Freedom and Causality in Contemporary Islamic Western Philosophy


Author(s): Ayatullah Mohsen Araki

Category: Comparative Religion Politics Current Affairs Philosophy

Topic Tags: Free Will Contemporary Islamic Philosophy Miscellaneous information: October 2012


This text authored by Mohsen Mohammadi Araghi which addresses the topics of freewill and causality in contemporary Islamic and western philosophy and the theory of moral obligation.

This thesis is a work by Ayatollah Doctor Mohsen Mohammadi Araghi who has a degree of Doctor of Philiosophy awarded by the University of Portsmouth Regulations for the Award of Higher Degree


‘At last a wolf's whelp will be a wolf

Although he may grow up with a man’

This couplet is a well-known Iranian proverb whose first creator was the wise famous Iranian poet, Muslih Al Din Saadi Shirazi, who lived in the seventh lunar century-Hijri Ghamari- 13th century. It was used in the content of a story which was about a group of bandits who were captured after hard efforts of the King’s soldiers and the King ordered their death. Among them was a very young man towards whom the King’s vizier felt pitiful and asked the King to forgive him because of his juvenility and requested to be granted his care in order to train him and familiarize him morals and raise him with worthy behaviour.

At first, the King did not agree however due to the persistence of the Vizier, the king finally surrendered to his request and forgave that young person’s sin and left his training and reformation into the Viziers hand.

The Vizier endeavoured to educate

p: 1

the Young person for a while however eventually as Saadi says: ‘After two years had elapsed a band of robbers in the locality joined him, tied the knot of friendship and, when the opportunity presented itself, he killed the vizier with his son, took away untold wealth and succeeded to the position of his own father in the robber-cave where he established himself.’(1)

This story puts the theory of hereditary determinism forward based upon which the personage and behaviour of man is recognised through the restrictive deterministic factor and as a result education is ineffective before the heredity factor, and has no influential role in shaping the personage and behaviour of man.

According to the theory of hereditary determinism, man has no freedom of will and decision against the hereditary factor since what shapes and directs the will of man is the very hereditary factor which nurtures certain motivations in man in a deterministic and infrangible way. These motivations are shaped alongside the hereditary factors and will be the primitive and deterministic causes of creation of man’s will and voluntary actions.

If this theory is accepted, the routes to training man will close and there will be no other choice but for all men to fully surrender to whatever hereditary factor received from generations before them. This is because any effort to avoid the influence of the hereditary deterministic factor, according to the saying of Saadi, would be a useless and futile effort.

Consequently, in accordance to the example presented in the former tale,

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1- Sa’adi Shirazi, 1992, pp. 50-54

man’s characteristics are preconfigured, which entails invariability of man’s inherited model of personality and thus resulting in the fruitlessness of training and education.

There is another theory confronting this theory which considers the will of man independent of the hereditary factor and believes that although the hereditary factor can influence the will of man, the choice of getting influenced by the hereditary factor or any other external factor is the man’s, and using his free will power, it is him who can choose his will and voluntary act, and as a result, shape his personage and destiny.

This other theory has been stated and emphasized in various ways in the Holy Quran among which are the verses that describe Allah (S.W.T) using the description:

‘He brings out the living from the dead, and He brings out the dead from the living’ (30:19)

Here the narrations obtained from the pure Imams interpret the word ‘Hayy’ (the living) to mean the faithful and ‘Mayet’ (the dead) to mean the infidel (1)

This is the same in Islamic religious sources, in the story of ‘Buddha’ where his father is introduced as a tyrant, anti-religion person who put his utmost effort on killing pious and religious people. (2)

Explaining the Islamic view regarding man’s freedom factors like environment, hereditary and others Martyr Allamah Mutahhari says:

‘Whilst man cannot entirely cut off his relations to hereditary, natural environment, social environment, history and time he can rebel against these barriers. Man by his power of wisdom and knowledge on one hand and his

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1- Al-Qommi, 1983, Vol 1, p. 211
2- Al-Sadooq, 1991, pp. 521-579

faith and free will on the other hand, can change the received influences of these factors modifying them according to his desires and wishes. He could own and control his life and his destiny’(1)

Therefore the theory of hereditary determinism of moral and behavioural characters has definitely been rejected in the religious and philosophical resources originated from Islamic religious sources.

On the other hand, confronting the deterministic hereditary factor, some of the ancient and modern social philosophies believe in the theory of ‘the determinism of social environment’ as the main factor in shaping the personage and will and behaviour of man and have strongly defended it. Based on this way of thinking, the will of man which is the foundation of his behaviour and personage, is restricted to the ‘social environment’ deterministic factor.

According to Martyr Allamah Mutahhari:

‘One of the fundamental problems discussed by philosophers, particularly in the last century, is the problem of determinism and freedom of individual as against society, or in other words, determinism and freedom of the individual spirit vis-a-vis the social spirit.’

After the short explanation of four theories regarding the nature of society, he then concluded:

‘If we accept the idea of the absolute essentiality and primariness of the society, there will be no place left for the idea of the freedom and choice of the individual.

Emile Durdkheim, the famous French sociologist, emphasizes the importance of society to the extent of saying that social matters (in fact all the human matters, unlike the biological and animal urges and

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1- Human Being in Qura’n, 1991, p. 39

needs like eating and sleeping) are the products of society, not the products of individual thought and will, and have three characteristics: they are external, compulsive, and general.’(1)

Among the most famous social determinism theories is the historical materialism theory of Karl Marx who considers the thought and will of man to be the deterministic product of social production relations and the social production relations to be a deterministic consequence of production factor. Based upon historical materialism, the ‘free will of man’ is a meaningless term since the will of all men is the deterministic result of a form of production relation that is created through production factors.

Based upon the determined dialectical process and as a result of the inner contradiction of production relations, the new production factors will break apart the old production relations and replace them with modern social production relations. The thoughts, reflections, the feelings and affections of man have been derived from the new production relations.

Since the dialectical progress of production tools is an always active and definitely unavoidable law, a new contradiction will be emerged between the new production tools and the old production relations.

The social reflection of this contradiction will be emerged in the contradiction between the old social class who supports the old production tools and relations with the new social class who support the modern production tools and relations. This social contradiction is followed by struggle and war between the two old and new classes which will end in a modern

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1- Mutahhari, 1997, pp. 20-21

social revolution in which the new social class who supports the modern production tools and relations is the always winning frontier of this social struggle:

‘When the dialectical method is applied to the study of economic problems, economic phenomena are not viewed separately from each other, by bits and pieces, but in their inner connection as an integrated totality, structured around, and by, a basic predominant mode of production. This totality is analysed in all its aspects and manifestations, as determined by certain given laws of motion, which relate also to its origins and its inevitable disappearance.

These laws of motion of the given production are discovered to be nothing but the unfolding of the inner contradiction of that structure, which define its very nature. The given economic structure is seen to be characterized at one and the same time by the unity of these contradictions and by their struggle, both of which determine the constant changes which it undergoes. The (quantitative) changes which constantly occur in the given mode of production, through adaptation, integration of reforms and self-defence (evolution), are distinguished from those (qualitative) changes which, by sudden leaps, produce a different structure, a new mode of production (revolution).’(1)

According to the text above the determined production motion laws are the basic foundation of economic relations and structure, and according to Marx’s thesis of ‘materialist conception of history’ the economic relations and its relevant structure are the basic source of social structure containing all social phenomena such as thought, religion, art,

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1- Karl Marx, 1990, Vol 1, p. 18

politics, ethics, etc.

Bertrand Russell says:

For Marx, the driving force is really man’s relation to matter, of which the most important part is his mode of production. In this way Marx’s materialism, in practice becomes economics.

The politics, religion, philosophy, and art of any epoch in human history are according to Marx, an outcome of its methods of production, and, to a lesser extent, of distribution. (1)

Plekhanov says:

‘The social environment characteristics are formed by the level of production power in every age which means that when the levels of production powers are fixed, they subordinate all social environment characteristics, its relative psychology and mutual relations between environment on one hand, and ideas, and behaviours on the other hand.’(2)

As a result of the materialist conception of history, individual characteristics are nothing but a reflection of the social structure which derived from the determined laws of dialectical production movement.

Consequently, every agent’s action is not a result of an independent free will created by the agent himself, and separated from social structure. Rather it is a determined effect, resulted from social production relations, by the predominant dialectical production motion laws.

The theory of Hegel about the absolute spirit dominating the history and the world, must also be counted among the social deterministic theories. In Hegel’s view:

‘God is managing the world, the plan and form upon which He manages the world is the history.’ (3)

According to Hegel’s explanation of the world, the history is nothing but the provided chain of occurrences determined by the Providence of

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1- Bertrand Russell, 1995, p. 750
2- Plekhanov, 1969, p. 42
3- Hegel G.W.F, 1991, p. 36

God which presides over the events of the world. The essence of the world and history is the absolute spirit of god, which exists and guides everything including human actions through the determined law directed to the determinate goal.

States, societies and individuals are a part of the provided connected chain of history, then its actions and behaviours are not spontaneous or accidental, but they are predominated by the Providence of God under determined law.

Martyr Allamah Mutahhari insisted that the two theories of Hegel and Marx with respect to philosophical interpretation of history lead to the same result of historical determinism which absolutely negates the human free will, he says:

‘There are some who, on the basis of the principle of causation and the principle of universality, negate freedom and choice. They maintain that whatever is accepted in the name of freedom is not actually freedom. Contrarily, there are others who approve the principle of freedom and negate the view that history follows certain laws.

Many sociologists accept the incompatibility of causality and freedom, and, therefore, they accept causality and negate freedom.

Hegel, and Marx following him, accepts historical determinism. According to Hegel and Marx, freedom is nothing but consciousness of historical necessity. In the book Marx and Marxism, the following passage of Engels is quoted from his work Anti-Duhring:

Hegel was the first to state correctly the relation between freedom and necessity. To him freedom is the appreciation of necessity. Necessity is blind only in so far as it is not understood. Freedom does

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not consist in the dream of independence from natural laws, but in the knowledge of these laws and in the possibility this gives of systematically making them work towards definite ends. This holds good in relation to the laws of external nature and those which govern the bodily and mental existence of man themselves. (Andre Peter, Marx and Marxism, Persian translation by Shuja al-Din Diya’iyan, p.249)’ (1)

Also in Psychology, there are various theories that support the deterministic factors and psychological reasons. One of the most famous determinist theories in the field of Psychology is the ‘sexual theory’ of Freud.

Freud believed that the will and personage of man originates from thoughts and affections which are the result of sexual deprivations that originate from sexual restrictions. The Oedipus complex will cause the advent of sexual desires following which the feelings and affections and thought of man will strive and endeavor to compensate for the sexual deprivation and will shape the structure of personage of man. By the formation of the psychological personality of man, his requests and desire will orientate parallel to his psychological personality and will shape the will and voluntary actions of man.

Edgar Pesch says:

It appears that it is necessary to sketch the general lines in the Oedipus complex, the complex which is not only the foundation of the child’s sexual desires but is also the creator of the social and sexual life of mature people. (2)

Freud states that the scientific inquiries show that the beginning of religion, the spiritual

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1- Mutahhari, 1997, p.53
2- Pesch, 1993, p. 64

values, social customs and Art will all join one another in the ‘Oedipus complex’ point:

‘At the conclusion, then, of this exceedingly condensed inquiry, I should like to insist that its outcome shows that the beginnings of religions, morals, society and art in the Oedipus complex.’(1)

Moreover, the freedom of the will of man constitutes the main base of laws. The long disputes regarding the basis of law, the meaning and the source of natural law, common Law, civil law specially the law of contracts, the criminal law, and other forms and fields of law all are rooted in the principle of the freedom of the will of man. The accountability and responsibility of man towards his words and actions whether in the civil laws or criminal laws all depend on the scale of freedom of man in decision making and the scale of involvement of the free will of man in shaping his words, actions, and personality.

‘Modern theorists following Machiavelli suggested that natural law (rights and principles held to be common to all humankind and derived from the nature of man rather than from social customs or contracts, religion, etc.) originated not in the heavens but in man himself. Nature supplies no pattern for the good state. In fact, in the state of nature there is no law at all, only individual desire and freedom.’ (2)

The main field of the civil law is the law of contracts which is founded on the basis of human freewill. For that the man’s responsibility

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1- Freud, 2001, p. 182
2- Ezzati A. 2002, p. 26

towards his words is entirely meaningless, without his own deliberation and freewill.

With respect to the criminal law, a cardinal principle of criminal law is embodied in the maxim ‘an act does not make a man guilty of a crime unless his mind is also guilty’ (1)and it is obvious that the guiltiness of mind depends on its deliberation and intention which derives from the agent’s freewill.

One of the main subjects related to the criminal law and criminal psychology is education and training in forming the personality of the convict. The theory that considers the personality of the convict to be the definite consequence of his education will direct the main responsibility of the crime of the convict towards his trainer and see the way to reform the society and reduce or eradicate crime in the society exclusively in the educational factors and environment of the society.

The social political crises which cause very vast and deep social problems rather the criminal political events like global wars, massacres, transgressions and social violence and etc., stem from human volition, and its previous prerequisites.

These subjects and all the issues that are related to the voluntary actions of man which cover a vast area, which is as vast as all of the social sciences, is related to the subject of the freedom of man’s will and the connection of this freedom with the causal deterministic law or the deterministic causality. The connection of the deterministic causality with the freedom of man and the intellectual

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1- Card R. 2004, p. 2.2

justification of the power of man over free decision making and the scale of involvement of the free will of man in shaping the actions, the personality and the destiny of man is the main subject of this research. The prime foundation of all the discussions is related to social sciences.

This study tries to reflect the problem of compatibility between general causal law and the free will of human being, and whether or not the general causal law is compatible with the freedom of man; I will examine the different theories in contemporary Islamic and Western philosophy comparing them with each other and criticising them, and finally I will present my theory of ‘moral obligation’ which I think is able to give a new solution to this problem.

In the first chapter I will give a short explanation of the background of this problem in the Islamic philosophy, in chapter two I will reflect upon the contemporary Islamic perspective. In the third chapter I will look at the contemporary Western theories regarding the problem and in the last chapter I’ll present my view with respect to the free will and its compatibility with the general causal law.

According to my suggested theory, which was called ‘moral preponderant’, the main source of the free will of the human act stems from deliberation and reflection. The real meaning of this freedom is that the act must arise from deliberation and reflection of man; what he is going to do, what the possibilities

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of the different choices are, which one of them is good, which one of them is bad, which one is the best, and which one is the worst.

To consider the different possibilities and to deliberate upon them, and the decision-making which arises from this deliberation and reflection, and then to choose what to do or not to do, is the very foundation and the mere core of the freewill and is actually the basis of the freedom of mankind.

The most important result of this theory is that it is impossible to have free individuals or free societies without having enough opportunity for reflection and deliberation.

The most important responsibility of education systems, mass media systems, economic, and political systems is to prepare the adequate environment for the people to think about their life, and to deliberate about the different types of life-styles, kinds of actions, lanes of movement, and consequently choose which one is the best.

Part 1: The Background of the Problem in Islamic Philosophy


The philosophical problem between causality and freewill is that there are two very obvious facts, the first is that we, as mankind, feel that we are free to choose what we are going to do, and we can do or not do what we want. The second fact is that every possible thing that exists needs a determining factor or cause which means that the human free act is dominated by the determined cause, here the paradoxical conflict arises between our feeling of free action and the determination of the factors which influenced us

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to do what we do.

To have a clear idea of this philosophical debate in the Islamic thought, we need to know the real meanings of the main terms in this discussion and to know a brief history about the main sources of this debate in the history of Islamic thought. In the first part of this study the main terms of this discussion will be clarified, and the short story of the source of this philosophical debate in the history of Islamic thought will be presented.

In the history of Islamic thought, there were several currents and many thinkers. It was not possible to mention all of them, here my attempt is to focus upon the main current and the main thinkers who brought about a new theory or established a new school of thought

One of the earliest problems in philosophy that has occupied minds of great philosophers and has been debated in different philosophical ages is the problem of causality and its relation to freedom.

On one side, the depth of philosophical issues related to causality and freedom and the close relationship between these two issues and the intellectual and practical systems of man and also the many philosophical and theological issues that exist has made this issue in the field of philosophical and theological discussions especially important.

The fundamental role of this subject in the field of social sciences is also prominent and noteworthy. On one hand, the field of law and crime prevention and discernment and determination of

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the real criminal and also the determination of the involvement of the will of the criminal in the accomplishment of crime on the other hand as well as the role of the society and the inherited factors and the family and educating environment in the formation of the personality of the criminal and the shaping of his criminal will, all have a close relationship with the issue of man’s freedom and its connections with causality.

In the field of sociology, the influence of group spirit in the formation of the individual character of man and his will and also the effect of various geographical and historical factors and etc. in the emergence and shaping of the group spirit and will are all issues that have a close relationship with the freedom of man’s will.

There are some psychological and sociological theories that regard the will and personality of man- in both social and individual aspects- the product of deterministic factors. The theory of Freud on the influence of sexual instinct in shaping the personality and behaviour of man and the theory of Karl Marx on the influence of productive forces in shaping of the group spirit and intellect and then in the thought and personality of an individual, are among the theories that regard the personality and will of man to be denounced by factors beyond his personality and freewill and do not consider the freewill to be able to determine his destiny clear of these factors.

There are also theories in

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the field of morals, education and economics that consider the deterministic forces beyond the will of man to shape the moral and economical character that direct the moral, educative and economical behaviours.

It is for this reason that the topic of freedom of man and its relationship with other causes and with the principle of causal law are among the most important issues that must be carefully analysed and discussed.

The problem of ‘Causality’ and its relation to ‘Freedom’ has been discussed in ancient Greek, Indian, and Persian philosophy before the Islamic Age.

After the emergence of Islam, one of the main philosophical and theological cases propounded by the Qur’an and the traditions of the Prophet and the infallible Imams was the creation of the world and man by God on one hand, and man’s freedom and responsibility on the other, which led the Muslim scholars and philosophers to long philosophical discussions that resulted in various trends of thought and schools.

The argument about the relation between God and the creation led to the problems of causality and necessity, and the discussion about the relation between God and man led to the question of man’s responsibility and freedom.

To clarify the philosophical problem of the outwardly conflict between causality and necessity on one hand, and freedom on the other hand, we need to point out the philosophical definition of the three main terms in our discussion which are: Cause, Necessity, and Freedom.

1. Cause

The term ‘Cause’ when used without any added condition, has two meanings in the

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Islamic Philosophical terminology:

1. All elements needed for the existence of effect. This meaning of cause includes the whole four types of causes which are: agent cause, material cause, formal cause, and ultimate cause. Imam Fakhr Al Deen Al Razi (d.1209, 606 AH) says: ‘When we want to define The Cause as including these four causes we say: The cause is the thing needed for its reality and existence.’ (1)

2. The Agent Cause which means the thing that grants the effect its existence, or in other words; the source of the existence of effect. Continuing the former expression, Fakhruddeen-al-Razi says: ‘What Sheikh (Avicenna) mentioned in his book Alhodood (Definitions) is that ‘The Cause is the thing that occasions the existence of another thing which its actual being derived from actual existence of the former, but the actual existence of the former is not derived from the latter’ then –in fact- it doesn’t mean but the agent cause.’ (Ibid)

The agent cause in this term means an agent with full powers of agency. Therefore, it includes all implements needed by the agent in the process of creating the effect. Moreover, it includes the Ultimate Cause as well, because the agency of cause has not been completed without the Ultimate Cause.

In his book ‘Ayn-ul-Qwa’ed’ Katibi Qazwini (d. 1276, 675 AH) says:

‘It (The Ultimate Cause) is a cause for the causality of Agent Cause, and its being is later than the effect in object, but earlier in subject.’ (2)

The ultimate cause is a former in

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1- Al Razi, 1966, Vol 1, p. 458
2- Katibi Qazwini, 1959, p. 95

respect of the effect in subject, for it is a cause for the causality of Agent Cause in subject, because the Agent Cause needs an ultimate to move towards the action that results in the effect. And it’s being is a latter in respect of the effect in object, because it is a result of the effect in the reality.

Allamah Hilli in his book ‘Idhah-ul-Maqasid’ describing the above expression says:

‘The Ultimate Cause has two aspects: The first is in respect of the agent, the second is in respect of the effect. When it is attributed to the agent it will be the agent of its attribution of agency, because the agent doesn’t do his action except by reason of the ultimate, and when it is attributed to the effect it will be an ultimate in respect of it, which means that the effect existed due to that ultimate, then it has been a cause for the effect, because unless the ultimate, the effect has not been existed.’(1)

According to Islamic philosophical terminology the term ‘Complete agent’ can be used with two meanings; Sometimes what is meant by the term complete cause is its former meaning that includes whatever interferes within the existence of a being (which includes the four types of causes).

Katibi Qazwini says:

‘Whatever the object needs within its existence is known as the cause, and this cause is either complete; which consists of whatever the existence of the object depends upon, or incomplete, which is some of the elements

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1- Al Hilli, 1959, p. 95

that the existence of the object depends upon.’ (1)

In the exegesis of the above Allamah Hilli says:

‘Be aware that the complete cause includes Material, formal, Agent and Ultimate plus Condition and non-obstacle. Each of these is a part of the meaning of the complete cause.’(2)

Some times what we mean by complete cause is its second meaning. This means that the agent cause is in full agency, in which case although in some ways it includes the ultimate cause, but it does not include the material and formal causes. The complete agent cause includes all the elements which play a role in the agency of the agent, contrary to the partial cause which means the things that is necessary to create the effect but it is not sufficient. For this reason it includes all the tools and facilities which the agent would use for establishing the effect.

However, it does not include equipments (Mo’iddaat) (i.e. things that are needed to complete the capacity of effects to be existed by the agents like the water or sunlight for the growth of a plant that has been placed by the farmer agent) conditions and non-obstacles. This is due to the fact that these three elements bear on the capability of the object (i.e. effect) and not the agency of the agent. Therefore they are counted as parts of the material cause.

Fakhr Al Deen Al Razi says:

‘But conditions are truly a part of the material cause, because capable would only become capable if it

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1- Ibid p. 94
2- Ibid p. 96

complies with the conditions. But the equipments are truly a part of the agent cause, where its agency depends upon the equipments and it would not be completed without them. Therefore, if the agency of the agent would have been completed without equipments, the mediation of the equipments would become impossible.’ (1)

Finally it is useful to mention that the second meaning of the complete cause which was the agent cause with the full agency is equal to the sufficient cause in western philosophy‘s terminology, whilst necessary cause includes both the complete and partial cause.

2. Necessity Or The Necessity Of Existence

Necessity or the necessity of existence is absurdity of absence. Anything whose non-existence is impossible, its existence is necessary. The phrase Necessity or the Necessity of Existence has been used in a variety of different meanings within the philosophical terminology. At this stage we will discuss two important meanings in accordance to our discussion:

The necessity simultaneous to the existence of being or conditional upon its existence, which is interpreted in philosophical terminology as predicated necessity. This means that whenever we take into account a being bounded by the state of existence, its existence within this condition would be necessary. This necessity which describes the existence is the’ Necessity Simultaneous to Existence’ or the ‘Necessity by Predicate.’

The necessity prior to existence: what is meant by priority in this type of necessity is not priority in the sense of time. What is meant is intellectual priority, which in philosophical terms is known as gradational priority (priority in terms of

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1- Al-Razi, 1966, Vol. 1, p. 458


The necessity prior to existence within intellectual perception is described as: The object necessitated then existed. Here, the word then does not represent space of time. What it implies is Intellectual Graduation. This means from the point of view of intellect, the reason for existence is the necessity of its existence. And without the necessity of existence the existence of the object would be impossible and unjustified.

Therefore, the necessity of existence here represents the reason justifying the existence of the object. So as a result of this, the existence of the object would be preferred to its non-existence and its non-existence becomes cancelled and its existence will be necessarily achieved.

Mulla Sadra Sadrul-mota’alliheen Shirazi (d.1640, 1050 AH) in his book ‘Al-Asfar-al-Aqliyyah al-Arba’ah’, at the end of chapter fifteen, says:

‘And thereby was proved that any contingent nature or any contingent existence would not achieve existence, unless its existence would become necessary because of its cause. Therefore it is not conceivable that the cause is a cause unless it gives necessary preference to the existence of effect.’ (1)

After that at the beginning of chapter 16 he says:

‘What we discussed in the previous chapter was the prior necessity for the contingent, which has arisen from the full preferential cause (Al-Morajjih-u- taamm) of either existence or non-existence, before its occurrence, - until where he says: – after it has been occurred - the existence or non-existence of the object - it would find another necessity. This necessity at the time that the existence or

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1- Sadra, (ND), Vol. 1, p. 223

non-existence attributed to the nature, with the aspect of describing the nature to one of the descriptions of existence or non-existence, and this is the next necessity which named the Necessity by Predicate.’ (1)

3. Freedom

Freedom has also two meanings:

1. Civil or Social Freedom: Freedom with this meaning is used in opposition to social limitations. Freedom in its social sense represents the freedom that the human possesses in the society. The boundaries of such freedom depends upon the amount of limitation that is exerted by the rulers of the society or other powerful elements – in a lawful or unlawful manner- and causes limitation upon the freedom of act and behaviour of Human. Due to the fact that the boundaries of such freedom – within lawful societies – is set out by law, and the fact that this type of law is one of the necessities of a civil society, this type of freedom is known as civil freedom.

2. Philosophical Freedom: The term Philosophical freedom is used in contrast to Philosophical constraint. What is meant by freedom here is the fact that the human being or any other agent commits their act without any sort of external constraint or pressure or impediment, and solely by internal power.

The opposite side to this type of Freedom is Fatalism or Determinism (Jabr). Determinism or Fatalism means that the agent of an action is acting under the pressure of another agent or is being as a tool of another operator, and as a result, the superior

p: 22

1- Ibid p. 224

operator sets out and determines the nature and the direction of the act which is carried out by the direct conductor or agent.

In other words conductor and the agent do not possess any power or will to change the direction and the type of act which is set out by the superior operator.

John Stuart Mill in the opening chapter of his book ‘on Liberty’ addressing the difference between the two types of freedom says:

‘The subject of this essay is not the so-called liberty of the will, so unfortunately opposed to the misnamed doctrine of philosophical necessity; but civil, or social liberty: and the nature and limits of the power which can be legitimately exercised by society over the individual.’(1)

Robert Kane in his book ‘Free will’ refers to the two types of freedom. He recognises the Civil or Social Freedom as the apparent surface of Philosophical Freedom, and the Real Freedom of humans to depend on their Philosophical Freedom.

He says: ‘Nothing could be more important than freedom to the modern world. All over the globe, the trend (often against resistance) is towards societies that are more free. But why do we want freedom? The simple but not totally adequate, answer is that to be more free is to have the capacity and opportunity to satisfy more of our desires. In a free society we can walk into a store and buy almost anything we want. We can choose what movies to see, what music to listen to, whom to vote for.


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1- Mill J.S, 1947, p. 1

these are what you call surface freedoms. What is meant by free will runs deeper than these everyday freedoms. To see how, suppose we had maximal freedom to make such choices to satisfy our desires and yet the choices we actually made were manipulated by others, by the powers that be. In such a world we would have a great deal of everyday freedom to do whatever we wanted, yet our free will would be severely limited. We would be free to act or choose what we willed, but would not have the ultimate say about what it is that we willed. Someone else would be pulling the strings, not by coercing us against our wishes, but by manipulating us into having the wishes they want us to have.’ (1)

From what we said so far it is clear that each of the following phrases: Causality, Necessity of existence or Necessity (wujoob), and freedom have all got two meanings and within our discussion the second meaning for these phrases is the substance of the subsequent discussion.

Cause is Agent cause, Necessity, or the Necessity of existence is the Necessity prior to existence, and Freedom is Philosophical freedom. The words will hereafter be used in this sense, unless otherwise stated.

A Brief History of Islamic Philosophical Debates Concerning Causality, Necessity and Freedom


The main source of the philosophical debate in the relation between causality and free will in the history of the Islamic thought is the discussion about the monotheism of God’s action and the relation between his actions and creations including the act of

p: 24

1- Kane, 2002, p. 2

mankind as part of his creations. If all God’s creations, including humans, emerged by God’s decision through the determined causal law it would result in the negation of both the human’s free will, and also the human’s responsibility towards his actions, which will then lead to the exoneration of all criminals in human society.

