Is death really more accidental than deterministic?

KIT Scientific Publishing

Before you argue, clarify the terms Confucius

1We shall begin with a quote from David Hume's “Inquiry into the Human Mind” 1: “One might reasonably expect that on issues which have been eagerly studied and debated since the dawn of science and philosophy, the contestants will at least discuss the Agreed the meaning of all expressions and that, over two thousand years, our investigations would have been able to move from words to the true and real subject of the dispute ”.

2Hume then realizes that this is not the case. And even today, opinions still differ widely. Therefore, a definition of the key terms used is also necessary in this thesis.

3In the following discussion, the terms are often used once as metaphysical and once as epistemic terms only. In the literature this is also often confused. A uniform description should be given in Chapters 4 and 5.

4The purely mental, i.e. internal operation with thoughts is a mental activity and thus - in the broader sense - already a (structured) action2. According to Kant3 - and many philosophers follow this view - thinking is already acting. Then, however, freedom of thought and even more freedom of will would also be freedom of action. Since we want to differentiate between free will and freedom of action in the present work, we will use a special concept of action. We will use it to denote the non-mental, physical movements, but also speaking, by going back to the original term “hand”, which is part of the word “action”. Action, as an attribution, should therefore refer to a spatio-temporal doing (or "not doing") that can (in principle) also be determined externally from a third-person point of view objectively, with physical aids. Under “act” I would like to summarize thinking as an inner, spiritual, mental act and “action” as an “outer” act.

5For actions, a (human) actor, an agent, a person is needed who is (somehow) involved in the coming about of a new external state. According to Pauen and Roth4, the term “person” is characterized by personal abilities and personal preferences. The authors understand personal skills to be general skills that every person must have in order to make free and self-determined decisions. These abilities develop in the course of evolution, but also within the respective life story5. In contrast, personal preferences, beliefs, desires and character traits make up the core of a person. It is they who make a person an individual.

6Actions are different from simple events or happenings. An action can include result in a change in the outside world. This is how one understands in law6. under “action” any conscious change in the outside world that is directed by a person's will. But how can one even determine whether an “action” depends on the “will” of the actor? From a third-person point of view, it is often difficult to judge whether an action is based on a free or an unfree will decision. Actions can take place consciously or unconsciously. Unconscious actions are e.g. B. the brain activity, reflex actions or actions that were consciously rehearsed at some point, but now run almost automatically, such. B. the finger placement while playing the piano or reacting to a starting gun or a cue. There are also actions, the result of which is uncontrollable, that take place “randomly”, such as B. Shuffling cards or rolling the dice 7. We will only deal here with conscious, planned, goal-oriented actions: action as intentional behavior. There is a whole spectrum of instinctual actions, from those that are conscious, planned, or purposeful, to those that we call unconscious, unplanned, or aimless. The implementation of an action presupposes certain mental phenomena. These are to a certain extent essential for this, but the action (in the sense) itself takes place in an (external) social environment.

7Also an omission, i.e. an apparent non-action, can count as an action. “Physical movement” is then no longer sufficient to characterize the action. An act of omission is an (apparently) avoidable failure to carry out an action. So you have to have a choice between executing and not executing. This choice takes place (superficially) in the mental. Only then is a decision made between these two possibilities. Due to duties or established habits that can be expected of us, negligence occurs by breaking through those duties or habits. Failure to act plays a major role, especially in law and medical ethics. An omitted movement that is not carried out, but which is expected of us, is also considered to be a legal act8. The modern legal systems do not see the omission as such as giving rise to liability or a criminal offense. Rather, there must be an obligation to act.

8While one can more or less precisely determine the beginning of the action in the case of actions which lead to an external change, this is i in the case of omission. a. not the case. If I notice in another person that he is not doing something, then this can either result from a willful omission, or the subject is not even aware that he should perhaps act.

9There are several types of inaction.

  1. During a walk I find a seriously injured man on the way. Although I could help him, I go by and don't look after him, although there is an obligation to help and I would have the time to do so. This is a typical omission, an "act".

  2. I have to get up at 6 a.m. one day in winter to get to an important meeting in time. But since it is so nice and warm in bed and the weather outside is so nasty, I decide to stay in bed and not keep the appointment. This is also an omission, intentional out of convenience. This is a case that can also be classified under the category of weak will: You have one important reason to get up, but you also have another reason not to get up. I seem to have to choose between these two reasons. And in fact then (in the example) the second reason, namely an inclination, an instinct, wins against the rational reason that it is better to get up. This resting, this conscious non-action is therefore also an action.

  3. I want to catch a train that leaves at noon. But I am engaged in an exciting discussion, so I am missing the right date. In good time before noon I had forgotten that I had to decide between continuing the discussion or ending it. So at that moment I had no choice. This is therefore an unintentional, unintentional omission, an unconscious action that should not be discussed here.

