In the philosophical view of determinism with respect to free will, it focuses more on the circumstances surrounding the agent instead of just the individual agent. A strength to determinism is that there is a cause for everything, therefore nothing is left to chance and that there is always a reason to be traced back to. On the other hand, the same theory states that agents are not responsible for their own actions because previous events dictated their behavior, and that is considered by many to be a weakness of determinism. Critics of determinism claim that having a universal view of determinism will lead to moral irresponsibility and moral decay (Nichols and Knobe 664). Compatibilism, also referred to as soft determinism, is “the view that all events, including human actions, are caused.
Morality, in his system, is a vehicle to move from state of nature into law of nature, and is a move mandated by self-interest. In the laws of nature, there is a covenant among people in which one of the parties must perform after the other through promise. However, promise in Hobbes’ system is not based on trust, virtue or any intrinsic purpose, because by the first natural right which is self-preservation, such justification seems as a luxury. Since one on trusts no one, promise keeping should be enforced by the fear of sovereign, whose job is to enforce the contract by punishing those who break it. Thus, the fear of punishment by sovereign makes promise keeping possible.
Superson’s goal is to defeat the skeptic and does not believe self-interest is sufficient enough to do so. I understand the approach Superson is making about self-interest but I don’t think she is looking at all aspects of the topic. I think people will always act in self-interested ways regardless of the circumstances; people act according to their dispositions, not by force, unless they are being coerced of course. It is human nature to instinctively maximize our personal utility. We act in ways that we see fit, whether or not an act is considered moral is completely dependent upon the individual.
If all my actions, my beliefs and my desires are determined by preceding conditions, how can I ever be free? This is the conflict presented by traditional theories of determinism and freewill. But analysis of such a concept of freewill shows it be incoherent. In this case, we must either reject the thesis that we have freewill, or reformulate our concept of freewill so that it is coherent. I will argue that such a reformulation is not only compatible with determinism but also necessary, if we are to maintain that we have any kind of freewill.
We will stand by understanding the concept of determinism. Determinism is a metaphysical philosophical position which states that for every, event, deed or action that happens, there are conditions, and given those conditions, there is nothing else that could happen that all events are determined by causes external to the will. Indeterminism, on the other hand is the concept that not all events are solely determined by antecedent causes, that, not events of all types are caused by prior events (Campbell 105). Compatibilism is the belief that both determinism and free will are compatible ideas, and it argues that it is possible to believe in both without necessarily being logically inconsistent. It is also of the essence to understand libertarianism which is a set of related political philosophies upholding liberty as the utmost political end.
It then follows that an agent does not act freely, has no free will, and is therefore never morally responsible for its actions. Though the logic of this seems feasible, I argue that the consequences of hard determinism are unacceptable, as all performed actions are not fully pre-determined. I posit that determinism is only true insofar that actions are influenced by their pre-determined conditions. Rather than P1 inescapably leading to P2, it is more intuitive that the consequences of P1 influence an agent to perform a certain action. Further, I posit that there are an infinite number of possible actions to be taken as a result of P1 as determined by the agent itself.
It is impossible to reconcile any kind of determinison with the concept of free will. There are 3 different views on determinism. Hard determinism, which is the belief that we have no free will, our actions are already planned so therefore we have no moral responsibility. On the other end of the scale there’s libertarianism, this is the belief that we have absolute free will, so we have full moral responsibility of our actions. And in between these 2 theories there is compatibilism, which is also known as soft determinism, this is the belief that our actions are free but they are conditioned.
Determinism, the antithesis of indeterminism, is as its name implies- the concept of having no free will. Philosophers imply, when under deterministic school of thought, that everything anyone does is pre-determined to happen and nothing can say otherwise. Determinism has an argument for every action that occurs in a way that it can state that destiny is inescapable. Similar to how most movies always have the good uprising over evil at the end, things will happen as they do because of outside influences out of everyone’s control. This is a very difficult statement to counter, for when say a indeterminist tries to explain away a determinist’s observations they can be thwarted by the simple words ‘you were destined to make that argument as a result of things around you’.
Most ancient philosophers’ theories fall somewhere in between these two ideas. Determinism also creates the dilemma of moral responsibility; if one cannot control one’s own actions, how can one be held responsible for them? Forces outside of an individual’s control determine many events and actions, but there are always decisions that one can make for oneself. “Determinism is the idea that everything that happens, including all human actions, is completely determined by prior events” (Determinism). Not only are the events around humans out of their control, their very thoughts and feelings are determined separately from any free will that they might possess.
Our freedom to make ethical choices is an illusion. Discuss. This is a hard determinist statement which I do not agree with, hard determinism states that all your choices including ethical and moral choices, are predetermined and you have absolutely no free will to choose to do anything other. Therefore a person would have no responsibility for their actions. In my own opinion this causes many issues which can lead people to do immoral things and commit bad crimes, and be able to justify their actions by stating it was already determined for them to do it.