Every Chance Must have a Cause

Category: Ethics
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In this case, Locke’s actions are doings in this sense, according to his theory of action. There are few instances where Locke more so suggests that he holds the position of “Doing” theory of action, which can be seen by his discussion: “When [a Body] is set in motion it self, that Motion is rather a Passion, than an Action in it”, for “when the Ball obeys the stroke of a Billiard-stick, it is not any action of the Ball, but bare passion”.

In this case, it can be seen that Locke holds a sense of “action,” whereas these actions are opposed to passions, trying to distinguish between those actions that are voluntary and involuntary. This is followed by Locke’s saying, “Volition, or the Act of Willing, signifies nothing properly, but the actual producing of something that is voluntary”, that helps to provide clues into Locke’s thoughts on voluntariness. However, it can be said that not every instance of willing is followed by the action itself. For example, an analogy that Locke used is the case of a sleeping man being locked in a darkened room. When the man awakens, he decides that he would like to remain in the room, but he is completely unaware that the room is locked. In this case, the man realistically has no freedom to choose, considering he cannot get out of the room.

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However, due to his ignorance, he is led to believe that he does not have the freedom to choose to remain inside the room. It can be determined that Locke’s view is that an action is voluntary when its performance is caused by volition, or a person’s will. That being said, a person’s volition has to be of the right kind. For instance, Locke would not count the motion of a person’s left arm as voluntary if it were caused by a willingness that the person’s right arm moves as well. Conclusively, for an action to be reasonably voluntary, action A must be caused by a volition for A to occur, or a volition to do action A. However, what does Locke consider an involuntary action? The action suggested must be performed without volition, or not being caused by volition. There are several objections to the thought of free will, beginning with the idea that free will violates the law of causality, which says, “Every effect must have a cause; the same cause always produces the same effects.” My view is that the law of causality can be considered irrelevant in this case because it denies that a free choice can be an effect of anything else, essentially that a choice is not an effect, so I believe the law of causality does not work in this case.

Additionally, since the law of causality says “Every chance must have a cause,” I ask, why should we believe that every change DOES have a cause? Another objection correlates free will with ideas such as quantum mechanics and randomness, but I do not believe these ideas identify with one another that much. For instance, say my action is determined by rolling a die with six sides; I will raise my arm if a one comes up, but suppose all six faces have a one on them. Does this mean I have no free will? Yes. Now, suppose each side of the die has a different face, where each side determines a different action. Would this mean that I have more free will than I did when the die only had ones on all six sides? I believe that I still would have no free will, on the contrary because if my actions are being determined by an outside factor, free will is very limited, whether the factors are deterministic or have random aspects in them. The final issue discusses the relationship between free will and causality. In a sense, causality is necessary for free will, since an essential part of free will is that a person, themselves, cause their own actions.

In this case, actions and choices must be distinguished from one another, where actions are effects of a cause, which is known as free will; Actions are caused by free will when one makes choices, but these choices are not effects. From here, I distinguish my position on free will; I make that claim we, as humans, have the capability of choosing a great number of things in our lives. For example, we have the ability to choose our beliefs, body movements, and many of our mental processes, such as mental movements or even by analogy. Bringing in voluntariness and involuntariness, the pumping of the heart is clearly involuntary. However, speaking is voluntary. To speak about free will is voluntary, but to see what is front of my face when my eyes are open is not. I do believe that there are boundaries within the idea of free will, taking in exceptions and things that can be considered irregular. To explain in more detail, some people are capable of controlling their heart beat with certain training, while some people have random thoughts that jump into their minds involuntarily.

Mike Huemer, another philosopher, attempts to provide the distinction, “A choice is something one does, whereas the involuntary is something that happens to one.” The main objection that many people have to free will, in my opinion, is just the fact that it conflicts with the law of causality. I discussed two different interpretations; one where there is no conflict because free will can be seen to not be an effect, while the second interpretation says there is a conflict, but there is not a reason to believe that the second is even true. Moreover, we compose arguments from the simple fact of observations. My personal observation is that humans have the ability to choose freely, at least most of the time. There are scientists who declare that real science rests on observation, in opposition to science focused on by Aristotle, meaning that these scientists work from facts that they have observed.

The second argument that I make is in terms of a reductio ad absurdum, a method of argumentation where a proposition gets disproved from logic implications that inevitably lead to an absurd or impractical conclusion. An example of reduction ad absurdum can be seen by a mother and daughter are walking through a park, where they see a sign that says to not pick the flowers from a garden. The daughter says to her mother, “It’s just one flower,” whereas the mother responds, “Yes, but if everyone who came by picked just one flower, there would be none left.” I find that determinism leads to a self-contradictory position of skepticism. We all see that people disagree on many questions nowadays, so when are we correct on given issues? If the human mind is entirely determined on the level of micro-particles, how would be able to double check our views? I think that we would be determined to believe them, or even convince me if I were needed to be convinced.

