses of the word have been distinguished; the history of the discussion of free will is rich and remarkable.
David Hume called the problem of free will "the most contentious question of metaphysics, the most contentious science" Enquiry p. Suppose tomorrow is a national holiday. You are considering what to do.Sir Peter Frederick Strawson FBA (/ ˈ s t r ɔː s ən /; 23 November – 13 February ), usually cited as P.
F. Strawson, was an English philosopher. He was the Waynflete Professor of Metaphysical Philosophy at the University of Oxford (Magdalen College) from to ‘Free will’ is the conventional name of a topic that is best discussed without reference to the will.
It is a topic in metaphysics and ethics as much as in the philosophy of mind. Galen Strawson at the University of Reading [permanent dead link] "Free Will" an entry by Strawson in the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy "I am not a story" an article by Strawson in Aeon magazineSchool: Analytic philosophy.
FREE WILL Galen Strawson Abstract ‘Free will’ is the conventional name of a topic that is best discussed without reference to the will. It is a topic in metaphysics and ethics as much as in the philosophy of mind.
Its central questions are ‘What is it to act (or choose). G Strawson - The Impossibility of Moral Responsibility - Free download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online for free. These lead to questions about agency and responsibility, and free will, these lead in turn to a consideration of ‘situationism’ and cognitive biases and illusions, and even, perhaps, to the question of the meaning of life John Locke Essay and commentators (e.g.
Catharine Cockburn, Galen Strawson).