Philosophy Week 2
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COPYRIGHT 1971 BY JOURNAL or PHILOSOPHY mc LANCASTER PRESS mo LANCASTER PA THE JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY VOLUME vanr NO 1 JANUARY 14 1971 FREEDOM OF THE WILL AND THE CONCEPT OF A PERSON HAT philosophers have lately come to accept as analy sis of the concept of a person is not actually analysis of that concept at all Strawson whose usage represents the current standard identi es the concept of a person as the con cept of a type of entity such that both predicates ascribing states of consciousness and predicates ascribing corporeal characteristics are equally applicable to a single individual of that single type 1 But there are many entities besides persons that have both mental and physical properties As it happens though it seems extraordi nary that this should be so there is no common English word for the type of entity Strawson has in mind a type that includes not only human beings but animals of various lesser species as well Still this hardly justi es the misappropriation Of a valuable philo sophical term Whether the members of some animal species are persons is surely not to be settled merely by determining whether it is correct to ap ply to them in addition to predicates ascribing corporeal character istics predicates that ascribe states of consciousness It does vio lence to our language to endorse the application Of the term per son39 to those numerous creatures which do have both psychological and material properties but which are manifestly not persons in any normal sense of the word This misuse of language is doubtless innocent of any theoretical error But although the offense is merely 1P F Strawson Individuals London Methuen 1959 pp 101402 Ayer39s usage of person is similar quotit is characteristic of persons in this sense that be sides having various physical properties they are also credited with various forms of consciousnessquot A J Ayer The Concept of a Person New York St Martin s 1963 p 82 What concerns Strawson and Ayer is the problem of understanding the relation between mind and body rather than the quite dif ferent problem of understanding what it is to be a creature that not only has a mind and a body but is also a person 5 6 THE JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY verbalquot it does signi cant harm For it gratuitoust diminishes our philosophical vocabulary and it increases the likelihood that we will overlook the important area of inquiry With which the term person is most naturally associated It might have been expected that no problem would be of more central and persistent concern to philosophers than that of understanding what we ourselves easen tially are Yet this problem is so generally neglected that It has een possible to make off with its very name almost wrthouttbemg no ticed and evidently without evoking any widespread feeling of loss There is a sense in which the word person is merely the singu lar form of people39 and in which both terms connote no more thtin membership in a certain biological specres In those senses of e word which are of greater philosophical interest however the cri teria for being a person do not serve primarily to distlnguish the members of our own species from the members of other specres Rather they are designed to capture those attributes Wthh are the subject of our most humane concern with ourselves and the source of what we regard as most important and most problematrcal in our lives Now these attributes would be of equal signi cance to us even if they were not in fact peculiar and common to the members of our own species What interests us most in the human condition would not interest us less if it were also a feature of the condition of other creatures as well Our concept of ourselves as persons is not to be understood there fore as a concept of attributes that are necessarily specresspecr c It is conceptually possible that members of novel or even of fa miliar nonhuman species should be persons and it 15 also con ceptually possible that some members of the human specres are got persons We do in fact assume on the other handthat no mem39 er of another species is a person Accordingly there IS a presumption that what is essential to persons is a set of characteristics that we generally suppose whether rightly or wrongly to be uniquely human d It is my view that one essential difference between persons an other creatures is to be found in the structure of a person s wrll Human beings are not alone in having desires and motives or in making choices They share these things With the members of eel tain other species some of whom even appear to engage in dell oration and to make decisions based upon prior thought It seems to be peculiarly characteristic of humans however that they are able to form what I shall call secondorder desrres or desrres of the second order FREEDOM OF WILL AND CONCEPT OF A PERSON 7 Besides wanting and choosing and being moved to do this or that men may also want to have or not to have certain desires and motives They are capable of wanting to be different in their pref erences and purposes from what they are Many animals appear to have the capacity for what I shall call rstorder desires or de sires of the rst order which are simply desires to do or not to do one thing or another No animal other than man however ap pears to have the capacity for re ective selfevaluation that is mani fested in the formation of secondorder desires2 I The concept designated by the verb 39to want is extraordinarily elusive A statement of