There are three main schools of Islamic thought which interpret God’s action to justify the free will of human and his responsibility towards his action while considering the reasonable monotheism of God’s action:

1. The school of theologians which are divided into two theories:

    • The Ashariete’s ‘Theory of Kasb’

    • The Mo’atazeli and Imamiyyeh theologians’ ‘Theory of priority Awlawiyyah’

2. The school of Islamic Philosophers’ ‘Theory of necessity’

3. The school of ‘Usooliyyon’, the experts of principles of jurisprudence which are divided into two theories:

• The theory of Ikhtiyar (to will)

• The theory of Saltanah (Sovereignty)

‘The foremost in religion is His knowledge, the perfection of His knowledge is to testify Him, the perfection of testifying him is to believe in His oneness, the perfection of believing in His oneness is to regard Him pure and the perfection of His purity is to deny Him attributes, because every attribute is a proof that it is different from that to which it is attributed and everything to which something is attributed is different from the attribute.

Thus whoever attaches attribute to Allah recognises His like, and who recognises His like regards Him two and who regards him two recognises parts for

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Him and who recognises parts for Him mistook Him; and who mistook him pointed at him and who pointed at him admitted limitations for Him and who admitted limitation for Him numbered Him.

Whoever said in what is He, held that he is contained and whoever said that on what is He, held He is not on something else. He is being but not through phenomenon of coming into being. He exists but not from non-existence. He is with everything but not in physical nearness. He is different from everything but not in physical separation.’ (1)

Amongst the philosophical discussions which have been propounded in Nahjul-balaghah, is the discussion regarding Divine Decree and Destiny.

In the section of short-sayings and advices in Nahjul-balaghah it has been said:

‘A man enquired from Amirul-Momineen (Imam Ali): ‘was our going to fight with the Syrians (Shamees) destined by Allah’? Amirul-Momineen gave a detailed reply a selection of which is hereunder: Woe to you. You take it as a final and unavoidable destiny (according to which we are bound to act). If it were so, there would have been no question of reward and chastisement and there would have been no sense in Allah’s promises or warnings. (On the other hand) Allah the glorified has ordered his people to act by free will and has cautioned them and refrained them (from evil). He has placed easy obligations on them and has not put heavy obligations.

He gives them much (reward) in return for little (action). He is disobeyed,

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1- Ibn Abi Taleb Imam Ali, 1998, Sermon 1

not because he is over powered. He is obeyed, but not under force. He did not send prophets just for fun. He did not send down the book for people without purpose. He did not create the skies, the earth and all that is in between for nothing. And he created not the heaven and the earth in vain. ‘That is the imagination of those who disbelieve; then woe to those who disbelieve – because of the fire.’ (1)

These two passages very well reveal the matters regarding Monotheism and Divine Decree and Destiny which were set forth by the very first religious leaders of Islam. From these two main issues derived the philosophical debates in Islamic thought and it gradually spread and developed amongst Muslims.

The truth is that the arguments concerning divine destiny derive from Divine Monotheism debates. Divine Monotheism and the questions relating to it were the starting point of Philosophical and Theological thoughts in the history of Islam. Difference of opinion in the matters related to Monotheism brought about different tendencies, and different schools of philosophy and theology, resulting in different theories about the relation between causality and freedom.

Islamic thinkers divide the Divine Monotheism into three main stages outlined as follows.

1. Divine Essence Monotheism (Unity In God’s Essence)

This means oneness of the essence of the creator, and negation of dualism and all kinds of multi cause in the origin of creation. Monotheism of the Essence was agreed upon by all the Islamic thinkers. Apart from the difference of opinion which was created later between mystics

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1- Ibn Abi Taleb Imam Ali, 1998, Advice: 78

(Urafa’a) and other Islamic scholars such as Philosophers and theologians (Motakallemeen) on the interpretation of Monotheism of the divine Essence, there was no further difference of opinion between the Islamic thinkers in this respect. The main roots of this disagreement refer to the arguments of divine acts Monotheism.

2. Divine Attribute Monotheism (Unity In God’s Attributes)

Divine Attribute Monotheism means the unification of Attribute and Essence, and rejection of complexity in the Essence of God the Almighty, and to assert the merely simplicity of God the Almighty. Allamah Tabatabai says: ‘Considering that God’s essence is unlimited, actually His perfections (i.e. His attributes) are united with his essence, meaning that His essence is merely simple and one, and His attributes are alike and its variation is just conceptional’ (1)

In the subject of Divine Attribute Monotheism of God the Almighty, two issues were discussed:

1. Unification of Attribute and Essence: Imamiyyah and Mo’tazilah believed in the unity of attribute and essence. On the other hand Asha’erah believed in the separation of the Attribute from the essence of God the almighty. (2)

2. The Particularity of the Attributes of God the Almighty: In this respect it was discussed that, what is the meaning of attributes such as knowledge, power, will, word, and as such which have been mentioned for God the Almighty in the Holy Qur’an and by the Holy Prophet of Islam? Does the knowledge of God include every single object and every part of this world from eternity to forever? Or is it that the divine knowledge is knowledge of generalities? Some

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1- Tabatabai, 1967, pp. 73-74
2- Lahiji, 1892, pp. 172-173

of the Islamic philosophers came to the belief that the Eternal Knowledge of God is the knowledge of generalities of the objects and realities. The same question was applied with regard to the Divine Power; what is the meaning of the Divine Power? Is the meaning of the Divine power the ability to do or not to do, as Theologians(1) have said? Or does it mean ‘If he wanted, he would act and if he wanted not, he would not act,’ as the Philosophers(2) believed in?

And there was set forth other questions concerning the Divine Will and Divine Word. The disagreement between Asha’erah who believed in the eternity of Divine Word, and Mo’tazilah who believed in temporality of the Divine Word, should be accounted as one of the most important ideological conflicts of the Muslim Society in the second century after Hijrah (approximately the eighth century).

One of the branches of the discussion related to Divine Power and Will was the discussion concerning causality and its meaning and the ascription of the Essence of God the Almighty to causality and the particularity of Divine eternal Will of God the Almighty.

Causality with the meaning described by the Philosophers - that includes the prior necessity of effect - was not accepted by the Theologians. This is due to the fact that they find the causality with such meaning to be in contradiction with the Power and Free Will of God the Almighty. For this reason the Islamic Theologians provided a new interpretation of

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1- Al Malahimi, 1992, p. 184
2- Sadra, (ND), Vol. 6, p. 307

causality in which cause would not give necessity to the existence of effect, but as a matter of fact it would give priority to the existence of effect. From this a new theory was developed known as theory of priority by the Islamic theologians against the theory of Causal Necessity.

Sadruddin Shirazi (1)(d.1497, 903 AH) is amongst the distinguished theologians of the history of Islam. He is one of the most famous people who very strongly defended the theory of priority. And Sadrul-muta’alliheen Shirazi, famously known as Mulla Sadra who is the founder of Islamic transcendent- Philosophy strongly opposes his idea and rejects this theory based on strong philosophical arguments in his book Al-Asfarul-arba’ah. (2)

3. Divine Act Monotheism (Unity Of Divine Act)

Divine action monotheism is the most disputed part of the discussion of monotheism. In Divine Action Monotheism the unity in the source of actions, movements and wills, and even notions and thoughts is argued.

In accordance with Divine Action Monotheism, all the actions including actions based on will -such as the act of human- or internal acts such as thinking, love, anger etc., or actions which are not based on will such as the movements of planets and stars and the changes in the nature all arise from one source which is God the Almighty. As a matter of fact, the only independent agent is the Essence of God the Almighty. All other agents, including the natural agents and the agents who act on their will, are dependent to the main independent agent which is God the almighty.

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1- Sadruddeen Shirazi (D.1497,903 AH) is amongst the most famous theologians, and he shares similar title with Sadruddin Mohammad Shirazi who is a famous philosopher known as Sadra or Sadrul-Muta’alliheen (D.1640,1050 AH)
2- Sadra, (ND), Vol. 1, p199

Divine Action Monotheism with such definition has been very much emphasised in the Holy Qur’an and the traditions narrated from the Divine Leaders of Islam. God the Almighty in the Holy Qur’an says:

‘Say (O’Muhammad PBUH) I possess no power over benefit or hurt to myself except as Allah wills.’ (1)

He also says in his Holy book:

‘But you cannot will unless Allah wills.’ (2)

The Islamic Mystics have gone another step forward by believing not only in unity of agent but also unity of the Act of God the Almighty by referring to verses from the Holy Qur’an. Based on this, every act returns to God(3) and therefore his Act similar to its Essence is not but only one, ‘And is not our command but one.’(4)

The philosophical school of Mulla Sadra which reconciled philosophy with mysticism has given a philosophical format unity for act and essence of God the Almighty. He tried to solve the philosophical problems related to the unity of Act, Essence, and Attribute of God the Almighty based on the theory of asalat al-wujud ‘ principality or originality of existence’.

Asha’erah on the base of God’s acts unity believed that the Essence of God the Almighty is the exclusive agent cause in the living world (i.e. unity of agent). Based on this they explained the relation between Cause and Effect in the natural agent or unwilling agent using the theory of ‘Habit’ a’adah, and between the willing agent such as human, using the theory of ‘Acquirement’ kasb which is defined

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1- Verse 188, Chapter 7
2- Verse 30, Chapter 76
3- Modarres, 1986, pp. 124-129
4- Holy Qur’an, Verse 50, Chapter 54

by Al Baghellani (1947, pp. 307-8) as follows: ‘to generate an action by a simultaneous power which makes the act unnecessary’. (1)

Based on the theory of ‘Habit’ there is not any essential relation between cause and effect, but any effect which has come from a cause is due to the fact that the habit of God has over ruled upon it, so that it would create effect after the creation of cause. Therefore there is no true agent but the Essence of God the almighty, and the relation between effect and its natural cause is nothing but the pursuit relation on the basis of ‘Divine Habit’.

Ghazi Adhododdeen Eyji (d.1355, 756 AH) narrates from Abul-Hasan Al-Ash’a’ri (The founder of school of Asha’erah in Islamic theology, (d.935, 324 AH)) that in the explanation of the theory of Habit, he said:

‘There is no relation between pursuing events under any circumstances, unless habit has over ruled the fact that one is created after the other, such as burning after touching the fire or satiety after having drunk water’(2)

Asha’erah (i.e. Abul-Hassan Al-Ash’a’ri and his followers) after they explained the relation of natural Agent with its effect, in order to be able to explain the responsibility of the human for the acts that have been committed by him, they explained the relation between human and his acts or effects on the basis of the theory of ‘Acquirement’ kasb.

In accordance to the theory of Acquirement kasb although whatever is committed by human based on the theory of

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1- Badawi, 1971, Vol.1, p. 616
2- Al Eyji, (ND), Vol. 1, p. 241

Habit is created by God and is His creature, but human will play an important role in originating the act. The role of the will of humans, in committing an act is known as ‘Acquirement’ kasb.

The conclusion of what can be understood from the sources of Asha’erah thought, is that the Acquirement kasb is nothing but human will. Therefore what Asha’ereah mean by the theory of ‘Acquirement’ kasb is that whenever a human wills to commit an act, God the Almighty gives existence to that act.

Shahrestani (d.1149, 548 AH) in the explanation of the Abul-Hassan Al-Ash’a’ri‘s theory of ‘Acquirement’ kasb writes:

‘God the Almighty has over ruled His tradition upon the fact that; after He gives a power to His servant, either under or accompanying that power he creates the act of that servant as the servant puts his will and prepares for that act. This procedure is known as ‘Acquirement’ kasb. Therefore the creator of the act is God Almighty, but it is obtained by the servant and it is under his control’(1)

If the Asha’erah are criticised for the fact that Human will is not God’s creation and is not under His power; and if human will is God’s creation what would be the role of human in originating his act? There is no clear answer at hand in reply to this criticism from Asha’ereah.

Mo’tazilah and Imamiyyah theologians – opposite to Asha’erah – believed that the acts committed by the natural agents whether willingly or unwillingly are all creatures of

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1- Al Shahrestani, (ND), Vol. 1, p. 130

the agent himself. Therefore there is an essential relation between causes and effects amongst the objects, and they interpreted the Divine Agent Monotheism (i.e. unity of agent) as God the Almighty being the only independent Agent in the living world, an agent that has not received His being and power from any superior agent or power above Him. Whereas all the other agents including willing and unwilling agents have received their existence and power from God the Almighty who is the origin of the existence, and they are all dependent in their act and effect to the origin of the world that is the Essence of God the almighty.

Despite the difference of opinion in interpreting the relation of causality between Asha’erah from one side and Mo’tazilah and Imamiyyah theologians from the other, what unifies the three groups (whom collectively in philosophical terminology are known as theologians) in direction (i.e. what brings them together) is the negation of the relation of necessity between cause and effect.

Most of the theologians-including Asha’erah, Mo’tazilah and Imamiyyah- did not recognise the Agent who gives existence to necessitate the effect. They usually believed that every contingent effect possesses priority in existence. Some believed that the effect gets its priority of existence from its cause. This means that the Agent cause first provides its effect with priority of existence and then it provide it with existence. And some believed that the priority of the existence of effect is within its essence, and every contingent effect possesses priority

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of existence by itself.

The mystery behind the insistence of theologians –including Asha’erah, Mo’tazilah, and Imamiyyah – on rejecting the relation of necessity between cause and effect, was the conflict which they believe between the necessity of causal relation on one hand, and the power of God the Almighty and His free will, as well as human free will and responsibility –including accountability, blameworthiness, praiseworthiness and reword in this world and the next - on the other.

Other than this, despite the fact that Mo’tazilah and Imamiyyah in opposition to Asha’erah shared the same view in the interpretation of Divine Action Monotheism (Unity of Divine Action), but Imamiyyah and Mo’tazileh did not share the same view in the way of attribution the acts to other agents-other than God-, this is because Mo’tazilah believed that the other agents are dependent to God the Almighty in their existence, but in their acts they are independent in their agency. Therefore the unity of act of God the almighty according to Mo’tazilah means that God the Almighty is the only being that provides the world of creatures with existence and all the other Agents owe their existence to the origin of the world God the Almighty, but in their acts they are independent.(1)

Due to this, Mo’tazilah are known as Mofawwidhah (indeterminists) in the history of Islam, Which means that God the Almighty has created the objects giving them the full authority and power of committing their acts and having their effects and consequences without any interference

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1- Al-Hamadani, 1965, p. 323

of God and He has provided them with complete liberty (tafweedh or indeterminism) of causation and agency.

Imamiyyah believed in the theory of ‘Not determinism (fatalism)’ and ‘not indeterminism (absolute liberty)’ but something between the two, could be described as a moderate indeterminism. This theory was initially explained by their religious leaders (i.e. infallible Imams).

Kolaini (d.940, 329ah.) one of the great Imamiyyah scholars, in his book Usul-ul-Kafi, narrates (through the accurate chain of narrators) from Imam Baqir and Imam Sadiq, that they said:

‘Allah is more kind than forcing his servants to commit sins, and then punish them for those sins. And he is more powerful than wanting something and it does not take place. After this they- Imam Baqer and Imam Sadiq- have been asked a question that: is there a third way to determinism and indeterminism? They replied: yes, wider than whatever exists between the sky and the earth.’ (1)

Also he narrates from Imam Sadiq that:

‘Not determinism and not indeterminism but an idea between the two, the narrator asked: what does something between the two mean? He replied: it is the example of a man that you find him committing a sin and you try to caution him and stop him, but that would not be effective and he would still carry on, so you would leave him by himself so that he would commit sin, so due to the fact that you prohibited him and it was not affective and he still committed sin and thereby you left him

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1- Al Kolaini, 1980, Vol. 1, p. 159

by himself, you were not the one who persuaded him into commit sin, in fact it was himself who got himself involved in sin.’

According to this theory, Imamiyyah opposed both Mo’tazilah and Asha’erah. And as a result, they rejected the view of Asha’erah, which stated; that the only agent in the world of being is God, and the acts and the effects of all willing and unwilling agents are created by Him. They said this view is a ‘complete determinism and fatalism’ which is in contradiction with the power of the Almighty and the responsibility of the human being.

Also they rejected the point of view of Mo’tazilah that; ‘God the Almighty gives existence to all the agents and has no role in the acts and affects committed by willing and unwilling agents’. And they found this to be in contradiction with the theory of Divine Act Monotheism, and the ultimate power of God and it also opposes His unique worldly governance.

They believed in a concept between these two ideas, and they called it ‘ a matter between two matters’ which resulted in believing that all the agents including willing and unwilling agents not only do they owe their existence to God the Almighty, but also continuously owe their power of agency and effect to the Lord of the world. And the willing Agent not only do they continuously owe their existence and power to God but also they owe Him their power of will. This means that it

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is Him who has given them the power of having will, and he has also given them the ability and authority to be able to be willing, and to bring about whatever they have willed for.

In contrast with theologians (including Asha’erah, Mo’tazilah, and Imamiyyah) the Islamic philosophers described the relation of cause and effect on the base of (necessity).They believed that no any possible thing or contingent could be existed unless its existence has been necessitated by the agent, and this relation of necessity not only does it not contradict the power and the will of God the Almighty, but with the negation of necessity the power and the will of God the Almighty will also be negated, and also in the other willing agents such as human being the necessity given to the effect by the Agent cause is the base and the essence of the power and the will of the agent upon its effect.

The Islamic philosophers are divided into two groups: Al-Ishraqiyyoon (Intuitionists) The philosophers who follow the method of Ishraq Intuition, the most distinguished philosopher of which is Shahabuddeen Al-Sohrevardi (killed 1191, 587ah) and Al-Mashsha’iyyoon (peripatetics or argumentationists) the philosophers who follow the method of Argument, the most distinguished Philosophers of which are Farabi (d.950, 339 ah) and Abu Ali Sina Avicenna (d.1037, 428 ah).

There is not a major disagreement between the Intuitionist Al-Ishraqiyyoon and Argumentationist Al-Mashsha’iyyoon (peripatetics) on the origin of the theory of necessity (the interpretation of the relation between cause and

p: 38

effect based on the necessity of existence). But in the way of explaining the essence of the dependence of effects to the first origin, the philosophers of Mashsha’a have recognised the existence of effect as an independent existence in respect of cause. But the philosophers of Ishraq denied any independent existence of effect and believed that the essence of effect is not but a merely dependence to the cause and expressed that as an ‘Ishraqi dependence (Emanative dependence)’.

This theory was later reformed and improved by Sadrul-mota’allheen through his theory of Asalat-ul-wujud (the reality or principality of existence) backing it by strong philosophical arguments, that we shall go into more details, when we would explain the theory of Asalat-ul-wujud.

After Khajeh Naseeruddeen Tousi (Tousi, ND [d.1274, 672 ah]) the school of Mashsha’a Philosophy in the Islamic thought became only restricted to Shi’a academic Seminary, and it was quite active until the time of Meer-damaad(d.1631, 1040 ah). The Ishraq Philosophy did not have a long life after Shahabbuddeen Shohrevardi. Whereas theology was quite active amongst the Islamic thinkers until ninth and tenth Hijry (fifteenth and sixteenth A.C) century, and theologians such as – in Sunni school of thought – Fakhruddeen-al- Razi (d.1209, 606 ah), Adhododdeen-al- Eyji (d.1355, 756 ah), Sa’addudeen-al-Taftazani (d.1390, 792 ah), Mir Syed Shreef-al-Jorjani (d.1413, 816 ah), and in the shi’a school of thought theologians such as: Ibn Maytham-al-Bahrani (d.1279, 678 ah), Al-Allamah-al-Hilli (d.1325, 726 ah), Al-Miqdad-al- See-u-ry (d.1423, 826 ah) and at last Mohammad Baqir-al- Majlesi,(1700, 1110 ah) can

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be mentioned as the most prominent theologian thinkers during the last centuries of the age of Islamic theology.(1)

The 11th century of Hijry (coincides the 17th century A.C) despite witnessing the last breaths of the classic Islamic theology, it accompanied some unique transformation of thoughts in Shi’a school of thought. On one hand –in the field of rational sciences-with the manifestation of Sadru-lmota’alliheen Shirazi (d.1640, 1050 ah) and the establishment of his school of philosophy which called ‘Hikmate Mota’aaliyeh The Transcendent Wisdom’, the field of Islamic Philosophical thought became over taken by this philosophical movement, and philosophical currents of ‘Masha’a’ and ‘Ishraq’ were gradually set aside. In this new philosophical thought Mysticism and philosophy on one hand, and the school of Ishraq and Mashsha’a on the other hand reconciled, and with an innovative philosophical plan of Sadru-lmota’alliheen the newly born school of ‘Hekmate Mota’aaliyeh Transcendent Wisdom’ took place. At the recent age the most well-known philosopher who defended and expended the Sadraian transcendant philosophy is Allama Mohammad Husain Tabataba’ei (d.1980, 1400 ah).

On the other hand -in the field of narrative sciences- with the appearance of ‘Al-Akhbariyyoon Traditionist’ movement in the Shi’a school of thought by its founder Mulla Mohammad Amin Istaraabaadi (Istaraabadi, 1984 [d.1624, 1033 ah]) which opposed the rationalist method in the field of religious arguments, a new movement under the name of ‘Principlists Usooliyyoon’(2) rose up and stood against Al-Akhbariyyoon Traditionists very strongly defending the rational method in religious arguments especially jurisprudence. Eventually the school of ‘Akhbariyyoon Traditionists was

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1- Mutahhari, 1991, pp. 467-661
2- The word Usooliyyoon is the plural of the word Usooli which means the expert in the principles of the Islamic jurisprudence .the knowledge of principles of jurisprudence discusses the method and principles of presumption and inference Islamic instructions and laws from its sources e.g. Qura’nic text and prophetic traditions. The current Usooliyyoon emerged in contrast with the current Al-Akhbariyyoon who believed that there is no need of mediating any rational principles or method in the process of understanding Islamic instructions and laws.

defeated by wahid Behbehani (Behbehani 1996 [d.1739, 1208 ah]) the leader of the Principlists Usooliyyoon Movement and the current of principlists Usooliyyoon who was a defender of rationalism completely took over the Shi’a school of thought (Al-Sadr, 2000).

With the domination of principlism over the Shi’a school of thought, and the spread of the science of ‘The Principles of Jurisprudence’ which resulted in exertion of the rational method, a new rival was appeared for the Philosophical current of thought in the Shi’a Islamic school. This new rival which was the science of ‘Modern Principles of Jurisprudence’ after the decline of Theologian thought was competently able to challenge the Modern Philosophical thought that had been manifested in Transcendent wisdom the ‘Philosophy of ‘Sadrul-mota’alliheen’. The new science of ‘Principles of Jurisprudence’ was able to challenge the Modern Philosophical thought in various philosophical topics and also give a new warmth and mirth to the intellectual discussions.

One of the most controversial problems among Muslim philosophers and theologians that led to most heated debates between philosophers and theologians was causality, determinism, and their compatibility to freedom. With the decline of Theology, the intellectual discussion relating to these topics was close to being forgotten, until the appearance of the new science of ‘Principles of Jurisprudence’ and the ‘Modern Principlists’ which caused a new controversial struggle in mentioned topics. The Modern Principlists started to criticise the philosophical views in many topics and suggested new ways to solve the philosophical problems in challenge to the philosophy of Sadrul-mota’alliheen ‘The

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transcendent Wisdom’.

Among the modern usuliyyoon, Akhund Mulla Muhammad Kazim Khurasani (d.1911, 1329 ah) represents Sadraian Islamic thought. Defending the principles of ‘‘Sadraian philosophy’’, Akhund greatly supported the Sadraian view in the interpretation of causality and its relation to freedom.(1)

On the other side, his intelligent and insightful pupil, i.e. Mirza Na’ini (d.1936, 1355 ah) was one of the strong critics of Sadraian view. In a new way and method, he criticised the Sadraian philosophical thought and presented a new viewpoint on the relation between causality and human freedom.(2)

Na‘ini’s idea was criticised by the great contemporary thinker and philosopher, the martyr Imam Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr. Sadr established a new way to solve the problem of causality and freedom, through the theory of Saltanah, sovereignty (authority).(3)

On the ground of what I described, I will discuss the problem of causality and freedom in three parts:

Freewill and causality in the contemporary Islamic philosophy(4). In this part of my discussion, after explaining briefly the philosophical theory of Sadra on the relation between causality and freedom which I shall call later the theory of necessity (wujub) and also martyr Sadr’s theory of sovereignty (saltanah), I will compare these two theories with each other. I will also criticise and analyse them.

I will cover some viewpoints about the relation between freewill and causality in contemporary western philosophy compared with the mentioned theories in Islamic philosophy.

Finally I will develop a further thesis about the solution of the problem between causality and freedom.

Part 2: Freewill and Causality in the Contemporary Islamic Philosophy


In the contemporary Islamic thought regarding the

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1- Al Khurasani, 1992, pp. 337-8
2- Al Khoei, 1933, Vol. 1, pp. 91-92
3- Al Hashimi, 1997, Vol. 2, pp. 32-37
4- What I mentioned here are not all theories suggested by Muslim philosophers, but I mentioned only the theories which were adopted and followed by the recent most well-known Muslim thinkers and philosophers.

debate of causality and free will, there are two different schools:

1. The school of philosophers like Tabatabai and Mutahhari,

2. The school of usooliyyoon like Na’ini who suggested the theory of Ikhtiyar(willing), and Al-Sadr who established the theory of Saltanah(Sovereignty).

In this part of the study, I accounted the theory of Al-Sadr as a second philosophical theory conflicting with another philosophical theory of wojub (necessity) due to the following two reasons:

• Al-Sadr is a very famous philosopher in the recent era as well as having a high status among the usuliyyoon (the experts in principles of Islamic Jurisprudence).

• The rational and philosophical method used by Al-Sadr to support and prove his theory of Saltanah(Sovereignty).

Also because the source of Al-Sadr’s theory, Saltanah(Sovereignty), was established by Na’ini (the main contemporary thinker in the field of principles of Islamic Jurisprudence) in his theory of Ikhtiar (willing), therefore it was important to discuss the theory of Ikhtiar as an entrance of the theory of Saltanah.

There are two main theories in contemporary Islamic philosophy that tried to solve the philosophical problem between causality and freewill in two different ways. The first theory, which is called the theory of (wujub) or necessity refers to the transcendent philosophy that was found by Sadrul- Muta’allihin (Sadra) and expanded by later philosophers, the latest being Allama Tabataba’ei (d.1980, 1400 AH).

The second theory, which is called the theory of (saltanah) refers to school of the martyr Al-Imam Mohammad Baqir Al-Sadr one of the greatest contemporary Islamic philosophers and Jurisprudents.

A. The Theory of Necessity


(Sadra’s theory

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in the interpretation of causality and its relation to human freedom)

Before explaining the theory of necessity, it is worth noting that the reason behind calling this theory the theory of necessity lies in the fact that according to this theory the relation between cause and effect is both the relation of existence and that of necessity. In other words: cause gives the effect not only existence, but it gives the effect both existence and necessity.

The dispute between Muslim philosophers and theologians on all causes on the one hand and between philosophers and modern usuliyyoon on voluntary agent cause on the other hand does not concern bringing of the effect into existence by the cause, but rather granting necessity to the effect by the cause. According to the theory of necessity, the effect not only depends on the cause for its existence, but also for its necessity.

The theory of necessity says that every possible object because of its possibility possesses essentially two equal possibilities: to be and not to be, then it is impossible for any of these two to be the truth without being first the only possible option by its cause, and being the only possible option means negation of the possibility of any other option, which means the necessity of the only possible option. Therefore the cause has to first determine the effect by making it the only possible option that is to necessitate it, and then give it existence.

Early theologians took the cause in a general sense

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and the mainstream of modern usuliyyoon take the voluntary agent in a particular sense just as the originator of the effect and not as the necessitating.

To give a comprehensive account of ‘‘necessity’’ containing its philosophical grounds in Sadra’s view requires a long and broad discussion, which is beyond the scope of this short study. Here we are concerned with three subjects that we will study in the following order:

• Short explanation of the ‘Theory of necessity’ in Sadra’s thought.

• An account of the hypothesis of philosophical contradiction between this theory and the principle of freewill.

• Method of philosophical solution of the above-mentioned contradiction according to Sadra and the theory of necessity.

1. Short Explanation Of The Theory Of Necessity


According to the theory of asalat al-wujud (principality of existence) everything in our mind has two concepts: The concept of Nature or Quiddity, and the concept of Existence,(e.g. we can say: water is water and water is being, and because it is water we conceive it as a nature, and because it is being we conceive it as an existence) but in reality (in the world beyond our mind) we know that is not but one of two: either the concept of nature (e.g. water) or its being (e.g. its existence).

