Thursday, February 24, 2011


Show that (1) human nature is not reducible to its natural components, then show (2) how human agency flows from human nature. (3) Call the view "natural freedom" or "substance compatibilism". This would be slightly different from mere agent-causation, since a great deal of natural freedom occurs subconsciously, but does not, from (1), thereby reduce to irrational mechanism. Free will is not about doing, or being able to do, whatever is imaginable, but about the grounds for action which accords with a nature that is suffused with rational entelechies.

The fourth step, which could be mounted before (1), actually, or anywhere after it, is to show that (4) determinism is false as such. It's simply not true. Where we go from there depends on whether we have a viable theory of nature and causation, which is where (1)–(3) come in. What an agent is, is not reducible to its material genesis, even if such materiality were deterministic and, in turn, what an agent does can only be explained by what it is. So, if an appropriate agent is substantially rational––i.e. his rational teleology informs his material existence even apart from concrete acts of conscious reason––, then his action is substantially free.

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