the form A wants to X taken by itself apart from a context that serves to amplify or to specify its mean ing conveys remarkably little information Such a statement may be consistent for example with each of the following statements a the prospect of doing X elicits no sensation or introspectible emotional response in A b A is unaware that he wants to X c A believes that he does not want to X d A wants to refrain from X ing e A wants to Y and believes that it is impossible for him both to Y and to X f A does not really want to X g A would rather die than X and so on It is therefore hardly suf cient to formulate the distinction between rstorder and secondorder desires as I have done by suggesting merely that someone has a rstorder desire when he wants to do or not to do suchsandsuch and that he has a secondorder desire when he wants to have or not to have a certain desire of the rst order As I shall understand them statements of the form A wants to Xquot cover a rather broad range of possibilities3 They may be true even when statements like a through g are true when A is un aware O f any feelings concerning X ing when he is unaware that he wants to X when he deceives himself about what he wants and 2For the sake of simplicity I shall deal only with what someone wants or desires neglecting related phenomena such as choices and decisions I pro pose to use the verbs to want39 and to desire interchangeably although they are by no means perfect synonyms My motive in forsaking the established nuances of these words arises from the fact that the verb to want which suits my purposes better so far as its meaning is concerned does not lend itself so readily to the formation of nouns as does the verb to desire39 It is perhaps ac ceptable albeit graceless to speak in the plural of someone39s wants But to speak in the singular of someone s want would be an abomination 3 What I say in this paragraph applies not only to cases in which to X refers to a possible action or inaction It also applies to cases in which to X refers to a rstorder desire and in which the statement that A wants to X is therefore a shortened version of a statement A wants to want to X that identi es a desire of the second order 8 THE JOURNAL or PHILOSOPHY believes falsely that he does not want to X when he also has other desires that con ict with his desire to X or when he is ambivalent The desires in question may be conscious or unconscious they need not be univocal and A may be mistaken about them There is a further source of uncertainty with regard to statements that iden tify someone s desires however and here it is important for my pur poses to be less permissive Consider rst those statements of the form A wants to X which identify rstorder desires that is statements in which the term to X39 refers to an action A statement of this kind does not by itself indicate the relative strength of A s desire to X It does not make it clear whether this desire is at all likely to play a decisive role in what A actually does or tries to do For it may correctly be said that A wants to X even when his desire to X is only one among his desires and when it is far from being paramount among them Thus it may be true that A wants to X when he strongly prefers to do something else instead and it may be true that he wants to X de spite the fact that when he acts it is not the desire to X that moti vates him to do what he does On the other hand someone who states that A wants to X may mean to convey that it is this desire that is motivating or moving A to do what he is actually doing or that A will in fact be moved by this desire unless he changes his mind when he acts It is only when it is used in the second of these ways that given the special usage of will that I propose to adopt the statement identi es A s will To identify an agent s will is either to identify the desire or desires by which he is motivated in some action he performs or to identify the desire or desires by which he will or would be motivated when or if he acts An agent s will then is identical with one or more of his rstorder desires But the notion of the will as I am employing it is not coextensive with the no tion of rstorder desires It is not the notion of something that merely inclines an agent in some degree to act in a certain way Rather it is the notion of an e ective desire one that moves or will or would move a person all the way to action Thus the no tion of the will is not coextensive with the notion of what an agent intends to do For even though someone may have a settled inten tion to do X he may nonetheless do something else instead of do ing X because despite his intention his desire to do X proves to be weaker or less effective than some con icting desire Now consider those statements of the form A wants to Xquot which identify secondorder desires that is statements in which the term FREEDOM OF WILL AND CONCEPT OF A PERSON 9 to refers to a desire of the rst order There are also two kind of Situation in which it may be true that A wants to want to X I s the rst place it might be true of A that he wants to have a desir to X despite the fact that he has a univocal desire altogether free of con ict and ambivalence to refrain from Xing Someone mi ht want to have a certain desire in other words but univo 11 g that desire to be unsatis ed ca Y want suppose that a physician engaged in psychotherapy with narcotic addicts believes that his ability to help his patients would be s hanced if he understood better what it is like for them to desire iii drug to which they are addicted Suppose that he is led in