FREEDOM OF WILL Sergei Levin Сергей Михайлович Левин

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FREEDOM OF WILL Sergei Levin Сергей Михайлович Левин slevin@hse. ru Introduction to Philosophy *FREEDOM OF WILL Sergei Levin Сергей Михайлович Левин [email protected] ru Introduction to Philosophy * Presentation is for educational purposes only. I do not claim authorship for all texts and pictures in the presentation.

Five cases to consider* 1. I intentionally ran over a cat 2. I accidentlyFive cases to consider* 1. I intentionally ran over a cat 2. I accidently ran over a cat. 3. A maniac with a gun has forced me to run over a cat. 4. I ran over a cat being mind controlled by aliens. 5. My car with me inside was taken by hurricane and felt down on the cat. * No cats have been harmed

Why is freedom important?  • We ‘feel’ that we are free; that weWhy is freedom important? • We ‘feel’ that we are free; that we are the originators of our own actions • We need to be free in order to be responsible for our actions; our practices of praise and blame presuppose that we are free (compare the kleptomaniac to the ordinary thief) Free will may be defined as the power to perform free actions. But what does ‘free action’ mean?

The Problem of Free Will We think of people as morally responsible for whatThe Problem of Free Will We think of people as morally responsible for what they do “freely”. But we don’t blame them for what they are forced to do. Then we say they’re not free , and have no choice in the matter. Suppose that what I do is caused , or causally determined. So it was causally necessary that I did what I did. How, then, can I properly be blamed?

Event causation Universal causation: every event – everything that happens or occurs – hasEvent causation Universal causation: every event – everything that happens or occurs – has a cause Even if we don’t know the cause, we don’t allow that something ‘just happened’ Causal necessity: given the total set of conditions under which the cause occurs, only one effect is possible 5 Event 1 Event 2 Event

Actions as events • Our actions are events.  • Therefore, they have causes.Actions as events • Our actions are events. • Therefore, they have causes. • Given the causes they have, no action is possible other than what we actually do. • If we couldn’t do any other action, then we do not have free will, e. g. to choose between doing different actions.

Event Causation and the Brain 7 Baron d’Holbach :  the brain is material;Event Causation and the Brain 7 Baron d’Holbach : the brain is material; its actions (e. g. , thought, will) are dictated by physical laws, heredity, and environment (1723 -89)

Determinism – The thesis that the combination of a complete statement of the lawsDeterminism – The thesis that the combination of a complete statement of the laws of nature and a complete description of the condition of the entire universe at any point in time logically entails a complete description of the condition of the entire universe at any other point in time.

Laplace’s demon We may regard the present state of the universe as the effectLaplace’s demon We may regard the present state of the universe as the effect of its past and the cause of its future. An intellect which at a certain moment would know all forces that set nature in motion, and all positions of all items of which nature is composed, if this intellect were also vast enough to submit these data to analysis, it would embrace in a single formula the movements of the greatest bodies of the universe and those of the tiniest atom; for such an intellect nothing would be uncertain and the future just like the past would be present before its eyes. — Pierre Simon Laplace, A Philosophical Essay on Probabilities[3] 9 (1749 -1827)

Albert Einstein Being, endowed with higher insight and more perfect intelligence, watching man andAlbert Einstein Being, endowed with higher insight and more perfect intelligence, watching man and his doings, smile about man’s illusion that he was acting according to his own free will. 10 Albert Einstein cited in John Horgan , New Year’s Resolution: I will believe in fr ee will , Scientific American, Dec 27,

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Foreknowledge 12 Foreknowledge

Determinism – The thesis that the combination of a complete statement of the lawsDeterminism – The thesis that the combination of a complete statement of the laws of nature and a complete description of the condition of the entire universe at any point in time logically entails a complete description of the condition of the entire universe at any other point in time.