Sadra approved that in contrast with these two concepts in our mind that is nothing in reality (in the world beyond our mind) but the existence, and the concept of nature (e.g. water) is just a concocted mental imagination, he concluded that the principality and reality is exclusively for

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the existence. According to that natures (quiddities) are conventions of our mind and what is really there is just ‘‘being’’ or ‘‘existence’’.(1)

In other words, among all concepts and mental images, the only concept that can describe the external world and can genuinely represent the reality outside our mind is the concepts of ‘‘being’’. Therefore, the key to know the universal laws and rules that can govern the universe is the universal principle of asalat al-wujud (The reality or the principality of existence). The general structure of philosophical knowledge of the world is based on this principle, from which the universal philosophical laws governing the world have to be derived.

The most important philosophical principles of cosmology derived from asalat al-wujud are as follows:

A. Unmixed graduation (hierarchical structure) of being (tashkikul wujud)

According to asalat al-wujud, the differences that we understand among things in the world are all rooted in their ‘‘being’’ and can have no root other than the reality of being. Therefore, all things in the world differ in ‘‘being’’, just as they share ‘being’.

The reality of being [in contrast to the concept of being] is a reality that admits differences and multiplicity of types, and every type of being is a level of being which is different from other beings in intensity or weakness, and unlimitedness or limitedness.

Different types of being differ from each other in that one is weaker, that is, more dependent and more needy of causes and conditions to be existed and the other is more intense, that is, more independent and less needy. The

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1- Misbah, 1984, pp. 94-95

differences of being in degrees of dependence on and need for the other which is the same as the difference in weakness and intensity is the source for all differences and varieties in the world.

The peak and the most intense being is the self-independent being, which is absolutely free from need, that is, the eternal self-necessary being. The self-necessary being has no need for any cause or condition and is the absolute being and enjoys the ultimate existential actuality. All other levels of being are manifestations of self-necessary being, on whom they entirely depend. Despite its total dependence on the self-necessary being, the first being created by the self-necessary being has no need to other levels of being and therefore in relation to other levels of being enjoys independence, freedom from need and absoluteness.

Other levels of being depend for their existence on self-necessary being and on the first creatures as well, since through it the grace of being extends hierarchically to other levels. Thus, the highest being is the completely actual independent absolute self-necessary being and the lowest is the being that has nothing other than potentiality of being – Which is actually yet to be created-.

In his Mabda’wa Ma’aad, Mulla, Sadra says:

‘And beings do not differ in their essence except in intensity and weakness, perfection and imperfection, priority and post priority. But they subordinately differ because of those notions that are subordinate to them, i.e. their different natures (He means that according to the theory of prinsipality of

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existence Asalatul-Wujud beings are not but existence, therefore there is no any essential deferent between them. Nevertheless they are subordinately deferent by their natures i.e. their notions’ (1976, p. 194).

Also in the discussion in potentiality and actuality in his Al-asfar al-Aqliyyah al-Arba’ah, Mulla Sadra says:

‘Surely the thing, which is liable to movement, is potential either in this aspect or in all aspects, and the mover is actual either in this aspect or in all aspects. Inevitably, those aspects of actuality will end in something, which is actual in all aspects; otherwise it would lead to vicious circle or infinite regress. Similarly, those aspects of potentiality will end in something, which is potential in all aspects except in being potential, since it has this potentially in actuality and this is what makes it distinguishable from absolute nothingness. So it is proved that there are two sides for the being: one side is the first real and the absolute being, May His name be glorified, and the other side is the materia prima. The former is absolutely good and the latter is bad and has nothing good except subordinately. It is subordinately good; because it is the potentiality for all beings, in contrast nothingness, which is absolutely bad’ (1).

B. Independent being and dependent being

According to what was said earlier, the difference among beings is the difference in levels and degrees of existence starting with the self-necessary being and ending with the potential being.

Reflection on the reality of ‘‘being’’ leads to the conclusion that apart from self-necessary being

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1- (ND), Vol. 3, p. 40

which itself is ‘‘the reality of being’’ and the peak of hierarchy of beings, other levels of beings have no reality other than belonging and relation to self-necessary being. Anything apart from the divine essence is nothing other than relation and belonging to him.

Therefore, the universe of being consists in an independent and self-necessary being; other levels of being are His manifestations and belongings. Manifestations and belonging of necessary being or levels of dependent beings have no being without relation to the necessary being. If someone thinks that in addition to the source of the being which is the self-necessary there are or may be other things that have reality more than belonging and relation to self-necessary being he has made a mistake and has not understood the reality of being and asalat al-wujud.

The being which essentially and by itself deserves existence is the self-necessary being which is the reality of being itself. From this necessary being, another being emerges which is His Amr (command) and is nothing other than relation to and dependence on him. This relational (dependent) and command-based being is just one, since it is originated by the Absolute One, it is not more than one (‘‘and our command is not but single’’- the Qur’an, chapter.54, verse.50), and since Divine grace is infinite and all relational (dependent) beings are simply relation (dependence), they have infinite degrees, each degree belongs to the upper one, and all of them (all degrees of relational (dependent) beings) are belonging and have

p: 49

pure relation to the One necessary being. Mulla Sadra says:

‘O, you who are seeking for the truth! The truth has appeared from this account that you have heard: the reality of being because of its simplicity and having no nature, no constituent and no limiting part, is the necessary being itself that appropriates ultimate and infinite perfection, since every other level of being lower than that level in intensity is not absolute reality of being.’ (1)

Else where he says:

‘Therefore, the effect by itself, since it is effect, has no reality other than pertaining and dependence and has no meaning other than being effect and subordinate, without having an essence subject to these meanings, as the absolutely originating cause has no essence and reality other than being the principle and source of everything and all relations and dependence go back to him.

So if it is proved that the chain of beings -including both causes and effects- originates from an essence which a simple luminous primary existential reality free from multiplicity, deficiency, contingency, short coming and unclarity, free from anything accidental or additional to Him, internally or externally, and it is also proved that He is gracious by Himself and luminous by His reality and illuminating heavens and earth by His entity and the source of the universe of creation and command by His existence, the conclusion is that all beings have the same origin and are of the same kind which is reality and the rest is his affairs. He

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1- (ND), Vol. 6, pp. 23-24

is the essence and the rest is His names and attributes. He is the principle and the rest is His states and affairs. He is the being and the rest is His aspects and features.’(1)

C. Cause and effect

From what has been said before, the concepts of causation, cause and effect become clear. Cause is an independent being which has no need for its effect, originating and necessitating the effect. Effect is a totally dependent being which is nothing other than relation to and dependence on its cause and has no identity (i.e. independent reality) other than this. Causality is not apart from the essence of the effect and the cause. The essence of cause in the context of influence and origination is its causality and the effect itself is nothing other than causality in the context of receptivity.

In a mental analysis, there are three concepts:

1. The cause, i.e. the originator

2. The effect, i.e. the originated

3. The causality, i.e. the origination.

These three concepts can only be separated by a mental assumption or metaphor. They are not separable from each other even in the mind and with an intellectual analysis, except in an intellectual metaphor. In another word: these three concepts are not separable from each other. Any separation is an intellectual construction for the purposes of understanding and not a statement about their reality.

Cause, causality and effect are interrelated concepts that are not detachable from each other neither in reality nor in our understanding. Mulla Sadra says:

‘The effect by itself is a simple thing

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1- Ibid, Vol. 2, p. 300

like the cause by itself and that is when the attention is limited to them. When we abstract the cause from whatever does not bear on its causation and influence, that is, when the cause is considered as such and when we abstract the effect from whatever does not bear on its cause it becomes clear and certain that what is called as effect has no reality other than the reality of its originating cause so the intellect cannot refer to the entity of effect disregarding the entity of its originator.

Therefore, the effect by itself has no reality in its cause except that it is dependent and relational and has no meaning other than being an effect a-subordinate without having an essence exposed to those meanings, just as in the case of the absolute originating cause being principle, source, origin and followed is the same as its essence.’ (1)

Causality in the way explained above implies certain principles and rules, whose denial would be equal to the denial of the principle of causality itself. The first principle implies that there is a necessary relation between cause and effect and that the cause necessitates the effect. Mulla Sadra says:

‘Having proved that nothing contingent comes into existence without something making its existence outweighing its nothingness and does not become annihilated without something making its nothingness outweighing its existence, so both sides have to be preponderated by an external cause, now we say: that preponderator will not be preponderator unless its preponderance reaches

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1- Ibid, Vol. 2, p. 229-300

the level of necessity.

Therefore, unlike what most theologians have thought if the preponderance caused by an external cause does not reach the level of necessity it will not be sufficient for the existence of the contingent, because as long as the contingent conveys both possibilities it will not exist. Is this not the case that if its existence is not made necessary by something else both its existence and non-existence would be possible, so no side is determined and it would still need something to preponderate either existence or non-existence.’ (1)

In this way, Mulla Sadra takes the principle of necessitation of effect as being a result of the principle of causality itself and consequently its denial to be identical with the denial of causality, because the principle of causality is based on need of the contingent for a cause that puts an end to the state of equality of both existence and non-existence, and as long as the cause does not necessitate its effect, it has not removed the state of equality.

Principles such as (impossibility of separation of the effect from its cause) and (necessity of resemblance of cause and its effect in their generic reality) are some other important principles derived from the principle of causality.

On the basis of asalat al-wujud, to conclude the above-mentioned principles from the principle of causality is more obvious and more decisive. For example, to draw the necessary relation between cause and effect from the principle of causality on the basis of asalat ul-wujud

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1- Ibid, Vol. 1, pp. 221-222

a little reflection is enough to understand the concept of causality and necessity of originating effect by cause.

According to asalat al-wujud necessity is an inevitable implication of ‘being’ and all its levels, states and belongings. The essence of the first cause and whatever is created by it is being and necessity. The reality is nothing but the existence and the existed things are one of the two: either the essence of the existence itself that is the necessary existence, which is both self-subsistent, and the first cause, or the dependent existence, which is the dependence itself.

Dependence on the self-subsistence is the essence of effect and also causation, influence generosity and graciousness of the first cause is its essence, so the necessity of the existence of the effect is the same as the essence on the one hand, and the same as the essence of the cause on the other hand. According to this fact, cause necessarily and essentially requires creation of effect and effect also necessarily and essentially requires dependence on cause and creation by cause. Thus, the principle of necessity of creation of effect by cause is a necessary and inevitable result of the principle of causality.(1)

Another important philosophical law, which is derived in the light of causality from asalat al-wujud, is the problem of (criterion of need for a cause). This problem is one of the supreme problems discussed in Islamic philosophy and is exclusive to Islamic philosophy. Muslim theologians take non-eternity (huduth) as the criterion of

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1- Ibid, Vol.2, pp. 229-300

need for cause, that is, they believe the reason for having need for a cause is non-being and then coming to be. Since the existence is preceded by non-existence, there must be a cause that led to this transition from nothingness into being.

Muslim philosophers prior to Mulla Sadra developed strong arguments against the theory of theologians and proved that the non-eternity cannot be the reason for need, because it is possible to suppose a being which is eternal and at the same time in need of cause on which it eternally depends. Philosophers before Sadra held that the criterion is the contingency. In another words, the main reason for having need for a cause is the fact that the being by itself possesses no necessity for existence and no necessity for non-existence and has equal relation to both existence and non-existence.

This logically results in the necessary relation of effect to cause, because as mentioned above as long as the main reason of need for cause is contingency (non- necessity of existence and non- necessity of non-existence), what the cause of existence has to grant the effect is necessity of existence and what the cause of nothingness has to grant is the necessity of nothingness.

Mulla Sadra in his excellent studies viewed the theory of his predecessors imperfect and appropriate for the universe of natures. In his studies, he proved that when we consider the relation between nature of something and existence or non-existence the view of previous philosophers is true, because

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nature of a contingent being has equal relation to both existence and non-existence and none of them is necessary for it. Therefore, to become existent and non-existent it needs a cause that grants necessity of existence or necessity of non-existence to it.

However, according to asalat ul-wujud and subjectivity of nature, what is created by the cause is the existence of effect. Existence has no equal relation to existence and non-existence, so the view of previous philosophers cannot be true. Therefore, the criterion of need of being of effect for cause is not the equal relation of existence and non-existence to the existence of effect or contingency. The criterion is (existential poverty) or in other words (dependence or relationality of existence). If we reflect on the existence of effect we will find it dependent and subordinate. This dependence and non-self subsistence have made the effect in need of the cause. Therefore, need for cause is the same as the essence of effect and identified with its existence.

As mentioned earlier, the essential dependence of effect on its cause results in the necessary relation between cause and effect. According to this philosophical analysis, the essence of effect is inseparable result and outcome of the essence of cause and impossibility of separation of effect from cause is another expression of (necessitation of effect) by cause.

2. An Account of Hypothesis of Philosophical Contradiction Between The Theory of Necessity and Freewill


Early theologians and modern usooliyyoon who seriously oppose the theory of necessity or necessitation of effect by cause or in other words the necessary relation of cause and effect take

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this theory in conflict with freewill and believe that even if we accept its truth in respect of non-voluntary causes, it cannot be accepted in respect of voluntary causes, because voluntariness of an act in voluntary causes contradicts necessity of that act and since voluntariness of acts in voluntary causes is admitted necessity of effect in voluntary causes must be wrong.

To explain the alleged philosophical contradiction between the theory of necessity and freedom or free-will in the case of voluntary agents we will clarify the main point of contradiction analysing briefly two sides of the alleged conflict:

A. Causality

If we limit the principle of causality to need of effect in its existence for a cause and consider the effect as something that depends in its existence on the originator there seems no contradiction between causality and freewill, because in the first sight it seems possible to have something dependent on something else without any necessary relation between them. This means that cause would have equal relation to existence and non-existence of its effect and effect would remain contingent and unnecessary. This type of relation between voluntary cause and effect is in accordance with the viewpoint of early theologians and modern usooliyyoon. In this way, there would be no contradiction between causality of a voluntary agent and his freedom and free will.

However, as discussed earlier, causality in the way presented by philosophers such as Mulla Sadra cannot be limited to the existential relation between cause and effect. It rather involves necessary relation as

p: 57

well. Existence and necessity of the effect are not separable. Cause cannot bring the effect into existence without necessitating it; otherwise it would lead to groundless preponderance and we know that impossibility of such preponderance is the basis of the principle of causality.

The core of the alleged conflict between causality and freewill is the very necessitation of effect by cause. It has been assumed that if the existence of effect is preceded by necessity of existence there would remain no place for freewill. In other words, freewill or freedom is only possible when the effect has the possibility of both being originated and not originated by the cause. Necessitation of effect is equal to determinism. And contingency and freewill in one side and necessity and determinism in another side are not separable from each other.

B. Freewill

There are three elements involved in every voluntary (free) act:

1. Prerequisites of willing the act

2. Willing the act

3. The act itself

There are two relations between these three: the relation between 1 and 2 and between 2 and 3.

It is usually assumed that after the completion of all factors bearing on the existence of voluntary act its existence becomes necessary as soon as the agent wills it. Thus, there is a necessary relation between willing the act and the act itself.

Not only there is not conflict between this necessary relation (between act and will of the agent) and freewill, but also there can be no freewill without this necessary relation. To suppose that there can be will

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of agent and all requisites without having the act would contradict the free-will and power of the agent. For the same reason, it seems that the dispute between philosophers and modern usooliyyoon (and also some early theologians) mostly concerns the first relation, i.e. the relation between prerequisites of willing the act and willing the issuance of act from the voluntary agent and not the relation between act and the will.

Modern usooliyyoon and some early theologians believe that if relation between willing the act in the voluntary agent and its prerequisites is necessary there would be no free-will and it would result in absolute determinism.

In any case, the debate between the philosophers and their opponents on the necessary relation of cause and effect can be conceived in both aspects of the relation of a voluntary act to its prerequisites, i.e. the relation of the essence of act and will of the agent and the relation of will of the agent and prerequisites of its existence.

Among modern usooliyyoon, Mirza Na’ini (d.1935, 1355 A.H) distinguished four main elements in a voluntary act:

1. Prerequisites of will

2. Will (iradah)

3. Decision (ikhtiyar)

4. Essence of the act

He meant by ikhtiyar (decision) the instant movement of the soul towards the act (the embarking of the soul on the act) and took it as a result of iradah, will(1).

Mirza Na’ini takes the first two elements to be involuntary subject to the necessary relation of cause and effect, but he takes the third element, i.e. ikhtiyar which sits in

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1- This sequence would appear to be similar to that outlined by some European writers on theology: A. Sufficient pre-requisites for the intention. B. Articulation of the intention. C. Sufficient circumstances to allow the intention to be effected. D. Effecting of the intention (the act). E. Consequence of effecting the act. Human will would seem to be a major factor in the movement a to b and from c to d.

between will and the act to be outside the domain of cause-effect necessity. He takes this to be the key point in voluntariness of act. (1)

In any case, for Muslim philosophers, especially for Mulla Sadra, the relation of a voluntary act to its prerequisites (iradah (will) or ikhtiyar) and the relation of iradah (will) to its prerequisites is a relation of necessity and the principle of necessary relation of cause and effect is exceptionless. Mulla Sadra says:

‘The criterion for willingness (voluntariness) is to have the will as the cause for the act or non-act. And surely a willing agent is the one that if he wills he act and if he does not will he does not act, even if the will [itself] is necessitated by itself or by the other or is impossible by itself or by the other’.(2)

Modern usooliyyoon believe that the relation between voluntary act and its prerequisites is by no means a necessary and determined one and that the cause-effect necessity does not include the relation between the voluntary act and its prerequisites. Therefore, even if all prerequisites of a voluntary act were available the act still would not be necessary to be issued by the voluntary agent and it still remains contingent. This contingency or the possibility of acting and not acting or the equal relation of the agent to act and non-act is the core of will and voluntariness in a voluntary agent.

Na’ini says:

‘If you say: is the fourth idea on which you built

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1- Al Khoei, 1933, p. 91
2- (ND), Vol. 6, p.319

al-amr bayn al-amrayn (the state between two states) and the negation of determinism and made it something between the will and the movement of the muscles contingent or necessary? No way to the last one, and on the first is its cause voluntary or non-voluntary? The first one results in infinite series, and the second one results in determinism. I would say: No doubt, it is created and contingent, but it is the ikhtiyar itself, an act of the soul and the soul itself bears on its existence, so there is no need for a necessitating cause whose effect is never detached from it, because causality of this type is only there for non-voluntary acts’(1)

Some modern usooliyyoon have noticed a problem here and tried to solve it. The problem is that if after completion of all prerequisites of a voluntary act including the will itself the act still remains unnecessary (i.e. possible to be or not to be) it would imply denial of power and will of the agents since the will of the agent would have no role in the emergence of the act and origination of the act falls out of agent’s power. Therefore, if ikhtiyar is taken to mean contingency and unnecessity of existence and non-existence it would imply negation of ikhtiyar.

To respond to this problem usooliyyoon have distinguished between two types of necessity:

a. The necessity prior to ikhtiyar, i.e. the necessity which is source of decision or in other words necessity of cause of ikhtiyar.

b. Necessity

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1- Al Khoei, 1933, p. 91

after ikhtiyar, i.e. the necessity whose source is ikhtiyar or in other words the necessary relation between ikhtiyar itself and its effect: the voluntary act. They maintain that the former is logically in conflict with ikhtiyar and they reject it (i.e. the necessity prior to ikhtiyar) but not only they accept the latter, but also they take it to be necessary, because there will be no ikhtiyar without it and there is no conflict between necessity which is caused by ikhtiyar and the ikhtiyar itself.

3. Philosophical Solution Of Contradiction Between (Necessitating Causation) And (Free-Will) According To Sadra And The Theory Of Necessity

The solution relies on three main points:

a. To distinguish between necessity and determinism and between contingency and free-will. According to Sadra, critics of the theory of necessity have failed to distinguish between ikhtiyar (free-will) and contingency or between determinism and necessity and therefore they have thought that necessary relation of cause and effect would lead to determinism, so to deny determinism which is against our intuition and rational arguments one has to deny the theory of necessity. However, necessity does not imply determinism and has no conflict with ikhtiyar (free-will), just as contingency does not mean ikhtiyar (free-will) and entails not voluntariness of the act.

Necessity and contingency are two mental concepts that are abstracted by mind from the relation between the thing and existence, while determinism and free-will are two real qualities attributable to the act and existing outside of the mind.

Acts of a voluntary agent are characterised as necessary whether or not they are voluntary, because if the voluntary agent is a self-necessary existent (i.e.

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God) his acts also are necessary and if he is self-contingent he and his acts are necessary by the other. Therefore, voluntariness does not imply contingency, just as necessity does not imply determinism.

b. The reality of free-will and freedom consists in choosing out of consent and not under an external force imposing a disagreeable choice. Accordingly, every act arising from agent’s consent that is not chosen because of an imposing external factor is a free and voluntary act. Therefore, the main criterion for voluntariness is not contingency or possibility; rather it is the consent of the agent and lack of an imposing external factor.

Mulla Sadra says:

‘When the source of originating something is knowledge and will of the agent, whether knowledge and will are the same or different and whether knowledge and will are the same as the essence of the agent in the case of God or different in other cases, the agent is voluntary and the act is issued from the agent because of his will, knowledge and consent. Such agent is not called by the public or by the elite ‘‘involuntary agent’’. Neither its act is said to be issued out of determinism, though it is necessarily issued from the agent out of his will and knowledge’. (1)

What was mentioned above was concerning the criterion of voluntary (free) act. The criterion for qualifying a voluntary agent as a free agent is that whenever he wills he acts and whenever he does not will he does not act. According

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1- (ND), Vol. 6, p. 332

to this definition, it makes no difference whether the agent necessarily or unnecessarily wills, because truth of conditional proposition is compatible with the necessity of the condition or the conditioned. Therefore, although will of the agent is subject to the principle of necessary relation of cause and effect and its realisation or non-realisation is necessary, the agent is still voluntary and enjoys complete freedom.

When the voluntary killer fires a shot and kills a man we describe his action as a free action although his will or decision was necessitated by prerequisites, because the freedom of his action depends on his satisfaction and pleasure which is manifested through his will, and it does not contradict the necessity of will and its prerequisites.

Mulla Sadra rejects the theologians’ definition of the free agent as the one who may act or not (possibility of alternative). This definition implies the possibility of voluntary act. He says:

‘There are two well-known definitions for power, al-qudrah (freedom or willingness): First, possibility of act and its opposite, i.e. non-act, and second a state for the agent in which he acts if he wills and does not act if he does not will. The first interpretation belongs to theologians and the second to philosophers’.(1)

He also says:

‘The criterion for willingness (Freedom) is to have the will as the cause for the act or non-act. And surely a willing agent is the one that if he wills he acts and if he does not will he does not act, even if the

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1- Ibid, vol. 6, p. 307

will [itself] is necessitated by itself or by the other or is impossible by itself or by the other’. (1)

c. A voluntary act is one, the existence of which derives from the free-will of the agent but free-will itself is voluntary in essence, that by definition. Voluntariness of free-will is not separable from it, though the free-will may be caused by causes which are the origins of the necessity of its existence. In other words, the fact that ikhtiyar (free-will) itself is governed by the principle of necessary relation of cause and effect and its existence is necessitated by its cause does not turn it into non-ikhtiyar (non-freewill)…Ikhtiyar (free-will) is ikhtiyar (free-will) by definition, whatever its cause might be and however it is issued from its cause.

On the basis of the above three points, there is no conflict between free-will and the principle of necessity. Although the act of the voluntary agent is subject to the principle of necessity and the will of the agent becomes necessary after the completion of prerequisites, the act of the voluntary agent is free because it derives from his will.

Objections on the theory of necessity

a. This theory is counter-intuitive in feeling that both sides of the act even after the completion of all prerequisites are still equal to us as voluntary agents. We feel no necessity. This can be replied by saying that it is indeed an essential feature of ikhtiyar (free will) that at no stage the agent feels compelled or forced from outside, but this does not

p: 65

1- Ibid, Vol. 6, p. 319

mean that his decisions are made arbitrarily and are not subject to any rational rules.

b. Saying that our feeling of equality between both sides of the act is indeed an essential feature of free will (ikhtiyar), doesn’t solve the problem that is the contrast between free will and necessity, if our feeling of equality is right then both sides of act must be equal for us, but it is opposing the necessity of the action. On the other hand if the necessity is ruling our action then the equality of the both sides action or non-action is really incorrect.

c. If our will and decision and all prerequisites are subject to the principle of cause-effect necessity how can we justify Divine reward and punishment. This very known objection is asserted by Imam Fakhr Al Deen Al Razi(1)

The answer to this is that in any case our acts are voluntary and this is rationally enough to make Divine reward and punishment just. There is no evidence in our reason or conscience that demands ikhtiyar (free will) itself must be voluntary.

The other way to answer is to say that voluntariness of acts depends on their emergence from a voluntary agent (an agent that has ikhtiyar –freewill), but voluntariness of ikhtiyar (freewill) is essential and cannot be removed. Even if a superior cause originates ikhtiyar (free will) it cannot remove its voluntariness. Thus, ikhtiyar (free will) is ikhtiyar (free will), even if it is necessarily brought into existence by its cause. The essence of

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1- Al Razi, 1966, Vol. 1, p. 481

ikhtiyar (free will) (like any other thing) neither can be given to it nor can it be negated. Therefore, a voluntary act is voluntary, though all its prerequisites are governed by the principle of causal necessity, and has all the characteristics of voluntary acts, such as appropriateness of reckoning and punishment.

But it can be said: although the agent does his action by his volition, since it is caused necessarily, the agent has no choice to do other option or alternative, then he is not really free and cannot be responsible for his act.

In other words, if the meaning of Ikhtiyar (free will) is selection of an option from other options facing the agent, where the selection takes place through the above cause using necessitation and causal necessitation, then the responsibility of the agent and the value of reward or punishment or appraisal or scolding will be of no use.

And if Ikhtiyar (free will) means only the prerequisites which enable the agent to choose one option among a variety of options without the special causal necessitation of a particular option (i.e. equal contingency of all options until the last instant before the existence of the act) then it entails abandoning the necessity and returning to other theories such as Na’ini or Sadr’s who entirely denied the causal necessitation of act of voluntarian agent.

The causal necessitation of the voluntary act results in the offender of the criminal behaviour being dominated by the previous determinant cause which necessitates his criminal act. If the

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previous cause had necessitated the will for good act in the offender, decent behaviour would have been the resultant of the causal necessitation.

Now, considering this fact, we are facing one of the following two ways to either accept the causal necessitation of voluntarian act whether bad or immoral or good or moral, in which case the praise or the scolding, if any, will be directed towards the above causes and that cause has created the will for good act or bad act through causal necessitation in the agent and not towards the present agent who had no role but the accomplishment of the act. The other way is to abandon the causal necessitation of the agent’s will and believe in the issue of both ‘to act’ and ‘not to act’, which results in the equal contingency of both ‘to act’ and ‘not to act’, and thus one must think of justifying the issue of the act from the agent despite the equal possibilities of both ‘to act’ and ‘not to act’.

Tabatabai’s solution to the problem:

To solve the out-world confliction between causal law and freedom, Allamah Tabatabai suggests the distinction between ‘relative necessity’ and ‘relative contingency’.

He says:

‘The effect in comparison with its full {complete} cause is relative necessary. This relative necessity is the same as causal necessity. But the effect is not relative necessary in comparison with the partial cause like solely agent cause, because the partial cause does not necessitate the effect. When only one part of cause (partial

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cause) is provided without the other parts of cause, the effect will not be existed, but if the other parts of cause joined it, then it would be existed and if the other parts did not join then the effect will not be existed. Consequently man as an agent is solely a part of cause for his action, then the relation between man and his act is contingent relation, not necessary; and because of this reason man feels himself as a free agent possessing free will.’(1)

Therefore there is no conflict between necessitation of determined causal law and man’s free will, because the necessitation of causal law is between full cause and the effect, whilst the free will is related to the man who is the agent cause which is the partial cause not full cause. The philosophical problem of the conflict between the necessitation of causal law and the free will of man as an agent cause wouldn’t be solved by the above explanation because the problem is between the prior necessity which is the source of the agent’s will and his free will, whilst Tabatabai’s explanation focused on the later necessity which derived from the agent’s will. This suggestion does not imply further than the principle of ‘there is no conflict between necessity which is caused by free will (ekhtiar) and the free will (ekhtiar) itself’ but the main problem here is the confliction between agent’s free will on one hand and the prior necessity which derived from the

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1- Tabatabai, 1998, pp. 156-158

preconditioned cause, on the other hand.

Mutahhari’s solution to the problem:

The Martyr Allamah Mutahhari, has suggested another route to resolve this complication. The summary of his theory is as follows:

There is a variety of chains of cause and effect, dominated by causal determinism. Man has the choice to select over a variety of chains of cause and effect. Man can place himself in the route of definite chain of cause and effect that will lead to good behaviour and consequently worldly prosperity and divine rewards. And he can also place himself in the route of a chain of cause and effect that will pull him towards bad behaviour, crime and misery, and consequently worldly desolation and divine punishment. Therefore despite the comprehensiveness of the determined causal law including the behaviour of man, it is not in contradiction with the Ikhtiyar (free will) and the will power of man, since man is facing a variety of choices and options and can mark a suitable destiny through choosing any of them.

