The dilemma of free will is that if actions are caused deterministically, then they are not free, and if they are not caused deterministically then they are not free either because then they happen by chance and are not up to the agent. I propose a conception of free will that solves this dilemma. It can be called agent causation but it differs from what Chisholm and others have called so.
Some argue for materialism claiming that a physical event cannot have a non-physical cause, or by claiming the 'Principle of Causal Closure' to be true. This I call a 'Sweeping Naturalistic Argument'. This article argues against this. It describes what it would be for a material event to have an immaterial cause.
If God brings about an event in the universe, does it have a preceding cause? For example, if the universe began with the Big Bang and if God brought it about, did the Big Bang then have a preceding cause? The standard answer is: yes, it was caused by a divine willing. I propose an alternative view: God’s actions, unlike human actions, are not initiated by willings, undertakings, or volitions, but God brings about the intended event directly. Presenting a solution (...) to the dilemma of free will I explain what ‘bringing about directly’ means and show that the question of what an action begins with is distinct from the question whether it is a basic action. (shrink)
Trope ontology is exposed and confronted with the question where one trope ends and another begins. It is argued that tropes do not have determinate boundaries, it is arbitrary how tropes are carved up. An ontology, which I call field ontology, is proposed which takes this into account. The material world consists of a certain number of fields, each of which is extended over all of space. It is shown how field ontology can also tackle the problem of determin-able properties (...) and the problem of completeness of things. (shrink)
A theory of causation with ‘tendencies’ as causal con- nections is proposed. Not, however, as ‘necessary connec- tions’: causes are not sufficient, they do not necessitate their effects. The theory is not an analysis of the concept of causation, but a description of what is the case in typical cases of causation. Therefore it does not strictly contradict any analysis of the concept of causation, not even reduct- ive ones. It would even be supported by a counterfactual or a probabilistic (...) analysis. (shrink)
Although many philosophers today have turned away slightly from the linguistic turn, their methods, e.g. conceptual analysis, are still linguistic. These methods lead to false results. The right method in philosophy, like in other disciplines, is to try to perceive the object and to collect and weigh evidence. We must turn back to things in themselves.
This paper argues that there are true synthetic modal claims and that modal questions in philosophy in general are to be interpreted not in terms of logical necessity but in terms of syn- thetic necessity. I begin by sketching the debate about modality between logical empiricism and phenomenology. Logical empiri- cism taught us to equate being tautological with being necessary. The now common view is that tautologies are necessary in the narrow sense but that there is also necessity in a (...) wider sense. I argue against this that we should distinguish analyticity and necessity more strictly. (shrink)
This article argues that there is a great divide between semantics and metaphysics. Much of what is called metaphysics today is still stuck in the linguistic turn. This is illustrated by showing how Fraser MacBride misunderstands David Armstrong's theory of modality.
While other philosophers have pointed out that Libet’s experiment is compatible with compatibilist free will and also with some kinds of libertarian free will, this article ar- gues that it is even compatible with strong libertarian free will, i.e. a person’s ability to initiate causal processes. It is widely believed that Libet’s experiment has shown that all our actions have preceding unconscious causes. This article argues that Libet’s claim that the actions he invest- igated are voluntary is false. They are (...) urges, and there- fore the experiment shows at most that our urges have preceding unconscious causes, which is what also strong libertarianism leads us to expect. Further, Libet’s correct observation that we can veto urges undermines his claim that our actions are initiated unconsciously and supports the thesis that we have strong libertarian free will. (shrink)
This article argues against Benjamin Libet’s claim that his experiment has shown that our actions are caused by brain events which begin before we decide and before we even think about the action. It assumes, contra the com- patibilists and pro Libet, that this claim is incompatible with free will. It clarifies what exactly should be meant by saying that the readiness potential causes, initiates, or pre- pares an action. It shows why Libet’s experiment does not support his claim and (...) why the experiments by Herrmann et al. and by Trevena & Miller provide evidence against it. The empirical evidence is compatible with strong liber- tarian free will. Neither the readiness potential nor the lateralized readiness potential causes our actions. (shrink)
Branden Thornhill-Miller and Peter Millican as well as Janusz Salomon put forward versions of supernaturalism that avoid the existence of a religion which alone provides the true revelation and the only way to salvation and which teaches that God acted in this world. Their rejection of revealed, exclusive religion is based on an argument from religious diversity and an argument from natural explanations of religious phenomena. These two together form the "common-core/diversity dilemma". In this article I refute these two arguments (...) by arguing that explaining the origin of belief in supernatural agents does not provide a reason for not believing in the existence of supernatural agents. (shrink)
Purpose: Commenting on the transcript of a lecture. Findings: The document reconstructs the development of the original 1973 lecture by Heinz von Foerster into his best-known paper, On Constructing a Reality. Many aspects of that paper can be identified as being shaped through interaction with the audience. Implications: The lecture documented here was a forerunner of a central paper in constructivism.
Zusammenfassend läßt sich also festhalten, daß Daniel mit seiner Vita weder eine historische Abhandlung im Sinne der biographischen bruta facta, noch eine ausschließlich hagiographisch orientierte Darstellung bieten will, die die Verehrung eines Heiligen begründen helfen soll. Natürlich bemüht sich Daniel um die Darstellung eines Weges zur Gottesschau des Johannes, der ihn dahin geführt hat, auch noch in der Gegenwart seines Biographen Heil zu wirken. Aber es geht noch um mehr.Die Vita selbst übernimmt die Funktion eines Paradigmas. Hier wird (...) ein Mönchsleben vorgestellt, wie es im Idealfall sein soll. Dabei werden auch die Früchte genannt, die ein solches Mönchsleben hervorbringt.Geprägt ist ein solches Mönchsleben einerseits durch die Tradition. Durch den indirekten Rückbezug des Lebens des Sinaiten auf diese Tradition wird dessen Bedeutung und Heiligkeit besonders hervorgehoben. Andererseits ist die Vita durch das monastische Ideal der Klimax bestimmt, die sie zu veranschaulichen bemüht ist. Die beiden Texte befinden sich also in enger Interdependenz.Diese Interdependenz dürfte zweierlei Absicht dienen: Zum einen der Zusammenfassung und dem Überblick, wie Daniel im letzten Satz der Vita selber hervorhebt. Zum anderen aber auch als Erweis von der Umsetzbarkeit. Stark elementarisierend macht die Vita deutlich, daß alles folgende wirklich umsetzbar ist, daß der Autor der Klimax das, was er in seiner Programmschrift fordert, auch selbst gelebt hat.Darüberhinaus hat die Vita noch eine letzte, zentrale Funktion: Sie autorisiert die Klimax gleichermaßen. Der Autor der folgenden Schrift ist eben nicht irgendein beliebiger Mönchsschriftsteller. Er wird vielmehr als zweiter, den ersten noch überbietender Moses dargestellt. Dieser Moses, der sich mühsam auf seine Gottesschau vorbereitet hat, der hat den folgenden Text gegeben. Durch die Schilderung des Lebens und der Taten seines Autors gewinnt der nun folgende Text der Klimax somit noch einmal eine besondere Bedeutung. (shrink)