Could we be mistaken about ‘feeling free’? Let us imagine a man who, Could we be mistaken about ‘feeling free’? Let us imagine a man who, while standing on the street, would say to himself: ‘ It is six o ’ clock in the evening, the working day is over. Now I can go for a walk, or I can go to the club; I can also climb up the tower to see the sun set; I can go to theatre; I can visit this friend or that one; indeed, I also can run out of the gate, into the wide world and never return. All this is strictly up to me; in this I have complete freedom. But still, I shall do none of these things now, but with just as free a will I shall go home to my wife. ’ This is exactly as if water spoke to itself: ‘ I can make high waves (yes! in the sea during a storm), I can rush down hill (yes! in the river bed), I can plunge down foaming and gushing (yes! in the fountain) I can, finally, boil away and disappear (yes! at certain temperature); but I am doing none of these things now, and am voluntarily remaining quiet and clear in the reflecting pond. (Schopenhauer, On the Freedom of The Will )

Determinism vs free will? This raises two big questions 1. The determinist question -Determinism vs free will? This raises two big questions 1. The determinist question — is determinism true or false? 2. The compatibility question — is free will compatible with determinism? The combination of answers that can be given form the standard positions in the debate

Incompatibilism Incompatibilists believe freedom is not compatible with determinism; if determinism is true, thenIncompatibilism Incompatibilists believe freedom is not compatible with determinism; if determinism is true, then one cannot be held truly free and responsible for one’s actions Incompatibilists may be divided into groups …

Incompatibilism: Hard Determinism 1) Free will is not compatible with determinism 2) Determinism isIncompatibilism: Hard Determinism 1) Free will is not compatible with determinism 2) Determinism is true 3) So, we do not have free will HARD DETERMINISTS are incompatibilists who hold that determinism is true

Incompatibilism: Hard Determinism • How can the HD explain our behaviour of praising andIncompatibilism: Hard Determinism • How can the HD explain our behaviour of praising and blaming agents for their actions, and ascribing responsibility? • What happens to morality? If nobody can ever ‘do otherwise’ than they in fact do, then notions of responsibility, desert, praise, and blame are redundant.

Determinism – The thesis that the combination of a complete statement of the lawsDeterminism – The thesis that the combination of a complete statement of the laws of nature and a complete description of the condition of the entire universe at any point in time logically entails a complete description of the condition of the entire universe at any other point in time. laws of nature? … but wait a second… are they deterministic? !

Indeterminism is the concept that events (certain events,  or events of certain types)Indeterminism is the concept that events (certain events, or events of certain types) are not caused, or not caused deterministically by prior events. It is the opposite of determinism and related to chance. Quantum Effects Make the Difference!

Luck Objection (Alfred Mele) Suppose that in the actual world,  John fails toLuck Objection (Alfred Mele) Suppose that in the actual world, John fails to resist the temptation to do what he thinks he should not do, arrive on time at a meeting. If John could have done otherwise given the same past, then we could imagine that his counterpart, John*, in an alternative possible world (which is exactly the same as the actual world up to the moment of choice) resists the temptation and arrives on time.

Luck Objection (Alfred Mele) 22 Mele then argues that “if there is nothing aboutLuck Objection (Alfred Mele) 22 Mele then argues that “if there is nothing about the agents’ powers, capacities, states of mind, moral character and the like that explains this difference in outcome, . . . the difference is just a matter of luck. ”

Freed will scheme 23 Freed will scheme

Taxonomy of Positions Is thesis that we have genuine free will compatible with determinism?Taxonomy of Positions Is thesis that we have genuine free will compatible with determinism? NO : Incompatibilism We have free will; determinism is false = Libertarianism We do not have free will; determinism is true = Hard determinism We do not have free will; determinism is false = Hard incompatibilism YES : They are compatible = Compatibilism We have free will; and determinism is true

Incompatibilism:  libertarianism Libertarians believe a) We do have free will b) Free willIncompatibilism: libertarianism Libertarians believe a) We do have free will b) Free will is not compatible with determinism c) Determinism is therefore false

Raising hand example (John Searle) 26 I have a free will! 1. I wantRaising hand example (John Searle) 26 I have a free will! 1. I want to raise a hand! 2. I raise hand! Therefore 1. I have free will 2. Determinism is false Criticism: our sense of free will is just an illusion, as Schopenhauer shows with his water example

Libertarianism How do we make sense of a non-determined free will? Some responses: ExtraLibertarianism How do we make sense of a non-determined free will? Some responses: Extra factor (soul, non-material mind) Agent-causal theory (self-determination)

