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Incompatibilism

Incompatibilism is the idea that the presence of determinism means the lack of free will. Since we already know that lack of determinism removes free will, it follows that incompatibilism implies that there is no free will. Bummer.

Read the following:

1. Excerpt from Palmer

2. Last paragraph on page 231 and 1st paragraph on page 232. (5th Ed pages 222-223, 4th Ed pages 225-226, Not in 3rd Ed, but reproduced in this text.)

3. Last two paragraphs on page 233, and the 1st & 2nd paras on page 234. (5th Ed pages 224-225, 4th Ed pages 227-228, Not in 3rd Ed.)

4. Last paragraph on page 237, 1st half of page 238. (5th Ed pages 228-229, 4th Ed pages 231-232, 3rd Ed pages 228-229)

If you have the 3rd edition, make sure you read this web page very carefully. I have copied in parts of the reading, so it won't matter that the reading isn't in your text.

Preliminary Note

The following example is based on the story on pages 229-230 in the text. If my version doesn't make sense to you, you can read Palmer's

Let us say that at five p.m. exactly, the following series of events begins:

Time:       Event:
5:00:00    Joe sees his wrinkly face in the mirror, which causes -
5:00:01    Joe realizes he's getting older, which causes -
5:00:02    He remembers Dr. Evertight's advertisment, which causes -
5:00:03    He has an impulse to call Dr. Evertight, which causes -
5:00:04    He remembers he dislikes vain people, which causes -
5:00:05    He worries that he's become vain, which causes -
5:00:06    He decides not to call Dr. Evertight, which causes -
5:00:07    He realizes he's going to stay wrinkly, which causes -
5:00:09    He realizes it's going to get worse as he ages, which causes -
5:00:10    He remembers that he's finding it harder to get dates, which causes -
5:00:11    He realizes he doesn't want to grow old alone, which causes -
5:00:12    He decides he can live with being a vain person, which causes -
5:00:13    He changes his mind again and decides to call Dr. Evertight

This is what determinism says about a human decision process. In a deterministic decision process, every state of mind is precisely caused by the immediately preceding state of mind. What Joe did at 5:00:13 was determined by his state of mind at 5:00:12, which was determined by his state of mind at 5:00:11, and so on backwards and backwards in time.

It's important to remember that determinism does not say that what happened at 5:00:13 was determined by everything that happened from 5:00:00 to 5:00:12. Determinism just says that what happened at 5:00:13 was determined exactly by what happened at 5:00:12. The other events are only important because they led up to his state of mind at 5:00:12, which in turn caused his action at 5:00:13.

Determinism says that when we make decisions, what we decide to do is caused by our state of mind, which is a physical state, at the time we make the decision. Free will says that when we make free decisions, what we decide to do is caused by what we want, what we think and how we feel at the time we make the decision. In other words, free will requires that what we do be determined by our brain state at the time of the action and not by something outside of ourselves, or anything else that isn't our own decision process.

For instance, the following process, in which an uncaused action occurs at 5:00:13, ends with an action that is neither a determined action nor a free action.

5:00:10    Joe remembers that he's finding it harder to get dates, which causes -
5:00:11    He realizes he doesn't want to grow old alone, which causes -
5:00:12    He decides he can live with being a vain person, which doesn't cause -
5:00:13    Joe jumps into the air and twiddles his toes three times before landing.

In this case, determinism was magically suspended between 5:00:12 and 5:00:13, so that what Joe did at 5:00:13 was a truly undetermined action. According to soft determinism, Joe calling Dr. Evertight was a free and determined action. According to libertarianism, Joe calling Dr. Evertight was not a free action because it was a determined action. According to libertarianism, Joe jumping into the air and twiddling his toes three times before landing, can be a free action because it was undetermined, (which means random.)

This is why soft determinists have a problem with a vision of "free will" that insists that a "free" will has to be an undetermined will. They think that a "free will" that consists entirely of random actions wouldn't be worth having.