this wae to want to have a desire for the drug If it is a genuine desire thai he wants then what he wants is not merely to feel the sensation that addicts characteristically feel when they are gripped b thei ieslilres fordthe drug What the physician wants insofar as heywants e stylega cure is to be inclined or moved to some extent to take It is entirely possible however that although he wants to b moved by a desire to take the drug he does not want this desire t be effective He may not want it to move him all the way to action He need not be interested in nding out what it is like to take the drug And insofar as he now wants only to want to take it and not to take it there is nothing in what he now wants that would be satis ed by the drug itself He may now have in fact an alto eth univocal desire not to take the drug and he may prudent aigran er to make it impossible for him to satisfy the desire he woule havegff his 1651113 to want the drug should in time be satis ed 1 It would thus be incorrect to infer from the fact that the h cian now wants to desire to take the drug that he alread dogs 15 sire to take it His secondorder desire to be moved to take the dr does not entail that he has a rstorder desire to take it If the driig were now to be administered to him this might satisfy no desirg that is implicit in his desire to want to take it While he wants to 311121 Itlaek 11 drug he may have no desire to take it it may be h s 15 to taste the deSire for it That is his desire to ave a certain deSire that he does not have may not be a des39r h his Will should be at all different than it is I e t at staiocifelthle lzl wants fonly in this truncated way to want to X want to X is n atirgin o PI39CCIOSItY39 and the fact that he wants to is h o pertinent tothe identi cation of his will There owever a second kind of Situation that may be described b A wants to want to X39 and when the statement is used to descrilie a BA IO THE JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY situation of this second kind then it does pertain to what A wants his will to be In such cases the statement means that A wants the desire to X to be the desire that moves him effectively to act It is not merely that he wants the desire to X to be among the desires by which to one degree or another he is moved or inclined to act He wants this desire to be effective that is to provide the motive in what he actually does Now when the statement that A wants to want to X is used in this way it does entail that A already has a de sire to X It could not be true both that A wants the desire to X to move him into action and that he does not want to X It is only if he does want to X that he can coherently want the desire to X not merely to be one of his desires but more decisively to be his will Suppose a man wants to be motivated in what he does by the desire to concentrate on his work It is necessarily true if this sup position is correct that he already wants to concentrate on his work This desire is now among his desires But the question of whether or not his secondorder desire is ful lled does not turn merely on whether the desire he wants is one of his desires It turns on whether this desire is as he wants it to be his effective desire or will If when the chips are down it is his desire to concentrate on his work that moves him to do what he does then what he wants at that time is indeed in the relevant sense what he wants to want If it is some other desire that actually moves him when he acts on the other hand then what he wants at that time is not in the relevant sense what he wants to want This will be so despite the fact that the desire to concentrate on his work continues to be among his desires II Someone has a desire of the second order either when he wants sim ply to have a certain desire or when he wants a certain desire to be his will In situations of the latter kind I shall call his secondorder desires secondorder volitions or volitions of the second order 39 Now it is having secondorder volitions and not having secondorder desires generally that I regard as essential to being a person It is 4 It is not so clear that the entailment relation described here holds in cer tain kinds of cases which I think may fairly be regarded as nonstandard where the essential difference between the standard and the nonstandard cases lies in the kind of description by which the rstorder desire in question is identi ed Thus suppose that A admires B so fulsomely that even though he does not know what B wants to do he wants to be elfectively moved by whatever desire effectively moves B without knowing what B39s will is in other words A wants his own will to be the same It certainly does not follow that A already has among his desires a desire like the one that constitutes B s will I shall not pursue here the questions of whether there are genuine counterexamples to the claim made in the text or of how if there are that claim should be altered at a quot P I I I 1 ll 4 il1 I 39 l V cu w H 5 U A K I t cut4m J I I r 39A ragi5 x a ii m driviqu uamumnmnmt wings VegaIna FREEISOM or WILL AND CONCEPT OF A PERSON I I logically possible however unlikely that there should be an With secondorder desires but with no volitions of the second 3016 Such a creature in my view would not be a person I shall use the term wanton39 to refer to agents who have rstorder desires but who are not persons because whether or not they have desires of the second order they have no secondorder volitionsa The essential characteristic of a wanton is that he does not about his will His desires move him