Presentation on theme: "Determinism: All events (including human actions) have specific causes u Baron d’Holbach: the brain is material; its actions (e.g., thought, will) are."— Presentation transcript:
Determinism: All events (including human actions) have specific causes u Baron d’Holbach: the brain is material; its actions (e.g., thought, will) are dictated by physical laws, heredity, and environment (1723-89)
(Hard) Determinism u Behavior is caused by unconscious desires and fears (Freud) or environment and heredity (Skinner). Freedom is an illusion; people are not responsible for their actions—though they can be held responsible for social purposes u Objections: how we can challenge or change our attitudes if we are determined? Why not explain behavior with reasons, not causes?
u A “free” act is simply one that is caused (i.e., preceded) by our choice or act of will. We are free when we can do what we want. Objection: aren’t choices caused by “external” forces (e.g., genetics, culture, upbringing)? Compatibilism/Soft Determinism: freedom is compatible with determinism Hume act choice/will/personality external threats/constraints cause (free) (not free)
In Defense of Free Will: Thomas Reid u We are conscious of exerting our wills, deliberating, and thinking of ourselves as free to have done otherwise u If we are not free, regret, guilt, and holding others responsible for actions make no sense (1710-96)
Freedom - Determinism Theories u Indeterminism: like sub-atomic events, free actions are unpredictable, because nothing causes them u Objection: if free human actions are chance or random events, then we could not control our “free” actions or be responsible for them u Agency Theory: our free choices define our selves: this is what we experience (and is what our theory should explain) u Objection: how can “we” be both cause & effect?