CIN wrote: ↑June 25th, 2021, 12:25 pm
No, there isn't. Free will cannot exist, because it requires two contradictory things to be true at the same time.
Suppose you are driving your car, and you come to a junction where you can (apparently) turn either left or right. Suppose you turn left. Was this an exercise of free will?
The answer is 'yes', provided two things are true:
(A) you could have turned right instead
(B) turning left was your choice, not something imposed on you or something that just happened to you by chance.
Unfortunately, these conditions are mutually exclusive, and cannot both exist in the same part of a choice or action at the same time.
I agree with Alkis - these are not contradictory propositions.
In order for two propositions to be contradictory the truth of one must entail the falsity of the other. Your case-based analysis is not a valid way to demonstrate contradiction. All you have done is set prior conditions which determine the truth or falsity of (A) and (B). You have not demonstrated a strict relation between (A) and (B). If two propositions truly contradict one another, then they will do so necessarily, by way of their very nature.
You have given two or three conditions on which (A) and (B) cannot both be true, and you have claimed that the conditions form an exhaustive dichotomy, but you haven't argued from a logical-causal relation between (A) and (B) themselves. To say that, "X
are mutually exclusive if
..." is different from saying that X
full stop. Two mutually exclusive propositions can both be false; two contradictory propositions cannot both be false.
In this case it is especially easy to see this due to the fact that it would be easy to argue that determinism precludes both (A) and
(B). If such an outcome is plausible then obviously they are not contradictories, for two contradictories cannot both be false. We know it is a plausible outcome because very many philosophers do argue that determinism implies the falsity of B. We call them incompatibilists.
Suppose, first, that the universe is 100% deterministic. In that case, your turning left was caused by prior events over which you have no control. (B) can be true, because those prior events did not occur by chance and may have occurred within you, rather than being imposed on you (e.g. by someone else turning the wheel); but (A) can't be true, because your choice was determined by a series of causes going all the way back to the beginning of the universe.
Suppose now that the universe is 100% non-deterministic: all events are random, and are not determined by prior causes. In that case you could have turned right - it just randomly happened that you turned left - so (A) could be true. However, (B) can't be true, because if the choice was just a random event, then it wasn't your choice, it was something that just happened to you by chance; for a choice to be your choice, it has to be caused by something in you, and not be merely a random uncaused event.
If the universe is in the middle - party deterministic and partly non-deterministic - then any part that is deterministic may assist in (B) but will also assist in preventing (A), while any part that is non-deterministic may assist in (A), but will also assist in preventing (B). (A) and (B) necessarily exclude each other wherever they occur.
Could your action of turning the car be partly determined and partly undetermined? It could, but that wouldn't allow your action to be an exercise of free will, because the parts of the action that were determined would be parts that you couldn't have done any differently, and the parts that were undetermined weren't parts that were caused by you, they were parts that just happened to you by chance.
Conclusion: free will is impossible in any universe, whether deterministic or not.
I think this is a helpful argument because it is very clear and it very clearly shows forth a common misrepresentation of the free will position. What you give is a false dichotomy. The person who holds to free will surely claims that there are certain events which are neither deterministic nor random*, and that these events are exercises of free will. As I type this post I do so freely. I could stop right now and decide not to submit it. I could go back and edit it. The relevant claim is that these sorts of actions flow from me as an agent. They are instances of agent causality, and the intelligibility of such acts requires reference to the agent's will and freedom.
According to this very commonsensical and commonly held view of the world, (A) and (B) are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, if we accept agent causality then (B) would imply
*You do try to draw the dichotomy between deterministic events and non-deterministic events, but you assume that all non-deterministic events are random. Thus it is cleaner to simply characterize your disjuncts as "determined" and "random." Either way the proponent of free will accepts a category which you have disallowed from the get-go.