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Free will and causal determinism - compatibilism perspective

2020-09-19 来源: 51Due教员组 类别: Essay范文


causal determinism,literature代写,作业代写,北美

下面为大家整理一篇优秀的essay代写范文 -- The creed of journalists,文章讲述相容性是自由意志与确定性相容的论点。艾尔(Ayer)捍卫相容性,并相信人类是坚定的,但在道德上仍然自由。在他的《自由与必要性》(1954年)中,他对硬决定论提出了两个主要反对意见。首先,他对每个事件是否都必须有原因(确定性的前提)感到怀疑。其次,他认为确定性实际上与自由意志相容。艾尔声称,如果他选择了其他方式,他本可以做其他事情。也就是说,他的行为是不受约束的自愿行为。

 

Ayer is one of the earliest persons who spread logical positivism in British. Actually, to some extent, Ayer is a compatibilist. Is free will compatible with determinism? That is a key philosophical question. On this question, Ayer has shown that causal determinism is compatible with free will.

Compatibilism is the argument that free will is compatible with determinism. Ayer defends compatibilism and believes that humans are determined, yet still morally free. In his book Freedom and Necessity (1954), he offers two primary objections to the hard determinism. First, he casts some doubt upon whether every event must have a cause (a premise of determinism). Second, he views that determinism is actually compatible with free will. Ayer claims that he could have done otherwise, if he had chosen to do otherwise. That is to say, his action is voluntary, if it is un-constrained. He thinks that the proper contrast with freedom is constraint, and even though all constrained actions are caused, it is not the case that all caused actions are constrained. To see why, Ayer considers what actions are constrained. Certain actions are constrained when one person compels another to act, for example, threats of force, hypnosis, or deceit. Actions can also be constrained when no other person intervenes, for example, a kleptomaniac's stealing is constrained insofar as he will steal regardless of his decisions not to steal. These cases differ from the cases in which we think people are free precisely in that free actions are unconstrained. Ayer believes that behavior being caused just means that behavior can be explained. However, the fact that behavior can be explained does not entail that behavior is constrained. Thus, an action's being caused does not entail that it is constrained. Ayer is extremely clear that the “truth” of determinism can not be proved, and he gives one of the earliest clear statements of the standard argument against free will, that there are logically only two alternatives-our choices are either causally determined or accidental, with both denying moral responsibility. However, in his book Metaphysics and Common Sense (1969), Ayer discusses the problem of free will and overturnes his earlier compatabilist position that the antithesis between the claims of free will and determinism was illusory. From the standpoint of common sense, Ayer says: “In so far, this is a question of what people actually believe, I now think it more likely that I was wrong” (Ayer, 1969). Thus, Ayer argues that free will is compatible with determinism.

From the changes of Ayer’s thought, we can see the dialectical process from hard determinism to soft determinism (McKenna & Michael, 2004). At first, he viewed that there were logically only two alternatives-our choices are either causally determined or accidental, with both denying moral responsibility, which overemphasized determinism and was going to be materialism. Latter, Ayer overturned his earlier point that the antithesis between the claims of free will and determinism was illusory. It comes to soft determinism. According to compatibilism, when we say an action is free, we don’t view that it has a sufficient condition on causality but view that it only has certain causality. That is, it advocates that all things in the world are determined, but some actions of human beings are still free. When we say a person’s action is free, it means he doesn’t be forced to do the action. However, this can not deny that he is determined because he is still determined by his body’s particle. Thus, Free will is compatible with determinism in this respect. Moreover, Ayer tries to explain compatibilism from other aspects. He mainly uses harmonic ideas to reveal how free choice can be possible in the determinism world. He says: “It is only when it is believed that I could have acted otherwise that I am held to be morally responsible for what I have done; but if human behavior is entirely governed by causal laws, it is not clear how any action that is done could ever have been avoided” (Ayer, 1969). From what Ayer said, we can see that he supports soft determinism which means determinism and free will can be coherently reconciled.

Although Ayer didn’t offer us a solution to explain the relationship between free will and determinism, many latter philosophers are influenced by his theories and thoughts. His compatibilism and thought lay the solid foundation for the future research.


References

Ayer, A. J. 1969. “Metaphysics and Common Sense, chapter I, “On Making Philosophy Intelligible”, London: Macmillan, p.14.

 

Ayer, A. J. 1954. “Freedom and Necessity,” Philosophical Essays, New York: St. Martin's Press.

 

McKenna & Michael. 2004. “Compatibilism”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Edward N. Zalta (ed.).

 

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