Acting negligently - as opposed to acting deliberately - ultimately means a lack of attention, of care9. In the case of deliberate negligence, the perpetrator (e.g. a drunk driver) expects the accident to occur, but assumes, contrary to his duty and reproachably, that no damage will occur after all. In the case of unconscious negligence, the perpetrator unintentionally violates his duty of care and does not recognize this, although he would have been able to do so objectively and personally.

11An action can consist of several sub-actions. So z. B. a criminal blow up a train. To do this, he first has to get the dynamite (and this part of the plot is broken down into further parts), then he has to go to the previously determined track. Third, he has to attach the explosive charge and then run away as quickly as possible. Some of these partial actions can be deliberately planned, but others take place reflexively or unconsciously.

In addition to (external) actions, we will also deal with volition. These are special acts of thinking that include not only wanting but also wanting and making decisions. “We usually have no control over what we want. Wishes are just there "10. In the sense specified here, wanting is not an “action”. Most acts of will such as B. Decisions that we carry out unconsciously, but we are only interested in conscious acts here, i.e. in very special, conscious acts of thought. Willing can be expressed formally as: x wants p. A goal of the will must always be indicated with this; wanting shows an intention. Intentionality is almost a characteristic of will. You can't want without something to want. Acts of will occur in different degrees of alignment and determination. I'm z. B. not satisfied with a condition. Therefore Wishes I see a change in the state. The desire can become more intense and turns into one Want. There may still be several options open to willingness as to how one can achieve the goal, namely to change the state.

13 Between these possibilities there is a (e.g. rationally justified) decision met. After the decision comes the order to carry out the act, so to speak. What we designate with the three levels “want”, “want”, “decide” can also be demonstrated as different brain reactions11. Instincts are dispositions with the help of which we - unconsciously - try to achieve a goal under suitable conditions (e.g. the sucking instinct in a baby). Accordingly, they can also influence decisions (e.g. to scream). They represent an unconscious volition. That is why the question of freedom does not even arise in the case of instincts.

14Acts of will can lead to action, but do not have to, so they do not immediately result in an action. When someone says: “I want there to be no more wars”, then it is clear from the start that this expression of will or this wish will not immediately result in an action. (In addition, there are always two parties involved in waging war). The wish can lead to consequences, but I often have no immediate opportunity to act according to this expression of will or this wish. Another example: A prisoner in his prison cell says, "I just want to go for a walk outside in the sun now." There are also expressions of will that have been forgotten when the opportunity to act accordingly. An example: A child says: "I want to be a train driver". No action immediately follows from this either. And finally, one can postpone voluntary decisions until it is too late to act.

The term determinism was still unknown in ancient philosophy. Only fatalism was discussed: the gods or an unchangeable world order determine the fate (fatum) of the people. Man cannot do anything about it. It is being at the mercy. Pothast writes12 that the thesis of fatalism implies that the decisions of the people have no influence on their actions or only seem to have an influence, and that the actions independent of these decisions are already fixed before they are made. In contrast, determinism stipulates action according to general laws [EGS: ie no freedom of action], but our decisions have not yet been determined [EGS: ie freedom of will]. Therefore, one must distinguish between fatalism and determinism.

16With consistent determinism, however, these decisions are also already determined. There are then no options or choices. For the starting point of the discussion I would like to call this the basic meaning of determinism, as "strict" determinism. Seebass states13: "If everything that happens is timeless or fixed in advance, considerations and actions that are geared towards making something happen or actively influencing what is happening are pointless. Of course, they are not 'pointless' in the sense that they are conceptually or logically impossible and thus (a fortiori) empirically excluded. … .But they are 'pointless' in the sense of witlessness or objective lack of punch lines, of what they are in their conceptual sense. Under the premise of determinism, this sense turns out to be an ontological adiaphoron, as a 'mental phlogiston', so to speak, which systematically conceals the uninformed and unreflected about the meaning of their life and activities ”. I agree with the opinion of Seebass and also of Guckes14, according to which a strict determinist is also a fatalist at the same time. In a fully deterministic world there would be a flow of events but no real actor-induced action. So there is only a difference between determinism and fatalism if there is free will, i. H. that one must have the opportunity to decide and to be able to work. In chap. 5.3 I go back to the difference between determinism and fatalism.

17The term “determinism” did not appear until the 18th century. Since then there has been an extensive discussion about this term. First of all, one can find different varieties of determinism, each of which has both supporters and rejecters. So there are z. B. a logical determinism (degree of truth of an individual statement is independent of time and cannot be changed), a theological (assumption of the existence of an omniscient God), a psychological (our will and action is determined both by innate dispositions and by education), one physical, etc. We are only interested in the latter and will therefore understand it later as our basic meaning of determinism.

