Section 3.2 The Mother of Invention Freedom as Necessity
The Dilemma of Determinism and Indeterminism If causal determinism is true, then we cannot act freely because everything we do is caused by forces beyond our control. If causal indeterminism is true, then again we cannot act freely because what we do is not up to us.
Soft Determinism and Compatibilism Soft determinists believe that causal determinism is compatible with free will. In this view, one’s actions can be determined and free.
Principle of Alternative Possibilities The Principle of Alternative Possibilities says that one can be held responsible for doing something only if one could have done otherwise. The different paths in this “garden of forking paths” represent the different courses of action that you can take at a particular point in time.
The Conditional Analysis of “could have done otherwise” Traditional compatibilists offer a conditional analysis of "could have done otherwise:" you could have done otherwise just in case if you had chosen to do otherwise, you would have done otherwise.
Traditional Compatibilism Traditional compatibilism is the doctrine that free actions are (1) caused by one’s will and (2) not externally constrained. Traditional compatibilists define freedom negatively; freedom consists in the absence of external constraint or coercion.
Thought Experiment: Locke’s Trapped Conversationalist “Suppose a man is carried, while fast asleep, into a room, where there is a person he longs to see and speak with; and suppose he is locked in the room…” Even though the man doesn’t want to leave, he is not free to leave, for he couldn’t leave if he wanted to.
Thought Experiment: Taylor’s Ingenious Physiologist “Suppose…that while my behavior is entirely in accordance with my own volitions…my volitions themselves are caused [by an ingenious neurophysiologist]. Even though Taylor’s actions meets the conditions of traditional compatibilism, his actions are not free.
Thought Probe: Brain Simulation Devices that monitor brain function and stimulate the brain to modify behavior could be implanted in people. Should we implant such devices? Why or why not?
Thought Experiment: Taylor’s Drug Addiction Suppose one is given a compulsive desire for a drug. The drug addict’s subsequent behavior would fulfill both conditions of traditional compatibilism. Nevertheless, it would not be free.
Thought Probe: Brainwashing Suppose that someone were brainwashed into acquiring a whole new set of desires and beliefs and subsequently acted on them. According to traditional compatibilism, would his actions be free?
Thought Experiment: Frankfurt’s Decision Inducer In this thought experiment, Frankfurt challenges the principle of alternative possibilities. Suppose that Black monitors Jones’s behavior and is prepared to alter it if Jones doesn’t behave as Black wants him to. Black insures that Jones couldn’t do otherwise than he does. Does Jones act freely?
First-order Desires A first-order desire is a desire directed on an object or a state of affairs. Desires for food, clothing, and shelter as well as conditions like being healthy, well- informed, and well-paid are first-order desires.
Second-order Desires A second-order desire is a desire directed on a desire. A desire not to desire to smoke is a second- order desire.
Second-order Volitions A second-order volition is a second order desire on which one wants to act.
Hierarchical Compatibilism According to Frankfurt, free actions are caused by second-order volitions that one decisively identifies with. This view is known as hierarchical compatibilism because it is based on the belief that there is a hierarchy of desires and volitions.
Thought Experiment: Frankfurt’s Unwilling and Wanton Addicts Consider two addicts: the unwilling addict desires that he not have the desire to take drugs and the wanton addict has never questioned his desire to take drugs. According to Frankfurt, neither act freely.
Thought Experiment: Frankfurt’s Happy Addict Consider an addict who has reflected on his addiction and has decided that he likes being addicted to drugs. According to Frankfurt, this addict acts freely because he is acting on a second order volition.
Thought Experiment: Slote’s Hypnotized Patient Suppose that someone had a second-order volition implanted in him by a hypnotist. In that case, acting on a second-order volition would not make the act free.
Ultimate Responsibility Our actions flow from our character and motives. According to Robert Kane, if we did not have a hand in shaping our character and motives, we are not ultimately responsible for the actions that flow from them.
Thought Probe: The Willing Bank Teller Suppose that you are a bank teller and are held up at gun point. You decide that heroics are out of the question and hand over the money. According to Frankfurt, do you act freely? Why or why not?