Libertarianism is a philosophical position in metaphysics with respect to free will and determinism. Metaphysics is the branch of Philosophy investigating principles of reality transcending those of any particular science The question of free will Determinism is the philosophical Proposition that every event including human cognition and behaviour decision and action is causally determined It entails the belief that human beings possess free will, that free will is incompatible with determinism, and that determinism is false. See False for other meanings of false FALSE is an esoteric programming language designed by Wouter van Oortmerssen in
Although not held by the majority of contemporary philosophers, libertarianism is still widely discussed and avidly defended by several leading philosophers in the field, such as Peter van Inwagen, Robert Kane, Timothy O'Connor, Laura Ekstrom, and Stefan Molyneux. Peter van Inwagen is John Cardinal O'Hara Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. Robert Hilary Kane (born 1938 is an American philosopher He is Distinguished Teaching Professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin, and is currently Stefan Molyneux is an Anarcho-capitalist Blogger, essayist author and host of the Freedomain Radio series of Podcasts, living in Mississauga
All metaphysical libertarians subscribe to the position of incompatibilism which states that an action cannot be both free and physically predetermined in the commonly understood sense. For other uses of each of these words see Compatibility. Compatibilism is the belief that Free will and Determinism are Free actions for the libertarian are ones which could have been different. Traditionally, this has meant that there is no causal chain that necessitated the action prior to the agent freely choosing it; the agent is an originator of causal chains. In Philosophy, a causal chain is an Ordered Sequence of events in which any one event in the chain causes the next Libertarianism is contrasted with determinism, which holds that all human actions are predetermined, and compatibilism, which argues determinism is compatible with free will. For other uses of each of these words see Compatibility. Compatibilism is the belief that Free will and Determinism are
In rejecting compatibilism, libertarians have developed alternative positions on the relationship between free will and determinism. One perspective is that humans have a special exemption from the determinism that applies to everything else—for example a soul or dualistically-conceived mind. The soul, according to many religious and philosophical beliefs is the self-awareness, or Consciousness, unique to a particular living Dualism denotes a state of two parts The word's origin is the Latin duo, "two". This position is referred to as supernatural libertarianism. Alternatively, the libertarian may claim that the world in general is not strictly deterministic, and humans (and perhaps other entities) are able to exploit the resulting "elbow room" to make free decisions. This is naturalistic libertarianism.
Free will is defined as "The power or ability to rationally choose and consciously perform actions, at least some of which are not brought about necessarily and inevitably by external circumstances". 
To say that actions are not brought about necessarily and inevitably means they could have been performed differently. One way of thinking about this is to imagine that one can "rewind history". If libertarian free will holds, things will turn out differently. Actions can only occur if they are possible. Subjunctive possibility (also called alethic possibility or metaphysical possibility) is the form of modality most frequently studied in Modal logic. Libertarian free will requires that there is more than one possible outcome to a given situation (for supernaturalists, this will only be where humans are involved). History, metaphorically, has multiple tracks. These additional options are sometimes called "elbow room". For determinists, there is only one possible outcome to a physical state-of-affairs, which is whatever actually occurs, and is also what must occur of necessity; actuality, possibility and necessity collapse together for the determinist.
The definition given also requires rationality. One of the major problems for libertarians is reconciling rationality (control, planning, purpose, accountability) with elbow-room. Rationality as a term is related to the idea of Reason, a word which following Webster's may be derived as much from older terms referring to
A classic definition of causal determinism is Laplace's:-
"An intellect which at any given moment knew all the forces that animate Nature and the mutual positions of the beings that comprise it, if this intellect were vast enough to submit its data to analysis, could condense into a single formula the movement of the greatest bodies of the universe and that of the lightest atom: for such an intellect nothing could be uncertain; and the future just like the past would be present before our eyes".
All human beings, claims the libertarian, have experience of being a self-determining being. We are all aware of the free choices we have made.
We all have experience of deliberating, of weighing factors which could influence our decisions and this often takes a long time.
Libertarians claim that without free-will, our practices of morally praising some and condemning others has no rational basis. We do not hold people morally responsible if they could not have acted otherwise than they did (if they were under external duress, or suffer from an internal compulsion such as kleptomania). Kleptomania ( Greek: κλέπτειν, kleptein "to steal" μανία, " Mania " is the condition of not being able However, determinism makes everyone unable to do other than as they did, so it follows that no-one is ever morally responsible.
The libertarian claims that without free will, rationality is in a sense self-contradictory. The determinist, if her arguments are applied to herself, cannot claim to have made a rational choice to believe in determinism, because she cannot claim to have made a choice. Without volition, there is no difference between rational discourse and parotting. Her comments carry no more persuasive force than the message on an answering machine.
Determinists sometimes claim that we are not determined by our atoms and molecules so much as by the social and cultural forces on us. While these are no doubt an influence, they cannot add up strict determinism in every case, or we would still be in the caves. Every new idea, social or technological, is something of a rebellion against the old order.
