Freedom is generally considered in this sense as the precondition of moral responsibility and only the activities we commit freely for which we are praised, condemned, rewarded, or punished should be considered. The power of man to act or not, without external compulsion or restriction or to choose or want something, should not be determined by anything.
The free will believers try to argue against people who consider that all human acts are dictated by past events and the rules of the physical universe and support the idea that individuals are free to pick from available options. The arguments that support this theory are indirect, appeal to the introspective experience of deliberation, are happening from strong intuition and unplanned actions, and are driven by our sense of moral responsibility.
First, philosophers maintained for a long period that our perception of the activity or possibly purposeful participation or action included introspective proof of freedom. Philosophers have studied agency experience more thoroughly in recent years and there has been discussion about its contents, particularly if they support an unobservable account of free action.
Secondly, we sometimes argue, without any independent support for evidence our conviction in the actuality of free will is epistemologically fundamental or rational. Most philosophers believe that there are certain views that have this status because we do not have any reasonable beliefs. What are the beliefs, nevertheless, problematic, because what conditions must be met by a belief for this privileged position is contested? Maybe a basic concept should be ‘instinctive’ for all or most people, be integrated with frequent experience, and be crucial to our knowledge of a significant element of the world.
“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.”
― Virginia Woolf
The argument for deliberation can happen in a short or long period of time, using logic and reason that can lead to a decision well known. There is an alternative for the choices and is not determined to simply do one action. However, these actions should not be conditioned, and the choice must be made without restrictions or under imposed circumstances. These choices should be made being aware of the alternatives, and not decide based on the benefits or the loss presented, but as the best decision that could be made in that case.
Agent causation as it is stated by Chisholm and Taylor, “the agent himself is the cause of his own acts. That is, the agent causes actions without himself changing in any essential way.” In this case, the self-determining beings, are the cause of their own behavior, and because the reason cannot be the cause of it, can only deliberate about activity that is truly their own. The self has consciousness and can deliberate and intend. Chisholm affirmed that “we are responsible, and if what I have been trying to say is true, then we have a prerogative which some would attribute only to God: each of us, when we act, is a prime mover unmoved. In doing what we do, we cause certain events to happen and nothing-or no one- causes us to cause those events to happen.” Our decision should come from ourselves and not influenced and manipulated by an external cause, and to come from our own deliberation.
The argument for introspection talks about the self-observation, and that includes analyzing the feelings, the thoughts, and all the internal senses that can be related to intuition and physical and mental analysis. The introspection is made by the individual, for himself, in addition to deliberation argument.
The argument from moral responsibility shows the way humans are responsible for their actions accordingly to their principles, and that would stop them to act against the laws. These responsibilities can prevent us from doing actions and then denying our obligations as moral citizens to not steal, rob, destroy, kill, etc. However, having self in deliberation and moral responsibility we can weigh the desires and values. One step backward can prevent from rushing into a decision that might bring regret and decide based on all the aspects and conditions known.
These arguments of deliberation are not left without criticism and objection from the determinism position were trying to prove libertarianism is just an illusion. It was said that deliberation is just the product of an antecedent cause, and the actions are subjective, based on desires and certain beliefs. From the determinism position, the wants and aspirations are not under our control, therefore not the product of free choice because we are not free to choose our desires and needs, hence not free also to choose our actions.
Regarding introspection, it is supported by determinism the idea that neurophysiologists’ patients might have the idea of being free, however, the result from a scanned brain showed that the impulse for decision appeared before someone become aware of the desire. The decision to act came after the patient reached a certain level when felt the wish to do that.
The objection concerning moral responsibility argues that it is not up to us to choose how to act. However, is this case even though determinism is supported, we are not excluded from the responsibility of our actions, and that is just an illusion?
“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.”
― Jim MORRISON
Universal determinism supports the idea that everything is the effect of a cause and what exists are antecedent conditions. Causal determinism states that every event has a cause and follows the laws of nature. The determinism of human behavior declares that all behavior has a cause and for the hard determinism the moral responsibility is impossible. However, if moral responsibility is not possible, that means that we are not responsible for our actions, but determinism admits that that is just an illusion we have. Also, in the opinion of determinism, we are not acting freely and is not up to us to make a decision, as everything is already destined. The fatalism concerning the past cannot be changed and the future is already known by God. “All humans are animals and as such, they have a drive for food, drink, sex, and rest. All humans have learned other behaviors from their interactions with their physical and social environments (other people). Humans have been conditioned by deliberate and accidental patterns of stimulus-response reinforcements. Humans have been rewarded or punished for their behaviors.” In other words, what we learned cannot be changed, as it is inherited by generations, and it is carried in the DNA pattern for the future as well. In this case, knowing the patterns and behavior, a human can be manipulated in any action. In this case, if all the events are already determined, we are just puppets on strings, that follow the laws of nature without any powers of decision and ascension? “If someone has been conditioned for certain behaviors and one knows what those conditionings are (the buttons) then all one needs to do is to “push” them to get the response that has been conditioned or programmed into the human.” However, when we decide to act in a certain way, from our own perspective, based on intuition and introspective experience of deliberation, the decisions we take are not determined as are in the case of these arguments.
A compatibilist, who focuses on future projects, may argue that the moral judgment that X ought not to have been followed out means that instead, something else can be done, but that something other implies that something else must be done. There is also something else to be done that means something else can be done which indicates free will for future recourses to be planned. If there is a free will to be except X, it is possible to make the moral judgment that X should be exempt from X, a person responsible for doing X should be sanctioned to assist recall that X should not be done in the future. In this case, even someone is choosing something that is against their motives that person should be punished and restricted from taking such actions in the future. These ideas do not leave even the place for decisions by mistake, and even those would be punished.
Even though determinism supports the idea that we are not in control of our desires and beliefs, we are after all self-determined individuals that we can initiate actions without being the cause of our behavior. We can deliberate about activities that are truly our own, and no one else can use our mind to take decisions and shows intentions, other than ourselves.
When we are not able to choose anything else than what we already do, that means that we can also do any action but the one we do, so in this case not taking responsibility, or going against the laws, can also mean that it not our choice. “For the Dutch philosopher, acting out of our own internal necessity is genuine freedom while being driven by exterior determinations is akin to bondage”
In case of determinism is true that means that it is not up to us to make decisions, hence we cannot be said to be responsible either for what we do. In case we do have moral responsibilities, then determinism is excluded as we cannot have both at the same time. If the universal causality is greater than de belief in moral responsibility, therefore God and nature also should be blamed for what we do, not us.
“It’s probably not just by chance that I’m alone. It would be very hard for a man to live with me unless he’s terribly strong. And if he’s stronger than I, I’m the one who can’t live with him. … I’m neither smart nor stupid, but I don’t think I’m a run-of-the-mill person. I’ve been in business without being a businesswoman, I’ve loved without being a woman made only for love. The two men I’ve loved, I think, will remember me, on earth or in heaven, because men always remember a woman who caused them concern and uneasiness. I’ve done my best, in regard to people and to life, without precepts, but with a taste for justice.”
― Coco Chanel