- [Required] Conee and Sider (2005) Riddles of Existence: A Guided Tour of Metaphysics. Oxford University Press. Chapter 6. ebook: hkulib:b3967363
The importance of freewill
- Feeling and conception of human agency
- Values and virtues
- Moral responsibility
Basic philosophical positions
- Determinism - "Every event is necessitated by antecedent events and conditions together with the laws of nature."
- Why determinism? Newtonian physics, theology
- Indeterminism - Determinism is false.
- Why indeterminism? Quantum physics.
- Compatibilism - Freewill is compatible with determinism.
- Example: X decided to do Y freely = (1) X decided to do Y, and (2) X could have decided otherwise if X wanted to.
- Big bang 1 → X wants to do Y → X decides to do Y.
- Big bang 2 → X does not want to do Y → X decides not to do Y.
- Freewill exists.
- Freewill is incompatible with determinism.
- (Therefore) determinism is false.
Does indeterminism help?
- It has to be shown that low-level indeterminism makes a difference at the level of mental processes.
- Not clear how there can be freewill if our actions are not due to us but some random events.
- "X decides to do Y freely" requires: the decision to do Y is up to X.
- If it is a random matter whether X decides to do Y, then the decision is not up to X.
- For the physicalist, nothing explains why X decides to do Y rather than something else.
- Not a problem for the substance dualist.