The point of this issue is that whether or not my views are correct or incorrect, they would be the result of predetermined causal forces, where these forces determine people to error, just as much as they determine them to truths. If determinism is correct, that would mean that humans automatically accept any beliefs that the micro-particles in our minds enforce on us, since scientific explanations work from the bottom up. I do think that it might be coincidence for humans to believe true things, but truths are not necessarily the ultimate causal agents that act upon humans.

Therefore, determinism leads to abject skepticism, where humans deny the possibility of justified true belief. To me, skepticism is more so false, although this can be considered a controversial issue, because if we do affirm skepticism, we can be left wondering if skepticism is true; If we do know it is, at least one item of objective knowledge will end up contradicting the premise, while if we do not know that skepticism is true, why should we even accept it? In recap, determinism implies skepticism, skepticism is false, hence determinism is false. Thirdly, I would like to discuss Moore’s Proof of the External World Extended. In his proof, Moore refuted skepticism about physical objects by saying, “Here is a hand, and here is another hand.”

The point of Moore’s discussion is that it is necessary for the initial plausibility of an argument’s premises to have greater initial plausibility than those of the denial of its conclusion for an argument to actually work. Therefore, since there is no premise that has greater initial plausibility than “This is a hand,” it is impossible for that specific claim to be overturned, which I believe can be considered the same for the existence of free will. There is really nothing that has greater initial plausibility than the premise, “I have free will,” because we have yet to see any philosophical argument, or even scientific argument, that can ever have greater plausibility, so why is it coherent to argue against free will? In this case, any possible valid argument showing that free will is nonexistent serves merely as an idea of reduction ad absurdum of that arguments premises instead of disproving the idea of free will. I also find it interesting that John Searle, a man very opposed of free will, continuously says that he believes in free will no matter how many arguments he hears that goes against free will. I believe that shows how Searle finds initial plausibility to be greater than even his arguments against free will.

Although he has not changed his mind, the initial plausibility of his free will needs to exceed plausibility of any scientific arguments that conflict with his arguments. I believe his arguments should be re-examined by Searle himself along with science propositions, seeing if these philosophies are harder to doubt that free will existence. Can some choices be more difficult than others? Many people will admit that free will, in some cases, is more difficult to distinguish than in other cases. For example, an average person has the choice to use or not use drugs, but certain people are not free to use drugs because the choice is too ‘difficult’ for them to make.

We can see several different variations of this topic, and objections can be applied to all. If we think of free will like a muscle, the ability to lift weights depends greatly on the strength of the lifter along with the heaviness of the weights, in comparison to the ability to make a choice depends on the will power of a person along with the difficulty of the choice. Our choices are based upon narrow bounds, but beyond it, they would be considered fully determined. I can object to this solely because it contradicts experience. If there was a device in front of you that can end all of humanity, you would not want to use it (At least I hope not.)

However, can you say that you do not feel just as free to do so as you can just dial a phone number? If a person pointed a gun at you and told you to use the device, would you not be free to decline? If you are realistically free in all of these cases, extreme or not, how can one be unfree from refusing to do drugs or deciding to choose an action that may be easier? Talking about the difficulty of making a choice can be very misleading, simply because it creates the image that there is a definite possibility of succeeding when making a choice, despite trying; This just conjures up the idea of probabilistic misinterpretation of free will, which is contrary to the freedom of will as determinism, as I mentioned above. Lastly, objecting free will also renders that the choice of a person is inexplicable, which in a sense is correct.

A choice is unaffected to causal explanation, by definition, so if there were to be a causal explanation, then the said agent would have been determined to take their actions, meaning they would not be free. It is definitely possible to explain a choice by describing one’s goals, motives and thoughts, but there are many simple factors that these autonomous agents choose to flow with, factors that come out of cosmos of possibilities that the agent created when making their choice. I have always believed it is a little strange to write about free will because, to me, it is not an abstract or complex concept, but instead, just a simple matter of empirical facts. We go through so many observations throughout our days, from when we wake up to when we go to sleep, and that is the most telling proof for explaining the existence of free will.

The only denial that I have really come across is distinguished from exclusions of introspection being a valid source of empirical knowledge, paired with interpretations of the law of causality. Free will solely separates humans from any other living thing, being the most distinctive attribute for us in mankind. If one denies our free will, it will only lead to denial of virtue and vice, values of freedom, and even individual responsibility, which can be seen from determinism as I mentioned above. Because of all this, I single-handedly believe that denying our free will, will simply lead to the dehumanization of the world.

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Every chance must have a cause. (2021, Nov 30). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/every-chance-must-have-a-cause/