We Can Be Held Morally Responsible For Our Actions Essay

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Student number 5696513
Strawson argues that we cannot be ultimately morally responsible for our own actions. Explain and evaluate his argument.

The question of whether humans can be held morally responsible for their actions is one that has been highly debated by many philosophers. Galen Strawson argues that we cannot be held morally responsible for our actions because we did not choose how we are mentally. If we cannot choose how we are mentally we cannot be held accountable for the actions that are performed based off of a mentality we did not create (Strawson 1993, pp. 6). Strawson’s main argument rests on this idea of causa sui which means nothing can be the cause of itself (Strawson 1993, p. 5). In this essay I will attempt to argue Strawson’s point by pointing out that we do have some part in deciding who we become mentally. Although there are
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Although Strawson claims that we have no say in our mentality because of heredity and events that happened before we had any choice in them, Fischer had a good analogy to show that we still maintain choice in our life and our decisions, “when you play the cards that are dealt you (in a certain distinctive way), you can exercise a robust sort of control” (Fischer 2005, pp. 23). Although there are events and influences that occur to us in our life outside of our control this does not take away our ability to think and act freely. Sure these events may affect us in some sense, yet everyone is dealt some kind of card. As individuals we have the opportunity to use those cards in whatever way we want. Thus, although we may have experiences we did not personally choose, the way that this event affects us mentally and as a person is completely up to ourselves and our conscious. Because of this we have the power to choose how we are mentally speaking, which then returns to us our moral
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