 

Arguments Against Free Will I: Galen Strawson

In the text, Palmer writes ". . . Strawson argues that freewill would be possible only if an individual could create her own character, or if an individual's character could create itself, because the cause of our actions is our character. But we do not create our character, not does our character create itself: it is created by outside influences. Strawson claims that an infinite regress would be set in motion by an attempt to show that character creates itself, because a decision to create on'e own character would have to be made by a character that must have preexisted the decision."

To get clear on what Strawson is saying, answer the following questions in your notes.
According to Strawson, under what conditions is free will possible? 
What is the cause of our actions? 
According to Strawson, do we create our characters? 
How is our character created?
What would happen we tried to create our own characters?
Why would an infinite regress be set in motion by an attempt to show a character creates itself?

A Strawsonian Story

Consider Gail and Straw. Gail and Straw don't know each other, and never meet, but they are almost identical teenagers living in absolutely identical towns. (Obviously, both Gail and Straw are two imaginary people living in two imaginary towns.) They are both pretty wild kids, and the only difference between them is that Gail is ever so slightly more insightful than Straw. This is a genetic difference. Gail did not do anything to gain this capacity, it was just built in to her by the random chances of her evolutionary history. Up until age nineteen, this tiny, tiny, tiny difference makes no difference between the lives of Gail and Straw. Until the age of nineteen, the lives of Gail and Straw are exactly they same. They go to exactly similar parties, date exactly similar boys, and indulge in exactly similar bad behavior. Then, one day, they each seperately wake up with exactly similar hangovers, and each of them realizes that she had behaved really stupidly. At this point, the tiny, tiny, tiny difference makes a slight difference in how they behave. At this point, the knowledge that she behaved really stupidly the previous night is just enough to make Gail realize that she is really not having the kind of life she wants, but because Straw is ever so slightly less insightful than Gail, the knowledge that she behaved really stupidly the previous night is not quite enough to make Straw realize that she is really not having the kind of life she wants. From then on, their lives diverge. Gail's previous realizations cause her to decide that her pattern of behavior is what is holding her back. Because Straw was constructed so as to react differently to that original realization, she never realizes that her behavior is a problem. Gail's new outlook causes her to stop partying, to take her job more seriously, to save her money, to go to college, and, eventually, to become an engineer. More importantly for our purposes, Gail also saw that she had been a selfish, inconsiderate pleasure-seeker, and, by paying more attention to how she acted and how she treated people, Gail was able to gradually transform herself into a thoughtful and compassionate person. Straw could have done all of these things, but because her character was not such as to react the way Gail did to the original hangover, she didn't realize what Gail realized, and didn't do what Gail did. Instead, Straw continued on with her wild party-animal lifestyle. Furthermore, because Straw happened to miss her opportunity for self-reflection, she never realized that her lifestyle was responsible for the bad things in her life, which caused her to decide that all her problems were the fault of other people, which in turn caused her to become a bitter, resentful person who treats others badly, hates everyone, and believes herself persecuted by everyone. When they both reach the age of forty-nine, although their lives have now become infinitely different from each other, there is one last parallel incident in which each of them encounters exactly the same set of circumstances. At a time when neither of them is observed by others, each of them encounters an old man who has been overcome by the heat. Each old man's water bottle has fallen from his hand, and each asks the nearby woman for help retrieving his water. The one who asks Gail for help not only gets his water, but Gail helps him drink, makes him comfortable, calls an ambulance, and waits with him while it comes, so he survives. The man who asks Straw for help not only does not get his water, but Straw also robs him, taking his watch, his wallet, his smartphone and his medications. Since getting his water bottle was actually his only hope of survival, he dies. What this story hopes to illustrate is the idea that we choose to do what we choose to do because of the characters we have, and we have the characters we have because of chains of events running back all the way into the far distant past, ultimately to things that happened before we even existed. Gail helped her old man because she was a good person, but she was a good person because her character at age 19, which she had not created, reacted in a certain way to a certain event. Straw's character was slightly different, which was enough to cause her to react in a different way, which caused her to eventually become the bad person who robbed an old man and left him to die.

