"Determinism" is the philosophical doctrine that maintains that everything is governed by causal laws, and that all actions and behaviour are the inevitable result of preceding events. It is a doctrine that assumes that all things that exist in the world are subject to laws of cause and effect. Our "Western / Scientific" culture assumes that everything has a cause. And in support of this, science does seem to eventually find a cause for everything. If everything has a cause, then human behaviour must also have its own causes. And common sense explains our choices by citing reasons and justifications as the determiners of what we choose. If human behaviour is caused in the manner assumed by science and common sense, then where is there a place for "Free Will"?
"Free Will Libertarianism" is that philosophical doctrine that maintains that an individual, regardless of forces external to him, can and does choose at least some of his actions. "Free Will" is defined largely by its contrast with Determinism.
There are essentially only two arguments for Free Will. The argument from Moral Responsibility maintains that the existence of morality and ethics presupposes Free Will. And the argument from Common Sense maintains that whatever it is that we do when we choose or decide, it is self-obvious that we could have chosen or decided otherwise, and this ability is Free Will.
The apparent incompatibility of Free Will and Determinism comes from a fundamental misconception about the meaning of "Free Will" and its relationship with Determinism. The determinist examines the world from the "physical stance" (cf Dennett) and sees that everything is governed by causal laws. If one knows enough about the antecedent state of affairs, then the future is predictable. Applying this observation to human behaviour, the determinist sees that every choice is made for reasons and has justifications. The determinist concludes from this that if one can know enough about the antecedent conditions that pertain prior to a person's choice of alternatives, then the choice that an individual will make is predictable. Therefore, given a particular set of antecedent conditions, the individual could not have chosen otherwise than they did. Therefore, the individual does not have Free Will.
When considering the concept of Free Will, both the Free Will libertarian and the hard determinist examine the world from the "Subjective Standpoint" (cf Klempner) and see that it is self-obvious that for any choice, one could just as easily have chosen otherwise. They conclude that the concept of "Free Will" is defined by the individual's ability to choose otherwise. They both then combine the "Subjective Standpoint" with the "Objective Standpoint" (cf. Klempner) or alternatively the "Physical Stance" with the "Intentional Stance" (cf. Dennett) to conclude that "Free Will" is defined by the individual's ability to choose otherwise, given exactly the same antecedent conditions.
This illegitimate combination of perspectives is the source of the misconceptions that underlie the argument by both determinist and libertarian that Free Will is incompatible with Determinism.
"Indeterminism" is a different matter. Indeterminism is the philosophical doctrine that maintains that not everything is governed by causal laws, and that some actions and behaviour are the result of random or unpredictable or uncaused events. Indeterminism is an alternative raised in response to determinism. Determinism argues that there is no Free Will because the choices people make are predictable, and they could not have chosen otherwise. Indeterminism replies that peoples'choices are not predictable because they are uncaused, or caused (at least in part) by indeterminant factors not accessible to the determinist. People have the ability to choose otherwise than they did, it is argued, because the uncaused or indeterminant factors may tilt the scale in different directions.
There are essentially two sources of indeterminancy that are referenced in these arguments. The scientific source is usually some variant of quantum indeterminancy. The apparent unpredictableness and randomness of quantum events is harnessed somehow to insert an unpredictable aspect into human decision making. The dualist source is some form of immaterial "Soul" (for lack of a better label) that functions as an uncaused, and hence unpredictable, cause of at least some choices. How an immaterial cause generates material behaviour is left carefully mysterious.
The problem with all arguments from indeterminancy, is that even if true, indeterminancy is incompatible with Free Will. In addition to the idea that Free Will requires an agents'ability to choose otherwise than they did, Free Will also requires that the choice be the choice of the agent, and not of some "non-agent". Where indeterminism makes its error is in misconceiving what it means to be an agent that makes a choice. If I have a choice to make, and I roll a die to choose for me, the choice is not mine. There is no Free Will involved when the choice is made for me by some external source of randomness. In the words of Hume - "Actions are, by their very nature, temporary and perishing; and where they proceed not from some cause in the character and disposition of the person who performed them, they can neither redound to his honour, if good; nor infamy, if evil." Any source of indeterminancy is not, by its very nature, "in the character ad disposition of the person" making the choices.
The only option remaining to the dedicated Free Will libertarian, is to maintain that there exists some immaterial "Soul" that is undetectable by materialist science, yet is the repository of the individual's character and disposition". This is the Cartesian Dualist position of maintaining that what an individual is is an immaterial soul. It is argued that it is the soul that has the free will and is unpredictable by the determinist, and the physical body is merely the material vehicle through which the soul interacts with the material world. But this position is neither Determinism, nor Indeterminism. And carries along with it a whole host of difficult further questions.
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