Martyr Allamah Mutahhari says:

‘The difference between man and the fire that burns, the water that drowns, the plant that grows and even the animal that walks is that none of them can choose their act and characteristic from a variety. However man can choose. He is always facing a number of acts and ways and the certitude of an act or way is only dependent upon his personal decision.’(1)

This saying of the Martyr Allamah Mutahhari is not instrumental in solving the conflicting issue

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1- Mutahhari, 1966 p.42

due to the fact that the complication lies within the choice and Ikhtiyar (free will) of man. The question is: is the decision or the agent’s will issued by chance and without a determining cause? If this is so, then what does the comprehensiveness of determined causal law mean? And if the comprehensiveness of the determined causal law and the preponderance without a preponderant is definite and without an exception, then man is alongside the chain of cause and effect and he is not free in what he chooses. In fact, it is a deterministic superior cause that will push man towards choosing an option and man cannot free himself from the deterministic influence of this superior cause and therefore, the freedom of man is nothing but a delusion.

From what was said, all the descriptions and justification introduced by all the major philosophers for the theory of necessitation to solve the conflict between ‘freedom’ and ‘causality’ is not enough since with regards to the comprehensiveness and unexceptionable law of the causal necessitation and its dominance over the voluntary act over all its preparations, there will not be any more justifications for the freedom and Ikhtiyar (freewill) of man. As a philosophical predicament the problem of the freedom of man is still awaiting an acceptable intellectual and philosophical justification that can explain the accountability of man and the intellectual decency of praise and reward over scolding and punishment and criminal offence.

B. The Theory Of Sovereignty


(In the interpretation of causality and its relation to free will)


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Na’ini (d.1935, 1355 ah), one of the founders of modern principles of jurisprudence, was the first one to develop and defend this theory. According to an exposition of the lectures of Na’ini (Ajwad al-Taqrirat), this theory can be traced back to Mirza Mohammad Taqi Isfehani (d.1832, 1248 ah) the author of Hidayat al-Mustarshidin (a commentary work on Maa’lam Al-Usul). After Na’ini, our greater master, the martyr Sadr, reconstructed this theory to meet the problems raised against the theory and, in an innovative way, developed it and called it ‘‘the theory of sovereignty’’. In what follows we will briefly present the ideas of Na’ini and then will focus on the theory of sovereignty (authority).

Na’ini starts his argument with two common sense laws that both can be affirmed after a short reflection:

First Law: Will (iradah) of the free agent itself is not voluntary. Reflecting on the process of decision-making inside ourselves, we realise that after conceiving the act and affirming its benefit our will automatically comes into existence. Will is an inevitable outcome of conceiving the act and affirming its benefit. Na’ini says:

‘Surely, all those qualities that belong to the soul such as will, conception and affirmation are not voluntary.’(1)

In respect to God, it can be demonstrated that His will is not voluntary, because his essence is simple and free from any attribute accidental and additional to it. Therefore, ‘will’ can not be accidental to His essence, since it is in conflict with the simplicity of the essence. Will of God is

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1- Al Khoei, 1933, Vol. 1, p. 91

identical with His essence and this implies that the Divine will is essential and it is self-evident that essential attributes are not voluntary. We find in an exposition of Na’ini’s lectures that:

‘Surely the will that is the complete cause of the existence of the effects is the same as His essence, and self-evidently His essence, the Exalted and the Glorified is not voluntary for Him.’ (Ibid)

Second Law: Human soul (mind) has complete sovereignty and authority upon its voluntary acts. In other words, man always feels very clearly that has complete power to make his decisions regarding his voluntary acts. Na’ini says:

‘Surely, the soul has complete effect and authority on muscles without facing any obstacle in exercising its sovereignty.’ (Ibid)

Na’ini concludes that there must be something between the will (iradah) and act. He calls this element ‘‘ikhtiyar’’ or ‘‘talab’’ [to seek]. Ikhtiyar is an act of soul that takes place after the formation of iradah (will) and its prerequisites. In this way, Na’ini argues for his position and adds that it is the only solution for the well-known objection of Fakhr al-Razi, who asserted that voluntariness of an act implies its involuntariness, since voluntariness of an act means to be caused by the will, but the will itself is determined by causes that produce it necessarily. Na’ini responds to this objection by saying that the voluntary act is not caused by the will; rather it is caused by something, which occurs between the will and act, i.e. ikhtiyar (or talab) [to

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seek]. Ikhtiyar is not caused by the will: it is originated from the essence of the soul (mind).

Na’ini believes that there is no necessary relation between ikhtiyar and the soul. Human soul in making ikhtiyar just needs some preponderating factor (the human soul alone is insufficient to make ikhtiyar). For this it would suffice that the agent pursues an end or goal in the act.(1)

There are many objections to Na’ini’s theory. First, the difference between iradah (will) and ikhtiyar (to seek) is not clear. If the ikhtiyar can escape cause-effect necessity why cannot iradah do this?

Second, Na’ini has not solved the problem in relation to the Divine acts, because ikhtiyar also cannot be additional to His essence and according to Na’ini himself the Divine essence is not voluntary for God. Now the question is: Does Na’ini believe that Divine acts are not voluntary?! How does he then treat decisive and certain belief in His power and His willingness?

Third, is ikhtiyar or talab, which is the basis of Na’ini’s theory on voluntariness of acts contingent or necessary? Na’ini does not accept its necessity and takes it to be contingent. Therefore, it must have equal relations to both existence and non-existence and according to the law of impossibility of preference without a preponderate; it would be impossible for ikhtiyar to exist. There is no solution for this problem in Na’ini’s account.

Sadr and the theory of Sovereignty


The difficulties in Na’ini’s theory led Sadr to reconstruct the theory and revive Na’ini’s claim with a new argument. To develop his

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1- Al khoei, 1933, Vol. 1, p. 92

theory of sovereignty Sadr first mentions some premises:

First premise: Equal relation of act to existence and non-existence is a clear fact that no argument can disprove. Every one of us clearly feels that after the completion of all prerequisites he still may or may not act. This is something that we understand clearly by our intuition and no argument can bring it into question.

Second premise: Necessity of prerequisites of an act leads to denial of free-will (because it implies that the agent hasn’t had any choice of his action) and philosophers’ answers are not able to solve the problem. Their answers are just some linguistic justifications (such as saying that ikhtiyar means the agent’s consent or that the voluntary agent is the one that acts whenever he is willing and does not act whenever he is willing to do so) that cannot solve the conflict between reality of necessity and reality of ikhtiyar.

Because the truth of this conditional proposition (the agent acts whenever he wants, and does not act whenever he doesn’t want) doesn’t lead to the freewill of the voluntary agent, what would that lead to is the deliverance of the agent’s action or non-action from the necessary or determined influence of another factor, which is not concluded by the theory of (Necessary).(1)

Third premise: The principle of causality is not demonstrated (neither empirically nor rationally)(2).

So it cannot be said that it cannot have any exception, because it is rationally proved. This principle is indeed an intuitive and evident principle.

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1- Al Hashimi, 1997, Vol. 2, p. 32
2- In his book logical foundations of induction he criticised both empirical and rational demonstration of the principle of causality. He said: ‘we suggest that if rationalism is to defend the causal principle as a priori, it should claim that the principle is an ultimate (initial) proposition in the mind, instead of saying it is logically deduced from ultimate (initial) principles’ (1993, p. 48)

To find the scope and extent of it we have to investigate its origins in our conscience (intuition).(1)

Based on the above premises, he argues that rationally any contingent being to come into existence needs an external factor. This factor can be either a cause that necessitates its existence or a voluntary agent that makes the act by his sovereignty. Having such an agent besides the act does rationally justify its existence. It is certain that the essential contingency does not suffice the existence of something. However, there might be something other than necessity that prefer the existence of a contingent being, such as sovereignty.

Definition of Sovereignty

Sovereignty or saltanah is an internal quality that we all understand. It is what we know by presence (‘ilm hodhoori). To conceptualise it we can use the expression: ‘The state that the agent could act or not act’. There is no necessity to act or not to act.

Sovereignty is similar to any of necessity and contingency from one aspect and different from each from the other. Sovereignty is similar to necessity in being rationally enough to justify the existence of a contingent being and leaving no need to look for something else. The difference between sovereignty and necessity is that with necessity an act loses its equal relations to existence and non-existence and necessity of existence takes its place, while with sovereignty the contingency remains the same. Necessity consists in the fact that the agent has to act or not to act, but sovereignty means that the

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1- Al Hashimi, 1997, Vol. 2, p. 36 Al Ha’iri handwriting, p. 418

agent may or may not act.

In other word: With necessity after the completion of all prerequisites the agent has no choice to act or not to act and he has to do what the prerequisites result in, whereas with sovereignty despite the completion of all prerequisites the agent still remains having choice to act or not to act.

Sovereignty is similar to contingency in preserving the equal relations of the contingent to both existence and non-existence, but sovereignty is different from contingency in being rational and sufficient to justify the existence of a contingent being while with contingency the questions remains why it must come into existence.

Having known that the sovereignty of the agent may substitute necessity and suffice the existence of a voluntary act which is the question at issue, reflection on our intuition and the way voluntary acts are issued from us shows clearly that the relation between us and our voluntary acts is one of sovereignty and not necessity. We as voluntary agents find that we have sovereignty upon our acts. We clearly understand the fact that even in circumstances in which all prerequisites and conditions of a voluntary act exist, it is not necessary to act. What we find deep in ourselves is this sovereignty upon our acts. It is up to us to act or not to act and we are not compelled to do so.(1)


The theory of Na’ini as explained above seems to suffer fatal problems. It seems also that the martyr Sadr’s theory of

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1- Al Hashimi, 1997, Vol. 2, p. 37 Al Ha’iri handwritings, pp.419-420

sovereignty despite its beauties and firmness still has very important problems. Of course, this does not mean that Sadra’s theory of necessity is free from fundamental problems. In what follows, I will explain problems of both theories of Sadr and Sadra.

Objections on the Theory of Sovereignty

a. Granted that Sovereignty suffices the existence of the act, would that also suffice its non-existence as well? If so, the problem would be that it leads to having both the existence and non-existence of the act at the same time. And if not it would mean that the non- existence of the act must be impossible and its existence must be necessary, because non-sufficiency of sovereignty for non-existence and its sufficiency for existence damage the state of equality of existence and non-existence in the essence of the contingent and change contingency into the necessity of existence.

b. To interpret sovereignty as ‘could act or not act, or may or may not act’ is just a linguistic account that does not solve the real problem. In any case, with sovereignty the existence of the act as a contingent effect either remains possible or becomes necessary. If it remains possible, the question still remains why will it exist? Why did not contingency suffice the existence of the act in the first place? If it becomes necessary the problem with the theory of necessity would repeat.

c. The principle of impossibility of preponderance without a preponderating factor has no exception because its reason has not any exception. The reason of this impossibility is that

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the essence of every contingent is lack of necessary existence or non-existence which is resulted in the essential equality of existence and non-existence. Therefore if the sovereignty prefers the existence of agent action it would entail its inequality which means the necessity of existence, and if it does not then the impossibility of preponderance with out a preponderating factor makes the existence of agent act impossible.

d. What is the meaning of (sufficiency) in saying that the sovereignty is sufficient for the existence of a voluntary act? Sadr, uses the expression ‘could act or not act, or may or may not act’. If it means possibility of existence the problem is that this is something which has been already there, and if it means necessity the problem is that this is the same idea involved in the theory of necessity.

Part 3: Free Will and Causality in Contemporary Western Philosophy


Philosophical theories in contemporary western thought can be categorised in three main currents:

a. Libertarianism, which is described as incompatibilism for its belief that the determination of causal laws negates the freewill meaning they are incompatible, and because the free will is a very obvious fact it cannot be overcome by determined causal laws. There are many explanations of this type of thought in current western philosophy, but I have chosen three important theories that I believe they provide the best clarification and deduction, they are:

• Agent causation or immanent causation that was suggested by Rodrick Chisholm. This theory can be compared to the theory of sovereignty of Al-Sadr in contemporary

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Islamic philosophy.

• Simple indeterminism that was suggested by Carl Ginet, which can be compared to the theory of Na’ini in Islamic contemporary thought.

• Causal indeterminism, suggested by Robert Kane. It can also be compared to the mentioned theory of sovereignty.

b. Hard Determinism, which agrees with libertarianism in the incompatibility of freewill with causal laws, but opposes it in freewill of agents. Hard Determinism believes there is no chance of freewill of agents because all agents are governed by determined causal factors. Several thinkers and philosophers adapted this kind of explanation of relation between causal determined law and human will, among them Paul Edwards gave a very clear expression of this idea.

c. Soft Determinism, that disagrees with both libertarianism and Hard Determinism, and believes in compatibility of causal determined law and freewill and alleges that not only there are not any conflicts between causal law and freewill but rather freewill cannot be emerged without the comprehensive causal law. Most philosophers in both Islamic philosophy and western philosophy inclined to this current of thoughts like Farabi, Avecina, Mulla Sadra, Tabatabai in Islamic Philosophy, and Thomas Habbes, David Hume, John Stuart Mail and A.J. Ayer in western philosophy. Here I chose the explanation of Ayer for its demonstrative clearness to show an example of this tendency of contemporary western philosophy.

The philosophical problem of the contradiction between freewill and causation has provided the basis for numerous discussions amongst contemporary Western philosophers and many efforts to resolve this problem have been attempted.

The philosophical attempts of

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Western contemporary philosophers pertaining to the philosophical form of the contradiction between causation and freewill can be summed up within the following three schools:

1. Determinism

2. Soft determinism

3. Indeterminism

The Indeterminists believe that the deterministic causal nexus (necessitiate causation) between cause and effect entails an absolute negation of freewill within any free actor – including the human being. Rejecting the necessity between cause and effect of the free agent provides the only solution for the alleged contradiction between causation and freewill. This group espoused the same opinion held by Muslim thinkers such as the Muslim theologians and the new scientists of the Principles of Jurisprudence (New Usooliyyoon), such as the late Sayed Muhammad Baqir Al Sadr.

As this group of contemporary Western philosophers adopted the view of incompatibility between freewill and necessity, they became known as the incompatibilists.

From another angle, those who believed in the necessity between cause and effect, i.e. the determinists, are divided into two groups:

Hard determinists: They believe that there is absolute contradiction between freewill and causal necessity. They therefore share the same opinion as the first mentioned group, however; they did not reject causal necessity but rejected the freewill of a free actor. As this group like the first group (the determinists) believe that the causal necessity contradicts the absolute freedom of a free actor, they are considered incompatibilists. When compared to Islamic thought they resemble the Ash’ariites (Al-Asha'erah), who also believed that causal necessity negates freewill.

Soft determinists: They believe that there is no contradiction between causal necessity and

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freewill, so these concepts are compatible. They believe that, the only reason for the assumption of the contradiction between the freedom and causal necessity is the misconception of the freedom in one hand, and the causal necessity in the other hand. This group of Western philosophers have known as compatibilists.

According to Robert Kane, the first person who used the term ‘hard determinism’ and ‘soft determinism’ was William James (James, 1956), who lived at the beginning of the twentieth century. (2002, p. 22)

Western compatibilists who espouse the belief that causal necessity is compatible with freewill, hold an identical view to the Muslim philosophers. This view particularly explained and extended in the teachings of Mulla Sadra, the founder of modern Islamic philosophy. But the difference is that Mulla Sadra has veraciously attempted to distinguish between determinism and necessity. He believes that freedom does not negate the causal necessity but rather negates determinism, and the causal necessity of free actor entails the necessity of the effect, but not its determinism. However this does not imply that it would be the determinist object.

As has been elaborated on in the previous chapter, Mulla Sadra believed that the non-distinction between the two concepts, i.e. determinism and necessity as well as the mixture of the two concepts of freedom and contingency provide the main reasons for the adoption of the incompatibility between causal necessity and freedom. He emphasised that one should distinguish technically between determinism and necessity in one hand, and freedom and contingency in the other

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According to Robert Kane, one of the main and most important disagreements regarding freedom within Western philosophical thought is the disagreement between the compatibilisists and the incompatibilisists (Ibid).

We can summarise the main contemporary Western philosophical schools regarding freedom and causal necessity as follows:

1. Libertarianism: A tendency that believed not in determinism and causal necessity, and adopted incompatibility between freedom and determinism. This group are subsumed under the category of the incompatibilists.

2. Compatible determinism: Also known as soft determinism.

3. Incompatible determinism: Also known as hard determinism

We will now briefly elaborate on and criticise these three tendencies comparing them with the mentioned comments of Muslim thinkers on this subject.

1. Libertarianism Incompatibilism


Those who have adopted this theory have rejected determinism; they are indeterminists and believe that it contradicts human freewill, i.e. incompatibilism. They believe that human beings are free from any form of determinism and causal necessity. One of the most important inclinations of contemporary (Western) philosophy, based on modern physics, is the rejection of determinism and causal necessity.

Based on new scientific theories, this inclination holds that no absolute or general rules govern the universe, because according to what has been proven by modern physics, the changes and transformations of the initial elementary particles of the universe, particularly the radioactive transformations (decay) of atomic nuclei, follow no certain rules; they are unpredictable.

Considering the fact that the world in which we live consists of these atoms, and the origin of the transformations and events of the natural world goes back to (originates from) the

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very same changes of radioactive atoms, and in fact these atoms -and their internal actions and reactions -form the main foundation of the world, it can be concluded that events in the natural world generally do not comply with the rule of determinism and no deterministic relationship rules them.(1)

The main problem of this theory is that determinism is not a scientific rule to be refuted by experimental and scientific methods, rather it is a philosophical and rational rule based on certainties, like mathematical laws which cannot be questioned or denied. In the previous chapter it was explained that necessary determinism originates from the axiom of 'Impossibility of the preponderance without a preponderant’.

Its brief content is that any event or phenomenon by itself, that is, independent of any other effective or ineffective factors, is not attributed to a necessity of existence or non-existence, and consequently is attributed to a contingency of existence or non-existence.

This contingency of existence or non-existence makes the relation of the nature of that entity with existence and non-existence equal. Therefore getting rid of the status of equality between existence and non-existence is impossible without the necessity of existence or non-existence arising from an effective external factor. So the existence or non-existence of each phenomenon or event not necessitated by a cause external to the entity is not conceivable.

According to the rational rule of impossibility of the preponderance without a preponderant, which results in the general rule of causal determinism, the changes and transformations at

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1- Kane, 2002, p. 22

the atomic level definitely follow a certain rule that originates from the general rule (of causal determinism), although modern physics has not obtained that rule at the present time, or may not in the future.

Inaccessibility to the mystery of the changes inside atoms does not mean that they haven't been governed by causal determined lows. In addition, various scientific humanities mainly confirm that the human behaviour is governed by determined lows.

And according to Robert Kane: ‘While physics of the twentieth century accepted withdrawal of the rule of necessity of determinism, it seems to have moved in an opposite direction in other scientific fields such as physiology, neurology, psychology, psychotherapy, sociology, and behaviourism. Scientific developments in the above fields have convinced many people more than ever that human behaviour is governed and originates/is derived from causes that are unknown and out of our control.’(1)

Another group of incompatibilists believe that the real liberty is not compatible with the determinism, and they are known as libertarians in the new sources and references of the Western philosophical thought.’(2)

Libertarianism is based on the three pillars:

a. Incompatibilism

b. Liberty really exists and the man is free in his behaviour.

c. Negation of the rule of determinism.(3)

Incompatiblists libertarians are not intellectually homogenous. Amongst them exist various schools of thought, each of which has propounded a different theory to comment on the relationship between the liberty of man and causation, the most important of these are as follows.

a. The theory of agent or immanent causation

This particular conception of causation is supported by thinkers such as

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1- Ibid, p. 8
2- Ibid, p. 17
3- Ibid, p. 17

Professor Roderick Chisholm(1). He argues, in an article under the title of 'Human Freedom and the Self',(2) and explains his theory that freedom is fundamentally opposed to both determinism and indeterminism. Accordingly, it paves a third direction that has been termed as ‘agent causation’. To explain the concept of agent causation he divided the causation into two categories.

First: Transeunt causation, which indicates that the cause’s causation is dependent upon a factor other than itself. All involuntary causes fall into this category because they have received the virtue of causation from beyond (or from dynamics outside of) themselves. For example, if fire burns, it is not because fire possesses the inherent quality of burning, but because it is gained from the cause that brought the fire into existence.

Second: Immanent or agent causation, which denotes that a cause derives it’s causation from itself and not from a factor that exists beyond or outside of itself, therefore it is considered independent. Voluntary causes belong to this class and in particular the human being. For example, a man who accomplishes a task has brought about (or caused) the accomplishment of that task by his own causation and not from a reason beyond him which provides the causation of the tasks accomplishment to him. And from this emanates the origins of man’s freedom. Chisholm compares this theory of inherent causation to the Aristotelian theory of the prime mover unmoved and in his commentary on liberty he considers the possibility of alternate selection as the main

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1- A professor of philosophy in brown university and was the former chief of philosophical committee of America.
2- Watson, 1982, pp. 24-35 Kane, 2002, pp. 47-58

condition of liberty.

He emphasizes that when the action performed by an agent is the only choice available and the emanation of another possibility or non-emanation of the action is impossible, then liberty will be senseless. He presents a definition of liberty similar to ideas attributed to theologians in Islamic thought who – as we mentioned earlier – disagree with the views of philosophers, who consider liberty to be the truth of a conditional proposition (‘if he wills, he does, and if he does not will, he will not do’) and do not believe that liberty contradicts the necessity of an act emanated from the agent. Theologians assert that liberty absolutely negates the necessity of an action emanating from the agent. They interpret liberty as the possibility of both the manifestation and the abandonment of an action.

On the one hand, Chisholm believes that the theory of agent causation has solved the apparent contradiction between liberty and the principal of determinism, which is where the causation of an agent of a cause beyond its nature falls under the ruling of determinism, therefore the agent is incapable of adopting another choice (either the non-emanation or emanation of the act). This is because the transeunt cause has made the manifestation of the action determined and therefore the agent has no alternative except to carry out the incumbent act. But according to the theory of agent causation, the agent is independent from the effect of any transeunt causes; so at the same time of an

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act emanating from him, he also has the ability to choose another act or the non-emanation of the same act. This is the essence of the liberty which we are discussing.

On the other hand, the indeterminist theory asserts that the emanation of an act from the agent will occur by random chance, which is incompatible with the concept of liberty because the act – although the possibility exists for both its emanation and non-emanation – is not based upon the free will of the agent to carry it out. For whether the agent wills it or does not will, the act will occur according to chance. This problem is also addressed by the theory of agent causation, which affirms that the act of an agent is not brought about by randomness, but by his active and conscious decision. Once the preliminaries of the selection of an act in the agent are provided, the emanation of the act from the agent cause will be indispensable; however, this indispensability rises from the agent's internal capacity and has not been imposed to him from external factors.

Thus, the method Chisholm has chosen in the theory of agent cause, is neither determinism nor indeterminism, rather, it is a third way between these two extremes.

From this point of view, it is very similar to the renowned Shiite theological theory of ‘There is no determinism nor is there absolute delegation of power (indeterminism), but the real position is between these two extremes’, the very same theory that

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was mentioned in the previous chapter.

This theory involves main difficulties. The first one is the negation form of indeterminism. As mentioned before, determinism is based on a very strong rational principle that in no way can be negated and that is the principle of impossibility of the preponderance without there being a preponderant. Only the two modes below are conceivable for the act that is emanated from the voluntary agent:

To be emanated by chance, in this case as Mr. Chisholm holds, liberty will not exist. Furthermore, emanation of an act from the agent by chance is incompatible with the principle of causation and the impossibility of preponderance without there being a preponderant that is an evident and certain principle.

To be emanated from preponderance of a certain preponderant; in this case there will no way but determinism.

That the causation of agent cause has two types: the causation arising from external (transeunt) cause, and the one arising from the nature of the agent (agent cause); and that the causation in the voluntary agent is of the second type, solves no problems in this field. Because the question that arises in that if the causation of the voluntary agent to perform an act is an essential causation, therefore, the emanation of an act from the voluntary agent will be non-optional. In fact, this is the very determinism that according to Chisholm is incompatible with the liberty of the agent.

Also if the causation of the voluntary agent is not essential, it should have been

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given to him from outside (external or transeunt cause) that – as Chisholm admitted - results in determinism, and –subsequently- will not be compatible with liberty.

The second problem that weakens the foundation of this theory is that Chisholm gives no clear reason to prove his theory; rather to prove his theory he is satisfied that this theory is the best way to justify man's responsibility and liberty, however it needs definitely logical justification to treat man's responsibility and liberty as a given.

In case, as mentioned earlier, determinism is proved through intellectual proof and if we consider it as incompatible with man's liberty, as Mr. Chisholm does, then there will remain no way save refutation of liberty and after that, refutation of man's responsibility.

In spite of the similarity between: libertarianism – as Mr. Chisholm has propounded in the theory of agent cause – and the theory propounded by Muslim theologians, and the new experts in the principles of the Islamic jurisprudence (Usooliyyoon), in particular, Ayatollah Sadr, with his theory of sovereignty, the main distinction between them lies in Sadr's attempt through his strong, intellectual reasoning and the justification he has given to prove his theory.

He has expressed, as mentioned earlier, a particular intellectual statement by which he has managed to solve both of the aforementioned problems:

- To solve the first problem, that is the impossibility of the preponderance without there being a preponderant he has analyzed this principle intellectually and stated that the preponderant can be one of two: The necessity

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of the effect or the sovereignty of agent over the act which is suitable with the agent's free well.

- He has solved the second problem in another way. He has made it clear that the liberty of a voluntary agent's act was a conscious matter and that determinism was not demonstrable.

However there is another explanation of the theory of agent cause that is propounded by Mr. O'Connor. He, while accepting the basis of the theory of agent-cause that considers man as the end of the line of his behaviour, and recognizing not any cause beyond him as being effective in establishment or determination of human behaviour,(1) he attempts to answer the third question that Mr. Chisholm faced in the explanation of agent-cause.

This is the same question we referred to earlier while raising our first objection to Mr. Chisholm's theory. In summary this objection is that causation of the voluntary agent for the act cannot be by chance, because its being by chance is tantamount to the negation of the free will from the voluntary agent. Therefore, the question that arises is ‘What is behind the voluntary agent's causation for his behaviour?’

To answer this question Mr. Chisholm considered the internal propensities and beliefs of the agent arising from his natural characteristics, to be the cause of the voluntary agent's causation for his behaviour.

He also held that the voluntary agent was similar to the Essence of God, the Exalted, in Aristotelian theory of a prime mover unmoved.

But Mr. O'Connor calls this

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1- Kane, 2002, p. 199

justification into question and interprets it as unnecessarily heroic. He considers it insufficient to answer this question of how the agent selects one out of many acts. He considers the existence of a preponderant that makes the agent select a certain act by necessity.

To answer this question, he maintains that the cause of the voluntary agent's causation is formed by the structure of the built-in propensities and that this structure draws the agent towards a certain act which corresponds with them. But O'Connor considers this structure to be an undetermined preponderant and believes that in spite of the existence of such a structure that results in the agent's behaving in such a manner as is appropriate to it, the agent is never obliged to behave that way, and can also behave in another way that is inappropriate to that propensity structure.

He adds, in spite of that propensity structure, I still have the free will to behave either according to that structure or opposite it. He says:

‘What we need is a way to modify the traditional notion of distinctively personal kind of causal capacity and to see it, not as utterly unfettered, but as one that comes ‘structured’, in the sense of having built-in propensities to act (though ones that shift over time in accordance with the agent's changing preference). But we must do so in such a way that it remains up to me to act on these tendencies or not, so that what I do is not simply

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the consequence of the vagaries of ‘chance-like’ indeterministic activity, as may be true of microphysical quantum phenomena.’(1)

Obviously, the justification Mr. O'Connor suggests for the voluntary agent cannot solve the problem of necessity of preponderance without there being a preponderant. The legitimate challenge to the theory of Mr. Chisholm remains. As if the propensity structure is the sufficient cause of the emanation of the act, then the act is determined and there will remain no place for free will; if it is not the sufficient cause, and as Mr. O'Connor explicitly stated, ‘In spite of this propensity structure, I have the free will to act or not.’ the question remains, ‘What will change a behaviour that can or cannot be (a possibility that means lack of a preponderant and equality of the two sides) to a behaviour that must be?’