to do certain thin s withcare its being true of him either that he wants to be moved bg thos Tim Sires or that he prefers to be moved by other desires Tiie cla ef wantons includes all nonhuman animals that have desires and5 ll very young children Perhaps it also includes some adult h a beings as well In any case adult humans may be more or lessuvriiii prhtlhey Iilnay act wantonly inresponse to rstorder desires con i g w ich they have no volitions of the second order In less frequently ore or Infquotgrimt 1fztcte Sicilato fw niiimn has no second order volitions does not at once into action 1H 6 grt Series is translated heedlessly and opportunity to act in accord 2 iizitghascqgi I hisbdesues Moreover the translation of his de des es of the rst alyd e delayed or precluded either by con icting a wanton ma 058 or gr by the intervention of deliberation For NOthing in yepcon 5 arm femploy rational faculties of a high order or th I h c o a wanton implies that he cannot reason to d a e cannot deliberate concerning how to do what he wants agent tdistinguishes the rational wanton from other rational Sires themsewes e I not concerned with the desirability of his de NOt only does 11 e ignores the question of what his will is to be 8mm 1 l e pursue whatever course of action he is most gy inc med to pursue but he does not care which 1 h clinations is the strongest 0 181280 1311122011211 creature who re ects upon the suitability to his wanton In maiiqzyzgngftzzttiq eor anothermay nonetheless be a 39 essence o ein a erson lie In reason but in Will I am far from su estin thg p s POI Ont reason may be a person For it is fairly ingvirftieaoirliaiZuiftiglntill I5C139eatures with secondorder desires but no secondorder volitions differ sig In39 cantl resard shintiioiglmiils and f 50m Purposes it would be desirable to y usage 39 39 I gznllfthem is thus somewhat arbitrary I ado Olds the desrgnation person narrates rs I to make 0 e arm A wants t 39 Stat 0 want to X m eng Idenflfymg secondorder volitions and not 0 6139 desues that are not secondorder volitions is in quot BA 12 THE JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY capacities that a person is capable of becoming critically aware of his own will and of forming volitions of the second order The structure of a person s will presupposes accordingly that he is a rational being The distinction between a person and a wanton may be illus trated by the difference between two narcotics addicts Let us sup pose that the physiological condition accounting for the addiction is the same in both men and that both succumb inevitably to their periodic desires for the drug to which they are addicted One of the addicts hates his addiction and always struggles desperately al though to no avail against its thrust He tries everything that he thinks might enable him to overcome his desires for the drug But these desires are too powerful for him to withstand and invariably in the end they conquer him He is an unwilling addict helplessly violated by his own desires The unwilling addict has con icting rstorder desires he wants to take the drug and he also wants to refrain from taking it In addition to these rstorder desires however he has a volition of the second order He is not a neutral with regard to the con ict between his desire to take the drug and his desire to refrain from taking it It is the latter desire and not the former that he wants to constitute his will it is the latter desire rather than the former that he wants to be effective and to provide the purpose that he will seek to realize in what he actually does The other addict is a wanton His actions re ect the economy of his rstorder desires without his being concerned whether the de sires that move him to act are desires by which he wants to be moved to act If he encounters problems in obtaining the drug or in administering it to himself his responses to his urges to take it may involve deliberation But it never occurs to him to consider whether he wants the relations among his desires to result in his having the will he has The wanton addict may be an animal and thus incapable of being concerned about his will In any event he is in respect of his wanton lack of concern no different from an animal The second of these addicts may suffer a rstorder con ict simi lar to the rstorder con ict suffered by the rst Whether he is human or not the wanton may perhaps due to conditioning both want to take the drug and want to refrain from taking it Unlike the unwilling addict however he does not prefer that one of his con icting desires should be paramount over the other he does not prefer that one rstorder desire rather than the other should con FREEDOM OF WILL AND CONCEPT OF A PERSON I 3 to th 39 re am can rct between hlS desrres smce this would suggest that he frgm hsis en asdeqt iially acceptable Since he has no identity apart rs or er esires it is true 39 neither that he re th othe nor that he prefers not to take sides p fem one to t m 39 whiCh f 8 6 digerence to the unwrlling addict who is a person rs con icting rstorder de 39 his to b sires wms out Both desires are e sure and whether he nally takes the drug or nally of 39 39 eve lstgleiigghtodd The unwrlhng addict identi es himself how rather than With the rmtlaltion of a secondorder volition with one makes one of them 0 er of his con icting rstorder desires He draws hims If f more truly his own and in so doing he with e mm the other It IS in virtue of this identi cation and withdrawal accomplished through the formation of a second take 39 the drug is a force other than his own and that it