Essay on Libertarianism

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For centuries philosophers have debated over the presence of free will. As a result of these often-heated arguments, many factions have evolved, the two most prominent being the schools of Libertarianism and of Determinism. Within these two schools of thought lies another debate, that of compatibilism, or whether or not the two believes can co-exist. In his essay, Has the Self “Free Will”?, C.A. Campbell, a staunch non-compatiblist and libertarian, attempts to explain the Libertarian argument.
To achieve this, Campbell first sets out the two pre-suppositions necessary to the Libertarian argument. Firstly, he defines which kind of freedom he is discussing when he speaks of free will. Campbell characterizes
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This is all that is needed to maintain the agent’s moral responsibility. With these definitions in place, Campbell has finally set the stage for his argument.
To begin his argument, Campbell attempts to provide sufficient evidence for Libertarianism. He contends that, from phenomenological analysis, the self is inescapably convinced that it possesses a freedom in the decision to exert or withhold the moral effort needed to rise to duty (389). In laymen’s terms, when one must make a moral choice, one can hear both the call to duty and the desire to do the opposite. This conflict and the opportunity to choose offer proof, as far as Campbell is concerned, of moral freedom. While this may not be concrete proof, he claims that no one in the position of making a moral choice can deny that they are the sole author of that decision, nor can they deny that they could have chosen otherwise. It is through this experience of making moral choices that one can ascertain one’s moral freedom.
Campbell’s next step is disproving the leading arguments and criticisms against Libertarianism, in order to secure its place as the leading philosophical view. If there are no sound arguments against Libertarianism, it must, therefore, be the pre-dominant theory. In order to achieve this Campbell attacks what he believes to be the two strongest criticisms: that of predictability and that of meaninglessness. The
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