Free will and determinism: are they even relevant to each other?

Çağatay, Hasan
Many philosophers tend to defend the view that there is a significant relation between the problem of determinism / indeterminism and the problem of free will. The belief that there exists such a significant relation is supported by our intuitions; however, in this thesis, I defend just the opposite view: free will has no significant dependence on the deterministic or indeterministic character of causal relations. In the same way, I propose that the question, whether or not determinism is true, cannot be answered based on observations about the problem of free will. I believe that the genuine question whose answer would illuminate the darkness surrounding free will is whether or not will supervenes on anything other than itself. Therefore, in order to decide whether or not we are free, the question we should ask is “Does will supervene upon something other than itself?” Moreover, I defend the position that no matter whether the world is deterministic or indeterministic, if physicalism is true, i.e. if properties of free will supervene upon physical properties, then we cannot enjoy genuine freedom. The position of the thesis has some important ethical implications: If we cannot be genuinely free, we cannot be genuinely responsible for our actions either. This implies that retributive and admirative desires towards other persons are rationally untenable. I defend the view that only practical attitudes like reinforcement and punishment or isolation and inclusion are rationally tenable.


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This thesis aims at examining and comparing the concept of freedom in the social context from the viewpoints of Aristotle (384–322 BC) and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778). In order to do that, Aristotle’s ideas on slavery, the position of women in city-state, freedom of citizens, and democracy are emphasized for his position; and Rousseau’s ideas on state of nature, social contract theory, and ideal education are stressed on for his position. As both Aristotle and Rousseau mainly seek for an ideal system ...
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Özgür irade ve belirlenimciliğe olan inanç günlük hayattaki birçok davranışı etkilemektedir. Kültürel özelliklerden etkilenen ilgili inançların güvenilir ve geçerli şekilde ölçülmesi araştırmacılar için önem taşımaktadır. Bu araştırmanın amacı, Türkçeye henüz uyarlanmamış olan Özgür İrade ve Belirlenimcilik Ölçeği’ni (FAD-Plus; Paulhus ve Carey, 2011) Türkçeye uyarlamak ve psikometrik özelliklerini değerlendirmektir. Üniversite öğrencilerinden (N = 403) toplanan veri üzerinde yapılan faktör analizi sonucund...
Nietzsche on fate and freedom
Beşkardeşler, Sedef; Parkan, Barış; Department of Philosophy (2013)
At face value, Nietzsche’s approach to the problem of free will may seem contradictory since he rejects both free will and determinism. However, a detailed analysis of Nietzsche’s texts will show that, while he uncovers the traditional and psychological background of both the belief in free will and unfree will, he develops his unique understanding of freedom and fate. To state more precisely, Nietzsche repudiates both an understanding of free will which is claimed to be a priorily possessed and also an ide...
Freedom and creativity in Bergson's Philosophy
Özyurt, Esen; Parkan, Barış; Department of Philosophy (2013)
The purpose of this study is to make sense of the notion of freedom in Bergson‘s philosophy. Bergson‘s original approach to the problem of free will is the application of the notion of duration to solve this problem. For Bergson, the problem of free will arises from a misconceived framework which is based on reducing time to space. Throughout the thesis, we tried to show how the notion of duration allows Bergson to reformulate and solve the problem of free will. For that purpose the method of intuition as t...
Causal determinants, reasons, and substantive autonomy: A critical approach to agency
Baç, Mutlu Murat (2007-01-01)
Although the notion of agency presents itself as an attractive solution to the puzzle of free will, it faces a problem vis-a-vis the nature of reasons that are purported to lie behind actions. In this paper I first point out the significance of a paradigm shift that emerges with the agency view. Then I argue that the agency theories nonetheless fail in general to give a satisfactory account of various sorts of reasons underlying our actions and choices. In trying to enlighten the multi-faceted nature of act...
Citation Formats
H. Çağatay, “Free will and determinism: are they even relevant to each other? ,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2012.