Galen Strawson would be quite correct to point out that Gail only became a good person because, at age 19, she had exactly the character that would result in her making the exact choices she did, and that Straw only became a bad person because, at age 19, she had exactly the character that would result in her making the exact choices she made. Thus, Gail's present good character is basically the result of the character she had at 19, and Straw's bad character is basically the result of the character she had at 19. A defender of free will might want to claim that Gail should be given credit for helping him and that Straw should be blamed for letting him die, but Strawson would reply that we would only be justified in praising and blaming people if they had themselves created their own characters. His reasoning is based on his claim that IF everyone's character is created by forces that are ultimately out of his control, such as the structures of Gail's and Straw'd brains at age 19, THEN people are ultimately not responsible for their characters, and if they are not responsible for their characters, they are not responsibile for their actions, and moral responsibility is a myth.

I think Strawson is completely wrong. What do you think?

 

Arguments Against Free Will II: Ted Honderich

Last paragraph on page 231 and 1st paragraph on page 232. (5th Ed pages 222-223, 4th Ed pages 225-226, Not in 3rd Ed.)

As you think about the following material, it might help you to know that I believe that Palmer has made two false, or at least unsupported assumptions. First, Palmer seems to illegimately assume that "free" means "uncaused" rather than "unconstrained." He assumes that in order for an action to be free it must not be a result of the immediately preceding conditions (which would include the actor's desires and intentions, and so on). For Palmer, an action can only be free if it is undetermined, (which would mean that it had nothing to do with the state of the actor's mind at the time he acted.) Secondly, Palmer forgets that indeterminism means indeterminism. He forgets that systems are either deterministic or not deterministic, that lack of determism is pure randomness, and that random events are absolutely uncontrollable. If your next action was not determined, it would be undetermined, and hence random and therefore utterly uncontrollable. Free will requires we control our actions, and control is impossible without determinism.

On pages 231-232, Palmer writes:

             Some contemporary determinists, both soft and hard, respond to these criticisms, challenging them with one or the other of a couple of remarkable arguments. One of these arguments zeroes in on the demand that true responsibility presupposes true freedom, and true freedom exists only when the agent has true alternatives. In other words, says the libertarian, Samantha's act was a free act only if Samantha could have done other than she actually did do. In response to this claim, some compatiblists argue that the correct analysis of the phrase, "she could have done otherwise...," is achieved by translating it into a hypothetical conditional phrase, such as this: "she could have done otherwise, if she had wanted to." Then they assert that the phrase, "she could have done otherwise if she wanted to," is compatible with determinism, because desires, wants, and intentions are causes of actions. Samantha's desires, wants, and intentions may well have been produced by Skinnerian or Freudian-type causal circumstances (or more likely just by the laws of neurochemistry), but she is still free in the most important sense of that word: she wants to do X., and she can do X.. As determinist Ted Honderich says, "there is nothing about actions being voluntary in their initiation that conflicts with determinism. For determinism, voluntary actions are ones that have a certain kind of causal history, as distinct from any non-causal history."

What is presupposed by true responsibility?
What is presupposed by true freedom?
Under what conditions is Samantha's act a free act?
What do some compatiblists argue is the correct analysis of the phrase "she could have done otherwise?"
Why do compatiblists think this new phrase is compatible with determinism?
What kinds of things do compatiblists think are the causes of actions?
What does it mean to say that something is the cause of an action?
What is meant by the phrase "causal history?"
What kind of causal history do voluntary actions have?
What kind of causal history could make an action non-voluntary?
What would a noncausal history look like?


On pages 233, Palmer writes.