Here to take Mr. O'Connor's side, it can be said that the structure of the agent's internal propensities is enough for preponderating, although this preponderance is an unnecessitative one. This is the same theory of preponderance propounded by the Muslim theologians, mentioned at the beginning of this discussion, and it was severely disapproved of by the Muslim philosophers.

Muslim philosophers have explained that any existing entity that remains enjoying non-necessity of existence and non-necessity of non-existence is not conceivable. For the duration of this state, the existence of every being, including the voluntary agent, requires that a cause change its non-necessity of existence to necessity of existence. Otherwise, not only would the discipline

p: 93

1- Ibid, p. 204

of general causation, and, the intellectual rule of impossibility of preponderance without there being a preponderant be negated, but also, free will itself will cease to exist in case free will is a matter of chance.

b. The Theory of Simple Indeterminism

This theory was explained by Mr. Carl Ginet. In an article under the title 'Freedom, Responsibility Agency' he presents another scheme of agent-causation. In common with Chisholm and O'Connor he holds that just as determinism is incompatible with man's freedom and responsibility, so too is indeterminism incompatible with them. Thus, there is no way but to select a third way in order to explain man's freedom and responsibility.

While not approving of the scheme explained by Chisholm and O'Connor under the title of 'agent-cause', Ginet believes that the above scheme cannot solve the problems to be found in this issue.

He first sets out the main problem in this regard. According to what Mr. O'Connor has conceived, incompatibility of indeterministic causation with freedom arises from this point that cannot justify the emanation of a certain act from the agent, - despite the possibility of other options. Ginet explained: ‘O'Connor and I agree in rejecting the indeterministic-causation account of what it is for an agent to her action. O'Connor's dissatisfaction with this view arises from his belief that any such account must explain how an agent makes one among the competing motives she faces the efficacious one, and he doesn't see any way that this can be done without resorting to agent-causation.(1)

According to Mr. Ginet, the disagreement

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1- Kane, 2002, p. 209

of Mr. O'Connor with the theory of indeterministic causation stems from this belief that any explanation of the voluntary agent's behaviour should answer the question: ‘How does the agent make effective a stimulant or a motivation from among different stimulants and motivations?’

While, as Ginet holds, the problem of indeterministic causation is elsewhere, the main problem of this theory is that responsibility and freedom require in principle neither the relation of causation nor behavioural stimulants; therefore, Mr. Ginet raises two major objections against Mr. O'Connor's theory:

Firstly, if as O'Connor says – a preponderant cause is required to make the agent select one of the possible ways, in the event that the preponderant cause is not indeterministic, this question will remain: ‘What is the cause of the agents' causation? And what has given the agent the power to control and to determine this behaviour?’

To get rid of this difficulty Mr. Ginet does not deem the existence of a preponderant necessary for the voluntary agent's act, and holds – as will be explained later on – that the agent has the power to control himself although there is no preponderant to necessitate a certain act.

Secondly, the theory of agent-causation, as depicted by Mr. O'Connor can be neither grasped nor proved, because in the first place, so long as the agent has not been influenced in the causation of his act by any external actor, and at the same time all the factors that are considered important in emanation of his act, stem from

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his nature, then the emanation of his act in a particular time and under certain conditions remains inexplicable.

What causes the act to come into existence at a certain time and not other times and under certain conditions and not other ones?

In the second place, now that the voluntary agent's causation in relation to the act is not the effect of external causes, for what reason should we treat the agent as the cause of the act itself, and call him the agent cause of the act?

Why should we not be able to consider the agent as a simple subject for a state we call act or free will?

It is on the same basis that Mr. Ginet does not accept the concept of agent causation suggested by Mr. O'Connor, and exerts himself to justify the voluntary agent's behaviour on the basis of simple determinism in such a way that enjoys the two elements of freedom and responsibility without recourse to the principles of general causation or to behavioural motivations.

According to what is understood from Mr. Carl Ginet's writing under the title of 'Freedom, Responsibility and Agent' the theory of simple indeterminism can be summarized as follows:

a. The voluntary agent's act consists of free will which is either a causally simple mental action, or begins with it.

b. This simple mental action is not the cause of the occurrence of other events.

c. This simple mental action will be an act only in the state of certain intrinsic phenomenal quality. This quality is called

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‘actish quality’ by Mr. Ginet. This certain intrinsic phenomenal quality is a condition that free will or the simple mental action can be an act only when conditioned to it.

Or according to Ginet: ‘the simple mental action is an act only in the event that it possesses an intrinsic phenomenal quality, the same quality that I have entitled an ‘actish quality’, and I use the term agent-causation in it only by adding ‘as if’’. (Ibid)

To explain the ‘actish quality’ Mr. Ginet adds: ‘When the simple mental action in my free will employs one of my body organs by exerting the power, my internal feeling does not judge that this mental event has suddenly come into existence without any preparations. Rather, a perceptible internal quality in my interior creates it in the same way and in the same period of time that it happens.’ (Ibid)

d. This simple mental action (free will) that has such a perceptible internal quality is sufficient for the existence of an act.

e. The free will that benefits from a perceptible internal quality, does not meet the standpoint of the incompatibilists that is based on refutation of any necessitative causation between the act and its preliminaries. On the contrary, an act is a compound thing that consists of free will or simple mental action and the necessitative causal relation numbers among its results. When I open the door, my free will causes the motion of my hand and arm, and the motion of my hand and arm causes

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the door to open. Here opening the door is the necessitated effect of the motion of hand and arm, and the motion of hand and arm is the necessitated effect of my free will.

f. Despite the fact that there is a necessitative causal relation between my free will and its consequences which result in emanation of the act in the external world (as opening the door in the aforesaid example), however, there is no causal relation between me and my free will, and, naturally, the consequences of my free will. It is not true that I am the cause of my free will, so this question arises: ‘What is the cause of this causation?’ And then the matter culminates in the standpoint that a cause beyond my nature becomes the emanation of the free will from me and subsequently the way to my freedom is barred. Rather, I am the subject of my free will. Free will is inherent to me, and it is the inherency of my free will that secures the freedom of the act that emanates from me.

g. So, the emanation of the act from the voluntary agent does not require an external cause and for the same reason does not require a preponderant, although this preponderant is not a necessitative one, because a voluntary agent's act can emanate from him without there being any preponderant. Once the agent wills the act, the act will emanate from him. The agent's free will requires nothing, for it is

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h. Consequently, the relationship between motivations or stimulants and human free will is not a necessitative causal nexus, or even nexus of agent-causation, as conceived by Mr. O'Connor. Rather, the relationship between motivations and stimulants of the behaviour, and the human act is adjusted by free will or decision. The following is the content of this free will: ‘This act can meet and satisfy those motivations and stimulants.’

Once within his knowledge and awareness the agent notices the fact that this act can meet that motivation or that stimulant, free will comes into existence, and he decides to perform the act.

So, there is a difference between a proposition that says, ‘S performs A to satisfy his stimulants and propensities.’

Comparing it with the other proposition that says: ‘S performs A, due to his awareness that A fulfils all the stimulants and propensities.’

In the first proposition the stimulants and motivations are introduced as a cause of the act, while in the second proposition there is no causal nexus between the stimulants and motivations on the one hand, and the act itself on the other hand. The only available thing is that within the awareness of the agent these stimulants and propensities can be satisfied by this act, and, concurrent with this awareness the intention, free will, and decision of the agent to perform the act appears.

The theory of simple determinism is very close to the theory of Mirza Nayeeni. In particular, the explanation that Mr. Ginet presents about ‘actish quality’ is very close

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to what Mirza Nayeeni expressed as ‘the attack of the soul’ (The instant movement of the soul toward the act or the embarking of the soul on the act).

However, as mentioned earlier in relation to Mirza Nayeeni's theory and other theories from contemporary Western philosophers, the main problem regarding preponderance without there being a preponderant will not be solved by these explanations and interpretations. Inherency of free will – as mentioned by Ginet and insisted upon by Mirza Nayeeni – will not solve the following problems:

If inherency of free will means that it always exists with man, it is obviously invalid because the free will of the act is a state that comes into existence in the agent's self only before the emanation of the act. If it means that it appears without there being a cause or preponderant, then it will face the difficulty of preponderance without a preponderant and the existence of a possible thing without a cause.

The other criticism that can be drawn to Mr Giant’s theory of ‘simple indeterminism’ is that it is not clear why will is an exception from the General Law of Causality. If ‘Will’ need not the cause, why then the Agent’s act itself cannot exist without cause. If it can be said in response that if the Agent’s act is not caused by a cause it means that it is out of control and it is incompatible with the freedom, why can we not say the same for the will

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and the ‘Actish quality’ accompanied with it?

The third criticism is that according to the Giant’s there is no causal nexus between the stimulants and motivations on the one hand and the act itself on the other hand, and the awareness of the Agent satisfies his prior stimulants and is sufficient for the existence of will and willed act. But the question is how this awareness can occur? If in reality there is no relationship between the act and prior stimulant how this kind of awareness would be possible, and if there is a relationship between the act and its prior stimulants dose it not means that the prior stimulants are the cause of the agent’s will and act?

c. The theory of Causal Indeterminism

This theory held by Robert Kane in his essay titled ‘Freewill: New Directions for an Ancient problem’ which can be summarised in the following paragraphs:

a. The meaning of freedom which should be discussed here is (the power to be the ultimate creator and sustainer of one’s own ends or purposes) which is incompatible with the determinism. But we agree with the compatibilists that there are some other meanings of freedom which are compatible with the determinism.

b. The contemporary and past philosophical discussions concentrate on the compatibility between determinism and a possible alternative act. According to Robert Kane, as there are different interpretations of freedom, discussion about the possibility of alternative act would make it impossible to clarify concepts such as possibility of alternative act, power, ability, and freewill. The truth is that the

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question of the compatibility between determinism and freedom would not be solely answered by the possibility of the alternative act. Thus, in order to complete this answer, it is necessary to think about it in another way.

c. In solving the problem of compatibility, what is more important than the possibility of alternative is the concept of ‘ultimate responsibility of the agent's act’. This concept relies on the condition that can be defined as ‘The power of agent to be the final creator of his own purposes via his acts’ .Or, in simpler terms, to be in control of the facts that produce his act.

d. Although the ultimate responsibility of the agent towards his own present act does not depend upon the possibility of the present alternative act, but it depends upon the possibility of the alternative for the past agent's acts which have taken part in formulating his character, that are known as self-forming actions. In fact the ultimate responsibility of the agent for his present act is in need of the possible alternative in his own past self-forming actions.

e. Therefore, some of past agent's acts which are his self-forming actions must be free from the nexus of complete causation and completely influential factors. Otherwise, it entails the negation of possible alternative of the present agent's acts and the past agent's acts which were influential on him. And this would result in merely determinism.

f. What is mentioned above is a new way of incompatibility between determinism and freedom which stimulates

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two questions:

First: how could the self forming acts, which are lake of ‘full causes and motivations' be free acts, and result in responsibility? (The intelligibility question)

Second: how does this kind of conducts occur in the chain of causes of human acts?

(Existence question)

g. The reply of the intelligibility question: the problem which the incampatiblists were faced with since the early times is that as the freedom is incompatible with determinism it also is incompatible with indeterminism, because the result of full indeterminism is that the man’s action pursuing irrelative preliminaries, for example a man pointing a gun towards a victim and shooting him from a short distance, but instead of killing him, prolonging his life for another fifty years, which is indeed a very irrational strange result.

The libertarians and incompatibilists in order to find a way around this problem and to clarify the fact that freedom does not imply indeterminism have referred to a very obscure or mysterious forms of causation; Immanuel Kant has suggested the noumenal self which is outside space and time, that cannot be studied in scientific terms, and scientists might think about an indeterminacy or a place for causal gaps in the brain, but a nonmaterial self or what John Eccles calls a transempirical power centre which would fill the causal gaps left by physical causes by intervening in the natural order.(1) And the most popular and renown appeal in this regard amongst the contemporary philosophers is a type of Agent or immanent Causation, based on which

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1- Eccles, 1970

the free and responsible acts are not determined by prior events but neither do they occur merely by chance.

Robert Kane called these types of theories which believe the free acts to be caused by the non-ordinary Agents, as the ‘extra factor’ strategies. Because these theories share a common point that since the indeterminism opens the door for agent to choose whatever he wills, then it needs a kind of superior causation over the ordinary chain of causes and effects, to justify the agent's freewill and power between two choices.

h. But if we want to answer the question on intelligibility of a freewill (i.e. the questions related to its concept), and the questions of its existence we have to ignore the extra factor strategies containing the theory of agent or immanent causation, and find a new way of resolving the problem.

The first step of this new way is to know not all human acts are undetermined, rather the only acts which undetermined are the acts which could be named as self-forming actions. These kinds of acts are formed when the agent confronts two conflicting perspectives of what he should do or what can be done. In such time person might be torn between two kinds of stimulants i.e. ambition or morality, desires or long term goals.

Robert Kane explains: ‘There is tension and uncertainty in our mind about what to do at such times, I suggest, that is reflected in appropriate regions of our brains by movement away from thermodynamic

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equilibrium-in short, a kind of ‘stirring up of chaos’ in the brain that makes it sensitive to microindeterminacies at the neuronal level. The uncertainty and inner tension we feel at such soul-searching moments of self-formation is thus reflected in the indeterminacy of our neural processes themselves’(1)

In this status Agent has been pulled towards unknown and uncertain outcomes, and he has been overcome by disorganised motivations in his mind causing a neuronal level sensitiveness towards uncertain and unknown movements.

What has been experienced inside of ourselves as an indefinite and uncertain process and then been reflected on the appropriated physical conduct opens the window of opportunity for human to avoid the deterministic influence of past status or events upon the present human's conducts.

Conversely, whenever we do something which is resulting from the certain motives and previous formed character, any way except the determinism is never left over for us. But when we want to decide in the terms of disorganised motivations, its result will not be deterministic, because the premises are not deterministic. In fact, the previous wills of the agent have been divided into two opposed groups, and whenever we choose one of two opposed groups, what is chosen by our will has prevailed over the other group, here, we have changed a non-deterministic effort into one certain choice.

i. Just as the indeterminism is not inconsistent with the freedom, it is not inconsistent with the agent’s responsibility with regard to his action too. For example, when a person can overcome the

p: 105

1- Kane, 2002, p.228

non-deterministic repressive obstacles with his effort and so he does his own desire, although there is no any determinism, no anyone except the agent himself is responsible relative to his action.

Suppose that a person wants to kill somebody, but his shot goes the wrong way because of a non-deterministic event on his nervous system; including the muscular contraction or the unwittingly movement of his hand. However if he could overcome this non-deterministic obstacle and be succeeded in his own desire, who will be responsible relative to his action except him?

If he (the murderer) does not encounter with any obstacle while performing his own desire, his action or behaviour will not be the self-forming action. The will of the agent may divide between two contrary motives in relation to the self-forming action such as a merchant who wants to arrive at his own appointment for his own business activity, but unfortunately he encounters with a person whose life is exposed to danger on his way.

Here, if this merchant shall pay no attention to him and his helping cry, he can arrive at his own appointment and meet his own profit; otherwise he must disregard his own business income. Here, there are two contrary flows of the nervous system in relation to this event. Each one of these two contrary flows is effective in the other and is a result of the contradicted motivations and desires which reflected on the nervous system.

These two contracted flows in the nervous system constitute the

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complex networks of the nervous connections in our brain. They cause to circulate the moving force as a rotational flow and in fact, they have been placed in a level upper than the ordinary nervous process and its centralized network. Here, in this case, we have two moving forces: that which is drawing the merchant up on helping that individual who needs it, and the other force which is drawing him up on his own business profit.

These two nervous networks are in contact with each other and so they influence upon each other. Here, the agent encounters with two contrary calling which each of them will be an obstacle against choosing the other way.

Whenever the agent decides to do one of the two things, he resolves the contradiction between two wills and prefers one of them against the other one; so the agent himself will be responsible in relation to the performed work. In this case, despite of the full responsibility of the agent, the action is treated not neither as the chance nor as the determined action.

j. When the above – mentioned conditions are made available for the self-forming actions, these actions will control the agent’s future life and constitute the basic ground of the subsequent character and acts.

On the basis of what was said, the agents will have a numerous choices and face many parallel ways. In fact, they can choose and establish each of them by their will and desire without any kind of determined forcing cause,

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mistake and random.

The above mentioned conditions can be summarized in this short sentence: The agents can choose their future wills in that manner which they wish.

On the basis of what we said, the brain is two agents in a parallel with each other, it can cause to flow two kinds of information (imaginative affirmative) through the nervous canals synchronously. This kind of ability and complexity is necessary for the main self-forming actions and freedom of the human’s behaviour.

k. Responsibility ‘luck and chance: Does the indeterminism mean chance or random; i.e. everything happens by chance? Here, we must look that what relationship is there between the indeterminism and the luck or chance in order to answer this question. Here, it must be said that the indeterminism doesn’t mean the negation of the general law of causality. Rather it is a technical term which solely means the negation of the indeterministic causality.

So, the indeterminism is compatible with the non-deterministic, contingent and possible cause.

Of course, there is another root for this mistake; sometimes, it is thought that since the agent has not been forced by deterministic cause to prefer one from two choices, then there is a kind of challenge in relation to choosing one of them inside of him and finally he will choose one of them by chance. The basis of this mistake is the imagination that ‘The agent’s effort for preferring one way to another one’ (for example, that merchant in the above mentioned example) and ‘his or her

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non-deterministic choice’ are two separated things; so it is supposed that subsequent to the agent's effort to choose one of the two ways, suddenly he or she does her or his choice accidentally by chance.

But the fact is that the agent's effort for preferring one way to another one is directly producing his choice, in other words, indeterminism is not a case separated from his effort for overcoming the other reasons or motives.

In fact, indeterminism and the agent's effort for preferring one way to another one is a single compound, in other words, indeterminism is the quality of his effort, not a thing which happens before or after it. In such a case, there is no place for such assumption of the role of chance or luck. There is a complex recurrent neural network that realizes the effort in the agent's brain and circulates indeterminate impulses in feedback loops. The indeterminacy is a quality of this indeterminate circulation.

However, an effort process for preferring one way to another is merely an effort of will and it persists right up to the moment when the choice is made, and there is no any space or medium – as chance or random- between an effort for preferring one way to another ‘Will’ and making a choice or decision to act.

There is the same situation in relation to the luck. If the agent succeeded to do what he wished, it could not be said that his good luck caused him to reach his own

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desire and therefore he is not responsible for what did he act.

What the sentence ‘he was lucky’ or ‘he was prosperous’ means is that, that success has not been deterministic. In other words, in spite of the obstacles and the possibility of failure the agent could obtain his own purpose and do his own desire. But it does not mean that it was happened by chance, and existed without any cause.

Here, there is another reason to explain the agent's responsibility. That what the agent was succeeded in doing is the same thing which he attempted to do and struggled for. Furthermore, he never considers it as a kind of chance or an accident; rather, he does consider it as an effect of his own will and himself.

l. Concerning the agent's act or his freewill there is no reason that to qualify an action as the agent's action or the action by his own free will, it must be deterministic. In fact, the responsibility of the agent towards his action is not dependent upon the deterministic quality of what he has done.

There is no any determinism or compulsion in that example of the murderer who succeeded in doing his own desire, or the merchant who attended at his appointment. Because he (the agent) did what he wanted in spite of the reversal reasons and the numerous obstacles, so he (the agent) –of course-is responsible for what he performed.

The essence of ‘choice’ is -In fact- to form a decision or an intention

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for doing something, that intention or decision which puts an end for and removes any kind of doubt or hesitancy in the mind of the agent towards the act. According to this account of ‘choice’ it does not need causal necessity or determinism.

When the contrary stimulants and opposed motives leads the agent towards the other choice, but he resists all that contrary stimulants and opposed motives, and in spite of its pressure he makes his preferred will and choice overcoming that pressure and finally does his own chosen act, he actually bears the full responsibility of what he wills and what he acts, because he is who has done this choice, while there has not been any determinism or compulsion.

Of course, indeterminism doesn't mean that there is no cause for what has been done. Although the actions and choices are not deterministic, however, they are not lacking causes; rather they are due to the agent's previous effort. But it may be said: Although the indeterminism is not inconsistent with the principle of choice and any act can be contemporaneously a simple choice and not deterministic; but the choice to be the agent's choice it must be deterministic and therefore, it is not compatible with the indeterminism.

It can be replied: What makes an act or choice an agent's act or choice is that it results from his efforts and deliberation which in turn are causally resulted from his previous motives, reasons and images, so it doesn't need to be influenced by

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deterministic force.

Therefore, ascribing an act or choice to an agent is due to its resulting from his own intention and Decision which is a product of his previous reflective effort, and this reflective effort is a part of the agent's self-defining motivational system.

Furthermore, the agent confirms that the chosen intention is the same as what he wants and makes it as a part of his own self - defining motivational system and operates it as an effective element for his future life direction and as a self-forming action, which is another proof affirming that the choice is belonging to the agent and he himself is responsible towards it.

m. After what is explained that the indeterministic and self - forming actions are considered as a kind of choice and particularly agent's choice, now it is a time to discuss another issue that is the extant of the agent's control over his own chosen act. How much –in fact- control he has over it?

Certainly, indeterminism entails a diminution of the agent's control over his choice and action, and results in the problem often noted by critics of libertarian freedom that the indeterminism, wherever it occurs, seems to be an obstacle or a hindrance to our realizing our purposes and hence an obstacle to freedom. But in the self-forming actions this obstacle or hindrance arises from the agent's will itself, not from any outside factor or effective agent.

In the previous example, that merchant who was going to attend his own business

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appointment suddenly encountered with the helping cry of that victim, here, it can be said that a kind of self - forming action occurs. His will for attending his own business appointment causes to diminish his control over helping the victim. On the other hand, his will for helping the victim causes to diminish his control over his will of attending his own business appointment.

Therefore, in both sides the indeterminism acts as an inside obstacle against the agent's determination and realization of the attainment of his own aims and intentions. In another words there is a kind of competition between two conflicting motives which eventually end in that the agent overcomes one side stimuli.

Although lack of such an inside resistance entails a full control of the agent over one of the competing choices, but it entails also lack of competition between different stimuli and motives, and it results in negation of the freedom of choice and action.

Thus, it can be said that the indeterminism via its result of obstacles prevents from agent's realization of obtaining his own aims and intentions. Hence it provides a way to the possibility of obtaining other aims and intentions that resulted from different choices, so the free choice and act has been formed.

To be the really free agent of our own self - forming actions we must in some certain time of our life struggle against such obstacles and overcome them to realize that we have attained our purpose and done what we wanted.

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n. There is another problem that is since the agent _ according to the theory of indeterminism of self-forming actions_ does not have full control over the motives and preliminaries of his choice, there is a kind of chance or arbitrary which constitutes a part of the preliminaries of the agent's action.

According to Mr. Robert Kane, this question indicates an important fact in the case of freedom namely the value experiment. What is revealed by this fact is that every free or indeterministic choice is a beginning point for the experiment of value; that are the actions and behaviours which cannot be justified by the reasons past, because its reasons are hidden in the coming events and it will only be revealed in the future.

In making such a choice the agent says himself:

‘Let me try this. It is not required by my past, but it is consistent with my past and is one branching pathway my life can now meaningfully take. Whether it is the right choice, only time will tell. Meanwhile, I am willing to take responsibility for it one way or the other.’(1)

This kind of choice is not a result of the previous qualities or actions, although it is in coordination with them, and it is in fact branching a past constituted personality and grounding intentionally a new personality which will-only in future-be known whether it is right or wrong. Therefore, it can be said that our self-forming actions are compatible with the previous actions and states and

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1- Kane, 1996, pp. 145-6

they create a new part of our life routed in our previous character.

After this quite short explanation of the Robert Kane's theory of Causal Indeterminism, now we firstly try to compare it with the most important theories in contemporary Islamic philosophy, and secondly to point out some critics concerning it.

In comparison with the contemporary Islamic philosophy the theory of causal indeterminism seems to be very close to the Sadr's theory of Sovereignty. Because according to Kane's the most important condition for the agent's ultimate responsibility is ‘the agent's power to be the ultimate creator and sustainer of his own ends or purposes’(1) which is similar to what Sadr called ‘The sovereignty of the agent’.

But in spite of this similarity there is a very important difference here between what Kane called agent's power and Sadr's sovereignty, that is -in brief- according to Kane the agent's power-as he described –is solely concerning to the self-forming actions, whilst the next actions are necessarily determined by them which means that with the exception of the self-forming actions the other actions has not been chosen by free will, and as a result the agent has not had a directly control over them.

But in Sadr's point of view the agent's sovereignty is not limited to any part of the willed actions. According to Sadr the agent's sovereignty is the main source of his control which comprehends all the willed agent's actions.

The other similarity between these two theories is the philosophical separation between

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1- Kane, 2002, p. 223

causality in one hand and causal determinism or causal necessity in the other hand. The both philosophers believe that the negation of determinism doesn't mean the negation of causality, and the affirmation of causality doesn't mean the affirmation of determinism.

But also in this point there is some difference between them, for the Sadr's theory of sovereignty attempts to solve the problem of the impossibility of preference without a preponderant by a given suggestion of agent's sovereignty as an alternative of the preponderant, but it is not clear how the theory of causal indeterminism could overcome this problem.

To criticise the Kane's theory of causal indeterminism we are pointing out some consideration as following:

1. Grant, that Kane's given explanation of free action which refers it to the self-forming actions succeeded in showing an acceptable reason for the indeterminism of the agent's act, but the question that remains is, in the process of occurrence of undetermined self-forming actions, at such a difficult time when we are torn between competing visions of what we should do, what makes the agent choose that specific action and not the others?

To say that:’ Well, we know that the brain is a parallel processor’ or ‘In cases of self-formation (SFAs), agents are simultaneously trying to resolve plural and competing cognitive tasks’ is not sufficient to solve the problem. The question still remains that since the agent's choice is not a kind of chance, accident or random, what is the real factor that makes the agent try

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one way, and not the other.

In reply to this objection Kane explained:’ What makes an act or choice an agent's act or choice is that it is resulted from his efforts and deliberation which resulted from its previous motives, reasons and images, so it doesn't need to be influenced by deterministic force’. But the question arises again: Since there is more than one flow of previous motives and reasons with the equal possibilities of choices, what causes only one flow to be chosen by the agent?

2. In his explanation of the self-forming actions Kane emphasized that the agent confronts two conflicting perspectives of what he should do or what can be done. In such time as he said person might be torn between two kinds of stimulants, and there is uncertainty in his mind about what to do at such times, which reflects in the indeterminacy of his own neural processes, which causes agent to be pulled towards unknown and uncertain outcomes.

This expression contains a premise and a result. The premise is in short the complexity of motivations in the brain and neural system, and the result - as this theory tries to affirm – is the free will and the free act of the agent. But, in fact, there is not any logical relevance between these two parts of Kane's allegation (the premise and the result), for that obviously the premise (which is the complexity of stimulants or motivations in the brain and neural system and ultimately

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the uncertainty in the agent's mind about what to do or what to choose) does not logically entail or result in the freewill nor the free act of the agent.

We can't understand how the freewill or the power of the agent upon his action can be resulted from such kind of complexity and uncertainty which logically entails perplexity, inability and failure. The reality in such status is that the agent undergoes lack of power to choose, lack of power to decide, and lack of power to act. There is not any reason – but the chance- for the agent to be pulled towards any outcome.

3. Finally it seems that the theory of Causal Indeterminism has not given a clear suggestion to solve the main problem of human freewill which derived from the incompatibility between general causal law and freewill. For that the basic question still remains: How can the general causal law be compatible with free choice and action, whilst the causal law cannot be segregated from necessity and determinism, and no way to deny causal law, because it results in chance and random and consequently negates freewill and free action.

2. Compatible Determinism Soft Determinism


Compatibilists believe that there is no contradiction between determinism and freewill. They maintain that despite of the comprehensive running general law of causal determinism which governs all human acts the human possesses a full freewill and bears utter responsibility towards his acts.

This point of view is close to the philosophical trend of Islamic thought particularly the transcendent philosophy

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of Mulla Sadra. As it explained in part 1 of this study Muslim philosophers particularly Mulla Sadra persistently believe that not only freewill and responsibility are consistent with determined causal law, but rather the determined causal law is a necessary condition for the freewill and its result of responsibility.

The compatibilists in western philosophy are divided in two groups:

The Classical compatibilists: Some very known philosophers like Thomas Habbes, David Hume, Jan Stuart Mill, A. J. Ayer, Moritz Schilck, G. A. More, Nielsen, and Skinner can be counted among them. Classical campatibilism has been an extremely popular view among philosophers and scientists in the twentieth century.(1)

New Compatibilists: Some famous philosophers such as Daniel Dennet, Harry Frankfurt, Susan Wolf, and Gary Watson are seen among them.

