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Core Concepts

Adequate Determinism
Agent-Causality
Alternative Possibilities
Causa Sui
Causal Closure
Causality
Certainty
Chance
Chance Not Direct Cause
Chaos Theory
The Cogito Model
Compatibilism
Complexity
Comprehensive   Compatibilism
Conceptual Analysis
Control
Could Do Otherwise
Creativity
Default Responsibility
De-liberation
Determination
Determination Fallacy
Determinism
Disambiguation
Double Effect
Either Way
Emergent Determinism
Epistemic Freedom
Ethical Fallacy
Experimental Philosophy
Extreme Libertarianism
Event Has Many Causes
Frankfurt Cases
Free Choice
Freedom of Action
"Free Will"
Free Will Axiom
Free Will in Antiquity
Free Will Mechanisms
Free Will Requirements
Free Will Theorem
Future Contingency
Hard Incompatibilism
Idea of Freedom
Illusion of Determinism
Illusionism
Impossibilism
Incompatibilism
Indeterminacy
Indeterminism
Infinities
Laplace's Demon
Libertarianism
Liberty of Indifference
Libet Experiments
Luck
Master Argument
Modest Libertarianism
Moral Necessity
Moral Responsibility
Moral Sentiments
Mysteries
Naturalism
Necessity
Noise
Non-Causality
Nonlocality
Origination
Paradigm Case
Possibilities
Pre-determinism
Predictability
Probability
Pseudo-Problem
Random When?/Where?
Rational Fallacy
Refutations
Replay
Responsibility
Same Circumstances
Scandal
Science Advance Fallacy
Second Thoughts
Self-Determination
Semicompatibilism
Separability
Soft Causality
Special Relativity
Standard Argument
Supercompatibilism
Superdeterminism
Taxonomy
Temporal Sequence
Tertium Quid
Torn Decision
Two-Stage Models
Ultimate Responsibility
Uncertainty
Up To Us
Voluntarism

Philosophers

Mortimer Adler
Rogers Albritton
Alexander of Aphrodisias
Samuel Alexander
G.E.M.Anscombe
Anselm
Louise Antony
Thomas Aquinas
Aristotle
David Armstrong
Harald Atmanspacher
Augustine
J.L.Austin
A.J.Ayer
Alexander Bain
Mark Balaguer
Jeffrey Barrett
William Belsham
Henri Bergson
Isaiah Berlin
Bernard Berofsky
Robert Bishop
Susanne Bobzien
Emil du Bois-Reymond
Hilary Bok
George Boole
Émile Boutroux
F.H.Bradley
C.D.Broad
C.A.Campbell
Joseph Keim Campbell
Carneades
Ernst Cassirer
David Chalmers
Roderick Chisholm
Chrysippus
Cicero
Randolph Clarke
Samuel Clarke
Anthony Collins
Antonella Corradini
Diodorus Cronus
Jonathan Dancy
Donald Davidson
Mario De Caro
Democritus
Daniel Dennett
Jacques Derrida
René Descartes
Richard Double
Fred Dretske
John Dupré
John Earman
Laura Waddell Ekstrom
Epictetus
Epicurus
Herbert Feigl
John Martin Fischer
Owen Flanagan
Luciano Floridi
Philippa Foot
Alfred Fouilleé
Harry Frankfurt
Richard L. Franklin
Michael Frede
Carl Ginet
Nicholas St. John Green
H.Paul Grice
Ian Hacking
Ishtiyaque Haji
Stuart Hampshire
W.F.R.Hardie
William Hasker
R.M.Hare
Georg W.F. Hegel
Martin Heidegger
R.E.Hobart
Thomas Hobbes
David Hodgson
Shadsworth Hodgson
Ted Honderich
Pamela Huby
David Hume
Ferenc Huoranszki
William James
Lord Kames
Robert Kane
Immanuel Kant
Tomis Kapitan
Jaegwon Kim
William King
Christine Korsgaard
Andrea Lavazza
Keith Lehrer
Gottfried Leibniz
Leucippus
Michael Levin
George Henry Lewes
C.I.Lewis
David Lewis
Peter Lipton
John Locke
Michael Lockwood
E. Jonathan Lowe
John R. Lucas
Lucretius
James Martineau
Storrs McCall
Hugh McCann
Colin McGinn
Michael McKenna
Brian McLaughlin
Paul E. Meehl
Uwe Meixner
Alfred Mele
John Stuart Mill
Dickinson Miller
G.E.Moore
C. Lloyd Morgan
Thomas Nagel
Friedrich Nietzsche
John Norton
P.H.Nowell-Smith
Robert Nozick
William of Ockham
Timothy O'Connor
David F. Pears
Charles Sanders Peirce
Derk Pereboom
Steven Pinker
Plato
Karl Popper
Huw Price
H.A.Prichard
Hilary Putnam
Willard van Orman Quine
Frank Ramsey
Ayn Rand
Thomas Reid
Charles Renouvier
Nicholas Rescher
C.W.Rietdijk
Richard Rorty
Josiah Royce
Bertrand Russell
Paul Russell
Gilbert Ryle
Kenneth Sayre
T.M.Scanlon
Moritz Schlick
Arthur Schopenhauer
John Searle
Wilfrid Sellars
Henry Sidgwick
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
J.J.C.Smart
Saul Smilansky
Michael Smith
L. Susan Stebbing
George F. Stout
Galen Strawson
Peter Strawson
Eleonore Stump
Richard Taylor
Kevin Timpe
Mark Twain
Peter van Inwagen
Manuel Vargas
John Venn
Kadri Vihvelin
Voltaire
G.H. von Wright
David Foster Wallace
R. Jay Wallace
W.G.Ward
Ted Warfield
Roy Weatherford
William Whewell
Alfred North Whitehead
David Widerker
David Wiggins
Bernard Williams
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Susan Wolf

