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Free Will and Determinism
Transcript of Free Will and Determinism
Choose to take A2 Philosophy and Ethics
Choose to use SSS in a constructive way rather than to sit around having a chat! Are there things that we don't have the freedom to do? Open a window, jump out and fly in the sky Grow a tail and climb trees Become God and rule the universe Obviously we don't have the ability to do these things or the freedom to choose to do them , so therefore we can't be truly free at all. There are limiting factors that might assist in determining our actions and limiting our freedom. Activity:
Write your responces to these statements:
'If I am forced against my will (with a gun to my head) to rob HSBC, can I be held morally responsible?'
'I didn't mean to knock that man down: he just stepped into the road. But I still feel responsible, Should I?' Keywords Free Will The ability to make free, unhindered choices Determinism The idea that all the actions are goverened by laws outside of our control Soft Determinism Also know as 'compatibilism', the teaching that says we can be both determined and free , as some of our moral choices are free but aspects of our nature are determined. Hard Determinism The teaching that denies that humanity has free will and believes that all actions have a prior cause. It removes moral responsibility for actions Hard Determinism Soft Determinism Libertarianism
(incompatibilism) Predestination (Theological Determinism) Religious Ideas of Free Will Give an example of how each of these can limit our free will What can we learn about free will and determinism from the Oracle and the Architect? What do you think our new topic is?
There once was a man who said damn!
It is borne in upon me I am
An engine that moves
In predestinate grooves;
I’m not even a bus I’m a tram All our actions are determined by a complex set of prior causes You have not ‘decided’ to take A-Level Philosophy and Ethics but rather it has been determined by actions dating long before your birth Activity:
Would you like to be controlled like a puppet by a puppet master?
In what ways do you believe that you are controlled or that your choices are already determined?
Is it morally wrong not to be able to make these free choices. Isaac Newton
(1643 - 1727) For Debate:
Psychological determinists believe they have some progress in isolating physiological abnormalities in the brain that may cause people to murder without having made a choice to do so. Could it have been 'determined' that these people would have murdered as part of a genetic defect? Newton's 3 Laws of Motion
I.Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.
II. The relationship between an object's mass m, its acceleration a, and the applied force F is F = ma. Acceleration and force are vectors (as indicated by their symbols being displayed in slant bold font); in this law the direction of the force vector is the same as the direction of the acceleration vector.
III. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Cause and Effect Ted Honderich
(1933 - Present) Clarence Darrow
(1857 - 1938) John Locke
(1632 - 1704) "...all our choices, decisions, intentions other mental events and our actions are no more than effects of other equally necessatated events" Activity:
Explain the Ted Honderich quotation on page 132 to the rest of the group.
Ask them what the implications might be and decide as a group how this would affect our society Activity:
Produce a diagram summarising libertarianism, Hard Determinism and Soft Determinism showing the strengths and weaknesses of each one For Debate:
Does Prince William's life prove Hard Determinism is fact? Canadian born British philosopher English Physicist and Philosopher American Lawyer English philosopher and physician regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers and considered to be the first of the British empiricists For Debate:
If a human child were raised by wolves in the wild, how would the child make decisions? Would they be based on genetic determinism or on upbringing? Could the childnchoose not to be a wolf or a human? The Locked Room Analogy The Tabla Rasa John Locke's tabula rasa was the theory that the human mind is at birth a "blank slate" without rules for processing data, and that data is added and rules for processing are formed solely by one's sensory experiences. The notion is central to Lockean empiricism. As understood by Locke, tabula rasa meant that the mind of the individual was born "blank", and it also emphasized the individual's freedom to author his or her own soul. Each individual was free to define the content of his or her character - but his or her basic identity as a member of the human species cannot be so altered. It is from this presumption of a free, self-authored mind combined with an immutable human nature that the Lockean doctrine of "natural" rights derives. Activity:
Paraphrase the locked room analogy in no more than 80 words A man is asleep, and while asleep, he is transported into a room. When he awakens, he thinks about leaving the room, but he decides (based on his own reasons) to stay in the room. Unbeknownst to him, the room was locked, and thus he could not have left the room. Locke did not say that the man stayed in the room "freely," because Locke held that acting freely entails freedom to do otheriwse. But he did say that the man voluntarily stayed in the room, although he could not have left the room. Baruch Spinoza
(1632 - 1677) "In the mind there is no absolute or free will, but the mind is determined to wish this or that by a cause, which has also been determined by another cause, and so on to infinity." (Baruch Spinoza) Dutch philosopher of Portugese Jewish origin. He was a radical rationalist philosopher of the enlightment The Case of Leob and Leopold Leopold and Leob were on trial for the murder of 14 year old Bobby Franks in 1924. They were both very wealthy and intelligent, young men who argued they attempted to commit the perfect crime by killed 14 year old Bobby Franks, but it went wrong. Darrow argued they were a product of their upbringing “What has this boy to do with it? He was not his own father; he was not his own mother; he was not his own grandparents. All of this was handed to him. He did not surround himself with governesses and wealth. He did not make himself: And yet he is compelled to pay.”