We can't discuss all opinions which revealed here by these philosophers, and it has not been necessary in such study which is focusing on general ideas, but we will be contented with a remarkable explanation of each one of these two trends of compatibilism. Among the Classical compatibilists we will choose the explanation of A. J. Ayer, and among new compatibilists we'll choose Harry Frankfurt.

A. Classical Compatibilism with the explanation of A. J. Ayer

Alfred Jules Ayer delivered his explanation of compatibilism in his essay published under the title of ‘Freedom and Necessity’ which can be summarized as follows:

1. When it is said that the agent acted freely it means that he could have acted otherwise. If he had more than one choice and he could act what he wanted to act it means that he has

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1- Kane, 2002, p. 11

done freely and he bears full responsibility of what he has acted. In contrast with that when the agent is fronting just one way and there is no more than one choice to act, it means that there is no freewill nor freely act and in result the agent bears not any responsibility of what he does.

Therefore, if we believe that all human conduct are governed by general causal law then the agent's action wouldn't be counted as free action, because according to this assumption all human actions are causally determined then there is no any space remained for agent's choice or freewill. It seems that there is a very clear contraction between general causal law and freewill.

2. The clear feeling that exists in the human beings in relation to freedom has obliged some of the philosophers to not include all human acts within the general causal law, and to resolve the problem of contradiction between this internal feeling and the general causal law by limiting the causal law.

But the truth is that the feeling of freedom doesn't prove that the reality is so. It may not to be true, and in spite of that feeling the general causal law may be true. It is probable that the agent influenced by some previous causes but he is unaware of them.

In addition, the law of universal causation is not a necessary presupposition of scientific explanation of the agent's action. It is conceivable that more investigation lead the scientists to

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discover some systematic connection between the agent act and some other events, but it is also conceivable that it leads them to the negation of any systematic connection between the agent's act and all other events.

3. But the negation of general causal law relative to human acts can only result in accidental choice or choice by chance. The meaning of the fact that ‘the human preference of one choice over the other has no cause’ is that; he has made his choice by accident or by chance, in which case the human freedom might be reserved. But this kind of freedom will not result in human being morally responsible for his acts, whereas the objective p of the discussion of human freedom is to prove his responsibility in relation to his free acts.

4. It could be said that the preference of one choice by the human has not been accidental or by chance and has been caused by attributes that have formed the human character. And due to the fact that these attributes have come about via human choice, human is responsible for his choices due to these choices being the result of the attributes of his character which have been formed by his decision.

But this concept dose not resolve anything as we again question the choices that have come about via those attributes of the character. And the question is that: Are these choices caused by determined causes? If they are so then there will be a problem

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of determinism, otherwise they have been caused by chance in which case the moral responsibility is unjustifiable.

5. This is where we conclude that there are only two solutions to this problem:

a. We either prove that the moral responsibility does not require the freedom of act of man, and that man is able to claim moral responsibility for his acts in which case it is against the freedom, and is subject to determined cause.

b. Or else we try to find a way to reconcile human freewill with determined cause which would prove that determined cause does not obstruct human freedom.

The first solution does not seem logical. This is due to moral responsibility being clearly dependent on human's freedom of act. Human under any circumstances cannot claim moral responsibility for an act in which he had no authority in committing and has been inflicted upon him by a determined cause.

The only solution that remains is that, the idea of contradiction between determined cause and human freedom to be removed, and to prove that the law of determined cause has no inconsistency with human freedom.

6. A number of Philosophers have attempted a specific definition of freedom in order to solve the problem of contradiction between determined cause and human freedom. They defined the freedom as:’ The consciousness of necessity’. In the other word: Freedom means the awareness of human of the causal determination of the act that has been committed by him. Based on this definition the agent's awareness of the necessity of

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his act is the essence of freedom.

According to this meaning of freedom not only the determined causal law does not contradict agent's freedom, but further it is a necessary condition of the agent's free act, and without the determined causal law the freedom cannot be conceivable.

But giving a new meaning of the word ‘Freedom’ does not mean that the contradiction between determined cause and freedom is solved, because the philosophical argument of the problem of compatibility between determined causality and freedom comes about the ordinary meaning of freedom which entails the contingency of both to act and not to act, and negates compulsion and necessity.

When I have compelled by someone to do what I dislike, it is obvious that I'm not free, despite of my awareness of the compulsion and the determined causal law which resulted in my action. The fact is that giving the new definition of freedom as the awareness of the agent doesn't change what is done in reality whether it's been free or not free.

Probably the reason that led these philosophers to this kind of solution is because they suppose that the awareness of determined causal law enables a man to overcome the determined causes and manage them in the way that he wants. But it is just an imaginary assumption, because if the man would be able to manage the causes in his wanted direction and change them from way to way it means that there is not neither compulsion nor

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7. Then to solve the problem there is no way but to focus on the ordinary meaning of freedom. Therefore we need – at first - to clarify this freedom by pointing out what it is contrasted with. This sense of the freedom is not obviously contrasted with the causality, but it is contrasted with constraint. When I have said that I was free to act or not to act it does not mean that there was not any reason for what I have done and my action had not been caused by any determined cause, but it means that there was not any external agent that forced and constrained me to act.

8. Now, we have to define the word ‘constraint’ and to explain that in what circumstances the agent can be legitimately described as a constrained agent?

The basic criterion of the constraint is that the agent's act doesn't arise from deliberated choice of to act or not to act which can be called ‘the process of deciding whether to do or not to do’.

The constrained act which is lack of the deliberated choice or the process of deciding whether to do or not to do, can be derived from the external factor, like a man who forced by another one to do something. In this case the actor can avoid doing what he forced to do, but he believed that if he didn't do so he would face a more disadvantageous situation. Also the constrained

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act can be derived from a habitual ascendancy of the external factor over the agent. In this case again the agent that induced to act as the other one wanted didn't act by the deliberated choice or the process of decision then he was not free, nevertheless his act was not necessary.

Also a kleptomaniac is not a free agent, because he doesn't go through the process of deciding whether to do or not to do, although his stealing is not necessary.

9. Here a question arises: That if the free agent's act is dominated by causal determined law, what is the deference between the agent's free act and his constrained act, whilst the alternative is impossible for both of them?

The answer is that the deference between the free act and the constrained act is not to be an effect of determined cause or not to be so, but the deference is that what kind of cause is the cause. The constrained act is which arises from a constraining cause which obstructs the process of deciding whether to do or not to do, whereas the free act is which arises from a cause within that process.

10. One may question again: That since all causes equally necessitate the effects how is it possible for a cause to be different from the other in its action? How can conceive the difference of consequences between two determined causes within same circumstances of necessity and determination? It is a kind of arbitrary to

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say that an action is free when it is necessitated in one fashion but not when it is necessitated in another.

To answer this question we have to point out the precise meaning of the word 'necessitate' in proposition of 'all causes equally necessitate the effects'. If it is taken as equivalent to 'cause' it will be a meaningless tautology, for that it is the same to say that: 'all causes are causes', but if, as it is suitable to the question, it is taken as equivalent to 'constrain' or 'compel' then the proposition will not be true.

For all that 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. In one word, there is an invariable concomitance between two classes of events, but there is no compulsion or constrain. Consequently, an agent's action to be under the natural causal law does not follow that it is under constraint.

11. The conclusion is that, for to say that the agent is free in his action, the criterion is:

Firstly: He could act otherwise, whenever he had to choice.

Secondly: His being able to act otherwise is not in the sense of which the Kleptomaniac is.

Thirdly: No any external force compels him to do so.

With these three conditions the action should be described as free action,

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while it isn't a kind of chance, but an explainable act within the chain of causal nexus.

12. In addition to what we explained, the misleading of words 'determinism' 'necessity' and 'cause' playing a rule in the complication of this philosophical problem. They seemed to imply that one event is somehow overcomes by another, whereas the fact is that they are correlated. The fact is that when an event of one type occurs, an event of another type occurs also, in a certain temporal relation to the first. The rest is only metaphor.

13. But the question that still remains is that: If the postulate of determinism adopted then the future will be predictable, which means that what will happen in the future is already decided, therefore no any act can be free and the agent will be a helpless prisoner of fate, whilst all actions already decided and appointed.

The answer is that, to predict future from the past doesn't mean that the agent is lack of power upon his action as the prisoner of fate, but it means that it is possible to deduce the future from the past according to general laws. In a word: To know what you are going to do, doesn't entail that it is not your own choice or you are acting under constraint.

In the end of this summary of Ayer's explanation of Classical Compatibilism I try at first- as I did for another western theories- to show a short comparison in two

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points between it and Mulla Sadra's theory of Necessity and Sadr's theory of Sovereignty the two most important theories in contemporary Islamic philosophy. The two points are:

a. There is a very close similarity between Mulla Sadra's and Ayer's opinion in the point of compatibility between causality and free act. They both believe that there is no conflict between general necessary causal law and the free will or choice of the agent, but the conflict is between constraint and free will or choice, and the philosophical problem here arose from the complexity of two concepts: necessity, and constraint.

Nevertheless there is a minute deference between them. That is the sadra's opinion focused on the criterion of the free act and suggested that the criterion of free act is to be derived from the agent's consent (R. P.20). But the Ayer's focused on the criterion of non-free act and suggested that it is to be derived from constraint.

b. Whilst both Sadra and Ayer insist on the definition of the word: Freedom, and it’s definitely importance in this discussion, there is a fundamental variance between two definitions of Freedom given by each of them. Sadra emphasizes that freedom doesn't entail the contingency of the action or the equality of both to act and not to act. The Freedom in his view is not but the awareness and consent of the agent towards his act, what and why he is going to do, while Ayer emphasizes on the ordinary concept of Freedom

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which contains- as he alleges- the equality of both to act and not to act.

Confronted with both of them: Sadr in his theory of sovereignty doesn't believe in the allegation that the problem arises from the complexity of necessity and constraint, but he insists that there is an essential confliction between general causal law which entails necessity of the act, and the freedom which cannot be existed without the contingency of the action or the equality of both to act or not to act. For that he believes that there is no way but the exception of general causal law and the rule of general necessity in case of the freewill and all free actions.

To criticize the Ayer's explanation of Classical Compatiblism I'm putting down the following points:

1. The central philosophical problem here is that the base of the general causal law is that the things- containing the human acts- to be existed need a given necessary existence from their causes, and given necessary existence negates the equality of the existence and non-existence of the act which means its determination. The distinction between necessity or causality and constraint is not subservient whilst even in the non-constraint circumstances the cause must be determining its effect (i.e. human act), otherwise since both to be or not to be are equally possible the effect absolutely will not be existed.

2. Granted that the criterion of the free action is as Ayer mentioned, but the question is that, what is then the different

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between chance and free act, since the chance has got also all that criterion attributes?

3. Since it is postulated that causes necessitate their effects, it is not clear how to conceive the difference between two kinds of causes: constraining causes and non-constraining causes.

To say that the non-constraining causes necessitate their effects in the sense of correlation doesn’t explain the reason of correlation between cause and its effect whilst the assumption is that there is no constraint and no any external forcing agent.

B. New Compatibilism Harry Frankfurt’s theory

I will summarise the theory of harry Frankfurt explained in his article entitled ‘free will and the concept of a person’ as follows:

1. Human desires are of two kinds: ‘first-order desire’ and ‘second-order desire’. ‘first-order desires’ are those desires which the human being is inclined towards but are not necessarily performed. ‘second-order desires’ are those desires which are performed. The meaning of will is that which is performed; therefore, it is only the ‘second-order desires’ which form the meaning of will.

‘Second-order desire’ has two types, which are desiring and action, and having the desire for desiring an action; for at times it is possible that an individual does not desire the action itself, rather he wants only its desire, and at other times he wants the action itself without wanting the desire for the action.

2. The second type of ‘second-order desire’, which is the desire which leads to action, alongside the want for the desire, is the defining criterion of the concept of person.

It is possible that

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a person has the first type of ‘second-order desire’, which means he has the desire to choose one thing from a number of things, and to perform it, however, this desire and will has not been shaped by his will and desire, meaning that it is not the second-order desire or will, such as children or at times mature or old people who have no control over their desire, for they cannot want what they desire, and do not know how to want to perform what they desire; hence, these agents are not persons. The term ‘wanton’ can be used for these agents. All non-human species and humans who do not have control over their will and their actions are subject to their ‘first-order desires’, and their ‘second-order desire’ is not subject to their second-order will are wantons.

3. Lack of reason and reflection does not lie in the meaning of wanton. What distinguishes the rational wanton agent from the rational person agent, is that the wanton agent does not consider which of its first-order desires is superior to the others.

Although the primary element of a person is based on second-order will and not reason, what makes second-order will and its formation possible is rational capacities, and one who does not have rational capacities is devoid of personality.

4. It is possible for a person who possesses second-order will, reason and reflection, to be incapable of wanting that which they identify as good from their first-order desires, and for the person to

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surrender to his other first-order desires in his action. However what he has desired in his action and what he has performed, is a real desire, and that desire defines his real identity and personality. Whereas the wanton never evaluates and contemplates between its first-order desires, and cannot or does not want to think in regards to which one of its first-order and conflicting desires wins out and will be actualized. Therefore, for the wanton, victory or defeat between its conflicting of first-order desires has no meaning.

5. Second-order desire is the criterion of freedom of the will. Therefore, the individual who can choose between his first-order desires that which he has identified as the best through reflection and evaluation, and actualises it by his second-order, will has freedom of will. However the individual who cannot or does not want to choose the best amongst his first-order desires, or having found the best cannot actualise and perform it, does not have freedom of the second-order will, but rather is dominated by an agent which shapes his second-order will, contrary to what he knows as better, and therefore does not have complete freedom of the will, and in reality does not possess a complete personality.

This definition of person which is an individual who has such freedom of the will, excludes all wanton beings, be they human or infrahuman which lack the essential conditions of having freedom of the will; furthermore it excludes human beings which have determined free will.

6. Now the

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question is that, what kind of freedom is ‘freedom of the will’?

In traditional philosophy freedom is defined as such: freedom is ‘to do what one wants to do’. This definition delivers only a part of the definition of the ‘free agent’ and does not include another special part of the definition of ‘free agent’.

Animals do what they want to do, therefore ‘doing what one wants to do’ is not a sufficient condition for the realisation of freedom of the will, it is not even a necessary condition of freedom of the will; for in order to deprive an individual of freedom of the will in a specific behaviour or action it is not necessary to remove freedom from their will. There is no difference in the degree of freedom between an agent who knows that there are many things that he is not free to do, and an agent who is in between same conditions but does not know that he is not free.

7. The primary issue is how freedom of the will to be acquired. Here the question is in regard to how will or desire to be formed, and not the relationship between desire and action.

It must be said that the freedom of the will is when an individual is free to desire and to will that which he wants; this means that he is free in willing what he wills.

Therefore, the individual tries out freedom of the will where he is sure of the conformity of his

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will and second-order desires, and he tries out The absence of freewill when he finds discrepancy between his will and his second-order desires, or when he finds a conformity between them, he does not regard it as the result of his own attempt, but rather as the result of a pleasant coincidence.

8. Freedom of the individual in doing what he desires, does not place the individual in the situation of ‘freedom of the will’. When the individual above in addition to being free in doing what he wants to do, is also free in willing what he desires, the desirable freedom or the conceivable freedom is realised, and it is in this way that he has not lost anything of freedom.

9. The theories which have been presented in interpreting freedom of the will have not been able to clarify the following two points; why is freedom of the will desirable, and why animals (animals other than human beings) are not considered to possess freedom of the will. For example according to the theory of Roderick Chisholm which is an interesting instance of the doctrine that freedom of will entails an absence of causal determination, whenever a person performs a free action, a miracle has occurred, because for example when a person moves their hand, this motion of the hand is a result of a series of physical causes.

However, some events in this series presumably occur in the part that is related to the brain that are caused by the

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agent and are not caused by the other elements of the series of causes. Therefore, the free agent has a prerogative which some would attribute only to God: each of us, when we act, is a prime mover unmoved.

Although by this theory the lack of free will in non-human living beings is explained, however it is not clear, that why according to this theory the person who is a free agent must believe in the possibility of interrupting the chain of causes by himself. Chisholm has not explained what reasonable difference exists between the person who miraculously and by interrupting the chain of causes and effect moves his hand, with the individual who moves his hand as part of the chain of causes and effects.

10. In addition to the two points that we mentioned about freedom, a third condition for the reasonable interpretation of free will is that it has to be capable of presenting an acceptable analysis of ‘moral responsibility’. It seems that the moral responsibility of the individual toward his action does not occur only when it is done by free will. A person can be morally responsible for his actions even though he does not have any freedom of the will.

Although having freedom in making an alternative choice, or in other words, the possibility of choosing another option from the first-order desires is a condition of freedom of the will, it has no relation with moral responsibility. For the assumption that the individual is responsible towards the

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action he has performed, does not require the person being situated in a condition where he is free in his will and in performing the action.

When the person has done what he desired, whether he has had another option or not, he has done his own desire and acting what he wanted. Therefore, the person cannot claim that he have been forced by an agent outside his essence and will to perform the action, or to claim that he has been naught but a mere observer.

Under these conditions it is irrelevant in evaluating the person’s moral responsibility towards the action they have performed, to inquire about other options and to see whether they were available to the person or not.

If person does not exist in the wanton agent such as a child or an adult whose will is under the hegemony of others, and if in the unwilling agent, such as an addict who desires to stop his addiction and is discontent with his addiction, but cannot stop it, will does not exist, then freedom of the will also does not exist, but in another type of agent such as the addict who knows that his addiction is damaging to him, and has numerous options, and knows that he can opt any of the choices that he desires, there is a person possessing will to act and intentionally chooses addiction by his own will, but there is no free will.

Although the situation of this addict is a situation of over-determination,

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for the desire to use drugs has become active and irresistible in him, because he is physiologically addicted, however despite this irresistible inclination it is his own inclination, for he has desired it.

Here although the will of this addict has not been controlled by himself, he has desired by his own second-order desire for this inclination to be the active and influencing inclination, and has allowed this inclination to form and influence his will; therefore, he has made the will for the consumption of drugs his own will. Hence the willing addict has moral responsibility not only towards the influence of his addiction in shaping his will towards the consumption of drugs, but also towards the act of consumption of drugs itself.

11. The meaning that I (Harry Frankfurt) present for ‘freedom of the will’, seems very natural in relation to determinism; for it is conceivable that because of causal determinism the individual is free to want what he wants. Therefore, in this way because of causal determinism the individual has freedom of the will. Some individuals having freedom of the will because of causal determination, and others not having freedom of the will because of the presence of the same causal determination is nothing more than the appearance of a harmless paradox.

In reality there is no paradox in this proposition, that an agent or agents other than the person have the moral responsibility of his having or not having freedom of the will. It is completely possible that an individual

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is morally responsible for what he has performed by his own free will, and that another individual is also morally responsible for what this person has performed.

It is also rational that an individual accidentally has freedom of the will (not because of causal determinism). Therefore, it is conceivable that some individuals accidentally have freedom of the will and others accidentally do not.

It is likely that there is a third way for the individual having freedom of the will, without it being accidental or through causal determinism and natural series of causes, but a third way which also results in freedom of the will.

The aforementioned is a summary of Harry Frankfurt’s theory in the explanation and interpretation of freedom of the will. The following can be said in the comparison of Harry Frankfurt’s theory with the two Islamic theories of freedom of the will which were previously mentioned:

1. In the comparison of this theory with Mulla Sadra’s theory, the first similarity is that, they both neither regard freedom of the will and causal determinism to be contradictory. Another similarity between the two theories is that neither regards causal determinism and moral responsibility as contradictory, and do not consider the presence or lack of presence of another option as the primary condition in the moral responsibility of the free agent.

2. In the comparison of this theory with the theory of Ayatullah Muhammad Baqir al-Sader we witness a clear difference between these two theories in both of the aforementioned points. Ayatullah Muhammad Baqir

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al-Sader in his theory of Sovereignty, regards freedom of the will as completely contradictory to causal determinism; he believes that moral responsibility completely dependant on the presence of numerous choices for the agent, and is of the opinion that freedom of the will is fully related on the one hand with the presence of numerous choices, and on the other hand with moral responsibility.

The conclusion that was reached in the above comparison is very natural; for as we mentioned before Mulla Sadra in the theory of causal necessity like Harry Frankfurt falls under the category of compatibilsts; whereas Ayatullah Muhammad Baqir al-Sader is of the incompatibilists who are opposed to the opinion Harry Frankfurt and similar thinkers to him.

The following can be said in a brief critique of Harry Frankfurt’s theory:

1. Frankfurt’s theory presents an interesting analysis of the concept of person and its relation to freedom of the will, and has presented precise points in regards to the nature of freedom of the will; however, it has not presented a new solution to the problem of the contradiction between freedom of the will and causal determinism.

Simply by stating that freedom of the will is compatible with causal determinism and that moral responsibility is not dependant on the numerousness of choices, without offering a philosophical clarification, does not solve why it is so.

If the lack of presence of numerous choices is compatible with moral responsibility, therefore why is it that the rational conscience of human beings does not hold a

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person whose free will has been taken by another human being as morally responsible; for example in the case of a person who has been forced to commit a crime, or a child who has been deceived by others to commit a crime, neither is held morally responsible, and all the moral responsibility is for the agent who has forced the crime, for he is the real agent of the crime and the primary and real criminal.

If causal determinism is compatible with freedom of the will, why doesn’t the rational conscience of human beings hold the person who because of physiological problems is unable to perform some social responsibilities, as guilty for not performing them, and does not regard him as equal with a person who has full physical health but does not perform his social responsibilities.

2. Mr Frunkfurt correctly does not deem the criterion of Freedom of the Will as related to the freedom of the will with the action arising from it or in other words the freedom of the agent in what he desires. Rather he deems the criterion of freedom of the will to be the freedom of the will of the agent, or as he puts it he deems it in the freedom of the agent in desiring what he wants. This issue is what we discussed in the beginning of our discussion, where we discussed the primary problem of the contradiction between freedom and causality. We said there that between the free agent and

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its introductions there are two relations:

• The relation of freedom with action.

• The relation of will with its introductions. The centre of the primary philosophical problem is the second type of relation.

The primary problem as we previously stated is that if we consider will to be subject to causal determination, the formation of will, will be according to the ‘impossibility of preponderance without preponderant’ and in this case there will be no difference between what we term as the ‘free will’ and as the ‘unfree will’; such as the person who is forced into performing an act. On the other hand if we do not submit to the law of ‘causal determination’ we face the problem of violating the ‘general principle of causality’ and the acceptance of spontaneous and the accidental phenomena without a cause or ‘preponderance without preponderant’.

In Mr Frankfurt’s theory a solution to this philosophical dead end cannot be seen; rather what is seen in this theory is submission to the problem, and as a result the acceptance of the violation of the ‘general principle of causality’, and submission to the assumption of mere accident, spontaneous and preponderance without preponderant, or the accidental phenomena without a cause.

Here, it is not convenient to argue about the absoluteness of the general principle of causality. It suffices to say that by refuting the general principle of causality not only will the foundation of the sciences fall, but also the foundation of logic and logical reasoning will fall, and with

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the fall of the foundations of logic and reasoning the striving of Frankfurt and those similar to him for clarifying and reasoning for the correctness of their theory and the incorrectness of others’ theories will be futile. Thus, as Mr Frankfurt believes in the correctness of his theory, he proves it through reasoning, and this shows that he has accepted the ‘general principle of causality’. He has vanished the accidental phenomena that is without a cause, or the ‘preponderance without preponderant’ from his set of probabilities. Therefore the philosophical problem of the contradiction between the general principle of causality and freedom of the will remains unanswered by Mr Frankfurt.

Here our discussion about Harry Frankfurt’s theory which is an example of new compatibilists ends. Therefore our discussion about the second school of the three western philosophical schools about freedom and causality or free will and determinism also ends.

3. Incompatible Determinism

This school is also known as the school of ‘Hard determinism’; for contrary to the school of ‘Compatibilist determinists’ which is also referred to as ‘soft determinists’, for although they believe in the principle of causal determinism they consider it as compatible with freedom of the will, and believe in the compatibility of those two with the free agent, Incompatibilist determinists or Hard determinists do not believe in the compatibility of freedom of the will with causal determinism, and deem the human being’s will as subject to the principle of causal determinism and do not believe in the freedom of the human being’s will.


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of the most distinguished philosophers who defends this way of thinking is Professor Paul Edwards from New York University, and the general editor of the Encyclopaedia of Philosophy (published in 1967). In a work published under the name ‘Hard and Soft Determinism’ he explains this theory and defends it. Here we present a summary of this theory as stated in the mentioned work:

1. Although William James in his essay ‘The Dilemma of Determinism’ has rejected both the approach of ‘Hard Determinism’ and ‘Soft Determinism’ he still mentions Hard Determinism with respect, whereas he considers Soft Determinism as a kind of ‘quagmire of evasion’.(1)

The theory of Moderate Determinism which James calls soft determinism , especially the variety of it which is accepted and supported by Hume, Mill and Schlick has had many supporters in the past 25 years. This is while in these years very few people have defended Hard Determinism. I (Paul Edwards) will argue for this theory here, and will strive to speak on behalf of the supporters of this philosophical school.

2. First it is necessary to clearly explain the main contentions of the supporters of Soft Determinism. Since the most dominant form of this school is that which is explained by Hume, Mill and Schlick, I will make it the axis of my talk. According to this theory there is no contradiction between Determinism and the proposition that human beings are sometimes free agents. When we call an action ‘free’ it does not all mean that it is

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1- James, 1956

free from the principle of ‘causality’ and is outside its rule, and it is because of this that we make moral judgements about some actions.

Although at times outside causes impose a certain action on the ‘agent’ or the ‘agent’ loses its freedom of action under the influence of some causes. However, in most circumstances the ‘agent’ acts with complete freedom and rational desires, in a way that nothing has taken away the free will of the agent, and the agent has chosen an action by his own absolute free will.

The rule of the principle of causality on these two types of action, ‘the free act and the unfree act’ is equal. What distinguishes these two actions from each other is not whether they are subjected or not subjected to the principle of causality, rather what distinguishes these two types of act is the ‘type of cause’ in each of these two acts.

3. Secondly there is no antithesis between ‘Determinism’ and ‘Moral Responsibility’. When we consider a person morally responsible for a certain act, it means that we have had the presupposition that he is a ‘free agent’. This freedom is in no way contra causal freedom. In this free act there is nothing by the ability of the agent to do what it wants or desires. Since Determinism is compatible with freedom in this meaning, it will also be compatible with moral responsibility.

Mill who can be considered as the greatest moraliser has paid special attention to one class of human

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desires. He believes that not only some lowly desires – such as my desire to have a new car can influence my actions. But also my desire to virtue can influence my action and push me towards virtuous behaviour. In order to change my character to the desired character, I can choose a hard work and actions which are compatible with the virtuous desire.

Suppose that I am faced with two contradicting desires; on the one hand an intense desire for fame, and on the other hand an intense desire to serve people without being known. Furthermore suppose that I have come to know a therapy that can transform my character to a fame seeking character or virtuous and fame indifferent character, and all the necessary conditions and tools for choosing either of these two characters and creating the necessary transformation is present for me. In the opinion of Mill choosing either of these two ways is possible for me.

Therefore, based on the theory of Mill, we can build our personality the way we desire and not only is determinism in accordance with the moral obligations but it also concords with moral judgments about the personality of man despite the restrictions.

3- Nevertheless the saying of Mill when explaining soft determinism as a kind of ‘quagmire of evasion’ seems exaggerated; it does not seem far from reality. This is because hard determinists were never influenced by the desires and did not deny effort and the decision of the agent in the ‘behavioural

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incident’. Therefore the main conflict between the hard determinists and the soft determinists has not been the influence of desire and the decision of agent in formation of the behaviour.

The conflicting issue originates from the human will and desire which are the source of emergence decision and will and also the supplier. In response to the description Hume and Mill have given regarding the ‘Voluntary behaviour’ the hard determinists can say: we accept that the desire and will and the decision of man will shape his voluntary behaviour, however, the issue is that what is the origin of this decision and will and desire that are beyond the decision and will?

In any case, the desires, the will and the decisions of the agent as well as his personal structure are all rooted in the hereditary factors and originate from there and glaringly man has no role in the origination and creation of these hereditary factors and his first growing environment. In his famous quote, schopenhauer says:

‘A man can surely do what he wills to do, but he cannot determine what he wills.’(1)

For example, imagine two people who are suffering extreme nervous breakdown and as a result of this are lacking balance in their personality and are entangled in involuntary nervous behaviour. There is a suitable cure for this problem which can change their personality and turn it into a healthy and balanced one. However, this cure needs extreme motivations and high levels of energy. One of these two, e.g. person

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1- Kane, 2002, p. 62

A, benefits from enough whereas the other, person B, is lacking that energy and motivation. As a result, the treatment of A will be successful and he will enjoy suitable behaviour and personality whereas the second person, B, will remain with the same behaviour and the unbalanced personality.

