In contrast, under causal determinism
, no one need be responsible for the background conditions.
(Note how tight logical reasoning of the mind mirrors strict causal determinism
of the body in Cartesian-inspired world views.
One way to "surround" the problem is to seek an account in which freedom and responsibility are not necessarily incompatible with causal determinism
. Showing a theoretical compatibility between acting freely and determinism does not, of course, prove that we act freely, but it keeps us from having to concede the impossibility of free acts in a causally determined world.
But now, focus our attention on the fact that causal determinism
might be true.
Part 3 commences its discussion of Aquinas's riposte to causal determinism
by explaining his modal semantics of the necessary, contingent, possible, and impossible.
Every event has a cause (the doctrine of causal determinism
This becomes evident, for example, in her notion of causal determinism
which seems too closely tied to the notion of mechanical force.
Dialogue eleven, on freedom, determinism and responsibility, examines whether human freedom is compatible with causal determinism
, and relates this debate to questions of responsibility; namely, if a person's actions are determined in some way, then in what sense can that person be held responsible for them?
The view that judgments about responsibility are best construed as claims about the attitudes and treatment appropriate to moral agents was raised by Peter Strawson in "Freedom and Resentment." Strawson attempts to explain the intelligibility of ascriptions of moral responsibility given the possibility of causal determinism
. Strawson notes, first, that the truth of determinism would not entail that the typical excusing conditions for responsibility (e.g., the agent was acting in ignorance, or under hypnosis, neurosis, coercion, or physical compulsion) held true of all agents.
The author replies to the challenges to Frankfurt-style compatibilism about causal determinism
and moral responsibility presented in Daniel Speak's paper "The Impertinence of Frankfurt-Style Argument." He seeks to show how Speak's critiques rest on an 'all-or-nothing' attitude in various ways, and attempts to defend the importance of Frankfurt-style argumentation in defense of compatibilism.
They argue, more contentiously, that these examples show that the kind of control that grounds moral responsibility is what they call "guidance control," which "consists in the action's issuing from the agent's own, moderately reasons-responsive mechanism" and that the truth of the thesis of causal determinism
would not show that agents fail to exercise guidance control of their actions.
How will he now answer the objection that everything in his view is compatible with the truth of causal determinism
? Meyer, as a compatibilist, would presumably resist the idea that this is an objection; but in any case, she also invokes Aristotle's distinction between accidental and natural causes.