Determinism seems incompatible with free will. However, even indeterminism seems incompatible with free will, since it seems to make free actions random. Popper contends that free agents are not bound by physical laws, even indeterministic ones, and that undetermined actions are not random if they are influenced by abstract entities. I argue that Popper could strengthen his account by drawing upon his theories of propensities and of limited rationality; but that even then his account would not fully explain why free (...) actions are not random. I offer a solution to this problem which draws on Hornsby’s analysis of action. I then borrow an idea of Kant about self-consciousness to distinguish free agents from sub-human animals. I make a brief evaluation of Popper ’s contribution. (shrink)
O presente trabalho analisa a perspectiva indeterminista da epistemologia de Karl Popper. A partir da compreensáo unitária do Racionalismo Crítico, como epistemologia e filosofia política, ao mesmo tempo, o artigo mostra em que sentido se pode afirmar que a proposta de Popper revela uma questáo ética de largo alcance e interesse na filosofia contemporânea, sobretudo no que se refere à análise da crise da cientificidade moderna. Palavras-chave: Ética, Indeterminismo, Popper, Racionalismo Crítico.
Karl Popper held an opposition to determinism, based mainly in his political and ethical convictions. Nevertheless, most of his reflections upon it belong to epistemology. This paper studies Popper's refutation of determinism and his three main arguments of a priori nature against it. Some attention is paid also to the Popperian interpretation of quantic mechanical indeterminism.
Popper's political thought, particularly his idea of democracy, is usually thought akin to that of the liberal tradition. We don't challenge this position here, but claim the Popperian idea of democracy gains full meaning when some key ideas of Popper's own cosmology and epistemology are taken into account. Our contention is that Popper's political perspective is indeed rooted in his criticism to physical determinism and his studies on indeterminism. Notions such as "open universe" and "open society", when taken together, provide (...) a key to a liberal interpretation of cosmology and a physical interpretation of democracy. (shrink)
In this article I have pointed to some contradictions which appear in Popper's „Of Clouds and Clocks”. These contradictions are explained on two different levels. First, they are represented as the result of conceptual confusions. Secondly, they are connected with a paradox which is never explicitly stated by Popper, but which seems fundamental for a better understanding of what the freewill-controversy is about. The paradox is this : on the one hand freedom is usually and naturally considered as self-determination, i.e. (...) as the power to act in accordance with one's own motives, desires, intentions ; but on the other hand, the kind of freedom which is at stake in the freewill-debate, seems to require a determination by „external” elements (rules, theories, ideals, „objectivity”). The influence of these elements goes beyond our control and therefore also beyond our self-determination. The freedom which is defended by Popper, consists in the possibility to be determined by objective standards, i.e. by something which is external to our motives and desires. It is not clear, however, how we should draw a line between the kind of external influence which is opposed to this „freedom” and the kind of external influence which is required by this „freedom”. (shrink)