Fig. 1.1: The course of the world as a function of time with determinism. There are no branches. The past (V) and the future (Z) are precisely determined by the state in the present G (in principle)

In the mathematical and scientific description of processes in nature, determinism is understood to mean a dependence on the future and on the past. A physical perspective is taken. More precisely: If one knew exactly the state of a dynamic system in the present G, then with determinism the state at any earlier or later point in time would be clearly defined and known. The course of the world is a simple, unbranched line as a function of time. But what does "know exactly" mean? That would mean that one knows all the parameters that characterize the current state with an infinite number of decimal places. However, this is impossible. On the other hand, “knowing exactly” also means that you have not forgotten any of the relevant parameters, which is also impossible in principle. One is often satisfied when one is reasonably certain that small deviations from the exact values ​​of the known parameters at the current point in time lead to only very small deviations at an earlier or later point in time. This can be expected for processes that can be described sufficiently well by linear relationships. The future is then (essentially) fixed, there is no “open future”. This is the so called “Strong determinism“15: So similar initial states lead to similar end states. Another version of determinism called “Weak determinism“Is required when describing non-linear relationships. Here there can be the case of deterministic chaos (see Appendix A1), in which even the slightest changes in the initial states lead to completely different and unexpected end results after a certain period of time (butterfly effect). The future behavior can therefore not be predicted, since the initial conditions are not “exactly” known. So there is an open future here. Only exactly the same initial states would lead to exactly the same final states. Weather forecasts provide an example of weak determinism. What does “open future” actually mean? In both versions of determinism, given the initial state, only one future is possible. The only possible thing that can happen in an open future is also what I decide in the end. And with a strict determinism, this decision is already fixed.The fact that, unfortunately, in principle, I cannot exactly know the initial parameters exactly, means that in the case of strong determinism I essentially know the final state, but not in the case of weak determinism, although it is already fixed. Weak determinism is a new kind of determinism and has not yet been considered in many philosophical discussions. He will play an important role in Chapter 5.

In connection with the discussion of compatibilism and incompatibilism (see Chapter 3), a division of determinism into a tough and one soft determinism which does not agree with the above classification.16 With "soft" determinism it is assumed that with suitable definitions determinism and freedom can be represented together without contradiction (compatibilism). In the case of incompatibilities, however, this compatibility is rejected. There are two versions here. "Hard" determinism affirms determinism and denies the existence of free will; libertarianism, on the other hand, clings to free will and denies determinism.

In contrast to determinism, I will understand causality to be a cause-and-effect relationship. A given initial state as a cause is clearly followed by a later end state as an effect, but different causes can result in the same effect. Example: A person was killed. This is the effect. The only possible cause is, for example, a knife stab or a pistol shot. So there is no longer any possibility to get out of a state at time t1 another state to one earlier Time t2 to calculate back clearly. However, it is determined that a "correctly" stabbed knife results in a fatal injury. From the type of injury, however, one can infer a previous knife stab and rule out a pistol shot. Causality doesn't go into as much detail as determinism. The fact that e.g. B. a barn burned down (as an effect), can be caused (as a cause) z. B. by lightning or by spontaneous combustion of damp hay. If one analyzes these two incidents further in sub-incidents, one can possibly find a final, common (also unconscious) partial incident that occurs in both cases. Another difference: In mathematical physics, deterministic processes are described by differential equations, but not causality.

21 With determinism (and also with causality), no distinction is often made as to whether it is an ontological or an epistemic determinism17. There are advocates for both types. Lenk states18: "The factors of causation [and determination] in the real outside world, if and how we can recognize them at all, are not the same as, for example, epistemic predictability, which ultimately also mattered in the case of Laplace's demon" . Ontological determinism has an epistemological result; the converse does not have to apply. According to Hume, terms such as B. "Determinism" and "causality" only to describe processes in nature that have a certain temporal course and which we use to arrive at an "understanding" of the processes. With “determinism” and “causality” we construct an interpretation. Of course, there is also a reason why these two terms are used as working hypotheses in the natural sciences, and that is the centuries-long validity of these constructs of interpretation19 in practice. It must be clearly stated, however, that the truth of determinism can never be proven in the natural sciences. At most, experiments can make determinism plausible. It could be that tomorrow a new phenomenon will be found in nature for which one would have to deviate from determinism to explain it. Every law of nature only applies until a corresponding counterexample is found.

22 Even in a deterministic world there can be alternative courses of action. If a person does A instead of B, that decision is fixed in a deterministic world20. On the other hand, it can only do B instead of A if the previous state has changed. Determination simply means that the decisions can only change if the previous wishes and beliefs also change. And this is possible (unconsciously determined), e.g. B. through new experiences, through learning, etc. The feeling of not being determined can only arise because we are not aware of many motives21.

23 Man as a biological being is subject to the laws of nature. Shouldn't all spiritual phenomena then be completely traceable to material-energetic processes? They would then also be determined. But shouldn't we see ourselves as automata in the case of complete determination? But people don't have this impression of themselves. Our counterpart would then act like a robot. But there are also many philosophers who reject strict determinism. Keil22 goes e.g. B. on the basis of the "ordinary conception of common sense, which we all share, as far as we are not educated by compatibilist philosophy". And further: "Nobody would think that since time immemorial and beyond, it has been determined to the millisecond how long they will be brushing their teeth the next day". But we don't know that “common sense” can be completely misleading, e.g. B. with hallucinations.