             Honderich admits that he cannot prove that universal determinism is true. He concedes that recent developments in the field of physics called quantum mechanics (which we will inspect shortly) may seem to have raised questions about the determinists thesis, but he suspects that eventually quantum theory itself will prove to support determinism. (He admits that his view on this topic is not popular among many physicists, but, he says "perhaps it is not too much the worse for that".) However, even if it turns out that he is wrong in thinking that the new physics will demonstrate support for determinism, Honderich points out that quantum theory applies only to the subatomic world, not the world of human-sized objects or even brain-size objects, so Honderich will accept "near-determinism" if he must.

What kind of objects are affected by quantum indeterminacy?
What kind of objects are not affected by quantum indeterminacy?
According to this excerpt, can quantum indeterminacy affect our volitional process?


On pages 233, Palmer also writes.

             In other words, the libertarian and the hard determinist both think the true meaning of the idea of freedom is "origination," or uncaused thoughts and actions originated by the agent herself; while the compatiblist thinks that the true meaning of the idea of freedom is simply being able to do what you want to do. But in fact, both meanings exist and have installed themselves deeply in our psyches. According to Honderich, determinism says we can keep the latter meaning but must give up the former, and giving up the former involves a somewhat painful sacrifice. We can no longer blame or praise peoples actions the way we normally do, and we will certainly have to abandon practices of punishment if their sole purpose is retribution (to dish out pain, or impose restrictions on people because they deserve it), nor will we be able to praise or reward people for actions on the grounds that they were the result of "free choice" in the old, now discredited, sense. Neither can we be proud of ourselves for our freely chosen accomplishments.

What does the libertarian think is the true meaning of the idea of freedom?
What does the hard determinist think that the true meaning of the idea of freedom is?
What is "origination?"
What does "uncaused" mean?
What does "originated" mean?
What does "originated by" mean, as opposed to, say, "originated in" or "originating in?"
What does the compatiblist think is the true meaning of the idea of freedom?

Palmer and Honderich both agree that determinsim (AKA "nonrandom causality") rules out free will. Honderich thinks this means the end of free will, but Palmer thinks that free will can be "saved" by brininging the concept of "origination," in the sense of thoughts and actions that are "originated" by the agent herself while not being caused by anything. I think that this conception of "origination" makes no sense since "origination" has to be a synonym for "causality," since an agent can only originate an action by causing that action to happen. If the action wasn't caused, it cannot have been originated, so the idea of an action that is originated but not caused is self-contradictory. What do you think?

 

Arguments Against Free Will III: Peter van Inwagen

Last paragraph on page 237, 1st half of page 238. (5th Ed pages 228-229, 4th Ed pages 231-232, 3rd Ed pages 228-229)

This reading starts at the very bottom of page 237.
Is Van Inwagen a compatibilist or an incompatibilist?
What does he present in his book?
For Van Inwagen, what follows if determinism is true?
For Van Inwagen, what are our acts consequences of?
Is it up to us what went on before we were born?
Is it up to us what the laws of nature are?
Are the consequences of those things up to us?
Do the consequences of those things include our own acts?
For Van Inwagen, are our own acts up to us?
Does this argument do anything to prove free will?
According to Palmer, exactly what does Van Inwagen's argument damage?
According to Van Inwagen, is there a robust meaning of "could have done otherwise" that is compatible with determinism?
For Van Inwagen, what do freedom and responsibility require?
For Van Inwagen, what follows if there is no serious sense of alternative possibilities?
For Van Inwagen, if determinism is true, can Samantha be free in any significant sense?
For Van Inwagen, if determinism is true, can Samantha be responsible in any significant sense?
What question does Palmer ask between these two paragraphs?

