David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Erkenntnis 41 (1):49 - 64 (1994)
Libertarians claim that human behaviour is undetermined and cannot be predicted from knowledge of past history even in principle since it is based on the random movements of quantum mechanics. Determinists on the other hand deny thatmacroscopic phenomena can be activated bysub-microscopic events, and assert that if human action is unpredictable in the way claimed by libertarians, it must be aimless and irrational. This is not true of some types of random behaviour described in this paper. Random behaviour may make one unpredictable to opponents and may therefore be rational. Similarly, playing a game with a mixed strategy may have an unpredictable outcome in every single play, but the strategy is rational, in that it is meant to maximize the expected value of an objective, be it private or social. As to whether the outcome of such behaviour is genuinely unpredictable as in quantum mechanics, or predictable by a hypothetical outside observer knowing all natural laws, it is argued that it makes no difference in practice, as long as it is not humanly predictable. Thus we have a new version of libertarianism which is compatible with determinism.
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Friederike Schüür & Patrick Haggard (2011). What Are Self-Generated Actions? Consciousness and Cognition 20 (4):1697-1704.
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