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Freedom and Belief$
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Galen Strawson

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199247493

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199247493.001.0001

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Libertarianism, Action, and Self‐Determination

Libertarianism, Action, and Self‐Determination

Chapter:
(p.20) (p.21) 2 Libertarianism, Action, and Self‐Determination
Source:
Freedom and Belief
Author(s):

Galen Strawson (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199247493.003.0002

There is a basic, strong, fundamental sense in which free will and moral responsibility are provably, logically impossible. For in the end, they require that one be radically the cause of oneself, causa sui, and this is impossible. One way to put this impossibility is to say that it requires the completion of an infinite series of tasks. Another is this: (1) One is the way one is as a result of one's heredity and experience. (2) One cannot somehow accede to true responsibility for oneself by trying to change the way one is as a result of heredity and experience. For (3) both the particular way in which one tries to change oneself, and the degree of one's success in changing, will be determined by how one already is. And (4) any further changes that one can successfully bring about only after certain initial changes will in turn be determined, via the initial changes, by heredity and experience.

Keywords:   free will, heredity, causa sui, experience, changing, impossibility

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