is not of his Own fre 39 6 Will but rather a ai 39 him to take it g t his Will that thlS force moves e quot1115 oistlgglenserprrse of evaluating his own desires and motives ict may leag 33112116 1n the struggle to which his rstorder con Sires is the Str m 8 star the one or the other of his con icting de b altog her satg drlt1ce he IS moved by both desires he will not effective Bm it n 1 y what he does no matter which of them is his amnion gets 3 es no difference to him whether his craving or bemeen the e upper hand He has no stake in the con ict In and so unlike the unwilling addict he can neither BA I4 THE JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY win nor lose the struggle in which he is engaged When a person acts the desire by which he is moved is either the Willhe wants or a will he wants to be without When a wanton acts it is neither 111 There is a very close relationship between the capacity for form ing secondorder volitions and another capacrty that is39essential t persons one that has often been considered a distinguishing mar of the human condition It is only because a person has volitions of the second order that he is capable both of enjoying and of lack ing freedom of the will The concept of a person is not only thenCi the concept of a type of entity that has both rstorder deSires an volitions of the second order It can also be construed39 as the con cept of a type of entity for whom the freedom of its Will may be 3 problem This concept excludes all wantons both infrahuman an human since they fail to satisfy an essential condition for the en joyment of freedom of the will And it excludes those suprahuman beings if any whose wills are necessarily free Just what kind of freedom is the freedom of the Will This ques tion calls for an identi cation of the special area of human expe rience to which the concept of freedom of the will as distinct from the concepts of other sorts of freedom is particularly germane In dealing with it my aim will be primarily to locate the problem with which a person is most immediately concerned when he is concerned with the freedom of his will I 39 According to one familiar philosophical tradition being free this fundamentally a matter of doing what one wants to do Now e notion of an agent who does what he wants to do is by no meatilrlis an altogether clear one both the doing and the wanting landB 6 aPPr0priate relation between them as well require eluCidationil 1 11 although its focus needs to be sharpened and its formulation re ire a I believe that this notion does capture at least part of what is 1111 plicit in the idea of an agent who acts freely It misses entirely how ever the peculiar content of the quite different idea of an agen whose will is free We do not suppose that animals enjoy freedom of the Wlllha though we recognize that an animal may be free to run in w a 3 ever direction it wants Thus having the freedom to do what 0116 wants to do is not a sufficient condition of having a free Will It 151 n w39 u quot not a necessary condition either For to deprive someone of hi freedom of action is not necessarily to undermine the freedom 0 his Win39 When an agent is aware that there are certain he is not free to do this doubtless affects his desires and limits th FREEDOM OF WILL AND CONCEPT OF A PERSON 15 range of choices he can make But suppose that someone without being aware of it has in fact lost or been deprived of his freedom of action Even though he is no longer free to do what he wants to do his will may remain as free as it was before Despite the fact that he is not free to translate his desires into actions or to act ac cording to the determinations of his will he may still form those desires and make those determinations as freely as if his freedom of action had not been impaired When we ask whether a person s will is free we are not asking whether he is in a position to translate his rstorder desires into actions That is the question of whether he is free to do as he pleases The question of the freedom of his will does not concern the rela tion between what he does and what he wants to do Rather it concerns his desires themselves But what question about them is it It seems to me both natural and useful to construe the question of whether a person s will is free in close analogy to the question of whether an agent enjoys freedom of action Now freedom of action is roughly at least the freedom to do what one wants to do Analo gously then the statement that a person enjoys freedom of the will means also roughly that he is free to want what he wants to want More precisely it means that he is free to will what he wants to will or to have the will he wants Just as the question about the freedom of an agent s action has to do with whether it is the action he wants to perform so the question about the freedom of his will has to do with whether it is the will he wants to have It is in securing the conformity of his will to his secondorder volitions then that a person exercises freedom of the will And it is in the discrepancy between his will and his secondorder volitions or in his awareness that their coincidence is not his own doing but only a happy chance that a person who does not have this freedom feels its lack The unwilling addict s will is not free This is shown by the fact that it is not the will he wants It is also true though in a different way that the will of the wanton addict is not free The wanton addict neither has the will he wants nor has a will that differs from the will he wants Since he has no volitions of the second order the freedom of his