Determinism Vs Free Will

1777 Words8 Pages

Determinism, free will and moral responsibility (1681 words)

Table of contents:
Blatchford’s view on determinism, free will, and moral responsibility.
Schlick’s determinism, freedom and responsibility.
Hospers’s position.
C. A. Campbell’s arguments.
Taylor’s philosophy.

1. In western philosophy such terms as determinism, free will, and moral responsibility are treated differently by different authors. There are three main positions on determinism, free will, and moral responsibility. Those who adhere with hard determinism assert that everything in our world and our actions are predetermined, and decisions we make are not completely ours; moral responsibility is the reflection of free will. Soft determinism philosophers’ …show more content…

Moritz Schlick is a representative of logical positivism doctrine. His definition of free will, determinism and moral responsibility derives from the definition of punishment. He supposes that “Punishment is an educative measure, and as such is a means to the formation of motives, which are in part to prevent the wrongdoer from repeating the act (reformation) and in part to prevent others from committing a similar act (intimidation). Analogously, in the case of reward we are concerned with an incentive." (Schlick, p. 152). So, Schlick’s view of free will and responsibility is connected with punishment. He supposes that a person in responsible if the punishment for his action is able to change his behavior in the future. So, his determinism differs a little from that of Blatchford. In his point of view, "we are trying to discover who is ultimately responsible" (D'Angelo, p. 37). So, he thinks that moral responsibility is not derived from heredity and environment. But what is the source of free will and moral responsibility? Schlick doesn’t give any unequivocal answer to this question. I think that moral responsibility depends on the scale of free will of a person and his attitude to the actions of other persons. In other words, our behaviour is the result of both our heredity and nature, and some outside factors which depend on our relation to other persons’ …show more content…

Taylor’s philosophy and view on determinism, free will and moral responsibility reflects the libertarian philosophic position. He attaches large importance to free will and free choice of a person. Taylor asserts that “certain events (namely, human choices) are not completely determined by preceding events; rather, they are caused by the agent of the choice (the person doing the choosing)” (Free Will). This view differs from that of Blatchford, Schlick and Hospers who deny free choice concluding that everything is determined in our decisions and actions. But real free will, according to Taylor, appears in case of strong evaluations which determine important actions and decisions. Taylor, as well as Campbell, supposes that a person who makes acts has free choice to act in another way. And, “according to our definition, the act was freely performed. So not only would such acts be free, but they are also acts for which someone could be held morally responsible” (Free Will). So, Taylor assumes that moral responsibility is reflected in free choice of a person. I support his point of view and think that not only the laws of heredity and nature determine our behaviour – this approach decreases the importance of rational factors. In other words, I adhere with the libertarian view which “maintains that there are acts which are not completely determined by preceding events and the laws of nature, but which are not just random” (Free

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