Scientists

Michael Arbib
Bernard Baars
John S. Bell
Charles Bennett
Ludwig von Bertalanffy
Susan Blackmore
Margaret Boden
David Bohm
Niels Bohr
Ludwig Boltzmann
Emile Borel
Max Born
Walther Bothe
Hans Briegel
Leon Brillouin
Stephen Brush
Henry Thomas Buckle
Donald Campbell
Anthony Cashmore
Eric Chaisson
Jean-Pierre Changeux
Arthur Holly Compton
John Conway
E. H. Culverwell
Charles Darwin
Terrence Deacon
Max Delbrück
Abraham de Moivre
Paul Dirac
Hans Driesch
John Eccles
Arthur Stanley Eddington
Paul Ehrenfest
Albert Einstein
Hugh Everett, III
Franz Exner
Richard Feynman
Joseph Fourier
Michael Gazzaniga
GianCarlo Ghirardi
Nicolas Gisin
Paul Glimcher
Thomas Gold
A.O.Gomes
Brian Goodwin
Joshua Greene
Jacques Hadamard
Stuart Hameroff
Patrick Haggard
Augustin Hamon
Sam Harris
Martin Heisenberg
Werner Heisenberg
William Stanley Jevons
Pascual Jordan
Simon Kochen
Stephen Kosslyn
Ladislav Kovàč
Rolf Landauer
Alfred Landé
Pierre-Simon Laplace
David Layzer
Benjamin Libet
Hendrik Lorentz
Josef Loschmidt
Ernst Mach
Henry Margenau
James Clerk Maxwell
Ernst Mayr
Ulrich Mohrhoff
Jacques Monod
Wolfgang Pauli
Massimo Pauri
Roger Penrose
Steven Pinker
Max Planck
Susan Pockett
Henri Poincaré
Daniel Pollen
Ilya Prigogine
Hans Primas
Adolphe Quételet
Jerome Rothstein
David Ruelle
Erwin Schrödinger
Aaron Schurger
Claude Shannon
Herbert Simon
Dean Keith Simonton
B. F. Skinner
Roger Sperry
Henry Stapp
Tom Stonier
Antoine Suarez
Leo Szilard
William Thomson (Kelvin)
Peter Tse
John von Neumann
Daniel Wegner
Steven Weinberg
Paul A. Weiss
Norbert Wiener
Eugene Wigner
E. O. Wilson
H. Dieter Zeh
Ernst Zermelo
Wojciech Zurek

 
Ethical Fallacy
The Ethical Fallacy is the idea that ethical considerations help to solve the problem of free will. More specifically, it is the assumption by some philosophers (from the Scholastics to Robert Kane) that free decisions must be restricted to moral decisions.

Freedom of thought, of choice, and freedom of action are necessary conditions for moral responsibility, but they are not sufficient conditions for moral behavior. Free will is a prerequisite for ethics, not the other way around.

For many philosophers, free decisions are required to be moral decisions. They fail to distinguish between ordinary responsibilities (fiduciary, financial, leadership) and moral responsibility.

This was a commonplace in ancient times. Socrates and Plato argued that "virtue is knowledge." This meant that a lack of virtue was simply a lack of knowledge. We could not be responsible for our bad actions, because we did them out of ignorance.

Aristotle disagreed. He said that our bad actions could also depend on us, even when we were doing them as a matter of habits formed long ago, as long as we are at least partially responsible for forming our habits and character.

The Scholastics thought that we are free when our decisions are rational. For them, good meant rational, so this was a variation of the ethical fallacy. We are unfree and slaves to our passions when our decisions are evil. We call this the rational fallacy.

Immanuel Kant said that we are free only when our actions are good. When our actions are bad, he said, we are slaves to our passions.

Some modern thinkers still make morality a criterion for free will, rather than freedom a requirement (some call it a "control condition") for morally responsible behavior.

Robert Kane argues that free actions, those for which we have "ultimate responsibility," must be difficult moral decisions (cf. C. A. Campbell's "effort").

Susan Wolf argues that our freedom must be "within reason" and thus free decisions are those made with full knowledge of "the True and the Good." Wolf combines the rational fallacy and the ethical fallacy.

Wolf notes an interesting asymmetry between praise and blame that echoes the ancient distinction between good and bad actions. We are quick to give and receive praise for our good actions, even when they result from luck. We tend, however, to look for mitigating circumstances for our bad actions, passing on the blame to bad luck, for example.

