Metaphysical libertarianism, opposed to political libertarianism, is concerned with whether or not we are actually free as beings. This is what I will be looking at. Libertarianism is the belief that free will does exist and so we can be held morally responsible for our actions. Contrasting to hard determinism, it rejects the idea that our actions are predetermined by causes outside our control and that we are not morally responsible. Libertarians are similar to hard determinists, however, in the sense that they both agree that free will is incompatible with determinism.
Chisholm and Ayer are great examples of this because they both have very different ways of interpreting the freedom of the will argument. Ayer believes that we should not contrast freedom with causal determinism. Rather we should contrast it with physical force or constraint. He believes that being free is compatible with the laws of nature and he thinks that freedom is incompatible with someone forcing you to do something or constraining your actions physically. Contrary to Ayer, Chisholm believes that it is not enough if a person could’ve done otherwise if he or she chooses not to do otherwise.
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.
Freedom and Reason in Kant Morality, Kant says, cannot be regarded as a set of rules which prescribe the means necessary to the achievement of a given end; its rules must be obeyed without consideration of the consequences that will follow from doing so or not. A principle that presupposes a desired object as the determinant of the will cannot give rise to a moral law; that is, the morality of an act of will cannot be determined by the matter or content of the will for when the will is materially determined the question of its morality does not arise. This consideration leads Kant to one of his most important theses. If the moral character of willing is not determined by the content of what is willed, it must be determined by the form:" If a rational being can think of his maxims as universal laws, he can do so only by considering them as principles which contain the determining ground of the will because of their form and not because of their matter". Therefore, the morality of a maxim is determined by its functioning as a universal law, applicable as a general rule to every rational agent.
The problem of free will and determinism is a mystery about what human beings are able to do. The best way to describe it is to think of the alternatives taken into consideration when someone is deciding what to do, as being parts of various “alternative features” (Van-Inwagen). Robert Kane argues for a new version of libertarianism with an indeterminist element. He believes that deeper freedom is not an illusion. Derk Pereboom takes an agnostic approach about causal determinism and sees himself as a hard incompatibilist.
Chisholm’s Freewill Argument on the Dilemma of Determinism In determining the free will of a human’s nature many philosophers want to solve the dilemma of determinism. The dilemma of determinism is as follows (Rowe, p.587): A.) If determinism is true, we are not responsible for our actions since our choices are determined by factors that we have no control over. B.) If indeterminism is true, we are not responsible since ever choice is a chance occurrence C.) Either determinism or indeterminism is true.
Chisholm. They present similar arguments, which essentially demonstrate that one could have done otherwise and one is the sole author of the volition. I will present the three most common arguments in support of Libertarianism, present an objection against Libertarianism and attempt to rebut it as well as reject one main argument from the other views. As a result, this essay will prove that one is held morally responsibly for any act that was performed or chosen by them, which qualify as a human act. The Libertarian view consists of one’s actions not being determined; however, have free will, which is a precondition for moral responsibility.
Kant adds to this point by saying the laws we base our actions upon must be self-imposed. They cannot be imposed by outside sources because then, our actions would just be based on natural necessity; we would simply be reacting to external causes. To see how Kant’s statement translates into saying an autonomous will is bound by moral law, we must first understand what morality is, and how one achieves it. Kant believes that morality is an a priori concept, or one that is independent of any experiences of the world. Morality stems from the idea of the ‘good will’, which Kant argues is the only thing truly ‘good’ in the world.
The key difference between determinists and libertarians is that while the former believe that our behaviour is fundamentally the result of drives, the latter believe that we behave the way we do without there being any compulsion to do so. These opposing theories have been the subject of much psychological controversy. Both theories have valid points of view, both make sense; hence, does our behaviour result from forces over which we have no control or do we have free choice to behave as we wish? I.e. Libertarianism or Determinism?
What needs to be illustrated is that an individual interpretation of this long standing philosophical argument is that there are many implications of determinism. That is , determinism does not work alone but is compatible with free will not unlike the ‘yin-yang’ theory whereby one relies upon the other. In light of this, what are the implications of determinism in the ability to understand free will? Hard Determinists believe that individuals do not have free will, which then questions moral responsibility. As opposed to this are the compatibilists and soft determinists who believe in both the compatibility of determination and free will.