24If determinism is true, then all my actions are determined by previous states. And this is even true ad infinitum; so one has an infinite recourse. But I cannot be personally responsible for what happened before I was born, as I have no control over it. If strict determinism is true, are we never ultimately responsible for our actions? The infinite regress in determinism may not even exist. We can go back to the beginning of the world (?) E.g. B. up to the Big Bang (if there was one?). Then the question arises whether there was already “determinism” back then? Or was there just the indeterminism of quantum theory at that time? Then the chain of determined stepping back in time should have started at some point.

There is also a paradox associated with determinism. If one assumes in a deterministic world that one lives in an indeterministic world, then this assumption is nevertheless determined, predetermined. In a strictly deterministic world one could also mean living in an indeterministic world. Correspondingly, in an indeterministic world one could assume (now undetermined, that is, by chance) that one lives in a deterministic world. In an indeterministic world one could accept both determinism and indeterminism without being able to decide.

The advocates of a consistent, strict determinism are often accused of committing a performative self-contradiction. So says Epicurus:

He who says that everything happens because of necessity cannot object to someone who says that everything does not happen because of necessity. Because he has to admit that his assertion is also based on necessity.

27And it is said that a convinced neurodeterminist is already determined by his own neural structure according to his own theory, and that he can no longer research impartially. He can therefore only determine a determinism. He only recognizes what his synapses connections determined deterministically. And Geyer thinks23: “If they understand their reasons correctly, determinists cannot argue at all. For them the end of all arguments is reached right at the beginning ”.

28 Ferber24 makes a similar statement. In Grunwald25 there is also a performative self-contradiction in the case of unrestricted determinism: the open future must first be (freely?) Shaped, which is not possible if determinism is valid. But the question is: Can the future really be (freely) designed?

29 Arguments for determinism: If, according to Epicurus, A says: everything happens on the basis of necessity, and B says: not everything happens on the basis of necessity, no difficulty arises from this. Because both A's and B's statements will be based on a neural process, and we try to understand this body-soul relationship with the help of determinism - as an attribution. But the necessary processes in the brain do not have to correspond to the truth; A's statement or B's statement could necessarily be made, but one of the two statements could still be wrong. Is z. B. If B's ​​statement is wrong, then B's whole life experience has already pushed B's thought processes in the wrong direction, but determined. (The initial conditions for A and B are different). An ascription is not absolutely true, but only serves as a suggestion to explain an event. However, it may well be that this suggestion later turns out to be unusable. (It could turn out later that the indeterminism of quantum theory, which prevails in the microcosm, is also needed on a massive scale in the macrocosm).

The arguments in favor of rejecting determinism have so far only tacitly spoken of strong determinism, and not of weak, i.e. not deterministic, chaos. Since the exact initial conditions are not known for this, no long-term prognosis is possible.

There is an open future, but one that cannot be shaped “freely”. So one cannot foresee what one's own “synapse connections” prescribe, but which one can nevertheless assume that they exist. So it is worth researching further. Pauen and Roth defend themselves against this performative self-contradiction with the statement that a determinist should really not base an incompatibilistic concept of freedom26. In addition, this performative self-contradiction would not affect determinism as an “attribution” at all.

32 But is there any strong determinism at all? Strong determinism occurs with phenomena that are mathematically described by linear equations. However, if processes are described using linear equations, this is certainly an approximation, since one does not even know all the relevant parameters (“everything depends on everything”), and the few that are used only to a few decimal places. Strictly speaking, one should actually describe everything with weak determinism. The linear world of classical physics is an approximate description of nature (dissecare naturam as a working principle)

33My own point of view is set out in Chapter 5. When I speak of determinism in an unspecified manner, I always mean strong and weak determinism (as an attribution).

The term “freedom” appears in many word combinations, but we are primarily interested in freedom of thought, free will and freedom of action. Other forms of freedom can also be subsumed under these three, such as B. Freedom of conscience, freedom of choice, freedom of expression, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, political freedom, etc.

First of all, it must be determined what we mean here by (individual) freedom. What do you mean by freedom, especially free will and freedom of action? “Being free” is a quality that the execution can possibly be attributed to actions or acts of will. Schopenhauer27 assumes the opposite in his attempt to clarify the term, from necessity, i.e. from a restriction of possibilities, from a hindrance by natural laws, by coercion etc. Accordingly, one can generally define freedom as “being unhindered”. But is this unhindered only a “felt” unhindered or is it a “real” unhindered? This is the difference between an epistemic and an ontological conception of freedom. But is “necessity” really the opposite of “freedom”? Isn't “necessity” more associated with an “ought” than with a “must”? And this “ought” can definitely be broken if there is a weak will. On the other hand, strict determinism - on the contrary - demands a “must”. There is no longer any choice.