Here, although the behaviour and personality of A will be different to that of B, where this difference is rooted in the decision and will of each of them, A was able to choose the treatment and B was not able to opt for it and thus unable to change his behaviour and personality. This is the consequence of the conditions and factors that were not in control of either of them and neither had any role in creating those conditions and factors being the motivation and the necessary energy for the treatment and somewhat the motivation and the necessary energy for the treatment resulted in the environment and the dominant hereditary conditions of the personality of each of them and naturally they did not have any role in creating that environment or the hereditary factors.

4- The soft determinists do not deny the fact that the personality and the will and decision of man all originate from external factors and they do not disregard the external factors that influence the personality and decision of man when justifying the moral obligations of human behaviour. In fact there are no disagreements between the hard determinists and the soft determinists on the objective incidents and realities

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related to behaviour and both groups agree that the behaviours originate from the will and personality of man and man’s personality and will is influenced by the external factors.

The main difference between these two is in the manner of interpretations and conclusions from these objective realities. The conclusion of some of the hard determinists is that therefore, man has no moral obligation towards whatever behaviour he shows whereas the soft determinists do not make such a conclusion from these objective realities and rather consider man morally responsible towards his behaviour despite the objective realities.

Here we are trying to explicate the conclusion of the hard determinists and explain its reason and justify and interpret their conclusion from these objective realities.

5- For this purpose, I shall employ the difference Mr Campbell(1) has considered between the two ‘moral obligation concepts’ in his valuable journal titled ‘is free will a Pseudo Problem?’ He says: two different groups of people need two different set of conditions to act upon ‘moral responsibility’ in their behaviour.

The first group are normal people who are unaware and ignorant of scientific and philosophical and religious thoughts. When such people see the behaviour of a man accompanied by compulsion and stress, they will exempt the agent from moral responsibility and once they see a behaviour in accordance with sane desires and wishes of the agent, they find this to be from his decision, they will consider him responsible towards his behaviour and consider his behaviour to benefit from moral responsibility.

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1- 1951, Vol. LX, No. 240

Therefore, based on this view, these people consider the only condition for moral behavioural responsibility is for the behaviour to originate from his will and desire and has not been issued by compulsion or any other factor.

In the view of such people the fact that the agent is not the final creator and determinative of his personality and characteristics and features is not an obstacle in moral judgement and bearing the responsibility of his behaviour.

The second types of people are those who benefit from a comparatively high level of intellect who consider the world to be dominated by the comprehensive causality law, scientifically or from philosophical aspect, they believe in philosophies that consider the world to be dominated by a superior unified principle or from religious aspect. They believe that the world has been created and maintained and is under the control and command and governance of a single being whom benefits from Absolute power and endless knowledge.

In order to act upon moral responsibility of man for his behaviour, this group of people need another condition in addition to the previously mentioned condition- the condition of origination of behaviour from will and desire of the agent without the compulsion of an external factor- and consider necessary the benefiting of the agent from other alternatives in addition to the mentioned condition for his behaviour.

I prefer to interpret this additional condition of the intellectual individual necessary for moral obligation (apart from what is in Mr Campbell's statement) in another way. I prefer

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to say that for moral behavioural responsibility of man, in addition to the condition of origination from desire and will of agent and absence of external compulsive factors, the intellectual individual considers necessary the personality and behaviour of the agent to have been chosen and shaped by the will of the agent himself.

Campbell concludes that determinism is in accordance with the understanding of non intellectuals of the moral responsibility and is in no contradiction. However, it does not correspond with the understanding or the second group of people (the intellectuals) and is fully contradicting.

6- Although I do not agree with the negation of determinism of Mr Campbell, however, I do agree with the basis of the analysis he has offered in different terms.

I do not think that the problem is in the difference in the understanding and usage of the term moral responsibility by the non intellectual and the intellectual. Whether an individual benefits from knowledge or not, he will make use of this term in one place on an occasion to give the first meaning and in another place to give another meaning.

Irrespective of the level of benefit from scientific and philosophical or religious resources, all people will use the term moral responsibility with the first meaning when they are influenced by extreme feelings such as anger or hatred especially where they suffer and are hurt, the understanding that as Mr Campbell interprets as being used by the improvident and non intellectuals. And when they are in normal and

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calm situations, they will judge a behaviour with intellect and thought and in calmness and pay heed to the fact that the agent of mentioned behaviour has not created and shaped his characteristic and personality and will use the meaning of moral responsibility that is used by the wise and intellectuals.

Clarence Darrow in his known defence before the Jury often utilised the above issue, addressing the Jury: If anyone amongst you, had grown in the same social and family environment as that of the defendant, he would be now standing in the same place as the defendant. This assertion was almost convincing the Jury that the defendant should not be held responsible towards his behaviour.

7- I must mention a point to prevent any misunderstanding of my purpose. The fact which I explained that the individual is not the ultimate creator of his personality and characteristic, results in negation of one’s moral responsibility towards his behaviour.

My purpose is not to remind people to reduce their sense of vengeance and to increase their sense of Public spirit, however this result may occur, but my purpose is that, this sequence will result from that premise, same as any result which derived from previous premises in any reasoning deduction.

Comparison and Valuation

In comparison between the above theory and the previous theories of Islamic philosophy in the point of the relation between men’s will and the determined causal law it can be stated: that hard determinism which is supported by Paul Edwards, is in correspondence with

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the Mulla Sadra’s theory of necessity, and in confliction with the Sadr’s theory of sovereignty, but in consideration of domination of causal law upon the agent’s will, which means absolute determinism and negation of men’s free will according to hard determinism, and consequently negation of men’s moral responsibility, is in confliction with both the theory of necessity and the theory of sovereignty.

The main criticism of hard determinism is the incompatibility between hard determinism and men’s empirical and conscientious feeling of free will. We feel by our conscience and clearly sense in our practice that we are free to chose what we want to do, and we are facing variety of choices without any external force compels us to do a particular given option.

Based on the mentioned clear sense of men’s power of free will, we see that the intellect believe in the men’s responsibility towards his behaviour, and they believe that family circumstances, social environment, hereditary characteristics and other external factors do not compel men to act what he does act, and they do not excuse any criminal agent for his crime due to external compulsion derived from outside factors like that of heredity, social environment and others.

Part 4: The Theory of Moral Obligation (Moral Necessity)


The basis of causal law is the rational principle of ‘impossibility of preponderant without preponderance’ which means that no possible thing can exist without the reason that makes its existence to be necessitated, or determined.

In the theory of moral, I suggest that in the field of free acts the necessity or

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determination of cause is not like the necessity or determination of natural actions i.e. ‘the changes of weather, water, dust, stone and others’. The necessity of free action is a special kind of necessity which I call ‘moral necessity or moral obligation’. Every free actor is free only when he deliberates and reflects on what he is going to act, and on the basis of his previous beliefs of goodness or badness, right or wrong, nice or nasty, he will choose and make a decision to act or not to act.

The real free will is that which is derived from the reflection and deliberation on the basis of knowledge about what is good, and what is bad which means that the real individual and social freedom is only achieved by two very important factors:

• Right and correct education that teaches human the true goodness and badness.

• The healthy environment of reflection which provides an adequate opportunity for people to scale and deliberate between different choices to choose the best one.

Therefore the criminals are not the only ones responsible for the wrong deeds which they are involved in, but also the society including, political, educational, economical systems and its management are also responsible.

In my view, it is possible to solve the problem of the relationship between freedom and causality through the theory of moral obligation or constraints.

While accepting the law on the impossibility of ‘preponderance without a preponderant’ (without a criterion for the preference) which forms the basis and foundation

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of the general causality law, through dissociation of the theoretical intellect field from the practical intellect field, this theory stresses upon the reality that the preponderant in the theoretical intellect field is different to that of the practical intellect field.

The preponderant in the theoretical intellect field is ‘existential obligation’ which means a Necessary Being whereas the preponderant in the practical intellect field is moral necessitation which suggests legislative constraint. Also the problem in the relationship between freedom and causality arises and originates from the confusion between the two theoretical and practical fields and judgement in each of the two fields with the criterions related to the other field.

I shall clarify the theory of moral obligation (constraint) in two main parts:

In part one, I shall explain the generalities attributed to the theory of ‘moral obligation’ and elucidate and solve the problems (with regards to the relationship between causality and freedom).

In part two, I will discuss the conformity of this theory with

1. The will and the acts of the Almighty

2. The will and behaviour of human individual

3. The will and behaviour of man in a community or the human society

4. The moral responsibilities of the human individual towards his behaviour

5. The moral responsibilities of the society towards the social and individual behaviour

6. The moral responsibilities of the Prophets, the parents, the teachers and mentors towards the personality and behaviour of man

7. The changeability of the personality of man

Part one: The generalities of the theory of moral obligations or constraints

I shall explain the generalities of the moral obligations or constraints with regards

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to the freedom of man in the philosophical prospective through answering a number of fundamental questions:

First it is necessary to point out the area of disagreement. As it was clarified in the previous discussions, the pivotal point of the philosophical criticism is not in the behaviour arising from the will, desire and tendency.

This is because of the fact that the behaviour of man or any other voluntary agent arises from his will, desires and tendencies as well as the fact that the deterministic nature of the relationship between the will of the voluntary agent and his acts are not in contradiction with the free will of the voluntary agent and certainly there is no conflict between the necessity derived from freewill and the free will itself.

This matter is rather considered as the main subject and its validity is assumed certain. The centre of discussion is in the origin and source of origination of what is defined as ‘will’ or ‘determination’ in the connection between ‘will or determination’ with that ‘origin and source’.

Here, three basic questions exist:

The first question is whether ‘the will and determination of the act’ has any reason and cause in the voluntary agent or does it come into existence without any cause and reason? Is will and determination, which is the origin of the issue and emergence of the ‘voluntary act’, dominated by the ‘law of deterministic causality’? Or does the ‘law of deterministic causality’ not include origination of ‘will and determinism of an

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act’ in the voluntary agent and as a result, has the general causality law considered the origin of the act of the voluntary agent as an exception?

The second question is: assuming there is no exception in the ‘general causality law’ and considering that it includes the ‘act of the voluntary agent’, of what form will its comprehensiveness and incorporation be? Is it possible to suppose the incorporation of the general causality law with regards to the act of the voluntary agent in a way that the voluntary nature of the act will not be altered? If it is possible, then how?

The third question is: assuming that it is possible to demonstrate an intellectual impression of the compliance and compatibility between the sovereignty of the general causality law and the voluntary nature of the act of the voluntary agent; is this compliance and compatibility enough for solving the problems originating from withdrawing will from the agent? Will problems such as those arising from withdrawing moral responsibilities in ‘rejection of entitlement to the punishments and rewards of this world and those pertaining to the afterlife’ and ‘the equality between the righteous and the felon (offender) in the values of moral criterions’ be solved with the compliant demonstration of the causality law and the voluntary nature of the voluntary agent?

To answer these three questions, I shall first explain the passage of formation of the voluntary act and then separately explain and analyse in detail the answer to each question.

As it was quoted in

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the previous discussions from the Islamic and eastern philosophers, it is possible to summarize the meaning of a ‘free agent’ or ‘voluntary agent’ in this conditional clause:

ان شاء فعل و ان لم یشاء لم یفعل

Translation: ‘He will do it if he wants to, and he will not do it if he does not want to’.

The main topic of discussion is how the condition in this clause, ‘if he wants to’ is accomplished? Is this condition dominated by the deterministic causality law so the will and decision of man will be dictated to him as a result of the above cause and man will be subjugated to the above deterministic reason in his decision? In this case, the moral responsibility of man will be questioned, or the mentioned decision is free from the deterministic causality law and will come into existence accidentally, which will create problems in the comprehensiveness of the deterministic causality law.

According to the theory I shall demonstrate here, the mentioned condition which is ‘decision’ will be accomplished in a way that is not in contradiction with the comprehensiveness of the causality law and neither will it reject the moral responsibilities of man towards his behaviour.

‘Decision’ or the will of man is a command that is issued by the soul of man to the organs and powers in his body. This command is a natural and engendering one and its inseparable effect is the movement of the human organs and powers to perform the behaviour that is the command

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of soul. Therefore, the relationship between the will of man and his behaviour is one which acts upon the basis of the causality law.

The ‘will of man’ is the very command of soul, and forms from the belief of man in the obligation of certain behaviour. This belief in certain behaviour is what we define as ‘moral preponderant’. It is on the basis of this belief or ‘moral preponderant’ that the command of soul is formed and then the behaviour is accomplished. The existence of the ‘moral preponderant’ is inherent. The potential talent for understanding this moral preponderant exists in the primordial intellect of man.

The Prophets have come to actualize this talent and to awaken and guide this primordial intellect and to prevent its errors. In this direction, through the guidance and programmes they brought, they have enacted a very good role. This kind of moral obligation which benefits from the support of primordial intellect and Prophetic guidance is the ‘true moral preponderant’.

In majority of cases, humans replace true moral preponderant with false moral beliefs based on the inclinations of soul. They will place these false beliefs or ‘false preponderant’ and lies as the bases of their ‘will’ and as a result choose their behaviours based on ‘false preponderant’. This ‘false preponderant’ is the very baseless ‘musts’ that are in opposition with the true beliefs and preponderant based on logical reasoning. The only foundation for these false preponderants and beliefs is the inclinations and whims of soul.

Therefore the foundation

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of ‘freedom of behaviour’ is the ‘freedom of will’ and the foundation for the ‘freedom of will’ is the power of man over choosing the ‘moral preponderant’ on the basis of which the soul of man will decide.

This moral determinism is enough for preponderance of the existence of ‘will’ and in the general causality law which is firm on the principle of impossibility of ‘preponderance without a preponderant’ this amount of preponderant is enough for coming into existence of will and it fulfills the need ‘contingent’ to the ‘preponderant’.

After this introduction I shall engage in answering the questions I raised:

The answer to the first question: I shall answer the first question in several stages:

Stage one: in this stage I shall explicate the relationship between the act of the voluntary agent and the will of the agent. The general causality law is not exceptionable. The principle of the impossibility of ‘preponderance without a preponderant’ is comprehensive and includes any contingent being. In order for any being that is contingent in itself, that is, it does not have existence or non-existence in its essence, to come into existence it must leave its contingency state- i.e. the unnecessity of non-existence and existence- through the agent of its essence. Leaving the contingency state - that is the unnecessity of non-existence and existence - means creating the necessity of existence in the object.

This general principle will also include our voluntary acts. As long as the act emanated from the voluntary agent is not made obligatory

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through the agent, it will not come into existence. This is because the act is a contingent affair and does not own necessity of existence and non-existence in its essence. By the condition of insufficient cause for existence, non-existence is necessary, and by the condition of sufficient cause of existence, the existence in necessary. As it is not possible to imagine more than two states of existence or non-existence for the act, as long as sufficient cause for the existence of the act are not brought about then the act of voluntary agent will not be achievable. It is through achievement of the condition of sufficient cause for the existence of that act that will make its existence necessary.

If all the other arrangements for the existence of the act have been made, the will of the agent will be the adequate condition for the existence of the act and will cause the necessitation of the act of the agent and then its existence and emanation of that act by the agent.

There are four groups of oppositions towards the generalization of the causal necessity to the voluntary agent; the first group are people such as Hume who is one of the western philosophers that basically does not believe in the causal necessity relationship between the cause and the caused and refers them to the habit of mind or the association of the ideas of mind. The second group are people such as the Asharites who are among the Islamic intellectuals that

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interpret the relationship between the cause and the caused as divine habit in the involuntary agent and as acquisition in the voluntary agent.

The third group are the speculative theologians other than the Asharites, who are Mu’tazila and the Imamiyah and they consider the essential preponderance of the existence to be enough for the existence of the caused. The fourth group are the Usooliyyoon (the scholars of the principles of jurisprudence) such as Muhaqiq Na’ini and the martyred master Sadr who with regard to the voluntary agent, reject the necessity relationship between the efficient cause and the caused. They consider the sovereignty of the agent over the existence of the act to be adequate for its existence.

In previous discussions, in response to these oppositions, I pointed out two main reasons:

First reason: After the will of the agent and preparing other arrangements for the existence of the act, if the non-existence of the act of the voluntary agent is still possible, this will mean that the possible contingency in itself is enough for its existence. This suggests the contingency of absolute chance and coincidence and the possibility of existence of object without a cause, the nullity of which is obvious and manifested.

If the description of ‘the contingency of the existence and the non-existence’ no longer applies to the act of the voluntary agent, it will mean the necessity of existence and the impossibility of its non-existence.

Previously, in response to these oppositions who consider the non-existence of the necessity of the cause despite

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the prepared complete sufficient cause, we pointed out two main arguments:

First argument: This is what the oppositions claim

Despite the prepared sufficient cause with all its components including the perfect volition of the sufficient cause, the existence of the causes is still non-essential and its non-existence is still possible. This matter necessitates rejection of the power and freedom of choice in the voluntary agent which is a manifested and presumed absurdity.

Regardless of the will of the agent and the preparation of all the arrangements for the existence of the act, if the existence of the act is not certain and essential and similar to its existence, its non-existence is contingent, this will mean that the voluntary agent does not have the power to create since no matter how much he tries and whatever effort he puts on the preparation of the arrangement of the act, the existence of the act is only contingent just as its non-existence is. As long as it only possess the possibility of certainty, the non-existence of the act is possible just as its existence is. There is no reason for its existence to be achieved and its non-existence not achieved.

Second argument: According to the claim of the oppositions the complete cause will not cause the necessity of the existence of the caused neither on the assumption of the existence of the caused will its existence be evident from the sufficient cause nor on the assumption of its non-existence, its non-existence will be evident from the

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non-existence of the sufficient cause. The conclusion is the existence and non-existence of the object is possible and achievable without a cause and through a coincidence which will necessitate the rejection of the definite causality law and annihilation of the basis of science and the destruction of the foundation of the human intellect and reasoning.

Explanation: Based on the negation of the necessity of the caused through the cause (rejection of the causal necessity), if we assume a natural phenomenon comes into existence or the involuntary agent shows a certain behaviour, there is no reason for us to base this behaviour or phenomena on this cause and say this phenomena or the agent of that certain behaviour are the origin of the advent of it. This is because after the emergence of the cause, the existence of that phenomena or behaviour will not find necessity through that cause but rather only benefit from the possibility, and the possibility of the existence of that behaviour or phenomena was achieved before the emergence of the cause, and so there is no need for the cause because of this achievement.

If we assume that phenomena or behaviour will not come into existence after the emergence of the complete cause, clearly this non-existence of achievement is not based on the non-existence of the cause since we are assuming that the cause has been achieved.

From what was said, it is well clear that in order to explicate the relationship between act of the voluntary agent and the

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free will of the agent, there is no other way but to admit to the ‘causal necessity’ and that the free will of the agent – in case of achievement of other conditions and arrangement- will make the existence of the act obligatory. Since the obligation of the act originates from the free will of the agent, not only does it not contradict with freedom of choice and free will, it also does not make sense without the freedom of choice of the act of the agent.

Stage two: In this stage, I shall explicate the relationship between freewill of the voluntary agent and the arrangements of its emergence:

This stage is the most difficult stage of our discussion and this is where the root of the problem in the relationship between freedom and causality lies.

The choice of the act is analysed and explicated in any manner through the agent of the choice. A phenomenon is a contingent being and similar to other contingent beings it needs a cause for its emergence. In other words, it is dominated by the general causality law. Therefore the question raised here is that despite the existence of general causality law and its dominance over the free will of the agent, how can one assume the freedom of choice of the act of the voluntary agent?

To answer this, we need to first explain a number of different issues:

First issue: The principle of the impossibility of ‘preponderance without a preponderant’ which is the base and foundation of

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the principle of general causality has a definition in the field of the involuntary phenomena and behaviours.

The interpretation I have demonstrated from the principle of the impossibility of ‘preponderance without a preponderant’ is one that is compatible with the meaning of this definition in the field of involuntary and non-volitional behaviours whereas the rational meaning of this principle in the voluntary and volitional behaviours is another meaning. The meaning of this principle in the field of voluntary and volitional field is that any voluntary behaviour originates from a ‘command or order’ of the agent itself. This command or order is a consequent of the belief of the agent in the preference and superiority of what he commands to.

Therefore wherever a voluntary act is achieved, two main rudiments are present:

The first rudiment is the confession of the agent to the superiority and preference of the existence of the act over its non-existence. This superiority and preference is what we define as preponderance. Here preponderance means the reason for the superiority of the act over its non-existence. The confession of the agent to the superiority of the act arises from the reason that is enough in the view of the agent for confession to this superiority.

The second rudiment; after the confession of the agent to the preference and superiority of the act, the ‘command or order’ is shaped inside the agent by his ‘soul’. This order is issued from the soul of voluntary agent such as man to the organs and

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forces under his power. After the issue of the ‘command or order’ from the ‘soul’ of the agent, his organs and forces immediately carry out his order, unless the power of the act has been taken away from them through an external cause. However, despite the power and the conditions for achievement of the act, the emanation of the act by the agent after the issue of the ‘command or order’ is definite and infrangible.

The preponderance we pointed out in the first rudiment which is followed by the ‘command or order’ of the soul of the agent to his organs and forces, is a moral preponderance. This means a preponderance which persuades the soul to the obligation of that behaviour and the issue of the command and order to the organs and forces for the purpose of its performance.

The moral preponderance through which soul commands the necessity of issue of certain behaviour can be comprehended by the functional or practical intellect of man.

The practical or functional intellect is the intellect through which the agent distinguishes the superiority and necessity of the act. The functional or practical intellect may weaken or encounter misleading recognition. Naturally in this case, the command issued by the soul based on its recognition, corresponds to the weakness and diversion that the practical intellect is encountering.

This meaning of ‘preponderance’ is different to the theoretical meaning of preponderance in the field of involuntary behaviours and phenomena. Reminiscent of what was clarified by the above explanations, the purpose

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of preponderance here is ‘moral preponderance’ or the criterion for the judgement of the practical intellect based on which it issues verdicts to the superiority and necessity of the act and following this, the command or order for the origination of that act is issued by the soul.

According to what was said, after the formation of the first rudiment of the voluntary act, the order of the soul (which is related to the formation of the command and order of the soul to the organs and forces for performing the action) is emanated. Here, the command of soul is an engendering command and thus the issue of the command by the soul to the forces and organs for the purpose of emanation of the act, is the preponderance for the existence and achievement of the act. The preponderance here is an engendering preponderance or the very preponderance that means ‘the necessity of existence’.

The command of soul to the forces and organs will make the emanation of the act by the forces and organs obligatory. By means of the preponderance the act is achieved. The meaning of preponderance here is the previous meaning of it present in the principle of the impossibility of ‘preponderance without a preponderant’ which is the foundation of the principle of general causality.

Therefore, there are two preponderances in the cases of achievement of the act of the voluntary agent:

Moral preponderance which will not cause the negation of contingency and causation of the existence. Rather it is nothing

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other than the judgement of the practical or functional intellect to the superiority and preference of the act with respect to its non-existence.

Engendering preponderance which is the very order by the soul followed by the necessitation of the act. The engendering preponderance is related to the stage of existence of the act. In this stage, the law of causal necessity based on the impossibility ‘preponderance without a preponderant’ results in the necessity of existence of object before its existence. In the vein of clarity, the existence of the contingent object is based on the existence of this preponderant and without this engendering preponderant the existence of the contingent object is not rational.

However the emergence of this engendering preponderant that is the ‘command and order of the soul to the emanation of that act’ is dependent upon the first type of preponderant which was the very moral preponderant. This means in order for the soul to issue the command for existentiation of the act through the forces of power of man, it is necessary for the moral preponderant to convince and persuade the soul regarding the necessity of issuing the command. The persuasion of the soul is only possible through the moral preponderant.

Through the admissible beliefs that the soul regards as the criterions for moral preponderance, it approves of certain behaviour as the ‘superior behaviour’ and believes their superiority. As a result of this belief, an inclination towards this behaviour is created in the soul. There may be other opposing

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inclinations confronting this inclination in the soul of man but in the rivalry field, contradicting inclinations of this idea and belief towards the superiority and preference of inclinations are what compels the soul towards the issue of the command for origination of the suitable behaviour for this inclination.

Therefore the role of the moral preponderant is origination of inclination towards certain behaviour or a superior tendency towards a certain behaviour in the cases where contradicting desires exist, and as a result convincing the soul of the ‘necessity of emanation of the act’ followed by the order and command to his organs and forces for the origination of that act.

It is necessary to point out that the soul may commit errors in its moral judgements. This means it may reckon what is not superior as superior and think of what is bad as good. It is also sometimes possible for the soul to encounter deceit and delusion. Also sometimes the soul may deceive itself which means it may presume what is bad as the superior i.e. close its eye over the atrocity of behaviour and falsely assign it as good (‘false moral preponderant’) and in conclusion it assumes an indecent behaviour as decent.

That is to say whatever he believes in his primary instinct to be wicked and foul, will suppose as good and appropriate and show affections towards it. However he will never be exempted from the rule that says his behaviour is arising from the ‘command of his soul’

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where this command is shaped from believing in the ‘moral preference’ of this behaviour and the desire evolving from it.

In the religious culture, ‘Satan’ has been introduced as the ‘origin of errors and deceits’ in the moral beliefs of the soul. On the opposite side, the Prophets have been introduced as a secure shelter for rescue from this deceit and their leadership and guidance as concrete and firm assurance in the beliefs and judgements and as the criterion for distinguishing right from wrong.

The second issue: The meaning of ‘freedom of choice in act’ or so to say ‘freedom of behaviour’ was clarified from what we said in the first issue. Free behaviour is one that originates and arises from the command of soul which emerges from the moral preponderant of soul and the convincing of it to the necessitation of the act.

Therefore the criterion in the ‘freedom of behaviour’ is one which has emanated from the command of the soul, the command which originates from convincing the soul of the necessity of the act.

Based on this definition, since the behaviour that has emanated because of ignorance and lack of heed of the soul, is not originated from the moral preponderant, it cannot be recognized as a free behaviour. The behaviour of the skilled criminals, even if crime has turned into a natural habit, is a free behaviour since it has originated from moral preponderant and to say the least, their behaviour at the beginning and before it had turned

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into a natural habit was a free behaviour.

This transformation has taken place with their choice and the moral preponderant of their soul. On this basis also the behaviour of people such as an addict person or a thief, who is identified as a thief by nature even though we do not belief in the existence of a thief by nature and it is better not to characterize such a person as a habitual thief, (the testimonial explanation of the argument of this preponderant is not possible here) is a free behaviour.

In reality, the behaviour of such people in spite of the apparent basis which shows occurrence without thinking and contemplation, is not so. This group of people decide upon committing a wrong act based on a false moral judgement. This is firstly because; the transformation of this criminal act to a natural habit has taken place with their choice and secondly as a result of their wrong behaviour transforming into a habit and second nature, their moral judgement of their error has also turned into a second nature and is acting automatically.

The third issue: The fact that the agent is showing certain behaviours based on a moral preponderant means that the agent is accepting the moral responsibility originating from it, and this is regardless of whether the moral preponderant of the agent (on the basis of which he has caused the origination of a behaviour) is the right and well founded preponderant or the wrong and unjust one.


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According to what we said, before origination of the act, the agent will morally judge certain behaviour and prefer that behaviour and based upon this preference he will obligate himself to its performance. Therefore, in the cases where certain behaviour has been condemned with wickedness and preference of non-existence, and regardless of this, the agent decides upon its origination and commits it, he has placed himself prone to moral conviction by his own choice. Thus naturally his behaviour is morally condemned and is worthy of any form of punishment originating from the moral responsibility of his mentioned behaviour.

After clarifying the threesome issues, I shall now answer the second stage question:

The question was, how is the act of the voluntary agent presumed despite the existence of the general causality law and its dominance over the will of the agent?

Based on the explanation given in the threesome issues, the answer to this question will become clear.

It is the existence of the behaviour of the agent which is a contingent-being phenomenon that is dominated by the general causality law. Based on the general causality law, this needs a justifiable cause which means a cause that will give necessity of existence and then existence. The cause that will grant the existing ‘free behaviour’ existence, is the moral preponderant through the achievement of which, the soul will ‘oblige’ itself to the issue of command to the organs and forces. By issuing of the command of the soul to the organs and forces, the existence of

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the act will become necessary and its existence will be achieved.

