I do not like the ‘black or white’ character of your question.
I tried to leave opportunities to occupy a gray area by simply asking a one-pronged question and allowing that I may be mistaken about the answer.
Say I repeat the experiment with the green ball 1000 times and find: 712 times it flies to the right after the collision, 245 times it flies off to the left, 43 times it doesn’t move. So in statistical boundaries that is the same result as you describe. So what is determined is a chance distribution. So is the event determined? Yes, partially. Is it uncaused? Yes, but not totally. Now where our standpoint differs in which of both ‘partial answers’ we see the possibility of free will. As I understand you, you see it in the uncaused aspect, whereas I see it in the determined part.
What you’re describing is not determinism. Determinism requires the same precise outcome from the same set of starting conditions (allowing for discrete segments of time to allow for determinism beyond classical). The type of determinism you’re now describing can be all-encompassing because even completely random events can be said to be “determined” in the sense you’re now using (determined to be completely random).
The point is, I don’t subscribe to the idea that free will would mean ‘could have done otherwise’ in the rigid metaphysical meaning, that given a certain set of conditions, the exact effect is not determined. Or so as you say it here:
...determinism eliminates one of the requirements for free will: The ability to act differently without regard to preceding conditions.
Right. You’re a compatibilist. And a determinism that included indeterminism wouldn’t bother you with regard to free will so long as control was involved (which I see you confirm below).
That is not a requirement for me. What I require is that I recognise my actions as following from my own wishes and beliefs. Given my wishes and beliefs, it would be astonishing that I (undetermined) would do something else in exactly the same situation. It would mean that my action has nothing to with me.
Galen Strawson more careful than you are about trying to move around the location of randomness in the LFW conception of free will. Once you place it subsequent to the entity’s decision to act, you’re no longer using the LFW model that anyone uses except for straw man manufacturers. The LFW advocate requires control just as much as the proponent of CFW. The difference is that the LFW advocate won’t find free will in a scenario that is causally determined by preceding conditions outside the control of the subject. But you’d find the type of free will you accept (CFW).
Let’s take the idea of the ‘chance distribution’. My wishes and beliefs determine a small spectrum of possible actions. Say I like vanilla and strawberry ice cream. I have the choice between vanilla, strawberry and nougat, which I do not like at all. So my chance distribution would be: 50% vanilla, 50% strawberry, 0% nougat. Now the free will aspect for me is that it is determined that I will not take the nougat. That is determined by my disgust of it. Now I can’t choose between vanilla and strawberry, I like them both. So I just ‘randomly’ say I’ll take the strawberry. But exactly that is not a great example of expressing free will.
I’d identify this type of example as useful in drawing the distinction between libertarian free action and morally responsible libertarian free action. The important point here is where the decision originates. If it originates with your non-determined desire for either vanilla or strawberry ice cream, then it’s free will but has no discernible moral dimension. If you choose vanilla because you’re concerned about the use of “blood strawberries” (something I just made up that’s conceptually related to “blood diamonds”) then there’s a moral dimension. And that likely affects the probability distribution (maybe you’re not sure blood strawberries are real or rumor!).
I would also recognise a choice for vanilla as my own action. So the random element, even if it is there, is not the reason to see my choice as an expression of free will. It is my determined decisiveness not to take the nougat, and at least to choose for the vanilla or the strawberry ice cream that makes my choice an expression of free will.
You’re arguing against the “could have done otherwise” element of LFW, but your presentation is a tad ambiguous. Are you drawing a distinction between being “determined” to choose vanilla 50 percent of the time/strawberry 50 percent of the time and a random event? If so, I don’t see the distinction.
Now I think it is telling that you have to turn to a nearly science fiction example to show why the compatibilist notion of free will does not work.
What some people will take as significant evidence! I’m a big fan of science fiction, and I’m a fan of outlandishly memorable illustrations. Could I choose the mundane instead of the interesting? I suppose so, but apparently I’m determined to pick the sensational more often than not.
Obvious mind-control scenarios carry a strong illustrative punch. Therefore I’m desperate or something? Please.
Address it by explaining why the controlled individual does not have CFW without special pleading. It makes you look desperate to avoid the issue when you focus on the outlandishness of the illustration.
(next step for science: mind-meld scientist uses his brain to control another guy’s decision to move his finger)
I hope I understood you correctly that you say: imagine somebody manipulates my actions not by opposing my wishes and beliefs, but by actually changing them. In that case you would say that the compatibilist notion that my wishes and beliefs cause my actions still applies, but at the same time it is clear that I am coerced.
That’s the idea.
But in your example my wishes and beliefs are determined in the wrong way. If they did not arise by my own observations, by arguments and experiences I have, they cannot count as my actions.
You’re having the experience of having your mind controlled. How is that not your experience? Would you prefer it if the scientist brainwashes you with a movie? Then it’s plainly your own experience that leads you to do as the diabolical Professor Science commands. I don’t know what type of mental argument you conceive that can’t be yours. Are you imagining Professor Science as an extra entity in the victim’s head?
Bottom line: It’s vague to me the basis on which you argue the reasoning isn’t truly yours. I suspect if it’s not special pleading it might pass as “No True Scotsman.” I hope you’ll take the opportunity to draw a clear distinction.
If I would commit a crime because you used such a device on me, and it would turn out that you did this, I would not recognise my action as my action anymore.
You underestimate me. I’d make sure to use the machine to remind you that you performed the action with complete CFW.
So would a judge.
You’ve got me there, if the judge believes in LFW. But what if he’s a compatibilist? In that case he’d have to come up with some sort of argument why you’re not responsible, and he can’t appeal to himself, can he?
I am not morally culpable because I was manipulated, even if I originally thought I committed the crime motivated by my own convictions.
All willful actions of a compatibilist are manipulated. The question is why it makes a difference whether the manipulation is done consciously as a means to an end or unconsciously as a matter of happenstance. The compatibilist’s requirement for control is met. Why isn’t it CFW? And why isn’t it possible that happenstance manipulation could make it so you do not recognize your own prior actions?