The Illusion of Freedom Evolves

In Don Ross, David Spurrett, Harold Kincaid & G. Lynn Stephens (eds.), Distributed Cognition and the Will: Individual volition and social context. MIT Press. pp. 61 (2007)
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Abstract

1. “All Theory is Against Free Will…” Powerful arguments have been leveled against the concepts of free will and moral responsibility since the Greeks and perhaps earlier. Some—the hard determinists—aim to show that free will is incompatible with determinism, and that determinism is true. Therefore there is no free will. Others, the “no-free-will-either-way-theorists,” agree that determinism is incompatible with free will, but add that indeterminism, especially the variety posited by quantum physicists, is also incompatible with free will. Therefore there is no free will. Finally, there are the a priori arguments against free will. These arguments conclude that it makes no difference what metaphysical commitments we hold: free will and ultimate moral responsibility are incoherent concepts. Why? Because in order to have free will and ultimate moral responsibility we would have to be causa sui, or ‘cause of oneself.’ And it is logically impossible to be self-caused in this way. Here, for example, is Nietzsche on the causa sui

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Tamler Sommers
University of Houston

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