The first preponderant is the preponderant of practical intellect or the moral preponderant which means the cause that convinces the soul of ‘the necessity of existence of the act’. Consequently, the soul will find itself – in the prospective of the logic of practical intellect- obliged to originate the act and issue the command for it to the forces and organs.

This ‘moral preponderant’ is enough for obliging the soul and rather there is no other way for ‘obliging the soul’ to issue the command of origination of the act to the force and organs other than this ‘moral preponderant’. This moral preponderant which means the ‘the reason for convincing the soul of the necessitation of emanation of an act’ is in no way in contradiction with the ‘freedom in behaviour’ and rather the ‘freedom in behaviour’ is not rational in any way other than this.

It is the ‘free behaviour’ that benefits from moral responsibility that is emanated from the ‘faith and belief of the soul in the necessitation of the act’ and then the ‘command to the forces and organs concerning the origination of the act’.

The second preponderant, is the preponderant that is known as the origination of existence. After the acceptance of the necessity of emanation of the act by the soul through the moral preponderant, it will issue ‘origination order’ to its forces and organs. This command is similar to switching on the light key, the pressing of

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which (as long as the other arrangements for switching on the light are in order including connection to the mother board and the functionality of it and the functionality of the bulb) makes the switching on of light definite and necessary.

Therefore, all the arrangements for the emergence of the volition of the act which are the very command of soul are necessary arrangements. However those arrangements related to the first preponderant are those which create the ‘moral obligation’ and the arrangements related to the ‘second preponderant’ are those arrangements which make the ‘necessitation of the act’.

Not only this kind of necessitation which originates from ‘the moral necessitation and obligation’ is not in contradiction with ‘freedom in behaviour’, but also the ‘freedom in behaviour’ is subsistent on these two types of arrangements. Negating any of these two will make the ‘freedom in behaviour’ impossible and irrational. Negation of the ‘moral preponderant’ will make the issue of the command of soul or the will impossible. The negation of the ‘origination preponderant’ or the necessity of the existence of the act after the will and issue of the soul, will cut the connection between the agent itself and the will emanated from him, despite the external achievement of the act, on the other side and will destroy the power of the agent over the origination of the act.

The compatibility of ‘freedom in action and behaviour’ with the general causality law was made clear through what was said. The causality law means the impossibility

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of the preponderance without the preponderant and through the picture that was demonstrated from ‘free will and behaviour’ it is obvious that not only ‘free will and behaviour’ is not in contradiction with the law of impossibility of the preponderance without the preponderant but the achievement of ‘free will and behaviour’ is not rational without this law.

Stage three: In this stage I shall explain the relationship between the will and the voluntary agent:

In the second stage and up to now, it is comprehensible that the ‘will of the volitional act’ means the issue of ‘the origination order’ by the soul to the forces and organs concerning the origination of the act. It was also made clear that this ‘command or will of the soul’ arises from the belief of the soul in the necessitation of origination of the act and stems from the ‘moral preponderant’.

Now I will be discussing how this ‘moral preponderant’ is brought into existence and what is the source of its origination?

There are two kinds of discussion here:

First discussion: This is talking about whether in reality there are any moral preponderants before the stage of comprehension and recognition of man? In other words, can the actions and behaviours be intrinsically described by characters such as good or bad, decent or indecent, ugly or beautiful, in the stage before the cognition of man akin to how each worldly creatures benefit from intrinsic characters and descriptions? Or are the ‘moral preponderants’ the product and outcome of the mind and

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does the mind of man play the role of creator and originator of goodness and wickedness of things, and not only the passive role of discoverer and discerner?

During this discussion, other subjects such as; the presumption of the authenticity of the moral preponderants, the manner of their essential and real existence and their main criterion and standard are put forward. In this written work, there is no time to engage in these topics and they are beyond our topic of discussion.

The second discussion: How does man’s recognition of moral preponderants come into being? What is meant by this question is that does the belief of man in these moral preponderants benefit from specific logical regulations or does the emergence of belief in these moral preponderants originate from coincidental causes that are not based on logic and principles?

The reality is that all the beliefs of man, whether the moral beliefs which are related to the field of ‘practical intellect’ or the scientific beliefs which are related to the field of ‘theoretical intellect’, are logically admissible, that is, they are examinable and assessable with the logical reasoning criterions.

Naturally, the assessment criterions in the conceptual or scientific beliefs are different to the assessment criterions in the moral and functional beliefs. In the conceptual or scientific beliefs the assessment criterions are the scientific and conceptual evidences and certainties and in the moral and functional beliefs the assessment criterions are the moral and functional evidences and certainties.

Therefore in response to the question; ‘how does man’s

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recognition of moral preponderants come into existence?’ it must be said; in his moral beliefs, man can accept his moral beliefs through logical methods and choose his moral beliefs without observing logical methods. Man is responsible towards his choice in this field and all the consequences that follows it. The conscious of man makes clear judgement that man should observe logical criterions in the acceptance of moral beliefs and must admit to moral beliefs based on logical methods.

This means he must assess the moral propositions and admit to those propositions concluded and compatible with principles of logical deductions driven from the evident and certain moral beliefs. He must reject those propositions which have not been driven by the method of logical deduction originated from the certain and definite basic moral criterions and not compatible with the main moral criterions which are the very moral certainties and not admit to them. In my view, recognition of moral certainties and evidences is not a difficult task and engaging in discussing them is out of the boundaries of our topic here.

However I shall point out that one of the most logical and simple ways of accessing true moral criterions is; after proving the existence of the most perfect and the absolute Just and true God and the claim of the Prophets for being sent from the Just and most Perfect lord; in all aspects, one of the best criterions for distinguishing the moral propositions is the teachings the Prophets have offered

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to man from Allah.

These teachings can be a very fine support from the logical prospective, for distinguishing the good and bad, the ugly and the beautiful, the decent and indecent, for all the issues and propositions man will face.

The answer to the first question was clarified from what I said. This is what the first question was:

Does the will and determination of the act come into existence without a cause or is it dominated by the general causality law? It is understandable from the previous discussions that; the will and determination of the voluntary agent which is the very ‘origination order of the soul’ is dominated by the general causality law. The reason for the issue of the origination order of the soul or the will of the agent is the belief that is formed in the soul of the agent regarding the ‘moral necessity’ of the act, which was previously described.

It was also made clear that the belief of the soul in the moral necessity also takes place in accordance to the causality law which means the soul of man can place the logical criterions as the base for his moral beliefs and as a result form the ‘moral preponderants’ in his mind and soul based on the ‘moral beliefs’. He can also submit to illogical issues and place the illogical causes as the base for formation of his moral beliefs and preponderants which are the source of origination of his will.

Based on what was said, the behaviour

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of man and his will are dominated by the causality law and by the explanations given, it was made clear that not only this causality is compatible with the free will and desire of man but it is necessary and obligatory for the rationality of the will and desire of man as well as his moral responsibility towards his will and behaviour.

The answer to the second question:

This is what the answer to the second question was; according to the inclusion of the act of the voluntary agent in the general causality law, how is the compatibility of it with the freedom of choice of the act of the voluntary agent assumed?

The following is the answer:

As it was made clear in the answer to the first question, the act of the voluntary agent is emanated from his will which is the very command of the soul and this emanation is dominated by the causality law. It was also clarified that the will or the command of soul originates from ‘the moral preponderant’ and this moral preponderant is the caused by the reason that is based on the agent of the ‘moral preponderant’ who has accepted the goodness and decency and the necessity of binding act.

Up to here, it is clear that the chain of the reasons continues and the law of caused determinism is dominant among the parts of this chain of causes and every cause will necessitate its caused thing necessarily and every caused thing will necessarily be issued from

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its cause.

Based on what we said, the last loop of the chain of the causes of voluntary behaviour are the ‘moral preponderants’, the base of which is ‘faith’ or confession and submission of man to the criterions that specify the good and bad, decency and indecency of the behaviour.

Here we must add that the personality and identity of man is formed through these moral criterions which are the base of formation of the ‘moral preponderants’ and then the will of the soul.

As Mowlawi says regarding the individual personality of man:

ای برادر تو همین اندیشه ای نی همین یک استخوان و ریشه ای

Translation: Oh brother, you are merely a thought, not just bones and roots.

It seems that what is meant by thought is the functional intellect of man in which the moral beliefs are formed.

Also as the Arab poet says:

و انما الامم الاحلاق ما بعیت فان ذهبت اخلاقهم ذهبوا

Translation: the nations are nothing but their behaviour, by destruction of their morals and moral values, the existence of the nations will also be destroyed.

This human identity and personality is formed by the accepted moral values and beliefs and man will shape and form his identity and personality through accepting these moral values and beliefs. This power of creation which is the very power of soul and the organs and forces is the exclusively incomparable character of man and it is this character that has got man to the status of ‘divine vicegerence’.

Here I am slightly getting close to the theory of

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Mr Chisholm and its completion by Mr O’Connor differing in the fact that I have described the chain of causes until the existence of the personality of man in a different way. I also regarded the existence of the personality of man to be the caused thing of the free will of man which is dominated by the ‘will of God’ which means man receives his creational powers from ‘God’ and it is through the divine will that ‘man’ is capable of shaping his identity and personality and choosing the moral beliefs and values desirable to him which are the base of formation of his voluntary behaviour.

On the other side, I got slightly close to the ‘theory of sovereignty’ of the martyred master Sadr as I considered the ‘moral preponderance’ to be enough for the emergence of ‘free will and action’.

However the difference between my theory and the ‘theory of sovereignty’ of the martyred master is that I regarded the generality of the causality law and the impossibility of preponderance without a preponderant and included the ‘free will and behaviour’ with it, giving the explanation of ‘considering the preponderant’ in the will and action of the voluntary agent, to be a moral preponderant, where this moral preponderant is regarded as the origin of the existence of will and obligation of free action.

Therefore it’s the moral preponderant that fills the existential need originated from the ‘existential possibility’ in the possible essence and prepares enough intellectual justification for the preference

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of the pan of its existence over its non-existence and makes its existence a necessity and obligation.

Therefore I agree to the ‘theory of sovereignty’ of the martyred master Sadr on the grounds that ‘will of the agent’ is not dominated by determinism in the voluntary agent. However the indeterminism does not mean ‘not obligatory’ and thus I do not agree with the ‘theory of sovereignty’ of the martyred master Sadr in this ground and agree to the ‘theory of necessity’ of Mulla Sadra in which ‘necessity’ does not mean ‘determinism’.

Thus we believe that it is the ‘moral preponderant’ that convinces the soul of the necessity of the act and on this basis the issuing of ‘will or order’ by the soul becomes obligatory. However since this obligation has originated from moral preponderant, it does not mean ‘determinism’.

Therefore the deterministic emergence of ‘will’, meaning the above cause will obligate and force the soul to ‘choose’ one option, is most certainly annihilated since this is similar to when a person forces another person to choose a specific behaviour using the threat of a weapon. The conscious internal feeling testifies that there is no such compulsion force involved and on the other side the ‘choice’ will not take place without rules.

The ‘choice’ of the soul is formed based on the convincing ‘moral preponderant’ of the soul, and by accepting the ‘moral preponderant’ and the convincing of soul upon it, the issue of ‘will’ and the command of the soul becomes certain.

From what

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I said it is clear that man can always change his route of choice and selection by changing the ‘moral criterions’ which are acceptable to him, since it is these accepted moral criterions which are the base for convincing the soul of deciding the will of behaviour.

The capability of changing the ‘moral criterions’ acceptable to the soul is an essential character of the soul. Accepting a moral criterion means submission of soul to that moral criterion and showing abasement and obeying it. There are no external causes that force the soul to submission and humility towards a moral criterion. The external causes can play the contriving or encouraging role for the soul of man to choose and submit towards a moral criterion. But the deciding role here is exclusive to the soul of man.

According to what can be obtained from reflection into the inner conscious of man, and what is approved by religious sources and experience, there are two essential inclinations inside man, one is towards ‘the innate moral criterion’ where the intellectual logic testifies to its truth and reality, and the other inclination is towards the opposite of these criterions that is the false and forged moral criterions, and man can choose to which group of these moral criterions he wants to submit to. Each of these two groups of moral criterions benefit from special support and incentives, that will help man make his final decision of submission.

The answer to the third question; it is well clear from what

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I said in the answer to the first and second questions that the procurement of the will of man is in his hands and it is him who decides upon his obligation of ‘wanting’.

Therefore he takes the responsibility for his acts. When man takes full responsibility of his acts, it does not mean other causes which prepare the ground or encourage and help in directing the will of man are free from responsibility, rather other causes such as parents or teachers or the social environment or the mass media or any other cause that can play the role of orienting and encouraging and preparing the grounds for choosing a moral belief will have a share in the responsibility originating from the behaviour and the will emerging from that moral belief.

The responsibility of other causes is because of the role they play in levelling the way of ‘desire or will’ and this levelling and preparation of grounds is an influential support that encourages man in the direction of submission and humility towards ‘moral criterion’.

In places where the moral criterion is a true moral criterion and in agreement with natural and intellectual reasons and coherent with the guidance of the divine Prophets, the involvement of the causes for preparation of grounds, is a positive involvement and is worthy of praise and applaud. In places where the criterions involved are false and forged ones, the involvement of the causes for preparation of grounds is one that fits scolding and reprimand and

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it is rather worthy of discipline and punishment.

Based on what was said, ‘The voluntary agent’ is in no way divested of authority so problems regarding the tolerance of the moral responsibility of his behaviour or the eligibility for punishment are intervened.

Now after explaining the generalities of the theory of ‘moral necessity or obligation’ it is time to engage in the second part that is adjusting this theory with the seven cases we put forward previously:

Part two: Adjusting the theory of ‘moral obligation or necessity’

Previously I said that I will engage in adjusting the theory of moral obligation or necessity with the cases that are discussed among the western philosophers, in part two:

The first adjustment: is adjusting the mentioned theory to the will and action of the essence of the Almighty creator. Since the essence of the Almighty creator is the very truth, righteousness, virtue and perfectness, thus the main origin of the ‘true moral criterions’ is the essence of the Almighty. It is on this basis that the ‘true moral criterions’ are not merely a collection of abstract and mind thoughts. Rather they benefit from a real and true assistance which is the very ‘true essence of the Almighty’.

Here I am not trying to argue the existence of such an essence, I shall only point out that it is only on the assumption of existence of such a being that the authenticity and stability of the true moral criterions will be guaranteed. On the presumption of rejecting the existence of such an essence the true moral criterions will be

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deprived of this real and true assistance. This way, the route for hesitation in the actual existence of true moral criterions or mistaking between the true and false moral criterions will be leveled.

According to the theory of moral obligation or necessity, any voluntary act originates from a ‘command’ or a ‘will’ where that command or will has risen from a ‘moral preponderant’. Based on what was said, the true moral criterions originate from the Essence of the Almighty, thus the ‘true moral preponderants’ are a sparkle of the Essence of the Almighty and in fact united with the Essence of the Almighty.

Nevertheless, considering the fact that the Essence of the Almighty is an eternal essence, the true moral preponderants will also be a sparkle of his everlasting Essence and it is these everlasting moral preponderants that will be the foundation of his everlasting will. It is on this basis that the Holy Quran has given the title ‘Unique command’ to the command issued by the Essence of the Almighty:

‘And our command is but one, as the twinkling of an eye’ (1)

This Unique order is the very eternal and everlasting order of God which has originated from eternal and everlasting moral preponderants united with the Essence of the Almighty.

On this basis, it is possible to say that any will that is formed in the soul of man, if it has not risen from the true moral preponderants, it means humiliation of the human soul towards the will of the Essence

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1- The Holy Quran, Chapter 54, verse 50

of the Almighty and if it originates from false moral preponderants, it will indicate disobedience towards the Essence of the Almighty and step over the boundaries of the order and command.

The second adjustment: Adjusting the theory of moral obligation and necessity to the behaviour of human individual.

Previously I said that the identity and personality of the human individual are shaped by the moral criterions accepted by him. This is because the accepted moral criterions will form the will of the individual and his will is followed by his behaviour and by repetition of the behaviour (that has risen from a certain moral belief) and the personality of man is shaped.

Therefore, it is not only the ‘will’ of the human individual and the behaviour that emerges from that will, that have risen from the ‘moral preponderants’ or in other words from the ‘accepted moral beliefs’, but also his individual identity and personality also originate from this source.

The individual man must first receive his moral beliefs from his parents and then as a result of intermixture in social paragons such as school, media, friends and relatives and etc., thus he will start changing, bolstering and stabilizing those moral beliefs. By bolstering and stabilizing these moral criterions in the nature of the individual human, the human personality and identity is shaped and becomes solid. Stabilizing the individual behaviours that have originated from these moral criterions and beliefs are the foundation of the formation and bolstering of the individual personality.

Therefore, not only is the

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individual man responsible towards his behaviour, but he is also responsible for shaping his moral personality and characteristics and dispositions.

The third adjustment: Adjusting the mentioned theory to the will and behaviour of human in the society or the human society.

When a group of humans have gathered around one another, imperatively their behaviours will slowly harmonize.

The harmonized behaviours resulted from moral beliefs are in harmony. The harmony of moral beliefs means the unity of moral beliefs that direct the will of men. The unity of moral beliefs will instigate the emergence of the group will, and the emergence of group will is the origin of the emergence of group identity and personality. For this reason the harmonized societies benefit from group will and a united group personality. This group personality is responsible for the group behaviours that originate from the group will.

From what I said above it is clear that the process of free group behaviour is similar to the process of individual free behaviour. Just as how the individual man is responsible towards the ‘true moral criterions’ (which means his functional intellect and moral conscious and ‘God’, who is the real source of true moral criterions, will obligate man to submit towards the moral criterions) the human society who benefits from a united social personality is also responsible towards the ‘true moral criterions’, and is duty-bound in the court of functional intellect and the moral conscious, as well as towards ‘God’, to get orders from the true moral criterions

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in his group will, and the behaviours that originate from it and not to submit to false moral criterions.

The personality of the human individual is first shaped in the family environment and once he steps into the society and starts his social life at school and other social environments, he becomes familiar with the social personality of his society.

If the social personality of the society was in harmony and the same direction as the individual personality, that is if the atmosphere of the social personality was dominated by the accepted personal criterions in the atmosphere of the individual personality which is the foundation of the shaping the individual personality, and the group will of the society was getting orders from the same moral beliefs, then the individual personality of man will ablate in his social personality and he will benefit from a strong personality that is bound by the moral criterions ruling the society.

If not, that is if the personality of the society is at discord with the individual personality and the criterions governing the individual personality are in contradiction with the criterions governing the personality of the society, there are three ways in front of man; the first is to insist upon his individual personality and remain loyal to the decisive moral criterions that are the base of the formation of his individual personality.

In this way he is imposed to resist the personality of the society and gradually turn into an objecting person to the social moral

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beliefs and the group will and personality. The second way is to abandon his individual personality and turn away from his previous moral beliefs and harmonize his individual personality with the social spirit of the society and the group will arising from it and submit to the governing moral beliefs of the social personality of the society.

There is also a third way that is selected by a few individuals which is to choose a contradicting and binary personality, which is; when in the society environment, the individual will choose behaviours in agreement with the governing moral criterions in the society and show a personality that is in harmony with the social personality and when in his inner environment, he will remain loyal to his individual personality and moral criterions and choose his private conducts based upon his personal beliefs.

The individual living in the society has these three ways facing him and choosing any of these threesome options is only dependent upon his decision and determination and it is for this reason that he will be responsible towards the moral consequences resulting from this choice. This means as a result of his choice, he will act upon the behaviour suitable to that option and gradually achieve the identity and personality appropriate to that option.

If the chosen option is in harmony with the true moral criterions, it would be worthy of praise and applaud and reward. If the chosen option does not correspond to the true moral criterions and is secured

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over false and forged moral criterions, he will bear the consequences resulting from it and become worthy of scolding and reprimanding and in some cases discipline and punishment.

The fourth adjustment: It is clear from what I said in the previous discussions that the individual man is fully responsible towards the behaviour he shows as well as the personality and identity that is shaped in his being as a result of this behaviour.

This is because, even though in the family environment, the inheritance causes and the behaviour of the parents play an important role in dictating the acceptable and decent moral criterions, but when facing this group of causes, the functional intellect and the inner moral conscious of man on one side and the divine Prophets and their guidance and enlightenments and messages and teachings on the other side will level the way for the judgement and choice of man and if the individual is forced to choose the false moral criterions under the pressure of the moral environment of the family, no matter how substantial this pressure is, it will not be enough to completely turn off the inner call of the moral conscious and the functional intellect and the outer call of the Prophets and their followers.

As a result, man is always facing two calls; the call of the false moral criterions which takes place through the family pressure causes and the call of the true moral criterions that takes place by the functional intellect and moral

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conscious as well as the divine Prophets. It is up to man to accept one of these two calls using his judgement and give a positive response and submit himself, and thus it is also him who has to answer for this choice and tolerate the moral consequences arising from this choice.

Here I must point to the responsibility of man towards his identity and personality. From what was said in the third adjustment it is clear that man has three options towards his social personality and identity and it is his decision that will write his destiny with each of the three options. Thus he will take the responsibility for the consequences surging from choosing one of these three options.

The fifth adjustment: The responsibility of the society towards the social and individual behaviour.

I conclude from the previous discussions that the social personality of every society will be responsible for the social behaviour of that society. This does not mean the social personality of the society is not responsible for the individual behaviour of man but rather the social personality of the society is responsible for the individual behaviour in accordance with the social personality.

The explanation to this is that as I said, the social personality of the society can influence the individual personality of man and force him to accept the social personality and submit to the moral criterions and values that are the basis of the formation of that social personality.

When man submits to the decisive social values and

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moral beliefs of the society which shape the foundation of identity and personality of that society, he will choose those criterions for sculpting his individual personality and not only is he responsible toward this choice and the consequence rising from it, but the society is also responsible. What is meant by society is; all the social and individual organs that have a share in shaping the social personality of the society. The organs and the people who have shaped a suitable social personality by accepting a type of moral criterion are all responsible towards the consequences arising from this, including the individual behaviour following this social personality.

The sixth adjustment: Based on what was said in the fifth adjustment, all individuals who influence the shaping of the social personality of humans are responsible towards it, to the degree of the capability and level of influence they have on shaping the social and individual personality. The Prophets are responsible to explain the divine teachings that have been revealed to them and encourage people to bind by the true moral criterions.

The teachers, coaches, parents, the political, the economical, and cultural influential authorities are responsible to rise for supporting the divine Prophets and show their utmost effort and endeavour in obeying them and directing and familiarising people with true moral criterions and shaping their social and individual personality based on those criterions and preventing confusion between true and false moral criterions, and protecting the boundaries between them, and encouraging people to bind by

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the true moral criterions, although as I said in the previous discussion, the final decision on accepting or not accepting the true moral criterions is owned by the individuals.

However, if the influential elements in the shaping of the individual or social personality, show any negligence or fault or betrayal which would result in the individual or the human society choosing the wrong path, and thus resulting in the personality being shaped on the basis of corruption, oppression, betrayal and crime, in the same way that the personality itself is responsible towards its betrayal, oppression and crime, the influential elements will also be responsible in this regard, as they have levelled the way for the formation of this corrupt and felon character and his criminal and oppressive behaviours, by showing negligence and betrayal.

The seventh adjustment: shaping of the individual and social personality of man based on a type of decisive moral criterions does not mean man will always remain submitted towards these criterions and it does not mean that the doors of changing the route of his life and making another choice are always closed to him.

At any instance in life, man can be someone he was not a minute ago, despite all the internal and external causes that have encouraged him to submit to a collection of moral beliefs, and the personality he has built and tended to, based on those criterions. He can change his decisive moral criterions and beliefs and resist submitting to the previous

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moral criterions that are the foundation of forming his character, and turn away from those criterions and turn towards new criterions and show submission towards them and choose a new personality and behaviour based on the new moral criterions.

Not only has this reality been proven in social and individual experiences, but rather it is possible to realize this conscious reality with only a slight reflection. The salubrious man always, very clearly, feels the reality in his inner self that he has the power to change his way of life and transform his behaviour and personality, it is only his decision that is the final determinative in this regard.


Arabic References

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• Al-Behbahani, البهبهانی Al-Waheed الوحید (1996). Al-Fawa’ed Al-Ha’eriyyah الفوائد الحائریه Qom, Iran. Majma’ Al-Fekr Al-Islami.

• Al Eyji الایجی, Adhod Al-Din عضدالدین (1990). Sharh-Ul-Mawaqif شرح المواقف. Iran, Qom: Al-Sharif Ul-Radhi Publications

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• Al Hilli الحلی, Hassan Ibn Mutahhar حسن ابن مطهر. (1959) Idhah-Ul-Maqasid ایضاح المقاصد. Tehran,

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Iran. Tehran University Publications.

• Al-Istaraabadi, الاسترآبادی Mohammad Amin محمد امین (1984), Al-Fawa’ed Al-Madaniyyah,الفوائد المدنیه . Qom, Iran. Dar Al-Nashr Le Ahlelbait.

• Al Katibi Al-Qazwini الکاتبی القزوینی. (1959). Aynul-Qawa’ed عین القواعد. Tehran, Iran: Publication of Tehran University.

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Wa Al-Derasat Al-Takhassossiyah Le Al-Shaheed Al-Sadr.

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• Ibn Abi Taleb ابن ابی طالب, Ali علی. (1998). Nahjul Balaghah نهج البلاغه . Qom, Iran: Dar Al Thaqalayn Publications

• Isfahani اصفهانی, Mirza Mohammad Taqi میرزا محمد تقی. (1860). Hidayatul Mustarshidin هدایه المسترشدین. Iran, Tabriz.

• Pesch, E.ادغار پیش (1993). The Thought Of Freud, فکر فروید A Translation Of The Book La Pensee De Freud. Ed. Bordas (1980). Translated By Josheph Abdullah.

• Sadra صدرا, Sadr Al Muta’alleheen صدر المتآلهین, Sadr Al Din Al Shirazi صدر الدین الشیرازی, Mohammad Ibn Ibraheem محمد بن ابراهیم. (1958). Al Hikma Al Mota’aliyah Fi Al Asfar Al Aqliyah Al Arba’ah, Vol.1 الحکمه المتعالیه فی الاسفار العقلیه الاربعه, الجزء الاول. Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Ihya’a Al Turath Al Arabi

• Sadra صدرا, Sadr Al Muta’alleheen صدر المتآلهین, Sadr Al Din Al Shirazi صدر الدین الشیرازی, Mohammad Ibn Ibraheem محمد بن ابراهیم. (1976). Al-Mabda’ Wa ‘l-Ma’aad (The Beginning and the end) المبدا والمعاد. Tehran, Iran: Iranian Philosophy Assembly

Persian References

• Andre, P. (1975). Marx wa Marxism, مارکس و مارکیسم. Translated to Persian by

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Shuja Al-Din Dhiya’iyan from Marx et Marxisme 5 edition, Paris, 1973. Tehran, Iran. Tehran University Publications.

• Lahiji, لاهیجی Abd Al-Razzaq عبدالرزاق. (1892) Gowhare Moradگوهر مراد Tehran Iran. Islamiyyah Publications.

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• Modarres مدرس Yazdi یزدی Agha Ali آقا علی. (1986), Rasa’el Hekamiyyah رسائل حکمیه . Tehran, Iran. Vezarate Ershade Eslami, Edareye Kolle Entesharat wa Tablighat.

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English References

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And Soft Determinism’. In Kane, R. (2002). Free Will. London: Blackwell

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About center

In the name of Allah

Are those who know equal to those who do not know?
al-Zumar: 9

Ghaemiyeh Computer Research Institute of Isfahan, from 2007, under the authority of Ayatollah Haj SayyedHasanFaqihImami (God blesses his soul), by sincere and daily efforts of university and seminary elites and sophisticated groups began its activities in religious, cultural and scientific fields.

Ghaemiyeh Computer Research Institute of Isfahan in order to facilitate and accelerate the accessibility of researchers to the books and tools of research, in the field of Islamic science, and regarding the multiplicity and dispersion of active centers in this field
and numerous and inaccessible sources by a mere scientific intention and far from any kind of social, political, tribal and personal prejudices and currents, based on performing a project in the shape of (management of produced and published works from all Shia centers) tries to provide a rich and free collection of books and research papers for the experts, and helpful contents and discussions for the educated generation and all classes of people interested in reading, with various formats in the cyberspace.
Our Goals are:
-propagating the culture and teachings of Thaqalayn (Quran and Ahlulbayt p.b.u.t)
-encouraging the populace particularly the youth in investigating the religious issues
-replacing useful contents with useless ones in the cellphones, tablets and computers
-providing services for seminary and university researchers
-spreading culture study in the publich
-paving the way for the publications and authors to digitize their works

-acting according to the legal licenses
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Other activities of the institute:
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