Thinky Questions
In a court of law, is it ever a defense to say, "your honor, the defendant didn't form his own character, so he's not guilty!"
How about, "your honor, the defendant's character was formed by events in the past, so he's not guilty!"
Is free will about whether or not we chose our own characters?
In our ordinary discussions of freedom and responsibility, do we ever talk about this stuff?
According to determinism, is it the case that events in our past determine our actions directly without any intervention from our own characters, or is it the case that our pasts formed our characters, and then our characters determined our actions?
Suppose that over the course of our lives there happened some random brain events that changed our personalities in various ways. Would that randomness amount us creating our own characters?
How is this all supposed to damage the analysis of "she could have done otherwise, if she has wanted to?"
What is meant by "a serious sense of alternative possibilities?"
Suppose that, at a certain point, your brain went random. Would that give a serious sense of alternative possibilites at that point?
How does your character being formed by all the events in your past prevent a serious sense of alternative possibilites?
Is "free will" about whether you do what you want to do, rather than about how you got to be who you are?
How is you not creating your character supposed to rule out a "a serious sense of alternative possibilites?"

Again, I think that Van Inwagen is wrong. I think that actions can be our own free actions even if they are consequences of events in the far distant past. What do you think?

 

Optional Further Reading

To settle this dispute, we need to be very clear about what we mean when we talk about determiniate and indeterminate decision making. To make it clear what I'm talking about, suppose you decide to go Starbucks and have an espresso. Assume that, all through this example, you never change your mind about what you want. And finally, assume that. magically, the the first part of what you do as a result of this unalterable decision will be determinate, and the second part will be indeterminate. This is to say that, between the two actions, your volitional system, the part of you that makes you do stuff, will switch from deterministic to indeterministic operation, and nothing else will change. The first part is easy to explain. You want to go to Starbucks and buy an espresso. The first part of that is going to Starbucks, and this is the deterministic bit, so your decision to go to Starbucks means that you go to Starbucks. The second part is more complicated. You've decided to buy an espresso, but because this part of the example is indeterministic, that decision cannot possibly determine what you do next. It's true that you absolutely do not change your mind. You stick firmly to your decision to buy an espresso and do not waver. There's nothing else in Starbucks that you want, and nothing else in there can possibly satisfy you, but that doesn't matter because your next action is not determined, which means you cannot possibly determine what you do next. So, what will you do? Well, no-one can predict indeterministic events, but we can simulate the situation. You will need a large hat and a good stock of sticky notes. Turn over a stack of sticky notes and take off the bottom sheet so that you're looking at the adhesive side of the top note. Write "buy an espresso" on the part that doesn't have adhesive, and then fold the note neatly so it sticks to itself and you can't read the words. Now do the same thing for absolutely everything else you could do in that Starbucks. Start with listing all the things you could buy, each on a seperate sticky note, and put all the folded, sealed notes into your large hat. Then think of all the other things you could do in a Starbucks (keep it clean) and write each of those on an individual note (hmm, gonna need more notes, and a bigger hat). Okay, let's say there are ten thousand different things you could do in a Starbucks, each one is represented by a different sticky note. Now, to simulate an undetermined event, shake the hat up good and pick just one folded sticky note out of all the ten thousand things you could do, and that's what you do. That's what an indeterministic event is like. You'd like to do one particular thing, but you can't make yourself do that thing because that would be an internal state of your brain determining what you do, and this is not a deterministic situation
              What's the point? Well, in the dispute between libertarianism and necessitism, your personal position will depend on whether the "go to Starbucks" event or the "do some random thing" event fits you own intuitive sense of what free will really is. If your picture of free will is such that it fits with determined decisions (go to Starbucks) and not with indeterminate ones (do random thing there, even though you've firmly decided to get an espresso), you're a necessitist. However, your picture of free will is such that you think that whatever you did at random was free willed, and the event where what you decided to do determined what you did was not freewilled, then you're an incompatibilist.


Shiny New Causality . . . Not!

