Libertarian Arguments Against Free Will

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Determinists and compatibilists both provide arguments against libertarian theories to debunk the idea of deep free will. Libertarians have provided a wide variety of explanations to defend their position but none are as strong as the idea of ultimate responsibility. This paper will explain the notion of ultimate responsibility and prove that it is viable for defending indeterministic free will. I will begin by outlining the concept of ultimate responsibility and how it is used to defend free will. I will next look at common arguments against ultimate responsibility and the rebuttals to those arguments made by Robert Kane. Finally I will support Kane’s arguments for free will with my own positive defense of ultimate responsibility. Libertarians…show more content…
Kane proposes his own defense to these arguments and also backs up his arguments with modern scientific data. Ultimate responsibility requires that the agent must have been in control of some of his motives and reasons for an action in a previous time in his life in order to have free will. That would entail that at that previous time of his life he would need to have been in control of his motive and reasons at still an earlier time, and so on ad infinitum. Kane solves this problem of infinite regress by reaffirming the idea that free will in not consistent with determinism and therefor not every action has to have sufficient causes and reasons for occurring. In an in-deterministic world it is the case that some actions can be voluntary or at least not determined by past causes, and this is all it takes to be ultimately responsible for your present actions. (Kane, 2005. 122) Kane also explains how in a scenario in which you have alternative possibilities but not ultimate responsibilities, you cannot be said to have free will. He uses Austin style examples to illustrate how one can have alternate possibilities in an in-deterministic world and still not be said to be free. For example a golfer who…show more content…
He explains how modern science has discovered the existence of random quantum jumps that are not determined in any way, and because of this it gives libertarians a basis to ground their in-deterministic world. These undetermined jumps in the brain give room to introduce free will into motivation and reasoning that does not rely on mysterious extra factors (Kane, 2005. 133). Instead it can be argued that motives and reasons come from within the agent himself. Common objections to these quantum jumps are that they would still not entail free will because if they are undetermined then the agent would be a slave of chance and luck and these things do not equate to free will. Kane clarifies this misconception by clearly defining what is meant by indeterminism. Chance, he explains is something that occurs that is outside you control. The lack of free will is implied in the definition of chance. This is not true with indeterminism. Instead all indeterminism implies is that not all actions are fully determined or are a result of deterministic causation. That is not to say that undetermined events are not caused by anything, on the contrary, they are caused by probabilistic causation (Kane, 2005. 141). What this means is that the outcome of an actions is not inevitable and can be changed

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