Part of the Problems of Philosophy book series
but we have not yet finished our examination of determinism. The doctrine has been stated in two different ways in the history of philosophy. These two versions are logically connected and indeed superficially similar. But they are open to different objections. They are sometimes distinguished as scientific and metaphysical determinism. Metaphysical determinism was expressed in the argument set out on page 12:
(I have modified the argument as originally expressed by inserting the “macroscopic” and “physical” to avoid the objection that subatomic events are not all caused and the libertarian’s objection that human choices are not physical events. But the argument is still formally valid and the plausibility of its first premise has been strengthened by the discussion of the previous pages.) This argument can be called metaphysical or ontological. It purports to make statements about the world as it is, independent of human knowledge.
Every macroscopic physical event has a cause.
All human actions are macroscopic physical events.
Therefore: All human actions are caused.
KeywordsHuman Knowledge Human Choice Previous Page Common Knowl Versal Predictability
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© D. J. O’Connor 1971