Essay Our Brain States as Constraints

Essay Our Brain States as Constraints

Length: 1273 words (3.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

When we say someone has free will, that person is often thought to be accountable for their actions. Determinism is the philosophical view that “human behaviour is entirely governed by causal laws” (Ayer 1954, p. 15). If it is true that our behaviour is determined by causal laws such as past events or actions and the natural laws, since we cannot change the past or natural laws it seems as though we have no control over our present or past behaviours; in other words, we do not have free will and cannot be held responsible for our actions (Ayer 1954, p. 15). There are those, compatibilists, who believe that the concept of free will can still be reconciled with the existence of determinism. In Ayer’s “Freedom and Necessity”, he argues that it is possible for us to consider free will in conjunction with determinism by considering free will to mean the ability to act on our beliefs and desires in the absence of restraint rather than causation (Ayer 1954, p. 19). He writes that:
It is not...causality that freedom is to be contrasted with, but constraint. And while it is true that being constrained to do an action entails being caused to do it, I shall try to show that...from the fact that my action is causally determined it does not necessarily follow that I am constrained to do it: and this is equivalent to saying that it does not necessarily follow that I am not free. (Ayer 1954, p. 19)

In other words, if I am acting under constraint, it follows that my behaviour can be explained by natural laws; however, “from the fact that my behaviour is capable of being explained...[by] some natural law, it does not follow that I am acting under constraint” (Ayer 1954, p. 22). Both of these scenarios proposed by Ayer are consistent with compatib...


... middle of paper ...


... free will. We then came up with two objections by first considering changes in the brain to simply be the establishment of new beliefs and desires that are freely acted upon rather than a constraint and by secondly considering our original brain states, that is our minds, beliefs and desires, to be constraints just as the changes in the brain in our examples were. Although there are possible responses to my objections that Ayer could make, I maintain that my objections offer at least a different perspective to the free will debate that perhaps expands the possibilities of what is considered constraint when using Ayer’s argument to determine if we have free will in certain cases.



Works Cited

“Brain Tumour Causes Uncontrollable Paedophilia,” New Scientist 22 October 2002.
Ayer, A.J. (1954). “Freedom and Necessity,” Philosophical Essays, St. Martin’s, pp. 3-20.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about Defining 3 Rules Of Constraint Management

- Real World Process Interview Define 3 Rules of Constraint Management According to the textbook Eli Goldcratt implemented the Theory of Constraints (TOC). TOC is defined as the business approach to improve production, distribution and project management. (Jacobs, 2013) Goldcratt’s instituted a 5 step process to improve and assess current operations and productions. Goldcratt’s stated the following are rules for the management of constraints which include: “to identify the system constraints and weakness; decide how to exploit the constraints; subordinate everything else to that decision; elevate the system constraints if previous steps are broken start the process over again.” (Jacobs, 2013)...   [tags: Theory of Constraints, Constraint]

Strong Essays
721 words (2.1 pages)

Essay on Mental States and The Brain

- In this paper, I will argue that ‘It is more reasonable to think that the patient has mental states’ and will attempt to tackle the points made by each of the doctors to reach a more suitable and apt conclusion on how the mental states relate and associate with the presence/absence of the patients brain. My aim for this paper is to explain how a patient with an inorganic brain i.e. a digital computer in place for the original brain, who behaves normally actually has mental states. Further, I will also tackle the points raised by Doctor 1 and Doctor 3 to make my case stronger and the conclusion more apt....   [tags: brain functions, inorganic barin, soul]

Strong Essays
1319 words (3.8 pages)

The 's Theory Of Constraints Essay

- Eliyahu Goldratt, an Israeli physicist turned business guru, is the founder of the Theory of Constraints (TOC), who developed revolutionary methods for production scheduling in the late 1970s (Balderstone & Mabin, 1998). Goldratt also developed other theories about the methodology of systemic problem structuring and problem solving which are utilized in developing solutions with intuitive power and analytical rigor that, while more refined, are still being utilized today. The TOC stood in direct contrast to other accepted methods of production scheduling at the time, such as Materials Requirements Planning (MRP)....   [tags: Theory of Constraints, Process management]