36In the case of actions, the freedom to carry out the action is assigned to the (somehow) involved actor, the “free agent”. In this sense, freedom of action is to be understood as the possibility of doing what one wants to do (“so to act, how one wants to act"). With freedom of action, one is therefore unhindered in carrying out the action. Freedom of action is a comparative term. Children and the sick undoubtedly have narrower limits to what they can do. In the case of free will, a definition is more difficult. It is often said that free will is based on the possibility of wanting what one wants28 (better: “to decidewhat to choose from a lot of options want to take"). So it is a question of freedom of will, not freedom of will. If one speaks of the freedom of the will, there is the danger of a reification of the will. Because: who or what is the will? Does the will decide or does “I” decide? These questions are not addressed in this work, and the term “will” is not needed here29. If I later use the term "free will" anyway, it always means more precisely the freedom in the execution of acts of will, the "freedom of will", that is, of special acts of thought. Different understandings of the concept of freedom can, however, lead to the fact that we may ascribe to someone the quality of “being free” even though the person does not feel free at all. Of course, the reverse is also possible, in which someone describes himself as “free” whom we would consider unfree. Only then can a person in their will absolutely free be when their decisions are not determined by previous events over which the person has no control. Freedom of will and freedom of decision are also anchored in free will.

There is also a paradox associated with the term “freedom”. If I have many desires, if I want many things, then there are many possibilities that a compulsion or a handicap can restrict my actions. In other words, the less I want or want, the fewer opportunities there are for coercion or disabilities, the freer I would be. In the borderline case, so that I don't want anything anymore, don't want anything anymore, am satisfied with everything, there is no longer any possibility of being forced to experience a disability. Then I would have to be completely free. But then I would no longer need free will. The example of the Stoics in this regard is the dog who is tied to a wagon and who has to run along whether he wants to or not (then he is dragged along). Another example is the completely satisfied, desireless slave. But is the completely satisfied slave really free? Goethe says about this30: “Nobody is more a slave than he who considers himself free without being one”.

38 In 1969, Isaiah Berlin “(not the first)” 31 discussed in detail the division of the concept of freedom into negative and positive freedom32. The negative freedom describes the absence of external coercion, of obstacles and barriers ("free from ..."). The lack of this freedom would make our behavior, our actions difficult or even prevent them. Negative freedom makes it possible to act in the world in the first place. It is therefore related to freedom of action. Positive freedom, on the other hand, is intended to denote a person's ability to see themselves as a decision-making authority, i.e. H. to decide something for oneself out of reason (“be free to…”). The positive concept of freedom implies that people have free will. Positive freedom is defined as the human characteristic that makes spontaneous, content-related acts of will possible.

39 In a well-known example, a driver drives to a tobacco shop because he is addicted to cigarettes. It can be viewed as free (in the sense of freedom of action), as there are no external physical or legal obstacles that prevent you from going to the dealer (possibly in a detour). But one can also call him unfree (unfree willing), since addiction “drives” him; there are then internal psychological obstacles which limit his possibilities and which “force” him to go to the dealer. The man also knows that when he goes to the tobacco dealer, he can no longer catch the train that is supposed to take him to an extremely important appointment. Nevertheless, his addiction drives him to drive to the tobacco dealer.This is also an example of the fact that freedom of action can exist without there being any freedom of will. This example falls under the heading “weak will”. One thus sees that it is pointless to refer to someone generally as free or unfree; one should always state whether freedom of action or free will is meant.

40I. Berlin is talking about a divided self33: the “lower” self wants to go to the tobacco dealer, the “higher” self, on the other hand, wants to go to the appointment. The “higher” self is the rational self, capable of reflection, able to act morally and ready to take on responsibility. The “lower” self, on the other hand, is the self of passions, desires, and irrational impulses, which can also be ascribed to animals.

41 The speech of different selves should be avoided. In fact, there are always several contradicting wishes, one of which is unjustifiably regarded as “lower”, as less valuable compared to the “higher”, and between which one has to choose. You know what you “actually” have to do, but then a “lower” wish arises, perhaps as a result of an addiction. And this lower desire prevents one from opting for the “higher” desire. You are not doing what you should be doing. Then there is a weak will.

42MacCallum34 rejects the dichotomy of I. Berlin and defines freedom via a triadic relation. It consists 1. of an actor, 2. of certain preventing and hindering conditions and finally 3. of what the actor can do or want to do. It must then be specified in each case who or what counts as an actor, what can be viewed as coercion or restriction of freedom, and what can be accepted as a purpose or goal. MacCallum is based on only one single concept of freedom, which then has to be interpreted accordingly. Application to the example of the driver who is addicted to cigarettes: If the driver is described as free, then the actor is the empirical, the animal, the “lower” self, which acts free of external obstacles in order to get to the tobacco dealer . If, on the other hand, the driver is described as unfree, the “higher”, rational self is assumed to be the actor, which is unfree as a result of internal psychological constraints that prevent the actor from carrying out what has been rationally planned.

