Presentation at Reading, Jan. 2013

Presentation at Reading, Jan. 2013

2010年3月19日 星期五

The Qualm concerning Determinism and Quantum Physics

Or worse, "determinism" itself is annoying enough. Most of us can be pretty sure that skepticism about knowledge and the external world is wrong, but still enjoy pinning down where it goes wrong exactly. But this is not true of determinism. Upon reflection, it is easy to find out that our concept of "freedom" is a mess. It is not that arguments for determinism are impeccable; the real trouble is that as a philosopher who believes in free will, I cannot have a clear yet substantial notion of free will. Whenever it goes substantial, it is ruled out by determinism. I have encountered several intricate counter-arguments against determinism, e.g. David Lewis's one, but still, it is difficult to be comfortable with the results. I side with Sellars and McDowell that the Space of Reasons is sui generis, but I feel hopeless when it comes to details.
Maybe Pascal's Wager can come to a rescue here. Maybe we should bet that we are free:
if determinism is false, then good for us; if determinism is true, then we are determined to bet on free will anyway. Maybe it is not a coincidence that both the existence of God and free will are postulates in Kant's system. God.
I do not consider compatibilism here, since I think "freedom" in compatibilism is always too thin. This is controversial, to be sure.
But sometimes to bet on determinism makes one feel better; for example, consider the case in which all the admission decisions are determined before we exist.