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Libertarianism A Libertarian, such as Taylor: Accepts Incompatabilism; i.e. accepts that if an action is determined, then the action is not free. Denies.

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Presentation on theme: "Libertarianism A Libertarian, such as Taylor: Accepts Incompatabilism; i.e. accepts that if an action is determined, then the action is not free. Denies."— Presentation transcript:

1 Libertarianism A Libertarian, such as Taylor: Accepts Incompatabilism; i.e. accepts that if an action is determined, then the action is not free. Denies Determinism; i.e. denies that all actions are determined. Accepts Freedom; i.e. there are free actions. Pertinent Dr. Lee Overhead DLODLO

2 Overview of what Taylor does in the reading The chief tenets of soft determinism theories. Soft determinism doesn’t work, and why. Examples to illustrate the “shadowy quality of soft determinism” Soft determinism doesn’t work, so should we simply deny determinism? No, indeterminism doesn’t work either. Step back and examine whether the two theories of determinism and indeterminism are able to handle two very basic pieces of data; they cannot. Taylor’s positive libertarian account: theory of agency.

3 Soft Determinism Attempts to reconcile determinism with freedom, and thus with moral responsibility. The three claims of soft determinism: 1.All behavior arises from antecedent conditions, given which no other behavior is possible, i.e. all human behavior is caused and determined. (Accepts determinism. DLO) DLO 2.Behavior can nonetheless be free if it is voluntary and not externally constrained or impeded. (Accepts Compatabilism. Accepts Freedom. P did A freely = P did A and P’s doing A was not compelled by external factors. DLO ) DLO 3.The causes of such free, voluntary, unimpeded behavior are states, events and/or conditions within the agent. (P did A freely = P's doing A had as its immediate cause a psychological state in the agent, not something external to the agent. DLO ) DLO

4 Soft Determinism doesn’t work. “…no great acumen is needed to discover that far from solving any problem, [soft determinism] only camouflages it. Taylor questions the Compatabilist “Internal Cause” Account of Freedom (DLO) : “But…whence arise those inner states that determine what my body shall do? Are they within my control or not?” And this leads to a questioning of the Compatabilist Conditional Account of Freedom (DLO) : “Having made my choice or decision and acted upon it, could I have chosen otherwise or not?”DLO Taylor essentially says (in attacking the “Internal Cause” Account): So what if my actions are caused by my inner states, conditions, etc.?! If determinism is true, those inner states, conditions, etc., are a particular way because they themselves are caused to be so, and thus any actions that my inner states caused are determined, i.e. could not have been otherwise. DLO DLO In attacking the Conditional Account, Taylor points out that one could have chosen otherwise (than what one actually did) only if something else (a set of antecedent conditions) had been different, but then we are forced to say that this set of antecedent conditions could not have been different because a further set of antecedent conditions would have had to be different for our first set to be different, ad infinitum. Perhaps the next slide will help make this clear.

5 Could I have chosen otherwise or not? Suppose Action A has a set of antecedent conditions B(which cause A): B  A It seems to be that for A to have been different, B would have had to be different. But, B could not have been different unless a further set of antecedent conditions C had been different: C  B  A But, then, C could not have been different unless a further set of antecedent conditions D had been different: and so on ad infinitum D  C  B  A “We are, at each step, permitted to say “could have been otherwise” only in a provisional sense—provided, that is, something else had been different—but must then retract it and replace it with “could not have been otherwise” as soon as we discover, as we must at each step, that whatever would have to have been different could not have been different”

6 Examples “The easiest way to see the shadowy quality of soft determinism…is by means of examples.” The Ingenious Physiologist Example. DLO DLO “To render a man your puppet, it is not necessary forcibly to constrain the motions of his limbs, after the fashion that real puppets are moved. A subtler but no less effective means of making a man your puppet would be to gain complete control of his inner states, and ensuring, as the theory of soft determinism does ensure, that his body will move in accordance with them.”

7 Simple Indeterminism doesn’t work either. Remember, an Indeterminist denies that all actions are determined, i.e. denies determinism. DLO DLO The aim of this strategy of denying determinism (what the indeterminist has in mind) is to see a free action as one that did not have to be done or as one that could have been done differently: “If [the free action] was uncaused, then, even given the conditions under which it occurred and all that preceded, some other act was nonetheless possible, and [the doer] did not have to do what he did.” –The indeterminist thinks that the same strategy is applicable even if one thinks that actions are the inevitable consequences of inner states: the inner states could have been otherwise. But does this simple denial of determinism work in giving us an account of free action? No. “Behavior that is mine must be behavior that is within my control, but motions that occur from no causes are without the control of anyone.” DLO DLO

8 Two items of data Ok, lets step back for a second; we seem to have shown that soft determinism and simple indeterminism produce troubling, perhaps absurd, results. Remember that theories such as soft determinism and simple indeterminism attempt to give an account of free action. Taylor, however, thinks that for a theory to succeed in coming up with an account of free action, the theory must preserve/not make impossible/be reconcilable with the following two data: 1.My behavior is sometimes the outcome of my deliberation. 2.In these and other cases it is sometimes up to me what I do. Taylor thinks that determinism and indeterminism cannot be reconciled with this data.

9 Taylor: Determinism, Indeterminism rule out deliberation. “I can deliberate only about my own future actions, and then only if I do not already know what I am going to do.” “But if determinism is true…then I can [for everything I do] know what I am going to do and cannot then deliberate about it.” (Because “I deliberate in order to decide what to do, not to discover what it is that I am going to do.”) i.e. Taylor thinks that determinism rules out deliberation; i.e. the theory of determinism cannot be reconciled with our first datum. Dr. Lee makes explicit Taylor's deliberation argument. Taylor’s second premise seems mistaken/problematic. It does seem more reasonable, however, to think that indeterminism rules out deliberation. (I can’t deliberate about “random, uncaused” actions.)

10 Taylor: Determinism is irreconcilable with our second datum. Taylor tries to show how his second datum (that it is sometimes up to me what I do) is irreconcilable with determinism. Taylor says that for some action to “be up to me”, it has to be the case that there is a legitimate choice open to me as to whether or not to do the action: “each alternative course of action must be such that I can do it.” “But this is never so, if determinism is true, for on the very formulation of that theory whatever happens at any time is the only thing that can then happen, given all that precedes it. It is simply a logical consequence of this that whatever I do at any time is the only thing I can then do, given the conditions that precede my doing it.” That is, determinism seems to say that what I do is never up to me.

11 Taylor: Indeterminism is obviously irreconcilable with our second datum. “Whatever is not caused by anything is not caused by me, and nothing could be more plainly inconsistent with saying that it is nevertheless up to me what it shall be.”

12 Theory of Agency “The only conception of action which accords with our data is one according to which men are sometimes self-determining beings; that is, beings which are sometimes the causes of their own behavior.” Two strange metaphysical notions: 1.The notion of a self or person: for example, a man not as merely a collection of things or events, but as a self-moving being; “for on this view it is a man himself, and not merely some part of him or anything within him, that is the cause of his own activity.” 2.A conception of causation according to which an agent, while not himself/herself an event, can nevertheless be the cause of an event. Taylor thinks that this account allows for deliberation and for my actions being up to me.

13 Possible problems with the Theory of Agency Seems strange, weird: “for the conception of men and their powers which is involved in it is strange indeed, if not positively mysterious.” The ‘data’ might simply be illusions: “It might in fact be that no man ever deliberates, but only imagines that he does, that from pure conceit he supposes himself to be the master of his behavior and the author of his acts.”


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