Please read the following and then answer these yes or no questions (if you dont want to read skip to the bottom, 7 quick yes or no questions):
***This material is not intended to change your opinion in anyway; its purpose serves only to provide you with more information to make well-informed opinions. Please be open minded and consider all perspectives throughout this survey:
Some terms defined:
==> Determinism: is roughly defined as the view that all current and future events are causally necessitated by past events combined with the laws of nature. The view that the history of the universe is fixed, the view that everything that happens is strictly necessitated by what has already gone before, in such a way that nothing can ever happen otherwise than it does
==> Hard determinism: accepts the assumption of determinism and rejects the idea that humans have any free will
==> Free will: the power of making free choices unconstrained by external agencies
==> Compatibilism: (also called soft determinism) is the view that the assumption of free will and the existence of a concept of determinism are compatible with each other.
==> Libertarianism: is one philosophical viewpoint under that of incompatiblism. Libertarianism holds onto a concept of free will that requires the individual to be able to take more than one possible course of action under a given set of circumstances.
“A man can surely do what he wants to do. But he cannot determine what he wants.”
…Maybe this is because:
Your wants have an origin beyond your control. Your preferences and wants are there, because you have been shaped by your surroundings. You are therefore not morally responsible for your actions, because you are not responsible for how you were raised.
• Buddhists argue that no one is morally responsible for his or her own actions. The same way we don’t feel anger towards a natural disaster, we shouldn’t feel anger towards individuals who kill people. Do you agree or disagree?…think about it.
• Argument to establish determinism for human actions:
P1: No action is free if it must occur.
P2: Human actions result from wants, wishes, desires, motivations, feelings, etc.
P3: Human wants, wishes, desires, motivations, feelings, etc. are caused in turn by specific antecedent conditions that ensure their occurrence.
C: Human actions are not free.
Thus, for the hard determinist, humans are no different from other things. Your present actions are part of a causal chain that extends back far before your birth, and each link of the chain determines the next link on the chain. Hence, although it may appear to you that you have control over your present actions and mental states, you really have no control. And if you have no control, you certainly can't be held morally responsible for what you do. Thus hard determinism, if true, is important as a challenge to the very enterprise of normative ethics, which usually assumes people can be held responsible for at least some of their actions.
If there is no free will, attributions of moral responsibility are unjustified.
• Argument against moral responsibility:
(1) You do what you do — in the circumstances in which you find yourself — because of the way you are. (2) So if you’re going to be ultimately responsible for what you do, you’re going to have to be ultimately responsible for the way you are—at least in certain mental respects. (3) But you can’t be ultimately responsible for the way you are (for the reasons just given). (4) So you can’t be ultimately responsible for what you do.
• Interesting view on Evil:
People in themselves aren’t evil, there’s no such thing as moral evil in that sense, but evil exists, great evil, and people can be carriers of great evil. You might reply, look, if they’re carriers of evil they just are evil, face the facts. But I would have to say that your response is in the end superficial. After all, we don’t call natural disasters evil.
1. Has any of the information provided above changed your opinions in any way?
2. Do you believe you have choice, or free will?
3. Do you believe the universe is fixed (Determinism)?
4. Should everyone be responsible for their behavior, regardless of the way they were raised?
5. Do you believe everyone is morally responsible for his or her own actions?
6. Should society view a criminal (ex: a Pedophile) the same as one would view a natural disaster?
7. Do you think modern society could function without moral responsibility?