will cannot be a problem for him He lacks it so to speak by default Peeple are generally far more complicated than my sketchy ac count of the structure of a person s will may suggest There is as muCh opportunity for ambivalence con ict and selfdeception with regard to desires of the second order for example as there is with regard to rstorder desires If there is an unresolved con ict among 16 THE JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY someone s secondorder desires then he is in danger of having no secondorder volition for unless this con ict is resolved he has no preference concerning which of his rstorder desires is to be his will This condition if it is so severe that it prevents him from identifying himself in a suf ciently decisive way with any of his con icting rstorder desires destroys him as a person For it either tends to paralyze his will and to keep him from acting at all or it tends to remove him from his will so that his will Operates without his participation In both cases he becomes like the unwilling ad dict though in a different way a helpless bystander to the forces that move him Another complexity is that a person may have especially if his second order desires are in con ict desires and volitions of a higher order than the second There is no theoretical limit to the length of the series of desires of higher and higher orders nothing except common sense and perhaps a saving fatigue prevents an individ ual from obsessively refusing to identify himself with any of his desires until he forms a desire of the next higher order The tend ency to generate such a series of acts of forming desires which would be a case of humanization run wild also leads toward the destruction of a person It is possible however to terminate such a series of acts without cutting it Off arbitrarily When a person identi es himself decisively with one of his rstorder desires this commitment resounds throughout the potentially endless array of higher orders Consider a person who without reservation or con ict wants to be moti vated by the desire to concentrate on his work The fact that his secondorder volition to be moved by this desire is a decisive one means that there is no room for questions concerning the perti nence of desires or volitions of higher orders Suppose the person is asked whether he wants to want to want to concentrate on his work He can properly insist that this question concerning a third order desire does not arise It would be a mistake to claim that because he has not considered whether he wants the secondorder volition he has formed he is indifferent to the question of whether it is with this volition or with some other that he wants his will to quot I accord The decisiveness of the commitment he has made means that he has decided that no further question about his second order volition at any higher order remains to be asked It is rela tively unimportant whether we explain this by saying that this commitment implicitly generates an endless series of con rming de sires of higher orders or by saying that the commitment is tanta FREEDOM OF WILL AND CONCEPT OF A PERSON I7 mount to a dissolution of the pointedness of all questions concern ing higher orders of desire Examples such as the one concerning the unwilling addict may suggest that volitions of the second order or of higher orders must be formed deliberately and that a person characteristically struggles to ensure that they are satis ed But the conformity of a person s will to his higherorder volitions may be far more thoughtless and spontaneous than this Some people are naturally moved by kind ness when they want to be kind and by nastiness when they want to be nasty without any explicit forethought and without any need for energetic selfcontrol Others are moved by nastiness when they want to be kind and by kindness when they intend to be nasty equally without forethought and without active resistance to these violations of their higherorder desires The enjoyment of freedom comes easily to some Others must struggle to achieve it w My theory concerning the freedom of the will accounts easily for our disinclination to allow that this freedom is enjoyed by the members of any species inferior to our own It also satis es another condition that must be met by any such theory by making it ap parent why the freedom of the will should be regarded as desirable The enjoyment of a free will means the satisfaction of certain de srres desires of the second or Of higher orders whereas its absence means their frustration The satisfactions at stake are those which accrue to a person of whom it may be said that his will is his own The corresponding frustrations are those suffered by a person of whom it may be said that he is estranged from himself or that he nds himself a helpless or a passive bystander to the forces that move him A person who is free to do what he wants to do may yet not be me position to have the will he wants Suppose however that he F njoys both freedom of action and freedom of the will Then he Is not only free to do what he wants to do he is also free to want Elba he wants to want It seems to me that he has in that case all e reedomat 1s possrble to desire or to conceive There are other oggtglings in life and he may not possess some of them But there g in the way of freedom that he lacks thflj wlfsiufar from clear that certain other theories of the freedom of and meet these elementary but essential conditions that it be erstandable why we desue this freedom and why we refuse to it to animals Consider for example Roderick Chisholm s quaint