Chisholm and Free Will Essay

1290 Words6 Pages
Before I begin it is pertinent to note the disparate positions on the problem of human freedom. In "Human Freedom and the Self", Roderick M. Chisholm takes the libertarian stance which is contiguous with the doctrine of incompatibility. Libertarians believe in free will and recognize that freedom and determinism are incompatible. The determinist also follow the doctrine of incompatibility, and according to Chisholm's formulation, their view is that every event involved in an act is caused by some other event. Since they adhere to this type of causality, they believe that all actions are consequential and that freedom of the will is illusory. Compatiblist deny the conflict between free will and determinism. A.J. Ayer makes a…show more content…
I know I'm starting to sound but bear with me. Since the act which he did perform is an act that was in his power not to perform then could not have been caused or determined by any event that was not itself within his power either to bring about or not to bring about. Next, he gives another hypothetical situation in which under hypnosis a man was unable to do anything other than what it is that he did. Chisholm then asks us to use the same situation and replace hypnosis with the man's desires and beliefs with the same consequence that he could not have done otherwise. But, if a man is responsible for his own desires and beliefs then his is also responsible for the things that they lead him to do. So the question becomes, is he responsible for the desires and beliefs he happens to have? Chisholm uses this point to demonstrate a circumlocution in the determinists argument. If a man is responsible for his beliefs and desires then he could have refrained from the acquisition of that belief or desire. But if we assume that determinism is true then some other event must have caused him to acquire the belief. So since this caused him to acquire the belief he could not have done otherwise and is not responsible for his belief or desire. Later Chisholm says that if we are prime movers unmoved (a concept I will explain later) and our actions, or those for which we are responsible, are not causally determined, then
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