Agent causation Not only events can be causes; agents themselves can be causes tooAgent causation Not only events can be causes; agents themselves can be causes too (distinction between event-causation and agent-causation ) Agent-causation is not reducible to causation by events (agent-causes are not explainable by reference to other events) A STAFF MOVES A STONE, AND IS MOVED BY A HAND, WHICH IS MOVED BY A MAN — Aristotle, Physics 256 a

Agent causation Problems: Many people, including many libertarians, find the notion of ‘agent-causation’ farAgent causation Problems: Many people, including many libertarians, find the notion of ‘agent-causation’ far too mysterious and problematic • Requires agents to be the uncaused cause of their actions, to be “prime movers unmoved” • Problem of economy — positing a second, additional, category of causation

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Compatibilism COMPATIBILISTS believe that freedom and responsibility are in every significant sense compatible withCompatibilism COMPATIBILISTS believe that freedom and responsibility are in every significant sense compatible with determinism; thus there is no conflict between determinism and free will SOFT DETERMINISTS are compatibilists who believe determinism is true Classical Compatibilists: Hobbes, Hume, Mill Modern Compatibilists: Ayer, Dennett, Frankfurt

Compatibilism (Soft Determinism) a) Determinism is true b) Free will exists c) There isCompatibilism (Soft Determinism) a) Determinism is true b) Free will exists c) There is no tension between these claims If some people see a tension here, it is because they are misunderstanding the notions of freedom and determinism, of ‘free-choice’ and ‘causal necessity’

Compatibilism COMPATIBILISTS believe that freedom and responsibility are in every significant sense compatible withCompatibilism COMPATIBILISTS believe that freedom and responsibility are in every significant sense compatible with determinism; thus there is no conflict between determinism and free will SOFT DETERMINISTS are compatibilists who believe determinism is true Classical Compatibilists: Hobbes, Hume, Mill Modern Compatibilists: Ayer, Dennett, Frankfurt The proper contrast to freedom is not determinism, but constraint/coercion As long as we are not constrained, coerced or forced in our actions then we do what we will, and it doesn’t matter whether our wills are determined or not

Thomas Hobbes suggested that freedom consists in there being no external impediments to anThomas Hobbes suggested that freedom consists in there being no external impediments to an agent doing what he wants to do: “A free agent is he that can do as he will , andforbearas he will, and that liberty is the absence of external impediments. ” 34 Classical Compatibilists: Hobbes (1588 -1679)

Challenge for the compatibilist (CDO) Incompatibilists say: For our actions to be free, Challenge for the compatibilist (CDO) Incompatibilists say: For our actions to be free, it must be the case that, when we act, we could do otherwise(CDO) than we actually do Compatibilist responses: Interpret the CDO-condition of freedom as having a hypothetical or conditional meaning, i. e. To say one ‘could have done otherwise’ is to say that one would have done otherwise had things been different (given a different set of beliefs, desires, etc. ) [classical compatibilist response]

Challenge for the compatibilist (Alien desires) 1. Hypnosis 2. Drugs 36 Challenge for the compatibilist (Alien desires) 1. Hypnosis 2. Drugs

Compatibilist responses 1. Hypnosis – manipulation – external constraint/coercion Nature is not an agentCompatibilist responses 1. Hypnosis – manipulation – external constraint/coercion Nature is not an agent (Dennet) What if hypnosis occur without other agent? 2. Drugs – natural desires?

Dennett's three levels 381. Intentional stance 2. Design stance 3. Intentional stance Dennett’s three levels 381. Intentional stance 2. Design stance 3. Intentional stance

Raising hand example (another interpretation) 39 I have a free will! 1. I wantRaising hand example (another interpretation) 39 I have a free will! 1. I want to raise a hand! 2. I raise hand! Therefore 1. I have free will 2. Determinism is false

A Garden of Forking Paths 40 A Garden of Forking Paths

Film Minority Report Psychic creatures called ‘pre-cogs’ can “see” crimes before they happen, Film Minority Report Psychic creatures called ‘pre-cogs’ can “see” crimes before they happen, so murderers are apprehended and tried before they commit their crimes (this is done under the “Pre. Crime Programm” Would you support the pre-crime programm?




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