Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Soft Determinism is not a different kind of determinism

Soft determinism is still determinism. And it's really not a different type of determinism. It is, rather, drawing different conclusions from determinism, or rather, not drawing the conclusion that we are not free and not morally responsible for our actions. 

11 comments:

Hal said...

I have to admit to never having heard the term "soft determinism" before.

I do agree with the view that determinism poses no real threat to our having a free will and being held responsible for our actions.

Since I find football to be boring and greatly enjoy listening to Copland's music, given the choice between going to a Raider's football game or the SF Symphony's performance of Appalachian Spring I will always choose the latter. I don't find the fact that my desires will determine my choice to be a threat to my free will.

Crude said...

I don't find the fact that my desires will determine my choice to be a threat to my free will.

How about your choices being determined by things that have nothing to directly do with your desires?

Hal said...

I didn't get to choose my parents, nor the place where I was born. Nor did I get to choose my physical attributes. Nor, for that matter, my intelligence or the ability to make wise or foolish choices.

All of those things are determining factors in many of the choices I make.

Do you believe that threatens free will? I don't.

Jakub Moravčík said...

Good reply, Hal.

To be honest, I do not know what exactly christians understand by "free will" notion. It seems that for them it is all the same as moral responsibility. If I may play devil´s advocate role for a while (which is the role I am naturally inclined to), then I would say that the only reason for which christians need to hold the free will is to make a man responsible for his own moral evil. The second reason could be a possibility of authentic love, but I think that if a christian would in some thought experiment have to sacrifice one of this reasons, he would sacrifice the "love reason". Because love is being and all being is from God, whilst evil isi non-being/privation and no evil/privation is from God.

2all: what is your definition of "free will"?

Crude said...

All of those things are determining factors in many of the choices I make.

Great. Now what if those 'determining factors' account for every single choice you make, without remainder?

Free will still in place?

Ilíon said...

"... It is, rather, drawing different conclusions from determinism, or rather, not drawing the conclusion that we are not free and not morally responsible for our actions."

Or, to put it another way: "Soft' determinism involves the disinclination to reason logically from one's premise. It's just one more instance of wanting to have your cake and eat it, too.

im-skeptical said...

Victor is correct. But most Christians are confused.

Hal said...

""Great. Now what if those 'determining factors' account for every single choice you make, without remainder?

Free will still in place?""

Yes. What non-determining factors could come into play when one is deciding to choose a course of action?

One could make a choice without a determining reason, but then would we consider that to be a rational choice?

Crude said...

Yes.

Alright. So you still have free will, even if every single act in your life was ultimately and finally rooted in something other than your decision. And specifically, if each and every one of those roots was mindless, amoral mechanistic operations.

Amazing, ain't it, why people are skeptical of materialist free will?

Rasmus Møller said...

Hal, in the spirit of CSL the question is whether your decisions are based on cause-effect reasons only, or whether ground-consequent reasons are allowed to influence or overrule the former. What most of us call free will is the extent that the latter take precedence.

Daniel Joachim said...

Having reasons to choose something, is something completely different from being forced by determinism to choose it. They're not even close to interchangeable.

Liking soccer is a reason to choose a soccer match over basketball. Natural laws determining my preference of soccer would be the game-changer here though. You could insert some confusions with neural processes, social theories or quantum mechanics, but that won't change anything with regard to the causal relations.

Laplace's demon all over.