Translate this quote so that someone in year 11 could understand it They were both found guilty but due to Darrows defense avoided the death penalty and instead served a life imprisonment. This was the first court case to truly make us question whether criminals are responsible for what they do. David Hume
(1711 - 1776) "Punishment as punishment is no admissible unless the offerder has the free will to select his course" Scottish Empirical Philosopher of the Enlightenment We have the ability to make free, unhindered choices "By Liberty, then, we can only mean a power of acting or not acting, according to the determinations of the wills; that is, if we choose to remain to at rest, we may; if we choose to move then we may also" For Debate:
'the fundamentalist who believes it is her religious duty to detonate an explosive device in a shopping mall bears no responsibility' Activity:
Write down 6 actions from last week where in some way determined. How much free choice did you have?
What other action could you have chosen?
What prior events influenced your action? Stretch and Challenge:
If we are to some extent determined by genetics, upbringing, etc. and also held morally responsibile for our actions, then how can we explain and justify murderers who pleade 'Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity' by 'Extenuating Circumstances' not being punished like other murderers in prison a defendant should not be held responsible for his actions only if, due to his mental disease or defect, he (i) did not know that his act would be wrong; or (ii) did not understand the nature and quality of his actions Circumstances that are extreme or lessen the evidenece already presented In 1843 Daniel M'Naughten, a Scottish woodcutter murdered the secretary to the prime minister, Sir Robert Peel, in a botched attempt to assassinate the prime minister himself. M'Naughten apparently believed that the prime minister was the architect of the myriad of personal and financial misfortunes that had befallen him. During his trial, nine witnesses testified to the fact that he was insane, and the jury acquitted him, finding him "not guilty by reason of insanity." James Rachels
(1942-2003) Immaneul Kant
(1724 - 1804) Jean-Paul Sartre
(1905 - 1980) "... man chose not of necessity but freely" Summa Theologica The belief that God already knew before all time began who would be 'saved' and go to heaven. Therefore there is no choice Gottfried Leibniz
(1646 - 1716) St Paul
5bce - 67ce St Augustine
(345 - 430) John Calvin
(1509 - 1564) Stretch and Challenge:
'God is like a spectator at a chariot race; he watches the actions the charioteer perform, but this does not cause them' (Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy) Look at the quotation from Boethius and using your knowledge from this topic and the theories on pages 78-81, write an extended piece of work on 'God cannot know all things , if had predestined all things then he would have caused them, which would therefore make him non-benevolent' For Debate:
'If God has decided who will go to heaven, throught the theory of predestination, then I can't be free to choose to go to heaven' How can a loving God choose to send so many people to eternal separation from him? Activity:
Use all the quotations from this topic and write them out on a sheet of paper. Link them together what they say and how each perspective/belief can be refused and answered by the opposite perspective Influences on Free Will and Determinism Psychology Social Conditioning Genetics Environment Activity:
For next lesson find out about Ivan Pavlov and the dogs that he conditioned . Then answered the following;
What was the purpose of his experiment?
What does it tell us about determinism?
Write up your own psychological explanations using the examples of Pavlov and Skinner Stretch and challenge:
Find out about the psychological study of murderers in a psychiatric hospital investigated by Raine in 1997. Create a mind mapnmaking links between this study and the types of determinism on these pages. For Debate:
'Watching violent films creates a culture of violence' For Debate:
If we accept genetic determinism, would it not be possible with the assistance of scientific tests to know who would be the people who would murder or rape? Therefore we could stop them reproducing This approach arose because some philosophers rejected the idea of determinism as it ruled out any individual responsibility and also because people feel they have the ability to be self determining Association of events Hume's analysis of human belief begins with a careful distinction among our mental contents: impressions are the direct, vivid, and forceful products of immediate experience; ideas are merely feeble copies of these original impressions. (Enquiry II) Thus, for example, the background color of the screen at which I am now looking is an impression, while my memory of the color of my mother's hair is merely an idea. Since every idea must be derived from an prior impression, Hume supposed, it always makes sense to inquire into the origins of our ideas by asking from which impressions they are derived. To this beginning, add the fact that each of our ideas and impressions is entirely separable from every other, on Hume's view. The apparent connection of one idea to another is invariably the result of an association that we manufacture ourselves. (Enquiry III) We use our mental operations to link ideas to each other in one of three ways: resemblance, contiguity, or cause and effect. All human beliefs (including those we regard as cases of knowledge) result from repeated applications of these simple associations. This animal looks like that animal this book is on that table this book is on that table; moving this switch turns off the light There are stories of people who have grown up in abject poverty, surrounded by gang and drug cultures, who have been destined to follow in the footsteps of those around him. Yet, from within these people, some choose to be different and not do drugs , not join gang and not do what everyone around them does Activity:
Find out about Nicky Cruz and how he chose to change his life around. " A choice is said to be free if it is such that it could have been other than what it is" Intrinsically, "Man is not free not to be free" Sartre thought that with absolute freedom came unlimited responsibility It didn't matter what you chose, as moral responsibility dealt with that, but rather that you were free to choose at all. Leibnitz thought that God pre-ordained all things in the universe to be reliant and to be caused by each other. If it was determined that we should stand up, we should stand up, but God is causing us to stand up. Leibnitz believed that theological determinism is compatible with our experience of freedom and choice and it harmoinises to fit in wiht our choices. German Mathematician and Philosopher French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation Influenced heavily by Augustine The Protestant Work Ethic "The potter has authority over the clay from the same lump to make one vessel for honour and another and another for contempt"
St Augustine "For those God foreknew he also predestined to be confirmed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the first born among all brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also put right with himself; those he put right with himself he glorified."