             On page 226 Palmer says that it is possible that some caused events are not necessary, and that this possibility explains why some cases of cancer are not caused by smoking, and some cases of heavy smoking do not cause cancer. Let us examine this idea of causality and necessity. First, think about whether it really is a new conecption of causality, or only just a more complicated combination of the old ideas of determinism and indeterminism. Palmer talks about condition A being a sufficient for either B or C or D or E to happen, but not sufficient to determine which of those four things actually happens. This is like walking into an ice cream store because you want ice cream, narrowing your choices down to the flavors of banana, cherry, date, and elderberry because those are the flavors you like, and then picking one of those flavors at random for no reason whatsoever. On a typical iteration of this situation, you would get ice cream because you wanted to get ice cream, consider banana, cherry, date, and elderberry because you like those flavors, but then get cherry even though you felt like elderberry. Why did you get cherry? That was completely random. It happened for no reason because, as Palmer specified, A was a sufficient condition for either B, C, D or E, but not sufficient to determine which one you will choose. In this scenario, condition A had three componants. There's your decision to have ice cream, your decision to have one of those four flavors, and your decision to have elderberry ice cream. By Palmer's rule, condition A determines that you have ice cream, determines that you have one of those four flavors, but fails to determine that you have the flavor you want. This is not a new kind of causality. It's just a complicated situation that is partly deterministic, and partly indeterministic. And the indeterministic part is the part where you don't choose what you want.
             Imagine that there is a person, call him "Bounder," who makes at least one decision under conditions of bounded indeterminism. Let us also imagine that Bounder never rationalizes. That is, he never makes up reasons after the fact to account for things he's done. If he knows why he did something, he gives the thought process that actually led up to the decision. If he doesn't know why he did a particular thing, he always says "I don't know." Now, let us say that deterministic processes operating inside Bounder's brain cause him to decide to go into an ice cream parlour and order gorilla flavor ice cream. By stipulation, that decision, (call it the "flavor" decision), was determined. If Bounder were placed in exactly the same circumstances, (and I mean exactly), he would make exactly the same decision about ordering ice cream, and about the type of ice cream he orders. (Thus, if incompatibilism is true, Bounder's decision to order ice cream was not a free-willed decision.)
              However, the number of scoops Bounder orders, (the "scoops" decision), is not deterministically connected to Bounder's existing mental states. Rather it is probabilistically connected to those states. This means that although Bounder's brain is in a particular mental state regarding his desire for ice cream, (let us say he only has a very, very mild desire for ice cream), that mental state does not determine how many scoops he will order. In this example, the scoops decision is bounded, in that it will be for either one, two, three or four scoops. And he is 20% likely to choose one scoop, 40% likely to choose two scoops, 30% likely to choose three scoops and only 10% likely to choose four scoops. What this all means is that if we had one thousand absolutely identical universes, in each of which we have an absolutely identical Bounder who is about to order ice cream, the deterministic nature of the flavor decision means that in absolutely all of those universes the Bounder will order gorilla flavor ice cream, but the probabilistic nature of the scoops decision means that about 200 of those Bounders will order 1 scoop, 400 or so will order 2 scoops, around 300 will order 3 scoops, and the rest, about 100, will order 4 scoops. It also means that, given perfect knowledge of Bounder's internal state prior to ordering, we would be able to predict that he would order gorilla flavor, but would not be able to predict how many scoops he would have. (If we took each universe in turn, and guessed "2" every time, we would be right 40% of the time. If we guessed randomly, we would be right (I think) only 25% of the time.)
It is important to remember that, in every universe, the level of Bounder's desire for ice cream is the same, as is his state of health, and his level of hunger in general. The example doesn't say that in 20% of the universes Bounder has a mild appetite for ice cream while in 10% he has a strong appetite for ice cream. That would make Bounder different between universes, and he isn't. Furthermore, if you find yourself wanting to say, "but Bounder must have a stronger appetite where he orders 4 scoops," you are trying to make the scoops decision a deterministic decision because you are trying to make it depend on Bounder's previous state. It doesn't. The only way a decision can be undetermined by a person's previous mental state is if it is random with respect to that state. So, in this example, the number of scoops Bounder gets is random with respect to how many scoops he wants. Heck, since decisions and actions can be different mental states, it might be better to say that the number of scoops Bounder orders is random with respect to the number of scoops he decides to get.
