Minority Report

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Minority Report as an Introduction to Determinism and to Free Will In the film Minority Report, Precrime Chief John Anderton is running from “the law.” His crime? The “future murder” of a man he’s never met. The man he is anticipated to murder is named Leo F. Crow. When Anderton discovers Crow’s whereabouts, he decides to investigate. Agatha, a psychically gifted (or cursed) individual who foresaw Anderton’s crime, emphatically states, “You have a choice. Walk away. Do it now.” Anderton proceeds because he wishes to know what’s happened to his life, and believes Crow might have some sort of answer. He assures Agatha that he won’t kill Crow. “I don’t even know him,” Anderton explains. However, when Anderton gets inside Crow’s apartment, he finds what looks like evidence that Crow was the man who kidnapped (and presumably murdered) Anderton’s son six years earlier. Anderton has desired to kill whomever took his son, and now believes he has the man. “You said so yourself: there is no minority report,” Anderton tells Agatha. “I don’t have an alternative future. I am going to kill this man.” Yet Agatha insists, “You still have a choice!” And her point may have some merit. After all, as it turns out, Anderton doesn’t execute Crow; instead, Anderton tries to arrest Crow. Crow still dies, primarily because Crow wishes to die, but at least it was not caused by Anderton; rather, it was caused by Crow himself pulling on the gun in Anderton’s hands. Thus, Anderton apparently did make a choice—a choice not to murder. Before the term libertarian became applied to a political philosophy aimed at eliminating aggression in all human interactions, the term originally referred to the metaphysical belief in free will. Minority Report interestingly defends both libertarianisms. The implication of the film is this: Anderton was fully capable to defying the

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