Chisholm's Human Freedom And The Self

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In "Human Freedom and the Self", Roderick Chisholm has taken a libertarian approach on the issue of free will and determinism. Libertarians believe that humans have free will and make a distinction that free will and determinism are incompatible. Chisholm has the same opinion. On the problem of human freedom, Chisholm thinks that “Human beings are responsible agents; but this fact appears to conflict with a deterministic view of human action (the view that every event that is involved in an act is caused by some other event); and it also appears to conflict with an indeterministic view of human action (the view that the act, or some event that is essential to the act, is not caused at all).”(Page 3). He does not agree that determinism or indeterminism…show more content…
If an agent cannot proceed differently in an event then the agent cannot be held morally responsible for the event. If we accept indeterminism then we believe that for an event to happen there is no control over it. The agent cannot cause the event but rather the possibility is that event will happen on chance. An agent cannot be held morally responsible for an event which just happened randomly. Chisholm thinks that, for an agent to be held responsible for an event, the event must not be caused by mere chance & it must not be caused by another event but rather the agent must cause the event. In my essay I will explain, why I agree with Chisholm for thinking that for an agent to be morally responsible for an event, the agent must cause the event so that he is held responsible for hic action when he could have chosen to act differently. I will illustrate why determinism fails in holding an agent responsible, opening up way for the Chisholm’s incompatibalist…show more content…
If X has caused the event then X can be held morally responsible. But we get to know that X is member of a white supremacist outfit. The rule of white supremacist outfit is that whenever you see a black man, you have to slap him or else you are dismissed from the outfit and become a killing target for other members of the white supremacist outfit. X tells us that he slapped the black man because of his association with the white supremacist outfit. The event of slap by X is caused by a previous event which is that X has joined an outfit which requires him to slap any black man he sees. In this situation, Chisholm will say that if X’s association with the white supremacist outfit caused him to slap the black man, then X is not responsible for slapping the black man. But if X caused himself to join the white supremacist outfit then X has still caused himself to join an outfit which lead him to slap the black man. Therefore X can be held morally responsible but If X was forced to join white supremacist outfit then X cannot be held responsible for his slap to the black man because he did not cause himself to join that outfit, therefore he cannot be held responsible for slapping the black man. In both situations (forced or not forced to join the outfit), X could not have chosen otherwise unless X was ready to face the consequences. At this moment Chisholm points out that (i) and
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