Thursday, 2 May 2013

Laplace's Hypothesis

He claims that if all the data from the universe was collected into a certain, very high-technological intellect, it would be able to determine all events in the universe. In support of this, computers presently can predict what we thought were complex things, such as weather, natural hazards and planet arrangements. This proves that we do live in a determined, consistent and predictable universe.

This is known as a mechanistic view of reality and describes the universe as acting similar of that of a giant machine. Machines work in a consistent, determinable way which to determinists, is what the universe is. The laws of nature are a good example of the universe behaving in a predictable way, for example Newton's laws of motion.

To put it into context..
Imagine a snooker shot. If we knew all the starting positions of the snooker balls, the direction the ball will move, the speed it will move etc etc, we will be able to predict the outcome of the event.
Starting conditions + relevant physical laws = successful prediction of outcome

Introduction to Free Will and Determinism

What is free will?
Free will is the ability to make choices that aren't constrained by certain factors. The will is the part of a person's 'mind' which makes decisions based on multiple choices of actions. Choice here, is based on reasoning and evaluation.

And determinism?
Determinism is the belief that a determinate/precisely defined set of conditions can only produce one possible outcome given the fixed laws of nature.

Determinist Claims
Universal Causation - Every event has a cause
Causal Necessity - The same cause will operate in the same way if repeated
Reductive Physicalism - Our nature is strictly physical and can be described and understood by science

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Other SoN Views

Rousseau - We have never experienced the SoN, don't understand what it would be like. Hobbes would reply that countries such as Somalia with no government would be SoNs.

Burke - Argument is misguided because everyone is different and would all act in different ways in the SoN.


Hobbes: SoN is awful --> state is the answer

Locke: SoN is insecure --> state is the answer

Anarchists: State is awful --> SoN is the answer 

Criticisms of Locke

Limited state may be too weak - People aren't forced to work together so there may be no cooperation. It is easy to become leader as there is no God to decide and leviathan.

State makes us power crazy - Anarchists say the state brings out the worst in us.

Locke is an empiricist but says we have innate ideas in the SoN! Makes his whole argument hard to believe.

Locke's benefits of a state

Limited State
Rules on what a state can and can't do, limited power. Opposes absolute monarchy.

Why a limited state?
We have a right to justice. Because the state is limited, it will make unbiassed punishments to criminals and more likely to solve problems whereas in the SoN, victims will have unbiassed views of punishment to the person doing wrong and are more likely to not solve the problem but make it worse.

Why not an absolute monarchy?
Monarchs are humans with unlimited power which they can use however they want. This means they can carry out biassed punishment which is as bad as or worse than the SoN because it is illegal to disagree with their orders.

Who's State of Nature is more convincing?


- People would have morals. Most would cooperate as well as game theory shows. I think people would act rationally to stay alive and this consists of trusting one another.
- Equality would exist and there would be no higher leader because it is morally right and people would have morals.
- Natural Law/innate morals most people would have because humans are intelligent beings that know the best solution to certain situations.
- War may occur but will always end peacefully. E.g WW1 & 2 ended mostly peacefully.

Locke's State of Nature

Claims of the SoN:

'A State of perfect Freedom' - everyone has free will with 'actions', 'possessions' and 'persons' within a Law of Nature which is aspects of nature that constrain us from doing things such as gravity. (Not manmade but from reason. Stops us from doing wrong.

Equality in abilities/'faculties'- no higher leader/'subordination'. Only when God chooses someone will there be. 'Declaration of his Will set one above another'.

Not a 'State of Licence'/where anything goes. People cannot harm others in 'life, health, liberty or possessions'.

Hobbes and Locke differences..

Equality - Hobbes: In terms of power/strength. No-one free from harm (Fight for Glory). Locke: in terms of abilities/faculties. No high leader except God.

Liberty/freedom - Hobbes: Freedom to protect life 'anything goes'. Free to be violent. Locke: Freedom to do what you want but not a 'state of licence'.

Natural Law - Hobbes: Natural right to protect life. Conflicts with everyone else. Locke: 'Law of Nature' stops people from doing wrong. Everyone has innate morals.