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Philosophers

Mortimer Adler
Rogers Albritton
Alexander of Aphrodisias
Samuel Alexander
William Alston
G.E.M.Anscombe
Anselm
Louise Antony
Thomas Aquinas
Aristotle
David Armstrong
Harald Atmanspacher
Robert Audi
Augustine
J.L.Austin
A.J.Ayer
Alexander Bain
Mark Balaguer
Jeffrey Barrett
William Belsham
Henri Bergson
Isaiah Berlin
Bernard Berofsky
Robert Bishop
Max Black
Susanne Bobzien
Emil du Bois-Reymond
Hilary Bok
Laurence BonJour
George Boole
Émile Boutroux
F.H.Bradley
C.D.Broad
Michael Burke
C.A.Campbell
Joseph Keim Campbell
Rudolf Carnap
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
Gottlob Frege
Peter Geach
Edmund Gettier
Carl Ginet
Alvin Goldman
Gorgias
Nicholas St. John Green
H.Paul Grice
Ian Hacking
Ishtiyaque Haji
Stuart Hampshire
W.F.R.Hardie
Sam Harris
William Hasker
R.M.Hare
Georg W.F. Hegel
Martin Heidegger
R.E.Hobart
Thomas Hobbes
David Hodgson
Shadsworth Hodgson
Baron d'Holbach
Ted Honderich
Pamela Huby
David Hume
Ferenc Huoranszki
William James
Lord Kames
Robert Kane
Immanuel Kant
Tomis Kapitan
Jaegwon Kim
William King
Hilary Kornblith
Christine Korsgaard
Saul Kripke
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
Ruth Barcan Marcus
James Martineau
Storrs McCall
Hugh McCann
Colin McGinn
Michael McKenna
Brian McLaughlin
John McTaggart
Paul E. Meehl
Uwe Meixner
Alfred Mele
Trenton Merricks
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
Porphyry
Huw Price
H.A.Prichard
Hilary Putnam
Willard van Orman Quine
Frank Ramsey
Ayn Rand
Michael Rea
Thomas Reid
Charles Renouvier
Nicholas Rescher
C.W.Rietdijk
Richard Rorty
Josiah Royce
Bertrand Russell
Paul Russell
Gilbert Ryle
Jean-Paul Sartre
Kenneth Sayre
T.M.Scanlon
Moritz Schlick
Arthur Schopenhauer
John Searle
Wilfrid Sellars
Alan Sidelle
Ted Sider
Henry Sidgwick
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
J.J.C.Smart
Saul Smilansky
Michael Smith
Baruch Spinoza
L. Susan Stebbing
George F. Stout
Galen Strawson
Peter Strawson
Eleonore Stump
Francisco Suárez
Richard Taylor
Kevin Timpe
Mark Twain
Peter Unger
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
Timothy Williamson
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Susan Wolf

Scientists

Michael Arbib
Bernard Baars
Gregory Bateson
John S. Bell
Charles Bennett
Ludwig von Bertalanffy
Susan Blackmore
Margaret Boden
David Bohm
Niels Bohr
Ludwig Boltzmann
Emile Borel
Max Born
Satyendra Nath Bose
Walther Bothe
Hans Briegel
Leon Brillouin
Stephen Brush
Henry Thomas Buckle
S. H. Burbury
Donald Campbell
Anthony Cashmore
Eric Chaisson
Jean-Pierre Changeux
Arthur Holly Compton
John Conway
John Cramer
E. P. Culverwell
Charles Darwin
Terrence Deacon
Louis de Broglie
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
R. A. Fisher
Joseph Fourier
Lila Gatlin
Michael Gazzaniga
GianCarlo Ghirardi
J. Willard Gibbs
Nicolas Gisin
Paul Glimcher
Thomas Gold
A.O.Gomes
Brian Goodwin
Joshua Greene
Jacques Hadamard
Patrick Haggard
Stuart Hameroff
Augustin Hamon
Sam Harris
Hyman Hartman
John-Dylan Haynes
Martin Heisenberg
Werner Heisenberg
John Herschel
Jesper Hoffmeyer
E. T. Jaynes
William Stanley Jevons
Roman Jakobson
Pascual Jordan
Ruth E. Kastner
Stuart Kauffman
Simon Kochen
Stephen Kosslyn
Ladislav Kovàč
Rolf Landauer
Alfred Landé
Pierre-Simon Laplace
David Layzer
Benjamin Libet
Seth Lloyd
Hendrik Lorentz
Josef Loschmidt
Ernst Mach
Donald MacKay
Henry Margenau
James Clerk Maxwell
Ernst Mayr
Ulrich Mohrhoff
Jacques Monod
Emmy Noether
Howard Pattee
Wolfgang Pauli
Massimo Pauri
Roger Penrose
Steven Pinker
Colin Pittendrigh
Max Planck
Susan Pockett
Henri Poincaré
Daniel Pollen
Ilya Prigogine
Hans Primas
Adolphe Quételet
Juan Roederer
Jerome Rothstein
David Ruelle
Erwin Schrödinger
Aaron Schurger
Claude Shannon
David Shiang
Herbert Simon
Dean Keith Simonton
B. F. Skinner
Roger Sperry
Henry Stapp
Tom Stonier
Antoine Suarez
Leo Szilard
William Thomson (Kelvin)
Peter Tse
Heinz von Foerster
John von Neumann
John B. Watson
Daniel Wegner
Steven Weinberg
Paul A. Weiss
John Wheeler
Wilhelm Wien
Norbert Wiener
Eugene Wigner
E. O. Wilson
H. Dieter Zeh
Ernst Zermelo
Wojciech Zurek

Presentations

Biosemiotics
Free Will
Mental Causation
James Symposium
 
Carl Ginet

Carl Ginet is an incompatibilist. He may have helped originate the position called incompatibilism, in his 1966 article.