version of the doctrine that human freedom entails an ab 18 THE JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY sence of causal determination r Whenever a person performs a free action according to Chisholm it s a miracle The motion of a per son s hand when the person moves it is the outcome of a series of physical causes but some event in this series and presumably one of those that took place within the brain was caused by the agent and not by any other events 18 A free agent has therefore a prerogative which some would attribute only to God each of us when we act is a prime mover unmoved 23 This account fails to provide any basis for doubting that animals of subhuman species enjoy the freedom it de nes Chisholm says nothing that makes it seem less likely that a rabbit performs a miracle when it moves its leg than that a man does so when he moves his hand But why in any case should anyone care whether he can interrupt the natural order of causes in the way Chisholm describes Chisholm offers no reason for believing that there is a discernible difference between the experience of a man who mirac ulously initiates a series of causes when he moves his hand and a man who moves his hand without any such breach of the normal causal sequence There appears to be no concrete basis for prefer ring to be involved in the one state of affairs rather than in the other8 It is generally supposed that in addition to satisfying the two conditions I have mentioned a satisfactory theory of the freedom of the will necessarily provides an analysis of one of the conditions of moral responsibility The most common recent approach to the problem of understanding the freedom of the will has been indeed to inquire what is entailed by the assumption that someone is mor ally responsible for what he has done In my View however the re lation between moral responsibility and the freedom of the will has been very widely misunderstood It is not true that a person is morally responsible for what he has done only if his will was free when he did it He may be morally responsible for having done it even though his will was not free at all A person s will is free only if he is free to have the will he wants This means that with regard to any of his rstorder desires he is free either to make that desire his will or to make some other rst 7 Freedom and Actionquot in K Lehrer ed Freedom and Determinism New York Random House 1966 pp 11 44 8 I am not suggesting that the alleged difference between these two states of affairs is unveri able On the contrary physiologists might well be able to show that Chisholm s conditions for a free action are not satis ed by establish j ing that there is no relevant brain event for which a suf cient physical cause j cannot be found m a nil A 39u L 4 FREEDOM OF WILL AND CONCEPT OF A PERSON 19 order desire his will instead Whatever his will then the will of the person whose will is free could have been otherwise he could have done otherwise than to constitute his will as he did It is a vexed question just how he could have done otherwise is to be understood in contexts such as this one But although this ques tion is important to the theory of freedom it has no bearing on the theory of moral responsibility For the assumption that a person is morally responsible for what he has done does not entail that the person was in a position to have whatever will he wanted This assumption does entail that the person did what he did freely or that he did it of his own free will It is a mistake how ever to believe that someone acts freely only when he is free to do whatever he wants or that he acts of his own free will only if his will is free Suppose that a person has done what he wanted to do that he did it because he wanted to do it and that the will by which he was moved when he did it was his will because it was the will he wanted Then he did it freely and of his own free will Even sup posing that he could have done otherwise he would not have done otherwise and even supposing that he could have had a different will he would not have wanted his will to differ from what it was Moreover since the will that moved him when he acted was his will because he wanted it to be he cannot claim that his will was forced upon him or that he was a passive bystander to its constitution Under these conditions it is quite irrelevant to the evaluation of 1118 moral responsibility to inquire whether the alternatives that he Optecl against were actually available to him9 In illustration consider a third kind of addict Suppose that his addiction has the same physiological basis and the same irresistible thrust as the addictions of the unwilling and wanton addicts but that he is altogether delighted with his condition He is a willing addict who would not have things any other way If the grip of his addiction should somehow weaken he would do whatever he could to reinstate it if his desire for the drug should begin to fade he would take steps to renew its intensity The willing addict s will is not free for his desire to take the gig will be effective regardless of whether or not he wants this Ire to cons 39 39 it freely and 111 233 IrhliidlaiEZZ tribe Eddegisihendahfi Sltu t a 1011 as involvmg the overdetermmatron of his rstorder de dglfoithoather discussion of the considerations that cast doubt on the prin person 18 morally responsible for what he has done only if he Co v bi ld have done otherwme see my Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsi ty this JOURNAL var 23 Dec 4 1969 829 839 20 THE JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY