Over the course of time, in the dominion of philosophy, there has been a constant debate involving two major concepts: free will and determinism. Are our paths in life pre-determined? Do we have the ability to make decisions by using our freedom of will? While heavily subjective questions that have been answered many different authors, philosophers, etc., two authors in particular have answered these questions very similarly. David Hume, a Scottish philosopher from the 18th century, argues in his essay “Of Liberty and Necessity” that free will and determinism are compatible ideas, and that they can both be accepted at the same time without being logically incorrect. Alike Hume, 20th century author Harry G. Frankfurt concludes in his essay “Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility” that the two major concepts are compatible. These two authors are among the most famous of Compatibilists (hence the fact that they believe free will and determinism are compatible ideas) in philosophical history. The question that then arises in the realm of compatibilism particularly, is one dealing with moral responsibility: If our paths in life are not totally pre-determined, and we have the ability to make decisions willingly (using free will), then how do we deem an individual morally responsible for a given decision? Frankfurt reaches the conclusion that we are held morally responsible regardless of
But, since intuition depends on who we are and what we are made of, things that we do not control, free will is not present and with that neither is moral responsibility (Strawson, page 17). Everything we do is based off of what we are made of in terms of our mind and rationale, and what we are made of is a product of external things that we do not control, so it must be true that everything we are, and everything we do, is not determined by our own free will. In order for us to truly have free will, it would require us to be our own creators, products of our own thoughts, which in itself is impossible due to our understanding of human procreation. By no means does this suggest that humans cannot be punished for evil actions, or that humans are being forced to do what they do, but rather that we do not have as much control over what we do in our lives like supporters of free will would believe. Free will is not present, so moral responsibility isn’t, either, for determinism proves to be the argument more worthy belief after comparison to free will. I did not make a free willed decision to title this paper, I did not even make the choice to take this class, for what I have been convinced is humorous, clever or for my own best interests in life as a whole is completely out of my control, and with that so are my
If you think of life and existence in general as a canvas, meaning all of time included simultaneously, the past, present and future. Within that canvas lie certain sets of options(choices) which are available to us at any given moment. The path that we found ourselves are predetermined by factors we had no control over. Your genetic make up, for instance, you had nothing to do with. You can’t take credit for not having the brain of a psychopath, the brain of the mentally disabled person, genetic predisposition to cancer and you name it. The actions of others impact the options (choices) available to you-the actions of those around affects your will because it can change the choices that are available to you at any given moment. If certain
“Human agency in making choices” (Hutchinson, 2010): Every person’s life course is build up with his or her choices and actions (Hutchinson, 2010). The ability to make decisions or will power is the human agency, i.e. one can made decisions which completely changes
Exposition: In Galen Strawson’s essay “The Impossibility of Moral Responsibility,” he presents the Basic Argument and argues it proves we cannot be held truly morally responsible for our actions, which is an invaluable argument in the free will problem. The Basic Argument is seen as an infallible argument. It claims that people are who they are based on the environment that they’ve been born. On the seventh page of the essay, Strawson breaks the ten part argument into five simplified premises. First, it is undisputable that
Many times I find myself sitting and wondering whether I am fully free or not. I wake up every single morning and do the same routine, which is eat breakfast, go to class or work, do homework, go to the gym, shower, and then go to bed. Does this truly mean I am free? There are a lot of questions that you can ask yourself while following a routine. Is this really the path I should have taken? Were my choices determined by external factors? Determinism is the thesis that an any instant there is only one physically possible future. Robert Blatchford and Walter Terence Stace, two philosophers, both agree that determinism is true, although they have two different views on whether this means that people are free or not. Blatchford believes that everything is predestined. Stace on the other hand, believes that a person chooses what they do because of free will. In this essay I am going to discuss both of the philosophers’ views more in depth and why I favor Stace’s view over Blatchford’s.
The overall emphasis of this work is on humans and human free will. Pico demonstrates the importance of free will. It is because of free will, according to him, that humans can choose their
Journalist John Tierney, in his article, “Do You Have Free Will? Yes, It’s the Only Choice,” explores the notion of free will and exhibits how belief or disbelief in free will affects an individual’s life. By posing a hypothetical situation through rhetorical questions, incorporating experimental research, and using accusatory diction towards the opposing perspective, Tierney conveys his perception that a regard for free will allows for individuals to gain a greater sense of morality and ambition, even if the notion of free will is still disputed.
Although people that are confident enough to take responsibility for their actions and choices know that they are also responsible for the consequences, most people are incapable of seeing what they did wrong and blame the outcome on other reasons. This blame can lead to unjust and immoral consequences that are not deserving of certain people, this can be seen in today’s society.
I want to argue that there is indeed free will. In order to defend the position that free will means that human beings can cause some of what they do on their own; in other words, what they do is not explainable solely by references to factors that have influenced them. My thesis then, is that human beings are able to cause their own actions and they are therefore responsible for what they do. In a basic sense we are all original actors capable of making moves in the world. We are initiators of our own behavior.
An individual with “Free Will” is capable of making vital decisions and choices in life with own free consent. The individual chooses these decisions without any outside influence from a set of “alternative possibilities.” The idea of “free will” imposes a certain kind of power on an individual to make decisions of which he or she is morally responsible. This implies that “free will” would include a range of aspects such as originality, moral value, and self-governance. However, in life, individuals may not be free in making decisions. The aspect of freedom could entail remarkably a high status action and achievement in an individual’s life whose attainment could be close to impossibility. Often, people make
Whether we have free will is widely controversial. The absence of a universal definition poses a primary problem to this question. In this essay, I shall base my argument on a set of three conditions for free will: 1) that the actor is unconstraint in his action, 2) the actor could have acted otherwise and 3) the actor must be ‘ultimately responsible’ (Kane, 2005: 121) for his action. After I have explained them, I shall apply these conditions to three scenarios that cover most, if not any, circumstances that occur when taking choices. The purpose of this essay is to show that if my conditions are true, none of the scenarios is based on free will and thus we do not have free will.
Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility talks about the principle of alternate possibilities. The principle of alternate possibilities states that someone is morally responsible if they could have chosen to do otherwise. People who believe in free will are very supportive of the principle Free will is the power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one’s own discretion. The principle of alternate possibilities, moral responsibility, and free will are all involved in this paper written by Harry Frankfurt. Frankfurt states that “its exact meaning is a subject of controversy, particularly concerning whether someone who accepts it is thereby committed to believing that moral responsibility and determinism
With freedom comes true responsibility. What you do depends on who you are and who you are depends on your genetics and earlier experiences which human beings have no control and are not responsible of. You start to gain responsibility for who you are by your later actions. His idea that everything depends on your genetics and early experience plays a role. (4,2) Even with that it wont be able to restore your responsibility because when something is random it is uncaused. This is why human beings are not responsible for their own actions. An example of moral responsibility is if I had to choose between something. (4,4) I could be walking into the mall where I have the exact amount of money to buy the pair of shoes I needed to match my dress for a party. While walking in I was approached by a homeless man asking for money. I have to make my decision to walk right past the man and buy the shoes or give him my money. This idea I do not have the freedom to choose and I am ultimately responsible for the decision I make. A free agent can have irresponsible ultimate responsibility. They are able to believe in moral rights and wrongs, while still being able to deny the coherence of punishment and reward.