Free Will and Determinism

Mind Map by hollyhocks18, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by hollyhocks18 about 5 years ago


A-level Ethics A2 Mind Map on Free Will and Determinism, created by hollyhocks18 on 01/07/2015.

Resource summary

Free Will and Determinism
1 Religion & Free Will
1.1 "Only an agent endowed with an intellect can act with judgement which is free" - Summa Theologica 59:3, Aquinas
1.2 Pronosis - ancient Greek word meaning before knowledge.
1.3 Omniscience - all knowing.
1.4 If God is omnipotent then he can limit some elements of his omniscience, to allow for free will to exist alongside God being omniscience.
1.5 Omniscience could mean that God know everything that has ever happened, however you could argue that God does not and cannot know the future as it doesn't exist - C.S.Lewis.
1.6 Molinism argues that omniscience and free will can exist because when making a decision, God can know the outcome of every single contingent path but this does not mean that God knows what pain individuals will choose. God knows everything but has no influence.
2 Protestant Determinism
2.1 Erasmus writes in 'On the Freedom of the Will' that God made human being with free will. He argues that despite the fall , humans still have free will.
2.2 Martin Luther didn't agree with Erasmus and so wrote a letter to counter Erasmus' argument entitled 'On the Bondage of the Will'.
2.2.1 God foreknows all things and he can't be hindered in this prescience and predestination, nothing can take place but to God's will.
2.2.2 God has put out salvation out of the way of our will and has taken it under his own; therefore it doesn't matter what we do in life, the decision still lies with God.
2.2.3 Luther argues that doing good actions generates arrogance and pride - these emotions send you to hell!
2.2.4 God alone decides who has salvation.
3 Predestination
3.1 John Calvin, the creator of Calvinism, was influenced by Martin Luther. He realised that only a few people within the Bible are actually doing good.
3.2 "For many are called, but few are chosen" - Matthew 22:14
3.3 Calvin preached that God calls the few and damns the many.
3.4 The 'elect of God' are to be saved; God has pre-selected people before they are born.
3.5 There are two types of salvation:
3.5.1 Double handed salvation - God looks through time and reaches to those who need to be saved and they reach back.
3.5.2 Single handed salvation - It is all predetermined, God see through the corridor of time and selects those to be saved. Irresistible graced. Calvinism follows this. Removes all moral responsibility.
3.6 If God is all loving and all his creation is sacred, why is there even the 'elect of God'? Plus Jesus taught agape (unconditional love) and so why if God's love allowed to be conditioned?
3.7 Predestination is contrary to God's gift of free will. William Laud suggested that we cannot know good without God's assistance, as so the decision between good and evil is down to the individual.
3.8 Calvin based his theory on scriptural revelation but because of Jesus' sacrifice, anyone can reach up to God, meaning that Calvin read understood the Bible wrong.
3.8.1 "through the obedience of the one man, the many will be made righteous".
3.9 The Antinomians followed the logic of Calvinism to suggest that those already chose could do what they wanted and do not have to follow moral laws.
4 Soft Determinism
4.1 During the 17th Century, there was a large movement towards soft determinism, which is the argument that humans have limited free will within the constraints of the laws of nature.
4.2 John Locke (who doesn't believe in soft determinism!) influences Hume by arguing that humans develop morality throughout there lives.
4.2.1 His 'locked analogy' argues that freedom is an illusion.
4.2.2 According to Locke, the mind is a blank slate, a 'tabula rasa', which is filled by life's experiences which shape someone's moral framework.
4.2.3 "White paper, void of all characters without any ideas with all the materials and knowledge".
4.3 David Hume
4.3.1 The constant union of objects - events are predetermined because of casual links between objects e.g. a volcanic eruption causes flights to de delayed. Hard determinists claim that soft determinists aren't going far enough. If you agree that a chain of causation exists and affects our decisions, then you cannot break free of that chain, there is no free will.
4.3.2 The inference of the mind - link between predetermined events and what you decide, the way the mind infers ideas from empirical views. Imagine you face a robber and you need to choose whether you fight or flight; if soft determinism were true and you are just responding to determined events, then you would only decide to fight the robber if you were stronger - this is not free will.
4.3.3 Predetermined events create choice, without these predetermined events there would be no free will.
4.3.4 Free will is compatible with a physically determined universe, hence why they theory can be referred to as Compatiblism.
4.3.5 Liberty of spontaneity - according to Hume, we make our decisions spontaneously. We constantly make decisions that don't seem calculated or thought through - it doesn't mean that they aren't.
4.3.6 Rejection of chance - things can't be determined by chance, events are determined and individuals respond to decisions by using their free will, even if it is a spontaneous decision. An example of this would be Buridan's Donkey - a donkey wouldn't be able to decide between two identical bales of hay because it does not have free will; whereas a human would be able to decide between two identical loaves of bread because of free will.