sire to take the drug This desire is his effective desire because he is physiologically addicted But it is his effective desire also because he wants it to be His will is outside his control but by his second order desire that his desire for the drug should be effective he has made this will his own Given that it is therefore not only because of his addiction that his desire for the drug is effective he may be morally responsible for taking the drug My conception of the freedom of the will appears to be neutral with regard to the problem of determinism It seems conceivable that it should be causally determined that a person is free to want what he wants to want If this is conceivable then it might be caus ally determined that a person enjoys a free will There is no more than an innocuous appearance of paradox in the proposition that it is determined ineluctably and by forces beyond their control that certain people have free wills and that others do not There is no incoherence in the proposition that some agency other than a person s own is responsible even morally reSponsible for the fact that he enjoys or fails to enjoy freedom of the will It is possible that a person should be morally responsible for what he does of his own free will and that some other person should also be morally re sponsible for his having done it10 y On the other hand it seems conceivable that it should come about by chance that a person is free to have the will he wants If this is conceivable then it might be a matter of chance that certain 393 people enjoy freedom of the will and that certain others do not 7 Perhaps it is also conceivable as a number of philosophers believe f for states of affairs to come about in a way other than by chance or as the outcome of a sequence of natural causes If it is indeed conceivable for the relevant states of affairs to come about in some third way then it is also possible that a person should in that third way come to enjoy the freedom of the will HARRY G FRANKFURT The Rockefeller University 10 There is a difference between being fully responsible and being solely sponsible Suppose that the willing addict has been made an addict by the dci liberate and Calculated work of another Then it may be that both the addicg and this other person are fully responsible for the addict s taking the drug while neither of them is solely responsible for it That there is a distinctim between full moral responsibility and sole moral responsibility is apparent the following example A certain light can be turned on or off by icking eithtl li of two switches and each of these switches is simultaneously icked to the on position by a different person neither of whom is aware of the other Neithcf person is solely responsible for the light s going on nor do they share the 5 sponsibility in the sense that each is partially responsible rather each of is fully responsible quot NOTES AND NEWS 2 I NOTES AND NEWS Elbe Department of Philosophy of Texas Christian University Fort orth deeply regrets to announce the death of Arthur Campbell Garnett liltineritus Professor of Philosophy on September 20 1970 after a brief 1 11855 In re5ponse to a widespread interest in the work of Roman Ingarden whose recent death means a profound loss for philosophy The Interna tional Husserl and Phenomenological Research Society announces a com petition of essays on his work in the elds of Ontology Aesthetics and Ethics The acceptable length is between 10000 and 40000 wordsDoc toral dissertations are eligible The deadline for submitting essays is Sep tember 11972 The Committee of the Society will award the best essa a prize of three hundred dollars and it will be published togetheif With the next best contributions submitted in the Analecta Hilsserliana For further information please write to AnnaTeresa Tymieniecka Secre tary General 4330 Yuma Street NW Washington D C 20016 The editors wish to announce the publication of the rst issue of The journal Iof Social Philosophy in December 1970 Those who are interested 1n contributing or subscribing to it should write to either Dr W Creigh ggp eden Augusta College Augusta Georgia 30904 or Dr Richard Ray p ens College Columbia Missouri 6520 Zhe Department of Philosophy at the University of Georgia announces mtrltitl sppnsor a colloquium on the t0pic Philosophy and Environ Joel 1 eingins on February 18 230 1971 Participants include Professors vemit f rg of Rockefeller University Charles Hartshorne at the Uni RCSChjgro U exasW T 39Blackstone 0f the University of Georgia Nicolas Pew Glint niversity of Pittsburgh waiter O Briant University of Georgia mm of E elr NorthTeitas State University Eugene Odum of The Insti Sity of G20 ogy UniverSity of Georgia and Robert Burton of the Univer W T orgia PersonsInterested in attending should write to Professor Blackstone University of Georgia Department of Philosophy Athens Georgia for information 31 Ellilosophy Department of Calvin College is pleased to announce Philoso lslinnes Vander Hoven Professor of Modern and Contemporary demi p y at the Free University of Amsterdam is spending the aca C year 1970 71 as a Visiting Professor at Calvin College Th r101rlgzetplartment of Philosophy of Hamilton College is pleased to an Vi f at Richard Taylor of the University of Rochester will be Truax 111g Professor for the Spring Term of 1971 The annoiecjzaizlment of Philosophy at Illinois State University is pleased to Hannaford E alppomtments of H Gene Blocker Berkeley William E Professors 3 0 ra 1 and Rex W Rufm d Michigan as assistant ontinuing members are Louis E Andrade Nebraska G