Now, in my view, all this means that in 80% of the universes described above, the number of scoops Bounder orders will be a surprise to him. He has a mild desire for ice cream, so if he happens to order only one scoop, that will fit with his expectations, and he won't be surprised. (However, the fact that he ordered the right number of scoops for his present state of desire for ice cream will be still be a complete coincidence, since the number of scoops he ordered did not depend on the amount of ice cream he wanted!) In the 10% of universes where Bounder orders 4 scoops, he will be utterly shocked and mystified. Why on earth did he order 4 scoops? He will, of course, have no answer because that decision was not determined by his existing mental state. (The case of smoking and cancer, incidentally, is not a "Bounder-type" case of mixed determined and partly indetermined events. Determinism does not say that if two people both smoke heavily, they will both get cancer. Determinism only says that if two people are exactly alike in absolutely every respect and are subjected to absolutely exactly the same conditions, the exact same thing will happen with both of them. If there's any difference at all between the two situations, then determinism doesn't say that the outcomes will be the same. Human bodies and behaviors vary tremendously. Everyone's immune system is different. There are probably dozens, maybe hundreds or even thousands of factors that go into determining whether any given individual, smoker or nonsmoker, gets cancer. So the case of smokers and nonsmokers getting and not getting cancer is not a case of indeterminism, but instead is a very complicated deterministic process in which the conditions are sometimes right and sometimes not right for people to get cancer.)
Look again at Palmer's description of his new conception. Situation A is sufficient to cause one of B, C, D, or E, but not sufficient to determine which of those four things will happen. What he is describing is not a new kind of causality, in which causality is partly deterministic and partly indeterministic. What he is describing is a mixture of causality and "acausality," which just means the absence of causality. In Palmer's conception, we have one deterministic event, in which causes a new situation, call it "G," which is just the condition in which something must happen, and only one of A, B, C, or D can happen, and one indeterministic event, in which one of A, B, C, or D happens . Situation A determined that it would be one, and only one of those four things, but nothing determined which one would happen. In this conception, situation G was caused, and if, say, C was what happened next, there would have been no cause for it to be C rather than one of the other three. This is not a conception of causality in which we have a single causal event that is both deterministic and indeterministic. It is two seperate events, one of which is caused while the other isn't caused.
The bottom line here is that Palmer does not really give a new conception of causality. What he gives is a conception of a more complicated situation where some things are determined and other, different and subsequent events are undetermined. This is not a new concept of causality any more than a mixture of kelp and beef is a new concept of meat. Rather it is an idea of a situation in which some things follow causality and other things do not follow causality. And it does not save libertarianism from logical incoherence, because the deterministic, causal parts are precisely the parts that the actor controls, and the indeterministic, acausal parts are the parts in which free will is conspicuously absent.

Potential questions for Quiz
What is Galen Strawson's argument against the existence of free will?
What is Ted Honderich's argument against the existence of free will?
What is Peter van Inwagen's argument against the existence of free will?

Potential Exam Questions

Explain and critically evaluate van Inwagen's "Consequence" argument against compatiblism. How is this argument supposed to work? Why might it not work? What do you think? 

Explain your instructor’s argument for his claim that Libertarianism, when stated completely, is logically self-contradictory. What parts of Libertarianism supposedly contradict each other, and why do they conflict?

Explain and critically evaluate Strawson's "Infinite Regress" argument against compatiblism. How is this argument supposed to work? Why might it not work? What do you think?

Explain and critically evaluate Honderich's "Origination" argument against compatiblism. How is this argument supposed to work? Why might it not work? What do you think?

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