Ayer, A.J. "Freedom and Necessity." Essay

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Philosophy 1301. 1002
Ayer, A.J. “Freedom and Necessity.”

In the following paper I will talk about A.J. Ayer’s “Freedom and Necessity,” and I will explain the dilemma of determinism and Ayer’s compatibilist solution to it. I will explain some of the examples Ayer uses to explain the difference between cause and being constrained, and how both affect one’s free will. I will also discuss on why Ayer’s compatibilism solution to the dilemma is the best solution so far. According to A.J. Ayer, the problem of free will is the result from the conflict of two different assumptions, which are men acting freely while being morally responsible for their actions, and that human behavior comes from causal laws. Ayer begins by attacking the
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Ayer defends by saying, “For all that is needed for one event to be the cause of another. is that, in the given circumstances, the event which is said to be the effect would not have occurred if it had not been for the occurrence of the event which is said to be the cause. . .” (Ayer, 116-117). The last objection is the all actions are predictable objection. It states that all of our actions or everything we do in this world, has been predicted by some force or by God. Therefore, we are all “prisoners of fate” according to Ayer. Ayer defends this by saying that even if God knows everything one will do, one still has free will, right of choosing, and we are not prisoners of fate. Ayer says, “What it does entail is that my behaviour can be predicted: but to say that my behaviour can be predicted is not to say that I am acting under constraint” (Ayer, 118). He calls these objections tautologies and says they can not prove anything about free will. To have free will is to say one could have acted otherwise. Ayer has three conditions that would make this statement true. The first one is that in order to be free one must make a choice. The second is that the choice made would have to be a voluntary unlike the kleptomaniac. The third is that no person or thing can force one in making that choice. He says that only then will the three conditions be fulfilled and one would completely be free. I think Ayer’s theory