Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Five arguments for free will, from a Christian apologetics site

Here.

6 comments:

oozzielionel said...

He poorly represents Calvinism. This weakens his argument.

Hugo Pelland said...

There are at least 2 issues that undermine the arguments presented:

1) The author is wrong regarding thoughts being under our control. We do not decide what thoughts come about in our consciousness. At best, we decide how to act on them. And that's the real question: is that really free will then? So he's not looking at the facts straight to start with.

2) The conclusion appears to be assumed in everything he writes. To give just one example, under the argument from true love.

"1: If man’s love isn’t given freely, it isn’t genuine.

2: Man’s love is genuine.

3: Therefore, man loves freely."

The problem is that premise 1 is not just an IF, for the argument to work, it has to be IF AND ONLY IF. Otherwise it's not even logically valid. He's saying "IF not A then not B. B, therefore A." But that works only if "IF A then B" is also true.

Therefore, what he's really saying is that man's love is genuine only is it's free and it's free only because it's genuine. But that's just assuming that, because we are free, we are genuine. It rejects the possibility that we are not free from the start, when it's supposed to be about justifying why we are indeed free.

In other words, the essay could literally be summarized as: I have free will because it feels genuine to me. I cannot possibly not have libertarian free will.

Not convincing, but understandable of course. I just think my first objection requires more focus. Something I thought a lot in the last few weeks actually, coincidentally.

Did I choose to? Hum...

One Brow said...

"1: If man’s love isn’t given freely, it isn’t genuine.

2: Man’s love is genuine.

3: Therefore, man loves freely."

The problem is that premise 1 is not just an IF, for the argument to work, it has to be IF AND ONLY IF. Otherwise it's not even logically valid. He's saying "IF not A then not B. B, therefore A." But that works only if "IF A then B" is also true.


You have this backward. ~A=>~B, B, therefore A is valid. A=>B, B, therefore A is not valid.

However, I would argue that, depending upon "genuine", either 1 or 2 is wrong.

Hugo Pelland said...

You're right that it is logically valid if the premises are correct. My mistake. But we have the same objection I think.

"~A=>~B, B, therefore A is valid."
works only if A=>B is also true.

If it's not sunny, I won't go outside.
I went outside.
Therefore it's sunny.

But what if it was also the case that if it's sunny, I won't go outside. Then "I went outside" couldn't possibly be true. Therefore, the first line assumes that I can go outside in the first place. Just like the argument from love assumes that love is genuine and equates that to free.

Victor Reppert said...

It seems as if a lot of people associate Calvinism with soft determinism, but, I think it is compatible with libertarian free will--idea being we exercise libertarian free will in many contexts, but salvation requires irresistible grace. However, Calvinists often accept soft determinism.

https://www.proginosko.com/2014/07/determinism-soft-or-hard/

https://www.proginosko.com/2014/07/calvinism-and-determinism/

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

With the caveat that I don't have a firm position on the topic, I find the arguments offered in favor of LFW to be underwhelming, especially the first one.

Even if, for the sake of argument, it were the case that moral accountability required LFW, it seems to me that would have very little practical importance. In place of moral accountability, we could have moral quasi-accountability, which would function in much the same way as moral accountability functions in worlds with LFW. In a world with LFW, a moral agent who performs a morally wrong act is morally blameworthy. In a world without LFW, a moral agent who performs a morally wrong act is quasi-blameworthy: even if a man is determined to do what he does based on antecedent conditions, our response to his actions (such as social condemnation, punishment, etc.) can constitute inputs which may partially determine his future behavior. In a world without LFW, people are morally accountable for their actions in the sense that they could have done otherwise, but they are morally quasi-accountable for their actions in the sense that it was them, not someone else, who performed the action, and our response to their action can constitute "inputs" to their deterministic system which may partially determine their future behavior. I conclude that even if moral accountability (in the LFW sense) does not exist, moral quasi-accountability still exists and is all we need to justify forms of punishment focused on stopping bad behavior and preventing its recurrence in the future.