4.4 William James argued that dilemma of determinism is that it is "a quagmire of evasion" as it avoids all the big questions.
4.4.1 Fully believes in free will.
4.4.2 "My first act of free will, shall be to believe in free will".
4.5 Immanuel Kant is against the "idea that free will is simply freedom from coercion". He calls this a "wretched subterfuge" - a disgusting lie and so doesn't agree with soft determinism.
5 Libertarianism
5.1 The idea that we have complete free will and the world is not predetermined.
5.2 Thomas Reid put forward his theory of common-sense philosophy. He agreed that human beings are limited by nature but this doesn't affect their free will; free will is subject based.
5.3 Humans are morally responsible for their own actions.
5.4 Frederich Hayek (1899-1992) is known as a libertarianism supporter. He was a critic of communication arguing that it was taking away people's free will. In 'The Road to Serfdom' he argued that the only way that people can be free is through libertarianism and capitalism.
5.4.1 Hayek's key to freedom: Moral relativism + Capitalism + Multiculturalism = 'Pick and Mix Society' This would create a society where humans have the freedom to choose whatever lifestyle they liked as long as they don't harm others in doing so.
5.5 J.J.Smart provides an effective argument against libertarianism suggesting that it just cannot be possible that we have free will.
5.5.1 P1. Either the world is determined. P2. If determinism is true then our choices are not free. P3. An undetermined would is random. P4. If indeterminism is true the our choices aren't free, they are random. C. Therefore we don't posesss free will.
5.5.2 Many people think that maybe the physical world is not determined because of the existence of randomness at a quantum level. Smart argues that if this is true then we still do not possess free will; random decisions are no more free that determined ones!
5.6 Phenomenological argument
5.6.1 Something we observe or experience.
5.6.2 Libertarianism is how experience free will.
5.6.3 P1. Our experiences are usually reliable. P2. We experience free will. C. Therefore we are free.
5.7 Free will is power over our thoughts, this power is unanalysable.
6 Hard Determinism
6.1 As the causal universe is determined, so too are our thoughts - therefore we have no free will.
6.2 Deterministic view of the physical universe, the chain of causation that effects objects has an effect upon subjects in the same way.
6.3 fMRI scanners can prove that our thoughts are predetermined because it can see, 6 seconds before your conscience self knows, the decision you are going to make will 100% accuaracy.
6.4 Sam Harris
6.4.1 Free will is an illusion.
6.4.2 He gave an example to pick any city in the world and a few names pop into your head - who chooses what cities come into your head? There must be 50+ names of cities in your head but why did you only think of a few?
6.4.3 "Thoughts just emerge in consciousness, we are not authoring them".
6.4.4 "Conscious witness of your inner life".
6.5 Loeb and Leopald murdered a 14 year old boy so that they could 'commit the perfect crime'. Their lawyer argued that it wasn't fair to hang them by arguing that they grew up in an ear of war with no "value of human life".
6.5.1 We don't have free will because the choices we make are heavily influenced by our society and thing happening around us.
6.5.2 "All life is worth saving, and that mercy is the highest attribute of man".
6.6 Ted Honderich argued that all human action is casually determined, therefore we can never act freely and can't be held morally responsible for our actions.
6.6.1 Denies we have any choice, therefore we have no moral responsibility.
6.6.2 Everything is determined, internally and externally.
6.6.3 "The very idea of free will is meaningless".
6.7 Jean-Paul illustrates a kind of libertarianism, he argues that because humans are able to self-reflect, they can be genuinely creative with respect to their character. There is a radical gulf between a person and his past, such that a person must continually re-create themselves. People are so free that it scares them and so they make up stories about being determined.
7 Science
7.1 Genetics
7.1.1 Morality can be determined by genetics as genetics allow us to predict certain qualities and traits that a person possess.
7.1.2 Many geneticists struggle to support hard determinism based solely on genetics, the environment plays an important part on morality.
7.1.3 When we are able to fully understand the complexity of genetics, we might be to compute a person's actions; if we could predict how a person is going to react, it proves that free will is an illusion.
7.2 Psychology
7.2.1 The effect of chemicals on the electric charges within the brain play a vital part in determining what people do and what their attitudes will be like.
7.2.2 For example, if half of the brain is starved of oxygen, one half becomes aggressive and the other half becomes logical and rational; therefore the very nature of the brain determines moral sensitivities and actions.
7.3 Social Conditioning
7.3.1 We learn moral behaviours from our surroundings: education, family life, culture - these shape our lives and give us moral behaviour.
7.3.2 Stamford Uni Prison Experiment was used to prove that moral behaviour can change with social conditioning.
7.4 Environemt
7.4.1 Brayn Caplan argues that hard determinism is based on 3 things: 1. The genetic make up of the individual. 2. Shared family environment. 3. Non-shared environment.
7.4.2 Scientists say that we are influenced 40% by genes, 50% non-shared environment and 10% family environment.
7.4.3 Caplan agrues that we are determined and the 'non-shared environment' is meaningless.
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