Freedom was generally considered as the precondition of moral responsibility and only the activities committed freely from which humans were praised, condemned, rewarded, or punished would be considered. The power of humans to act or not, without external compulsion, restriction or to choose or wanted something, should not be determined by anything.  

The free-will believers tried to argue against people who considered that all human acts were dictated by past events and the rules of the physical universe and supported the idea that individuals were free to pick from available options. The arguments that supported the theory were indirect, appealed to the introspective experience of deliberation, happening from strong intuition and unplanned actions, and were driven by a sense of moral responsibility.  

Philosophers maintained for a long period that perception of the activity or possibly purposeful participation or action included introspective proof of freedom. Philosophers have studied agency experience more thoroughly in past years and there has been discussion about its contents, particularly if supported by an unobservable account of free action. The arguments without any independent support for evidence of conviction in the actuality of free will was epistemologically fundamental or rational. Most philosophers believed that there were certain views because of unreasonable beliefs. The beliefs were nevertheless, problematic because what conditions had to be met by a belief for the privileged position to be contested? A basic concept should be ‘instinctive’ for all or most people, be integrated with frequent experience, and be crucial to the knowledge of a significant element of the world.

“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.”

― Virginia Woolf

The argument for deliberation could happen in a short or long period of time, using logic and reason that could lead to a decision well known. There was an alternative to the choices and was not determined to simply do one action. However, these actions would not be conditioned, and the choices had to be made without restrictions or under imposed circumstances. Those choices had to be made aware of the alternatives, and not decided based on the benefits or the loss presented, but as the best decision that could be made in that case.  

Agent causation as it was stated by Chisholm and Taylor, “the agent himself is the cause of his own acts. That is, the agent causes actions without himself changing in any essential way.” In that case, the self-determining beings were the cause of their own behavior, and because the reason couldn’t be the cause of it, could only deliberate about activities that were truly their own. The self had consciousness and could deliberate and intend. Chisholm affirmed that “we are responsible, and if what I have been trying to say is true, then we have a prerogative which some would attribute only to God: each of us when we act, is a prime mover unmoved. In doing what we do, we cause certain events to happen and nothing-or no one- causes us to cause those events to happen.”  Therefore, the decisions come from ourselves and were not influenced and manipulated by an external cause, coming from their own deliberation.  

Those arguments of deliberation were not left without criticism and objection from the determinism position and were trying to prove that libertarianism was just an illusion. It was said that deliberation was just the product of an antecedent cause, and the actions were subjective, based on desires and certain beliefs. From the determinism position, the wants and aspirations were not under their control, therefore not the product of free choice because they were not free to choose desires and needs, hence not free also to choose their actions.

The argument for introspection talked about self-observation, including analyzing feelings, thoughts, and all the internal senses that could be related to intuition and physical and mental analysis. The introspection was made by the individual, for himself, in addition to deliberation argument.  

Regarding introspection, it was supported by determinism the idea that neurophysiologists’ patients could have the idea of being free, however, the result from a scanned brain showed that the impulse for decision appeared before someone become aware of the desire. The decision to act came after the patient reached a certain level when felt the wish to do that.  

The argument from moral responsibility showed the way humans were responsible for their actions accordingly to their principles, and that would stop them to act against the laws. Those responsibilities could prevent them from doing actions and then deny their obligations as moral citizens to not steal, rob, destroy, kill, etc. However, having self in deliberation and moral responsibility could be weighted the desires and values. One step backward could prevent rushing into a decision that could be regretted and decided based on all the aspects and conditions known. 

The objection concerning moral responsibility argued that it was not up to us to choose how to act. However, in that case, even though determinism was supported, were humans not excluded from the responsibility for their actions, and that was just an illusion?

“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.”
― Jim MORRISON

Universal determinism supported the idea that everything was the effect of a cause and that what existed were antecedent conditions. Causal determinism stated that every event had a cause and followed the laws of nature. The determinism of human behavior declared that all behavior had a cause and for hard determinism moral responsibility was impossible. However, if moral responsibility was not possible, that meant that humans were not responsible for their actions, but determinism admitted that that was just an illusion they had. Also, in the opinion of determinism, humans were not acting freely, and was not up to them to make a decision, as everything was already destined. The fatalism concerning the past couldn’t be changed and the future was already known by God. “All humans are animals and as such, they have a drive for food, drink, sex, and rest.  All humans have learned other behaviors from their interactions with their physical and social environments (other people).  Humans have been conditioned by deliberate and accidental patterns of stimulus-response reinforcements.  Humans have been rewarded or punished for their behaviors.” In other words, what they learned couldn’t be changed, as it was inherited by generations, and it was carried in the DNA pattern for the future as well. In that case, knowing the patterns and behavior, a human could be manipulated in any action. In that case, if all the events were already determined, they were just puppets on strings, that followed the laws of nature without any powers of decision and ascension? “If someone has been conditioned for certain behaviors and one knows what those conditionings are (the buttons) then all one needs to do is to “push” them to get the response that has been conditioned or programmed into the human.” However, when they decided to act in a certain way, from their own perspective, based on intuition and introspective experience of deliberation, the decisions they took were not determined as were in the case of those arguments.  

A compatibilist, who focused on future projects, could argue that the moral judgment that X ought not to have been followed out means that instead, something else could be done, but that something other implied that something else had to be done. There was also something else to be done which meant something else could be done, indicating free will for future recourses to be planned. If there was free will to be except X, it was possible to make the moral judgment that X would be exempt from X, and a person responsible for doing X would be sanctioned to assist recall that X would not be done in the future. In that case, even if someone was choosing something that was against their motives that person would be punished and restricted from taking such actions in the future. Those ideas did not leave even the place for decisions by mistake, and even those would be punished.  

Even though determinism supported the idea that they were not in control of their desires and beliefs, all self-determined individuals could initiate actions without being the cause of their behavior. They could deliberate about activities that were truly their own, and no one else could use their mind to take decisions and show intentions, other than themselves. 

When they were not able to choose anything else than what they already did, that meant that they could also do any action but the one they did, so in that case not taking responsibility, or going against the laws, could also mean that it was not their choice. “For the Dutch philosopher, acting out of our own internal necessity is genuine freedom while being driven by exterior determinations is akin to bondage”

In the case of determinism was true that meant that it was not up to humans to make decisions, hence they couldn’t be said to be responsible either for what they did. In case they did have moral responsibilities, then determinism was excluded as they couldn’t have both at the same time. If the universal causality was greater than the belief in moral responsibility, therefore God and nature also would be blamed for what they did, not them.  

“It’s probably not just by chance that I’m alone. It would be very hard for a man to live with me unless he’s terribly strong. And if he’s stronger than I, I’m the one who can’t live with him. … I’m neither smart nor stupid, but I don’t think I’m a run-of-the-mill person. I’ve been in business without being a businesswoman, I’ve loved without being a woman made only for love. The two men I’ve loved, I think, will remember me, on earth or in heaven, because men always remember a woman who caused them concern and uneasiness. I’ve done my best, in regard to people and to life, without precepts, but with a taste for justice.”

― Coco Chanel

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *