Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Lewis & Clark College

Free Will -- Which Position Do You Choose?

Added on by jay odenbaugh.

We have considered the following argument:  

  1. If determinism is true, then we are not free.
  2. Determinism is true. 
  3. Therefore, we are not free.  

Let's define 'determinism' as follows: A universe is deterministic if, and only if, given the initial state of the universe S(0) and the laws (e.g. if S(i), then S(j)), there is one an only one state S(n) possible. Thus, given the initial moment at the Big Bang and the laws of nature, you could not have failed to wake up exactly at the time you did this morning and have whatever breakfast you did.

compatibilist  rejects (1). A hard determinist  accepts (1) and (2) and hence accepts (3). An incompatibilist  accepts (1) and denies (3); hence, they reject (2).

Questions: (a) Are you a compatibilist, hard determinist, or an incompatabilist? (b) What is the most important problem your position faces?