Ooof, WITHTEETH, a lot of stuff here. I can see you’re learning about Hume in your philosophy class now.
[quote author=“WITHTEETH”]Hume first put forth a theory to explain this, where he explained that a deterministic set of laws does not necessarily correlate with a necessity of causation. Physical laws are descriptions of events, and the laws-in-themselves have no causal role. So even if you were to provide a complete physical description of the brain’s decision-making process, those laws constructed from said description are not the cause of the brains behavior.
Humes I beleive, i could be wrong too, had to do with making liberty(freewill) and Necessity(determinism) work together. He used Wittgensteins method and resolved the issue linguistically so that we could have both determinism and freewill at the sametime.
You have to be a bit careful here with Hume. First of all, he didn’t “use Wittgenstein’s method”, since Wittgenstein lived several hundred years later. He didn’t “resolve the issue linguistically” ... Hume wasn’t really interested in language per se, but rather in perceptions.
Hume had a very particular view of what cause and effect amounted to; he saw them as mental operations of a certain sort, which is not how I see them. Cause and effect are things in the world.
One also has to realize that Hume existed long before the advances in 20th century science ...
Hume was a great thinker in many ways, but I would not rely on him as the fount of my beliefs on anything.
“ liberty, ... when opposed to constraint”
“ liberty, when opposed to necessity…”(E1 ?74, p.96)
Hume believes that there is liberty according to  but not according to :
“The first is even the most common sense of the word; and as ‘tis only that species of liberty, which it concerns us to preserve, our thoughts have been principally turn’d towards it, and have almost universally confounded it with the other.” (T 455/407f)
“liberty, when opposed to necessity… is the same thing with chance; which is universally allowed to have no existence.” (E1 ?74, p.96)
“What is meant by liberty, when applied to voluntary actions? We cannot surely mean that actions have so little connexion with motives [...] that one affords no inference [to] to the existence of the other. [...] By liberty [when applied to voluntary actions], then, we can only mean a power of acting or not acting according to the determinations of the will; that is, if we choose to remain at rest, we may; if we choose to move, we also may. Now this hypothetical liberty is universally allowed to belong to everyone who is not a prisoner and in chains.” (E1 ?73, p.95)
5. The compatibility of the “doctrine of necessity” and the “doctrine of liberty”
Hume’s opinion is: liberty according to  is compatible with the “doctrine of necessity”, liberty according to  isn’t. But liberty according to  doesn’t exist anyway, since there is no chance in nature. Liberty according to  suffices in order to justify punishment. So the kind of liberty there is is also just the kind of liberty we want.
Where is this gloss from? Is it from your professor? If so you really should quote him or her.
At any rate he/she is quite correct about all this, re. Hume. Liberty exists “when opposed to constraint” ... that is, we are free when we are unconstrained. Liberty does not exist “when opposed to necessity”. But we need some further analysis of what we mean by “necessity”. In my opinion, Hume had no good theory of necessity, since he was a thoroughgoing skeptic about the real world.
Modern theories about necessity (or “modal logic”) depend for their ontology on things like physical or mathematical laws. E.g., something is physically necessary if it follows from a physical law. Something is logically necessary if it follows from a law of logic. So being “at liberty” doesn’t mean that we can break necessary laws of physics or logic. (Hume would not have been able to describe the case that way. This, IMO, is one of his weaknesses).
You will also note that Hume says “chance ... has no existence”. Hum! We can see he lived before the development of quantum mechanics. Another reason why we have to treat the writings of long-dead philosophers with large grains of salt.
[quote author=“WITHTEETH”]I also believe in a different type of dichotomy, one between the mental and the physical, that is non-reductive, yet whose ontology is wholly linguistic.
What do you mean? There is a lot of highfalutin’ terminology here. What ontology is “wholly linguistic”? The mental? The physical? Both? And what does it mean to say that its “ontology is wholly linguistic”? That the mind or physical reality is just made up of words?! That’s pretty loony.
Surely modern science has shown that the physical is made up of things such as quarks, leptons, forces, et cetera, and that the mind is made up of perceptions, beliefs, pictures, which are reducible to (or supervenient upon) states of the brain. Nothing necessarily linguistic about it.
[quote author=“WITHTEETH”] There are certain events that only contain meaning through descriptions using mental terms. While these events may correspond (we use the term “supervene” in Philosophy of Mind) to a physical event in the brain, linguistically you cannot reduce the description of the mental event (say “pain”) to the description of the physical event (what is termed “c-fiber excitation” in philosophy; a simple term used to refer to whatever brain-event actually happens when a person experiences “pain”). This is a theory known as “Anomalous Monism”, and was put forth by Donald Davidson in his essay “Mental Events”. I believe “free-will” can be included within AM, or within a similar theory that builds off of Davidson’s work.
I see you’re learning about Don Davidson as well. Must be a fun class. :wink:
Remember, it is one thing to describe what he says and another to make any sense of it. [Caveat: Davidson was one of the direct targets of my Ph.D. dissertation].