As early as 1890, the English philosopher Shadsworth Hodgson pointed out the confusion that freedom requires morality.

"One more remark I would make, before quitting the subject of Free-will. It is, that the kind or quality of the desires or motives, adopted or rejected in deliberation and choice, is wholly irrelevant to the question of freedom. That question concerns, not what we choose, but whether we choose at all, in any real sense of the word. Yet no doctrine is more common, especially among nominal upholders of free-will, than to represent true freedom of the will as consisting in a man's following his best impulses, obeying the dictates of his conscience, or going on to attain ever higher degrees of moral excellence or self-perfection. A great confusion of thought is here involved. Goodness of will is not the same thing as freedom of will. Its freedom is the condition of its goodness and badness alike.
(Mind, Vol. 16, No. 62 (Apr., 1891), p.179)

Hodgson is well aware of the ethical fallacy
"A power to choose only the good is a contradiction in terms; and were such a power (per impossibile) to be attained, it would be at once the highest perfection of the character, and the euthanasia of Free-will. The will would then no longer choose at all; it would have done with choosing; and the brain mechanism would thenceforward work spontaneously and habitually, no longer volitionally. The will in its new shape would indeed be free; - but free from what? From the influence of evil desires and motives, not from impediments to its power of choosing between bad motives and good ones."
(Mind, Vol. 16, No. 62 (Apr., 1891), p.179)

There is of course an undeniable historical connection between free will, determinism, indeterminism, and moral responsibility.

From the beginning of physical determinism (c. 5th century BCE), one of its proponents, Democritus, recognized that it was a threat to moral responsibility. And moral responsibility was very important to him. Nevertheless, the view of atoms and a void working by natural laws was such a gain over the traditional view of arbitrary fate and capricious gods determining our actions, that Democritus simply insisted that determinism provided humans more control for moral responsibility.

The first indeterminist was Aristotle. In his Physics and Metaphysics he said there were "accidents" caused by "chance (τύχη)." 2 In his Physics, he clearly reckoned chance among the causes. Aristotle might have added chance as a fifth cause - an uncaused or self-caused cause - one that happens when two causal chains come together by accident (συμβεβεκός). He noted that the early physicists found no place for chance among the causes.

Aristotle's goal in the Nichomachean Ethics and Eudemian Ethics was to establish moral responsibility. He probably assumed that the human mind is somehow exempt from the materialist laws of nature, so that our actions depend on us (ἐφ ἡμῖν). In this respect, we can call Aristotle the first agent-causal free-will libertarian.

One generation after Aristotle, Epicurus (c. 4th century BCE), proposed a physical explanation for free choice as a better basis for moral responsibility. His solution was a random "swerve" of the atoms to break the causal chain of determinism, giving us more control than was possible in Democritus' strict determinism.

Epicurus wanted a purely materialist solution, one we call today event-causal libertarianism. He proposed that his random swerve could happen at any time and place. As long as there were some uncaused events in the past, there would no longer be a chain of causes back before our births. Epicurus did not want a swerve to happen at the moment of decision. That would make our actions random. But he could not explain when and where randomness could occur in his idea of free will to explain moral responsibility.

Although Epicurus' physical model for chance is ingenious and anticipated twentieth-century quantum mechanics, it provides little of deep significance for free will and moral responsibility that is not already implicit in Aristotle.

The first compatibilist, the Stoic Chryssipus (c. 3rd century BCE), strongly objected to Epicurus' suggestion of randomness, arguing that it would only undermine moral responsibility. He assumed that chance was the direct cause of action. He was also aware of the charge that physical determinism had been equated with a necessitarianism that denied any human freedom. He sought a solution to both these objections to free will and moral responsibility.

For Teachers
For Scholars
Some examples
From Joshua Greene and Daniel Cohen, Phil Trans. R. Soc. London B (2004), 359, p.1777

Many compatibilists sceptically ask what would it mean to give up on free will. Were we to give it up, wouldn't we have to immediately reinvent it? Does not every decision involve an implicit commitment to the idea of free will? And how else would we distinguish between ordinary rational adults and other individuals, such as young children and the mentally ill, whose will - or whatever you want to call it — is clearly compromised? Free will, compatibilists argue, is here to stay; and the challenge for science is to figure out how exactly it works and not to peddle silly arguments that deny the undeniable (Dennett 2003).

From Manuel Vargas, "Revisionism," in Four Views on Free Will, p. 148

Consider the question of how we go from being unfree agents to free agents. This is a puzzle faced by all accounts of responsibility, but there is something pressing about it in the case of libertarianism. As children we either had the indeterministic structures favored by your favorite version of libertarianism or we lacked them. If we lacked them as children, we might wonder how we came to get those structures. We might also wonder what the evidence is for thinking that we do develop said structures.

From Thomas Pink, Free Will: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford, 2004, p. 22

Note that Pink, Popper, others? think animal behavior is similar to human willed behavior.


Chapter 3.7 - The Ergod Chapter 4.2 - The History of Free Will
Part Three - Value Part Five - Problems
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