Kane And Self-Forming Actions Analysis

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Discussing Kane and Self Forming Actions This essay looks to discuss Kane’s self-forming actions, or SFAs, and looks to see if they are successful in defending a libertarian conception of free will. First essay will explain what SFAs are. Next, the essay challenges the validity of SFAs on the grounds that Kane`s account of freedom lacks a proper external story. It finds this to be true, and concludes that SFAs cannot then save libertarianism as they are not valid. According to Kane most anti-libertarian arguments follow from what he calls the luck principle, or LP, which holds that since the world is undetermined, the fact that an act occurred rather than not occurring was a matter of luck, and hence it could not be free or responsible act. …show more content…
It holds that since the world is undetermined that the agents decision to do one act or another at a certain time is a matter of luck, and hence it could not be a free or responsible act. Kane 's SFAs are meant to counter these principles. First, Kane holds that not all decisions we make are in a state of indeterminism, but rather there are times when we have pre-existing beliefs and preferences which determine us to choose in a certain way. It is only the SFAs that are undetermined. SFAs are instances of free choice which only occur when the agent is torn between which act they should will to do. The agent, unsure of which to choose, is uncomfortable with the situation and begins a soul searching process which actives and stirs up the regions of the brain necessary for the decision. The stirring up of the brain leaves the brain open to indeterminacy on the neural level. It’s this indeterminacy at the neural level that causes the decision to be undetermined. Now, when the agent decides which act to do, they in turn try to will the act into existence. So, the agent freely choose the act, since there was nothing determining their decision, and is still responsible for the …show more content…
In Kane’s account, freedom arises from the usage of SFAs, but this freedom does not seem to be robust enough. The free will story has both an internal story and an external story. Typically when we talk about freedom, there is something observable about the way one acts, which allows for others to intuitively determine whether or not the an act in question was done freely or not, in at very least pragmatic cases of freedom. Take Chisholm’s discussion of the gunman. In the free case, we observe Chisholm`s gunman as having a gun and can pick whether or not to shot it. In the not free case, Chisholm’s gunman is observed to be hypnotized and forced to pick up the gun and fire it. What we should take away from this is that our intuitions seem to offer us some part to the story of whether or not an act was done freely, as there is something observably different about the external stories of free and determined actions. But this is why Kane`s story is so odd. Both his free SFAs and non-free determined decisions appear have the same external story. Returning to Chisholm`s gunman, for SFAs the story goes that the agent picks up the gun and then chooses to whether or not to fire it. For determined decisions, the agent picks up the gun and then chooses whether or not to fire it. Externally then, they have the same story, even though we should expect there to be some observable difference between the two. Kane’s story then doesn’t fit with our intuitions.

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