In everyday language one speaks of an unrestricted, unconditional, that is, of an absolute freedom. I would like to call this the basic meaning of "freedom". A brief reflection, however, shows that this does not necessarily make sense. When it comes to freedom of action, it is clear that you cannot do everything you want and what you want. This is already conditioned by our being human with its physical limitations. I can z. B. don't run as fast as a cheetah, however much I may wish. But there are also barriers to free will. One could imagine that one could wish and want everything possible and impossible (e.g. to run as fast as a cheetah). Here, however, comes among other things. the ancient view that ignorance also leads to a restriction of freedom. So says z. B. Aristotle: "So what happens under duress and because of ignorance is considered involuntary" 35. If I knew more, I could wish for more different things, but with my previous knowledge I am limited in what I want to do. For some people who feel unfree in a certain situation, the saving thought of another possibility that could free them from their predicament often simply does not occur. There can be no absolute, unconditional freedom for conceptual reasons alone. It's a contradicting concept.

44What then should one understand by “freedom”? In order to arrive at an acceptable term, one must therefore allow restrictions and still refer to the result as (conditional) freedom. Conditional freedom requires autonomy and non-randomness36 (principle of author). These authors call both conditions together “self-determination”. Freedom then does not mean: “I act independently of all motives and inclinations. Freedom means [then]: I am not subject to my inclinations in such a way, according to a stimulus reaction scheme, like a (particularly simply structured, that is to say a “lower” animal ”37). Voluntary decisions can be experienced as free. Von Cranach and Ammann write: “The person experiences freedom because they cannot foresee their own cognitive and emotional processes and results” 38. "Subjectively, [...] unpredictability is experienced as 'freedom'" 39. A possible definition would also be: Freedom is the direction of the will (better: of the will) through reason. This conditional freedom does not have to be present throughout. Sometimes you feel free, other times you feel unfree. It's like a dog on a leash accompanying me on a walk. Most of the time he runs along nicely next to me, but sometimes he pulls wildly on his leash. According to Schröder, there is a gradual gradation of free will: "Some decisions can be more free than others, namely when you feel yourself more strongly as the author" 40.

45The term “freedom” probably includes the assumption of an open future. Wittgenstein41 also says: “Freedom of will consists in the fact that future actions cannot be known now.” Wuchterl comments on this as follows42: “Wittgenstein traces the awareness of freedom of will back to the fact of openness. Since no compelling connections can be demonstrated in reality, the person knows nothing about his future actions and feels free ”. But then one can ask oneself whether it is a rational decision to want to act as if the world really had an open future with real opportunities for action? Or is it rational, for example, to see the assumption of an open future with real opportunities only as an interpretation of facts or even as an illusion? or are there any other possibilities? Absolute freedom, however, is an ideal that no finite being will ever achieve.

46Beckermann43 writes: "It is largely undisputed that a decision [EGS: or an action] must meet the following conditions in order to be considered free:

  1. The person must have a choice between Alternatives to have; it must act differently or be able to decide differently than it actually does (The condition of being able to act differently or to be able to decide differently).

  2. Which choice is made must be decisive from the person himself depend (Authorship condition).

  3. how the person acts or decides must their control subject. This control must not go through force be excluded (Control condition)“.

With this, the three most important conditions are already mentioned: being able to do something different (option), authorship, control, i. H. Autonomy. Being different plays a role in compatibilism and libertarianism. Pauen and Roth and Wuchterl, on the other hand, do not take over point (1), being able to do otherwise.

There are two thought experiments on this point44: (1) A person is in a room and believes he knows he can leave the room at any time. But he doesn't know that the room is locked. He has free will because he thinks he can leave the room at any time. But he has no freedom of action: He cannot put this will into practice. (2) The opposite is the case: someone could easily leave the room and would also like to do so. But he doesn't even try because he was told the room was locked. He does not consider his wish to be feasible now; H. his free will is restricted, but not his freedom of action.

49 But there are philosophers (e.g. the adherents of “hard determinism”) who see freedom violated even with the smallest restriction, with the weakest conditionality. With them there is no freedom at all, only bondage. For a "hard" determinist it follows that there is no free will. For him, free will is only an illusion of man.

But we humans undoubtedly have a feeling of freedom that initially has nothing to do with the existence of genuine freedom. This feeling45 of freedom is based on (1) the feeling that it is oneself and no one else who make the decision for a certain action; (2) on the impression; one can control one's actions very directly and consciously; (3) on the feeling that one's own future has not yet been (or not fully) determined, and (4) on the greatest possible correspondence of individual-emotional, social-emotional and rational motives.