Most critiques of free will point out that it is incompatible with determinism. However, the libertarian can point to the widespread acceptance of indeterminism in modern physics. Non-determinism redirects here For similar articles see Indeterminacy Indeterminism is the philosophical belief contradictory to Quantum mechanics is the study of mechanical systems whose dimensions are close to the Atomic scale such as Molecules Atoms Electrons Determinism needs to be proven: it is not a self-evident truth. Also, there is such thing as compatibilism, whereby someone believes that free will is compatible with determinism. For other uses of each of these words see Compatibility. Compatibilism is the belief that Free will and Determinism are
For the determinists, this claim lends no support at all. The very process of consciously acknowledging what might be perceived as a decision or a decision making process is merely a deterministic event within the mind.
The determinist response to this appeal is similar to their response to the appeal to introspection. Benedict Spinoza claimed that this is merely evidence to support the argument that people believe in free will. Baruch or Benedict de Spinoza (ברוך שפינוזה Bento de Espinosa Benedictus de Spinoza ( November 24, 1632 – February 21, For Spinoza, “Man believes himself to be free, simply because he is conscious of his actions“. However, this kind of skepticism can be extended to anything: perhaps we merely believe we think or remember. Skepticism, the libertarian points out, is a universal solvent. In ordinary usage skepticism or scepticism ( Greek 'σκέπτομαι' skeptomai, to look about to consider see also spelling differences
If determinism could be proved conclusively (scientifically perhaps), it would have to be accepted that free will is an illusion (providing that all parties agree on incompatibilism). For other uses of each of these words see Compatibility. Compatibilism is the belief that Free will and Determinism are But if one were to adopt the practice of dismissing things as illusions without good reason, one would probably end in a widely deprecated position such as solipsism. Solipsism ( Latin: solus, alone + ipse, self is the philosophical idea that "My mind is the only thing that I know exists
Compatiblists are able to respond to this challenge by coming up with a determinism-friendly re-definition of "free choice" — typically, a choice that is not made under duress. For other uses of each of these words see Compatibility. Compatibilism is the belief that Free will and Determinism are The "hard determinist" thinks no kind of freedom is compatible with determinism, and so has to bite the bullet -- to rethink praise and blame, crime and punishment, in a way such that freedom and moral judgment play no role. A typical counter-argument is that because people act as deterministic mechanisms, subsequent punishments and rewards are not intended as retribution, but are to be used rationally to rehabilitate those with deviant behavior. Some determinists argue that it makes more sense to reject moral condemnation in favor of a more rational, technological approach aimed non-judgmentally at behaviour adjustment. They maintain that the moral responsibility argument is just an appeal to consequences. Appeal to consequences, also known as argumentum ad consequentiam ( Latin: argument to the consequences) is an Argument that concludes a However, it is difficult for them to exclude the suspicion that they are tacitly assuming we have a choice, and a morally significant one, about how to deal with crime and punishment.
The determinist can point out that determinism does not prevent people from reaching the best conclusions — it just prevents them doing so freely. Alternatively, he can take a more compatibilist approach and re-think the nature of decision-making. He can claim that he can go through an intellectual process of weighing up alternatives, even if the eventual decision is a foregone conclusion. The process is just a necessary way of getting to the conclusion, just as a computer program needs to go through certain steps to reach the answer. (And can even perform "choices" — if-then statements — of a deterministic kind).
The determinist can claim that we are "condemned to freedom", that innovation, creativity and rebelliousness have deterministic machinery behind them. A person could, for instance, point to the fact that adolescents can be predicted to behave rebelliously. However, they will have to appeal to determinism at the atoms-and-molecules level at some stage in order to remove the suspicion that the rebellion and innovation tolerated by society is not the metaphysical liberty that the libertarian believes in.
The unpredictable nature of quantum mechanics is not sufficient to prove libertarianism — in fact it is not sufficient to prove indeterminism, since deterministic events could still be unpredictable as the result of complexity or unknown causal factors. Quantum mechanics is the study of mechanical systems whose dimensions are close to the Atomic scale such as Molecules Atoms Electrons Non-determinism redirects here For similar articles see Indeterminacy Indeterminism is the philosophical belief contradictory to However, many physicists believe that quantum mechanics is indeterministic and not just unpredictable. Even so, indeterminism is not sufficient to prove libertarianism, which might be compatible with both determinism and indeterminism. 
For the supernaturalistic libertarian although causality applies to the inanimate and animal worlds, it cannot extend to human actions and decisions. Although, personality and physical appearance are effected by causality, the moral self is capable of free choice; and overcomes the predispositions of personality.
For example, a kleptomaniac in a shop would have a natural predisposition, due to his illness to steal from said shop, but his moral self may overcome this desire, and a psychologist cannot say with complete certainty whether he will steal or not. Kleptomania ( Greek: κλέπτειν, kleptein "to steal" μανία, " Mania " is the condition of not being able A determinist would argue that the psychologist is not aware of all the causes; an awareness of being watched, fear of arrest by the police, and other such reasons that the psychologist is not aware of, could have prevented the action.
