The Case Of The Unwilling Addict

1479 Words Nov 22nd, 2014 6 Pages
Desires and Moral Responsibility
We have certain notions of what free-will is. But before we can discuss the notion of free-will, we need to establish the meaning of this term. Having free-will refers to one’s choices or desires (O’Connor, “Free Will”). A person who is able to act according to the determinations of their will (i.e., choices or desires) is free (Russell, “Hume on Free Will”). But is it always fair to blame people for performing morally wrong actions when they act on the basis of their own desires? In this paper I will defend that those who perform morally wrong actions on the basis of their own desires are exercising free-will, and are therefore responsible for their morally wrong actions. To further bolster this case, I will argue for the Principle of Alternative Possibilities by re-evaluating Frankfurt’s case of the Unwilling Addict. I will then refute the notion of determinism by referring to Wolf’s JoJo example by taking a compatibilist approach.
In 1971, Harry Frankfurt wrote his second most influential paper on free-will. Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person asks; what is it to be a person? In Frankfurt’s view, one essential difference between persons and non-human animals is to be found in the structure of a person’s will (193). Presumably, animals appear to have the capacity for what Frankfurt refers to as “first-order desires,” which are simple desires to do or not to do one thing or another (194). Frankfurt however, notes that humans…

More about The Case Of The Unwilling Addict

Open Document