51But our perception can be deceived; it does not agree with "reality". This is then called an illusion - a “misinterpretation of objectively given sensory impressions that are also subjectively rearranged and expanded in the imagination” 46. A leg amputee can z. B. feel phantom pain in his (amputated) foot. This pain is “really” there. But the perception (of the location) of the pain has been deceived. The sight of railroad tracks running away from us and seemingly getting narrower is an example of illusions; likewise the sunset, which for us today is no longer a "downfall" and for which we have another explanation available today. The perception of a feeling can therefore be deceived, I can no longer safely rely on the interpretation of my feeling. When we feel free, we feel as if we have acted and made decisions completely independently of any determinant. However, our actions can also be determined by unconscious action determinants. The feeling of wanting and being able to decide freely has neurobiological and psychological foundations, whereby one i. a. does not experience one's own motives as real determinants47.

However, individual freedom is also restricted by the social order of our society in favor of collective freedom in a group of people. But since the social order enables the individual to have a certain freedom, it is in his own interest to restrict this individual freedom himself, otherwise the individual freedom threatens the collective freedom.

An unrestricted choice between different possibilities seems to be a necessary prerequisite for freedom of will. There is only a choice between reasons and not between causes. For example, a murderer intends to kill someone. He wants to bring about the death of an enemy. The criminal are z. B. a knife and a gun available. Death can then be caused by a knife stab or a gunshot wound. These are two different causes of death. But the killer chooses for a reason e.g. B. to a knife attack, because this can be carried out silently (argumentative consideration), although he might also have found reasons for a pistol shot.

54With reasons we can explain and understand people's actions and decisions. So you have to differentiate between reasons for action and reasons for making decisions. Explaining an action through (action) reasons means tracing it back to the actors' beliefs, feelings and desires. Correspondingly with the reasons for the decision. The statement of reasons therefore serves to justify the selection that was made. The preference for one of the reasons is the result of more or less rational thought processes. Reasons make the execution of certain actions or the acceptance of certain statements "rational" in a certain sense. If one renounces rationality, such as B. when shuffling cards or throwing the dice, then you may forego compelling and important reasons. According to Pauen48, reasons do not bring about an action directly, like a stimulus or affect brings about a reaction, but allow the agent to take a reflexive position and, if necessary, to accept or reject the reason [EGS: at least apparently]. So says z. B. Leibniz that with a decision there is always an overriding reason which leads the will to its choice, and it is sufficient for his freedom that this reason only drives but does not compel. Moving on to Leibniz: “The reasons incline the will without compelling it” 49. And Carl Ginet says z. B. that desires, opinions and other reasons influenced our actions but did not cause them50. When there are reasons for action, a desire and a conviction usually have to come together. B. the desire to satisfy my hunger, and I am convinced that I can get bread in the bakery next door. So now I have a reason to get up and go to the bakery. Reasons appear in a mentalistic perspective, but not in a scientific description, although of course I have a reason, e.g. B. to carry out this or that experiment. The reason I turn the lights on in the evening is because I feel like it is getting too dark for me to read; The reason why the light is then on is - and this is where the scientific description begins - that the power interruption is canceled by actuating the light switch, so that the electrons can make the filaments in the light bulbs glow. So we generally explain conscious human actions in terms of reasons and intentions, not causes.

One cause relates to causality and is supposed to play here, in this work, only in the physical, that is, in the space-time world. Reasons, on the other hand, are abstract and have no specific place and no specific time. We explain events with the help of causes. With the described murder plan: Death (as an effect) will caused by a knife stab or by a pistol shot. Just like determined behavior, causally determined behavior should also be described as unfree - like inevitable death after a "correctly" stabbed knife. But you had reasons for choosing the knife or the pistol. And this is where the real question of freedom in choosing the murder weapon comes in. Freedom and reasons are then only spoken of in a mentalistic language.

If one has two complete but independent explanations for an event or phenomenon (e.g. by reasons or by causes), one can, according to Kim, use the metaphysical principle of explanatory exclusion51 (Principle of Explanatory Exclusion). Then one of these two complete explanations must be wrong. Here is the following example: Strictly speaking, everyday psychology cannot be reduced to the neurosciences. This means that explanations of action based on reasons or the corresponding causal explanations of the neural processes are independent of one another, and one of the two must be wrong. But this principle is rejected again by other philosophers: Isn't it better to have two explanations instead of just one? Against this, the Ockham razor speaks again.

Today there is increasing recognition that the cognitive processes in which reasons play a role, i.e. the corresponding perceptions, convictions, emotions and considerations, must be realized neuronally52. Only then can the reasons become effective at all, i.e. be implemented in action. (Conversely, however, there also seem to be neuronal processes that can be mentally influenced by reasons?). Because of the different levels of description, the ability to be guided by reasons is not endangered either by the neuronal realization of mental properties or by possible determinism. Rather, neural processes are the prerequisite for being able to be guided by reasons in our actions and decisions. Reasons are not epiphenomena, not ineffective side effects of the solely relevant neuronal events, but they only ever become effective in connection with other behavior-controlling driving forces. Reasons relate to the mental context of arguments53. In a mentalistic language one will still speak of reasons. One can take the view54 that the ability to act according to reasons is even constitutive of our concept of the person. Ultimately, however, these questions belong to the complex of the mind-body problem, which is not to be dealt with here.