The position of the supernatural libertarian can be theologically attractive in systems like Christianity because it offers a solution to the problem of moral evil. If a deity has created beings with libertarian free will, then those beings are not merely automatons. The deity need not foreknow the actual actions of those beings, but may merely foreknow the infinite range of possible actions that each human who could ever possibly exist will take. The deity is not responsible for evil either by direct cause of creating creatures that do evil or by casting a blind eye to foreknowledge that they will do evil. The evil is not predetermined and is only a possibility. The equal possibility is that the creatures may do good. The desirability of such libertarian creatures existing is vastly superior to their non-existence and so the deity has accepted the risk of a creating a fallible being as preferable to the creation of mere automatons or the non-creation of creatures.
However, many schools of theology reject libertarianism out of hand because it does not comply with their traditional views of predestination and divine foreknowledge.
In supernatural libertarianism, the free will is posited as a supernatural component of the psyche that acts alongside any natural components. The psyche would not have free will if this supernatural component were not present.
Advances in neuroscience make an immaterial mind increasingly unnecessary to explain observed phenomena, and thereby make dualistic explanations decreasingly likely. Neuroscience is a field devoted to the scientific study of the nervous system Dualism denotes a state of two parts The word's origin is the Latin duo, "two".
Regardless, dualism still lives on, chiefly because of the hard problem of consciousness. Dualism denotes a state of two parts The word's origin is the Latin duo, "two". The term hard problem of consciousness, coined by David Chalmers, refers to the "hard problem" of explaining why we have qualitative phenomenal experiences
The determinist should also be careful to distinguish between the claims that:
While brain science has found increasing determinism, fundamental physics has pulled out the rug by uncovering indeterminism. Quantum mechanics is the study of mechanical systems whose dimensions are close to the Atomic scale such as Molecules Atoms Electrons The possible influence of indeterminism at the quantum level on the macroscopic level is hotly disputed. Macroscopic is commonly used to describe physical objects that are measurable and observable by the Naked eye. Quantum mind theories are based on the premise that Quantum mechanics is necessary to fully understand the Mind and Brain, particularly concerning an explanation This leads on to naturalistic libertarianism.
Naturalistic libertarians believe that the universe contains an indeterminstic element, for instance as demonstrated by quantum mechanics, and that human beings exploit this to achieve freedom of choice. Quantum mechanics is the study of mechanical systems whose dimensions are close to the Atomic scale such as Molecules Atoms Electrons There is no separate, dualistic self in this theory: the self is the total activity of the brain as a system.
An objection to naturalistic libertarianism is that it remains a mystery why an agent makes the choice she does — any explanation of the choice (beyond a probabilistic one) would seem to make it determined. However, according to David Hume, if a choice is not determined then it is simply a random event, which is problematic since such a choice would lack purpose. David Hume (26 April 1711 25 August 1776 Scottish Philosopher, Economist, and Historian is an important figure in Western philosophy
Although quantum mechanics provides some reason for thinking that determinism may indeed be false, Roy C. Quantum mechanics is the study of mechanical systems whose dimensions are close to the Atomic scale such as Molecules Atoms Electrons Weatherford (in the Oxford Companion to Philosophy) echoes Hume on randomness: "The random behavior of atoms certainly does not by itself make for the freedom and moral responsibility asserted by libertarians. "
Human decision-making is not an individual event occurring at the atomic level, it is a very complex process involving billions of neurons. It is often assumed that indeterminism can only come into play as part of a complex process of decision-making when the deterministic element has reached an impasse, and indeterminism has the "casting vote" (like an internalised version of tossing a coin when you cannot make up your mind). This model (which is roughly that advocated by Robert Kane) has the advantage that you have some level of commitment to both courses of action; neither is exactly against your wishes. Robert Kane may refer to Bob Kane (1915&ndash1998 born as Robert Kahn co-creator of Batman. It is, however, not so good for rationality and self-control. The indetermistic coin-toss can reasonably be seen as the crucial cause of your decision, yet it is not under your control.
Another solution is to move the indetermistic element back in the decision-making process. One functional unit proposes multiple ideas and courses of action, which are then pruned back by a more-or-less deterministic process, which filters out anything too wild or irrational. Nonetheless, in a "rewinding history" scenario, the individual could have acted differently, as required by libertarian free will, because the random unit could have come out with different proposals — and it would still be something they wanted to do, because it would not have been translated into action without the consent of the rest of the neural apparatus.
Agent-causal accounts of free will appeal to a special kind of causality holding between persons and events rather than between events and other events. It is a matter of some debate whether they are libertarian or compatibilist. For other uses of each of these words see Compatibility. Compatibilism is the belief that Free will and Determinism are