Strong Essays
1969 words (5.6 pages)

The Constraints on Adolescent Learning Essay

- Personalities, social skills and intellectual development are only some of the key factors that effect how pupils learn and achieve differently to one another. Every child responds individually to their specific needs and environment, and the extent of that achievement can be often be linked with external factors as pupils are naturally influenced by a variety of different constraints. These factors that are not concrete and will change and alter throughout an adolescent’s development, as Piaget (Piaget 1970) believed the mind changes and works in different ways at different stages so do the conditions that enhance and limit progress....   [tags: Education Teaching]

Strong Essays
3085 words (8.8 pages)

The Human Brain: Size and Development Essay

- ... That detail is one of the most significant characteristics that set humans apart from non-human primates. It has been studied by many scientists, and was concluded that the brains of modern humans are more than twenty times larger than Old World monkeys, and more than four times larger than those of great apes (Wang). The recent human population expansion has been documented using genetic markers, and it is likely that it would contribute to the many recent reports of mutations of the microcephalin gene in humans....   [tags: big brain, gene, evolution]

Strong Essays
1552 words (4.4 pages)

Social Constraints Placed Upon Women Essay examples

- Think about the men and women in everyday life and compare their actual successes to their aptitudes, drives, and intelligences that would theoretically enable them to achieve success. Excluding factors such as differing social backgrounds and upbringings, it does not seem that an ‘aptly prepared’, ‘decently intelligent’, or ‘hard-working’ sort of woman will always achieve in the real world. No, many females are deterred from scholastic and professional achievement by social expectations, many of which are outdated because they are ‘standards’ that have been set too low....   [tags: Social Status of Women]

Strong Essays
973 words (2.8 pages)

The Human Brain Essays

- The human brain is divided in two different symmetrical parts, the hemispheres, which are connected by the corpus callosum – this connection enables us to engage in higher cognitive processes (Rogers, Zucca & Vallortigara, 2004). Evolution provided us with the capacity to benefit from lateralization, allowing us to perform well while involved in two completely different tasks simultaneously. Furthermore, the plasticity of the brain makes it easy to thrive in extreme situations, such as having the two hemispheres disconnected or even having one hemisphere removed....   [tags: Brain, Cerebral cortex, Human brain, Cerebrum]

Strong Essays
1432 words (4.1 pages)

The Constraints of Poverty Essay

- The constraints of poverty can cause a cycle of poor mental and physical heath (Dittmann, 2003). Poverty causes many problems for the people facing it up front everyday. Not only do they go without many necessities, they also face a tremendous amount of stress all the time. The amount of stress combined with the lack of necessities produces extreme health problems. Poor people have to deal with an unhealthy living environment that creates serious mental and physical health problems. Economic status definitely effects health in many ways....   [tags: Essays on Poverty]

Strong Essays
903 words (2.6 pages)

Constraints on Hamlet Essay

- Hamlet lives in a society where the church forbids vengeance, however personal honour often overcomes the ecclesiastical law. He is a man of great contradictions, being reckless yet cautious and tender yet ferocious. Hamlet's cultural identity causes conflict between his two primary duties. As the son of Old Hamlet, it is Hamlet's duty to avenge his father's murder yet as a citizen and Prince it is also his duty to protect the king and keep stability in society. Because it is Claudius, the King, whom Hamlet would need to kill in order to fulfil his duty to his father, a tension is created as to which duty should take precedence....   [tags: European Literature]

Strong Essays
1024 words (2.9 pages)

Constraint Essay

- Constraint Constraint is present in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” and James Joyce’s “The Boarding House”. In both short stories, society has placed the main characters and their lives under its evil grip. All the characters live under a blanket of limitations that society has placed upon them and the short stories show their battle to break away from society’s constraints. Societal constraint is explored by both authors in order to convey along to the reader a message. This common theme for both short stories is used to show the grip society really has on us and how it affects different people....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
684 words (2 pages)