58The question is also what can be used as a reason. If z. For example, if a robber calls out: “Money or life!”, Then most people no longer see any choice and are forced to forego money, so to speak, not free.The possibility of giving up life is usually not even considered as a possible alternative. Strictly speaking, there is also a choice between two options here. And for a few people, the decision to die is really an option (cf. e.g. martyrs).

With his decision, the agent thus makes a choice between reasons. For this choice, for this specific decision between the reasons, there must be another (decision) reason, which does not lead directly to an action. And where does this reason come from? He must not come along for no reason. That would be irrational and inexplicable.

So it comes from another, preceding reason. And for this reason further, previous reasons would have to have been decisive, etc. This leads to an infinite recourse. How can this recourse be avoided? One possibility is to introduce actor causality that is anchored in the actor (see Chapter 3.4). In actor causality, the action is (a) caused, but not by other events, but by the person himself and (b) the person who causes this action is not itself causally determined again (in this action) by other events. With that one also leaves the level of the mental, in which the reasons play, and turns over to the level of the physical. Chisholm55 describes this type of causation as "immanent causation" as opposed to "trans-lower causation", the causation of events through other events. The immanent causation does not represent a justification because of the level difference, but also not a common cause because of the special position of the person. But one then has to deal with another difficulty: if one allows the actor causality as an explanation, then the image of the causal isolation of natural events is rejected. The actor then always starts a new causal chain. But the “immanent causation” is actually incomprehensible. It is not clear what the nature of the causal ability the actor must have. Can a human person be a cause? Ultimately, however, actor causality leads back to the old mind-body dualism. Actor causality is needed in libertarianism. The view I take to avoid recourse to the reasons is presented in Chapter 3.6.

There is, however, also a problem with the decision between different reasons, i.e. with being able to do differently (see Chapter 3.3) under exactly the same conditions. In the example: In the case of the aforementioned murder planning, there are two options on the table: knife attack or pistol shot. But you now have a specific reason for opting for the knife attack. But could you also have chosen a pistol shot? No, if the starting situation is exactly the same! Because then you would have had to use the very reason that triggered the knife attack. Had it actually been possible to do something different (i.e. the pistol shot), the reason g, which is still present, would have led to a knife attack and a pistol shot once. Then it would have been a coincidence whether the decision was made for one or the other option. One would have an indeterminism, which however does not allow a self-determined decision. But the fact that we can never know all circumstances also speaks against being able to do otherwise. It is not possible to check whether exactly the same conditions apply when repetition. This latter difficulty could be eliminated with an unrealizable thought experiment: God could, after having decided to attack with a knife, turn back the world clock and create exactly the same starting point as the first time. But even then, the reason would lead once to a knife attack and once to a pistol shot. The act would be indeterminate.

The assumption of absolute free will would lead to a contradiction, as already shown in Chapter 1.3. The following could be used as a further argument for this: Let us assume that there is an unconditionally free will. It would be independent of everything that makes us an individual person, i.e. independent of our body, character, our thoughts and sensations, fantasies and memories. But it would also not be determined from the outside - with an unconditionally free will. This willing would not be determined by anything, it would be indeterminate. We could not direct such an unconditional will, we could not see ourselves as its originator, it would be a will that is alien to us. Because of the lack of authorship and because of the foreignness, we would conclude that our will is not free. Since we could not influence the unconditionally free will, there would also be no possibility for learning, for processing experiences. If we humans were gifted with an unconditionally free will, we would have to remain a complete riddle to one another; we would not understand why someone was doing this and not something else. It would be an incomprehensible, unrealistic will. Such a will would be completely unpredictable, would appear to us as indeterminate, as accidental, and therefore speak against absolute free will.

63If someone claims that he has free will, one can ask him why he or she “wants” this or that at every decision made by will. And as soon as he can give a reason for it, his volitional decision is no longer absolutely free, but determined by this reason. The reasons are not independent, but are related to a rational volitional process. I have z. B. the two options of eating potatoes or pasta for lunch. And then I decide to eat potatoes after all. The reason is they get me better because there is a dull warning sign in my memory that the last time I was eating pasta I had an uncomfortable feeling of fullness in my stomach. This final decision of the will is therefore not a completely free decision either, but is forced upon me by my feelings, by my experience. However, if I had made a conscious decision to eat pasta, I could have given the reason: “Especially now” or “I want to try again to eat pasta”. However, I could now take the position that these reasons were "my" reasons, i. In other words, the decision would still have been made according to my own laws, ie “autonomously”, that I was the “author”. This self-determined will, which allows self-imposed purposes to count as reasons, could be described as (conditionally) free.

64A free will may require authorship. The expression of will must be the own