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Free will & Determinism notes

What is Determinism?

In the syllabus, determinism is defined as- "the belief that a determinate set of
conditions can only produce one possible outcome, given fixed laws of nature"

It holds that:

1) Every event has a cause- universal causation
2) Given the total set…

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Action and causation

All our actions are caused by our motivations. Therefore all our actions have
causes. Given the causes our motivations have, no other action is possible
other than what we do. We are not free to choose anything other than what
we actually choose. This is how determinism…

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What is free will?

Free will as requiring indeterminism

Hard determinism and libertarianism

The position that regards free will as incompatible with determinism is called
incompatibilism. Hard determinism holds that, because determinism is true,
we do not have free will. Libertarianism holds that, because we have free
will, determinism must…

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Compatibilism is the view that although determinism is true, we can still have
free will.

Hume said that free will is "a power of acting or not acting, according to the
determinations of the will." Free will is simply my choice to cause the action.
This is compatible with determinism.…

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One way to defend the distinction is to ask whether threats or argument
would change what a person does. If the action is constrained, they will not.
For example, threatening someone with a gun to their head will change
nothing. But hardened criminals will not respond to threats, does this…

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actions. People enjoy praise and dislike blame. So by praising someone for a
good action, we cause more people to do good actions in future.

Is this idea really moral responsibility anymore? Morality seems like nothing
more than a system for controlling people's behaviour. Is this right?

In development, there…

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another. For example, if you could know the exact physics by which a dice was
rolled, you could accurately predict which number it would result in. But can
chance happen at a physical level?

Quantum mechanics

This is the theory that what happens at a sub- atomic level is indeterminate-…

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temper and an aggressive personality, you may struggle not to. And you
cannot choose not to have a bad temper. In this way, aspects of our character
are determined. On the basis of knowing someone's character, we may be
able to predict what they are going to do. However is…

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Frankfurt: Second order desires

Harry Frankfurt argued we should define our will in two orders. `First order'
desires are desires to do things- to listen to music or eat a sandwich. `Second
order' desires are desires about first order desires. For example, I could want a
cigarette, but not want…

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The implications of determinism

Strawson: `Reactive attitudes'

Strawson argued the practices of praise and blame are a system of `reactive
attitudes'- such as gratitude, resentment, love and hurt. These are responses
to people as moral agents, and they distinguish our reactions to people from
our interactions with animals/ natural events…

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