Assignment nine: Causality, Free Will, and Determinism
Answer the following in 750 words.
From the section on causality:
1. If you and a friend are looking at a block of wood sitting on a table, your friend might say,
"Nothing is happening." Why does Carnap suggest your friend is not quite right?
2. If you see someone with a bruise on their forehead and ask them how it happened, they might
(if they were philosophically inclined) respond by saying your question is far too complicated to
answer. Why is such a simple question, "What caused that bruise?" so difficult to answer completely?
3. It is a foolish oversimplification to say, "Terrorists attack America because they hate freedom."
What are other examples when people take extremely complicated situations and make wildly
over-simple, causal claims about them? Why is this such a tempting error to commit?
From the section on free will and determinism:
4. How does Carnap explain how one can accept both determinism in the world and the existence
of human choice?
5. Though it may seem paradoxical, why is determinism necessary for decision making?
6. Do you believe that humans have an immaterial soul that can jump into the natural progression
of things happening and alter this determined progression? If so, how does it do it? If not, what
problems does the idea of a soul jumping-in raise?
7. Does a 15-year-old have free-will and make choices? A 10-year-old? A 5-year-old?
A 3-year-old? A 1-year-old? A newborn? Explain your answers.
8. Do monkeys have free-will and make choices? Dogs? Mice? Ants? Bacteria?
Explain your answers.