Ginet argues that reasons can be considered as causal explanations for actions, but that reasons themselves are "non-causal," allowing us to escape from causal determinism. What he claims is that (contra Donald Davidson) the truth of a reasons explanation of an action does not require that the explaining reason-states (beliefs, desires, etc.) caused the action; but he allows that their causing the action is compatible with the reasons explanation.

He has written two important articles on the subject - "Might We Have No Choice?" in Freedom and Determinism, ed. K. Lehrer (1966) and "Can the Will be Caused?" in Determinism, Free Will, and Moral Responsibility, G. Dworkin, 1970.
In "Might We Have No Choice?," Ginet stated the Determinism Objection to Free Will in a form similar to Peter van Inwagen's "Consequence Argument" of twenty years later.
I shall be concerned with one possible specification of the old unclear question of whether free will is incompatible with determinism. I want to see if it is possible to construct an hypothesis about the antecedents of human behavior that...is compatible with all previous observations and well-established hypotheses... and implies that no human being ever has a choice as to whether or not he shall behave as he actually does (ever really chooses the way that he does behave). (p.87)

Every temporal segment of every human being's behavior 'B' has a...series of antecedent sets of circumstances having the descriptions 'A1', 'A2' .. . . . , 'An', such that

  1. 'A1' does not entail 'B';

  2. A1 contingently necessitates A2, A2 contingently necessitates A3, . . . , An-1 contingently necessitates An; and

  3. the human being in question clearly had no choice as to whether or not the antecedent instance of A1 would occur. (p.88)
In this seminal article, Ginet also described hypothetical mind-controllers that anticipate Harry Frankfurt's controllers a couple of years later. Ginet says that his controller directly causes both the path the car takes and the motivational and volitional events in the agent's brain in such a way as to make them coincide and give the agent the illusion that his voluntary bodily actions are steering the car. The corresponding Frankfurt controller would directly cause only the motivational and volitional processes and through them cause the bodily actions and the steering of the car by the agent.
Suppose that the path that the car takes is controlled by some person other than the rider, who also controls (through, say, instruments attached to the rider's brain) what delusions or illusions of steering the rider will have, and suppose that this controller sees to it that the path he makes the rider think he is choosing is always the same as the path he (the controller) makes the car take. In this case, even though it is true that, if the rider had had the impression of choosing a different path the car would have taken a correspondingly different path, it is still the case that the rider's choice-impression does not determine what path the car takes, that the rider has no choice of any sort as to what path it will take, and, hence, that he does not effectively choose its path. (p.103)
Frankfurt designed his controllers to question his "Principle of Alternate Possibilities," in order to deny that an agent could have done otherwise.

The ability to do otherwise is widely regarded as a necessary condition for moral responsibility. Some philosophers think that we can be morallly responsible even if determinism is true. Peter F. Strawson argued in 1962 that even if determinism were true, it would still be a natural fact that humans act as if they have moral responsibility. They have attitudes of praise and blame, gratitude and resentment.

Ginet has also written on alternative possibilities. "In Defense of the Principle of Alternative Possibilities: Why I Don't Find Frankfurt's Argument Convincing," in Tomberlin ed., Philosophical Perspectives 10: Metaphysics (1996) and on "Freedom, Responsibilty, and Agency," The Journal of Ethics I, pp. 85-98, reprinted in Free Will, ed. R. Kane, (2002) p. 206.

Ginet defends a non-causal indeterminist libertarianism that Timothy O'Connor and he call "simple indeterminism," contrasting it with the "agent causation" of O'Connor and others, including Roderick Chisholm, Richard Taylor, and Thomas Reid who first advocated mental events as metaphysical agent causation in the eighteenth century. Others who espouse a non-causal theory include Donald Davidson, Stewart Goetz, Hugh McCann, and David Widerker.

Ginet also contrasts his view with the event-causal "indeterminist-causation" view of Robert Kane and Robert Nozick, both of which add some indeterminism to the decision process itself, contributing an element of chance to the direct cause of action.

For Ginet, there is no chance involved in his volition, his mental event that has a certain "actish" quality, an event not causally necessitated by antecedent events, but simply determined and controlled by him.

Every action, according to me, either is or begins with a causally simple mental action, that is, a mental event that does not consist of one mental event causing others. A simple mental event is an action if and only if it has a certain intrinsic phenomenal quality, which I've dubbed the "actish" quality and tried to describe by using agent-causation talk radically qualified by "as if": the simple mental event of my volition to exert force with a part of my body phenomenally seems to me to be intrinsically an event that does not just happen to me, that does not occur unbidden, but it is, rather, as if I make it occur, as if I determine that it will happen just when and as it does (likewise for simple mental acts that are not volitions, such as my mentally saying "Shucks!"). A simple mental event's having this intrinsic actish phenomenal quality is sufficient for its being an action. But its having the quality entails nothing either way as to whether it satisfies the incompatibilist requirement for free action (which is that it not be causally necessitated by antecedent events).

An action may be causally complex, may consist of a simple mental action plus consequences of it. For example, my action of voluntarily pushing with my arm and hand against a door begins with a volition, a simple mental act of willing to exert a certain force in a certain direction with my arm and hand, and consists further in that volition's causing my arm and hand to exert such a force. My action of opening the door has a still further component of the door's opening being caused by the force exerted against it by my arm and hand.

Now, as I explained earlier, if an event is not an action of mine — for example, the door's opening — then I can make that event occur only by causing it, that is, by performing some action that causes it. But I make my own free, simple mental acts occur, not by causing them, but simply by being their subject, by their being my acts. They are ipso facto determined or controlled by me, provided they are free, that is, not determined by something else, not causally necessitated by antecedent states and events.

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