Monday, October 12, 2009

Topics for Midterm Exam (Ch 1, 7 & 3)

Besides Chapters 1 and 7, these are the new topics for our midterm exam.  Again, don't forget to use this link to our textbook. Go to the chapters on the left hand side. Test yourself and see the results.

Chapter 3


3.1
Causal Determinism (C-->E + LN) and
Hard determinism (the doctrine that there are no free actions). 

Hard determinism assumes that: if CD is true ---> -Fw  

As our bodies made up of matter, we must be subjects to the same laws of causation which apply to all matter.

In addition, if HD is true ---> -HR (there's no human responsibility) if we are not free, we cannot be responsible for our actions (since one is responsible if and only if one can make choices). 

3.2
Compatibilism is the belief that free will and determinism are not mutually exclusive.
Soft determinism: Determined actions can nevertheless be free. 

1- Traditional Compatibilism (Free actions are 1- caused by one's will and 2- not externally constrained). The reasoning is this:

Principle of alternative possibilities: one can be held responsible for doing something only if one could have done otherwise. "could have done otherwise." 

I've suggested this formula. 

fa iff -f(one is free at a if one could have taken b and didn't)

means "if you had chosen otherwise, then you would have done otherwise." Think of our "fork-example" of a student being late for class. He chooses ( A) "having coffee with lots of traffic," instead of (B) "not having coffee and no traffic." For Traditional Compatibilism the student is responsible for being late since "if he had choosen (B) instead of (A), he would have been on time for class. 

C/E "Taylor's Ingenious Physiologist. In class we discussed how TV can "plant" desires. So in a way is a kind of ingenious physiologist.

2- "Hierarchical Compatibilism: First and Second Order Desires; Second Order Volitions. Remember: A first order desire is directed to an object or state of affairs, a second order desire is a desire about a desire, a second order volition is a second order desire on which wants to act. 

Harry Frankfurt's three drug addicts: Let's call a first order desire: FOD, a second order desire: SOD, a second order volition: SOV. So we get the following:  


Wanton addict: FOD, not SOD, not SOV, not free. 
Happy Addict: FOD, SOD, SOV, free.
Unwilling Addict: FOD, SOD (only this desire is against his taking the drug), SOV, but now he cannot act on these SOV, so he's not free). Remember, to be free one has to either formulate a SOV or be able to act on it. 


C/E to Hierarchical Compatibilism: Slote's Hypnotized patient and The Willing Bank Teller. One proves that SOV can be manipulated from the inside. The other shows rthat SOV can be manipulated beyond our control. 

Punishment: How do compatibilists see punishment? p. 203. Punishment cannot be  retributive (eye-for-an-eye). The only legitimate way of punishment is rehabilitation and deterrence. Criminal actions are dictated by genes and habits (nature and nurture). Retributive punishment makes sense if it's deserved. But nothing people do is up to them.

3.3
Libertarianism
Event and Agent Causation. Event---> event or Agent---> event.


Libertarianism holds that agents can cause events. How? Remember we talked about the possibility that the mind causes the brain. There are two arguments:


Argument from Experience. Argument from deliberation.


Libet's Neurophysiological challenge: it seems to show that consciousness of a decision arises only after the decision has already been made (the 300 millisecond gap between the decision to press the button and the brain signal). Rebuttal by libertarians: There's a difference between making a "conscious decision" and a "meta-conscious decision" (meta-conscious awareness is second order). For the libertarian, the subject in Libet's report is not having a "conscious" but a "meta-conscious" decision. So it's no surprise that it happens "after" the conscious decision was made.
 

__________________

Radical Libertarianism (Existentialism): Jean-Paul Sartre's kind of libertarianism (known as Existentialism) holds that the self is essentially free. His analysis is ontological. Let's begin with Sartre's lemma: "l'existence précède l'essence," i.e., existence precedes essence. We exist first, and are "defined" later. This happens because the self (l'être) is in a constant state of becoming (devenir).

For the purpose of the analysis, there are two kinds of being:

being-for-itself: l'être-pour-soi. main property: being for itself, which is essentially "a freedom that chooses" (une liberté qui choisit).  

being in itself: l'être-en-soi, which is fundamentally without qualification (sans nuance).

To cope with this heavy "weight" of our own FREEDOM we come up with a sort of justification which Sartre calls "bad faith" or mauvaise foi. However, since not choosing is choosing, in the end we remain responsible for our actions. 

The only possible constraint to our freedom is our facticity (the stuff we don't choose, like being born and having a certain name and parents).