Searle’s Argument Against Free Will Essay

1792 words - 7 pages

Searle’s argument is one against humans having free will. The conclusion comes from his view on determinism and his view on substances. His view on substances is a materialist one. To him, the entire world is composed of material substances. All occurrences can be explained by these materials. This is a view that is very attuned with (accepting) determinism. Determinism states that necessary causes must be for the occurrence to be. This deterministic cause and effect relationship is apparent in the physical world. Hard believing determinists see determinism as being exclusive of free will. Searle, being a materialist, views humans as just another material substance. He accepts determinism and rejects (libertarian) free will.
1. The behavior of every material composite substance is either completely deterministically caused by the nature of the material parts making it up or is partially randomly caused.
2. If (1) then, if a human being is a material composite, her behavior is either completely deterministically caused by the nature of the material parts making her up or it is partially randomly caused
3. If a human being is a material composite, her behavior is either completely deterministically caused by the nature of the material parts making her up or it is partially randomly caused. (1,2)
4. No being having the behavior of which is either completely deterministically caused by the nature of the parts making it up, or is partially randomly caused, has freedom in the libertarian sense.
5. If a human being is a material composite substance, she does not have freedom in the libertarian sense. (3,4)
6. Human beings are material composite substances.
7. Human beings do not have freedom in the libertarian sense.
Objection 1 (Premise 6): Human beings are material composite substances
Searle thinks humans beings are composite material substances because he thinks everything is a material substance. For example, a tree—a physical thing—is a material composite substance. Any feature can be directly explained (via materialism) by composition of the materials that constitute a tree. Being a physical thing means it is subject to determinism. Trees are determined by simply being a tree (as opposed to not being a tree) as well as being composed of materials which are also determined.
Premise 6 attempts to describe human beings in this materialistic way. The materialist view of a physical thing, such as a tree, can give many explanations because it can give any explanation because it can give all explanations. The objection to the premise is that although the materialist view of a human being can give many explanations, it cannot give any explanation because it can’t explain it all.
In materialism, there is physical matter called simple substance, which serves as the most basic elemental building block. They can be grouped together in a specific way to form the structure of a material. The material can be grouped...

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