A flood of ink has been spilled, especially in the modern era, on howto understand the concept of being able to do otherwise. On one sideare those who maintain that it isconsistent with my being able to do otherwise that the past (includingmy character and present beliefs and desires) and the basic laws ofnature logically entail that I do what I actually do. These are the‘compatibilists,’ holding that freedom and causaldeterminism are compatible. (For discussion, see O'Connor, 2000, Ch.1; Kapitan 2001; van Inwagen 2001; Haji 2009;compatibilism; and incompatibilism: arguments for.)Conditional analyses of ability to do otherwise have been popularamong compatibilists. The general idea here is that to say that I amable to do otherwise is to say that I would do otherwise ifit were the case that … , where the ellipsis is filled by someelaboration of “I had an appropriately strong desire to do so,or I had different beliefs about the best available means to satisfymy goal, or … .” In short: something about my prevailingcharacter or present psychological states would have differed, and sowould have brought about a different outcome in my deliberation.
Two final methodological issues need to be noted. The first concernsthe distinctive role counterexamples play in debates aboutdistributive justice. As noted above, the overarching methodologicalconcern of the distributive justice literature must be, in the firstinstance, the pressing choice of how the benefits and burdens ofeconomic activity should be distributed, rather than the mereuncovering of abstract truth. Principles are to be implemented in realsocieties with the problems and constraints inherent in suchapplication. Given this, pointing out that the application of anyparticular principle will have some, perhaps many, immoral resultswill not by itself constitute a fatal counterexample to anydistributive theory. Such counter-evidence to a theory would only befatal if there were an alternative, or improved, version of thetheory, which, if fully implemented, would yield a morally preferablesociety overall. So, it is at least possible that the bestdistributive theory, when implemented, might yield a system whichstill has many injustices and/or negative consequences. This practicalaspect partly distinguishes the role of counterexamples indistributive justice theory from many other philosophical areas. Giventhat distributive justice is about what to do now, not just what tothink, alternate distributive theories must, in part, compete ascomprehensive systems which take into account the practicalconstraints we face.
Philosophy Of Teaching Free Essays - StudyMode
One suggested solution to this puzzle begins by reconsidering therelationship of two strands in (much) thinking about freedom of will:being able to do otherwise and being the ultimate source of one'swill. Contemporary discussions of free will often emphasize theimportance of being able to do otherwise. Yet it is plausible (Kane1996) that the core metaphysical feature of freedom is being theultimate source, or originator, of one's choices, and that being ableto do otherwise is closely connected to this feature. For human beingsor any created persons who owe their existence to factors outsidethemselves, the only way their acts of will could find their ultimateorigin in themselves is for such acts not to be determined by theircharacter and circumstances. For if all my willings were whollydetermined, then if we were to trace my causal history back farenough, we would ultimately arrive at external factors that gave riseto me, with my particular genetic dispositions. My motives at the timewould not be the ultimate source of my willings, only themost proximate ones. Only by there being less thandeterministic connections between external influences and choices,then, is it be possible for me to be an ultimate source of myactivity, concerning which I may truly say, “the buck stopshere.”
Scope and Role of Distributive Principles
“Free Will” is a philosophical term of art for aparticular sort of capacity of rational agents to choose a course ofaction from among various alternatives. Which sort is the free willsort is what all the fuss is about. (And what a fuss it has been:philosophers have debated this question for over two millennia, andjust about every major philosopher has had something to say about it.)Most philosophers suppose that the concept of free will is veryclosely connected to the concept of moral responsibility. Acting withfree will, on such views, is just to satisfy the metaphysicalrequirement on being responsible for one's action. (Clearly, therewill also be epistemic conditions on responsibility as well, such asbeing aware—or failing that, being culpably unaware—ofrelevant alternatives to one's action and of the alternatives' moralsignificance.) But the significance of free will is not exhausted byits connection to moral responsibility. Free will also appears to be acondition on desert for one's accomplishments (why sustained effortand creative work are praiseworthy); on the autonomy and dignity ofpersons; and on the value we accord to love and friendship. (See Kane1996, 81ff. and Clarke 2003, Ch.1; but see also Pereboom 2001, Ch.7.)
Distributive principles vary in numerous dimensions
Philosophers who distinguish freedom of action and freedom of will doso because our success in carrying out our ends depends in part onfactors wholly beyond our control. Furthermore, there are alwaysexternal constraints on the range of options we can meaningfully tryto undertake. As the presence or absence of these conditions andconstraints are not (usually) our responsibility, it is plausible thatthe central loci of our responsibility are our choices, or“willings.”