Ethan Couch's Argument Essay: The Free Will Debate

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The question of free will has been a never ending discussion by philosophers and ordinary everyday people for decades. In this paper I will be analyzing the case of Ethan couch, a 16 year old boy accused of manslaughter under the influence of alcohol, from the three different viewpoints of free will; a hard determinist, a compatibilist and a libertarian. Then I will discuss which view I agree best with under the specific conditions of this case.
Determinism is the idea that everything we do as humans is determined by events prior to us being born and events that have happened in the past. Decisions that you may think are based on your desires, are actually based of things beyond your control. But the big question is, if determinism is …show more content…

Whatever any of the other motives were and even though he may not be morally responsible for the choices he made, he would still have to be legally responsible for his actions. There has to be some type of punishment or else what would stop him from doing the actions again because there is no consequence? The result of no punishment could also influence others that his actions were acceptable. So his sentence would be a fitting consequence, especially since he claims to have no concept of right and wrong.
A compatibilism is someone who believes in both determinism and free will. Actions and decisions can be determined but we still have freedom to choose. Compatibilists believe that “acts freely done are those whose immediate causes are psychological states in the agent. Acts not freely done are those whose immediate causes are states of affairs external to the agent” (Stace 206). A compatibilist would think about Ethan Couchs case in terms of his actions being free or not. If he could have done otherwise, he would have. Couch was not forced or compelled, he acted based on his beliefs and desires. Even if it was already determined, he chose of his own free will to commit the crime. Since this is the case, Couch would be morally and legally responsible for his actions. His desires influenced the events that occurred, so his punishment would seem a bit light given that he could have done otherwise but he chose not to.
The last viewpoint

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