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

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2012
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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Citation Formats
H. Çağatay, “Free will and determinism: are they even relevant to each other? ,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2012.