There is much debate over the issue of whether we have complete freedom of the will or if our will caused by something other than our own choosing. There are three positions adopted by philosophers regarding this dispute: determinism, libertarianism, and. Determinists believe that freedom of the will does not exist. Since actions are events that have some predetermined cause, no actions can be chosen and thus there is no will to choose. The argues that you can have both freedom of the will and determinism. If the causes which led to our actions were different, then we could have acted in another way which is compatible with freedom of the will.
Libertarians believe that freedom of the will does exist. Roderick Chisholm defends Libertarianism, and in his essay “Human Freedom and The Self” argues that we have freedom of the will. Chisholm does not abandon the idea of causes but instead defines two types of causation. The first is transeunt causation where one event or state of affairs causes another event or state of affairs. This causation is based on a relationship between events. The second is immanent causation where an agent causes an event or state of affairs.
An agent is an uncaused causer of events who is not bound by the laws of nature. This causation is based on the relationship between an agent and an event. Chisholm quotes a passage from Aristotle to demonstrate his immanent causation, “Thus, a staff moves a stone, and is moved by a hand, which is moved by a man” (Chisholm, 409).
INTRODUCTION AND INDEX In this paper I have discussed the free will of human mind and their freedom in choice of action. It is said that we are responsible for our actions that we do out of our free will, thus I have discussed freedom of human mind and the responsibility that comes to us with the freedom of will. There are some doctrines in philosophy that opposes free will saying that all our ...
This event of moving a stone with a staff was caused transeunt ly by the moving of the hand. The hand movement was caused transeunt ly by the contraction of certain muscles, which was caused transeunt ly by neurological activity in the man’s brain.
So, where does the immanent causation fit in? Ultimately we can back track the transeunt causations to the immanent cause which in this case is the man causing the brain event. This brain event was not caused by any other influence. It was simply caused by the agent, who intentionally performed the action without anything causing him to do so, thus demonstrating immanent causation. Chisholm relies on the distinction between the man doing something and making something happen. The man does something by picking up the staff, and as a result he makes the other events happen. Ultimately, the determinist claims that all events have causes and therefore no actions can be free.
Chisholm argues that while all events have either immanent or transeunt causes, in the case of agents the agent may be the origin of some causes and this is where we can see that freedom of the will does exist. One objection I have is in regards to Chisholm’s immanent causation. I do not agree that an agent is able to perform an action without anything motivating or causing him to do so. In the example above an agent causes brain activity which ultimately leads to his hand moving a wand. There has to be some underlying cause that led the man to grip and move the wand. Perhaps he wanted to draw the stone near to him or it could have been any other myriad number of reasons.
Chisholm may respond to this objection by saying that deep within an agent perhaps even beyond the level of brain activity if we trace an action back we get to some beginning within the agent where there can be no prior causations. At this starting point of an action we can claim that it was caused immanently by an agent. Since the action has not yet passed through the level of brain activity we cannot claim that there was any desire or motivation for this cause because it is not possible as far as we know without the use of the brain. Once this action gets to the level of the brain, perhaps then a desire might arise and thus lead through a chain of transeunt causations to the final outcome. So it is conceivable that there can be immanent causation by an agent and thus free will..
When looking at any historical event, it is vital to utilize logic, and not allow pride and other emotions to interfere. In order to understand a historical concept as intricate as, for example, multiple causation, a special, scholarly reasoning must be applied. Rather than trying to discover what one wishes to unearth, it is best to study documents with a "spirit of humility." That being said, it ...