Free will and determinism

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  • Free will + determinsim
    • Appraoches
      • Hard determinism
        • Strengths + weaknesses
          • removes concept of punishment for punishments sake
          • A murderer cannot be held morally responsible for his actions
        • Strict + rigid belief
        • All choices are determined. Free will = illusion
        • We are exempt from moral responsibility if we have no other choice
      • Libertarianism
        • Strengths + weaknesses
          • Gives moral responsibility to each individual + justifies punishment
          • Seem to be factors that limit our freedom
          • When making decisions, we = affected by our emotions, limiting our freedom
        • Opposite of hard determinsim.
        • Rejected hard determinism because it suggests we have no moral responsibility/freedom to act
        • Sometimes torn between teo actions, both of which will work, but we choose for ourselves
      • Soft determinsim
        • Strengths + weaknesses
          • Combines both approaches + accepts some things = determined but that we = still morally responsible for our own free actions
          • Doesn't give specific guidelines as to what = determined + what isn't
        • Combines freedom + accountability
        • Attempts to combine hard determinsim + liberatarianism
        • Values, desires + experience determine our actions, but = so complex outcome = random. They = determined but also free
    • Predestination
      • Protestant Christians
        • believe God has already determined all things including who will be saved at end of time
      • Augustine
        • In order for us to be good we need Gods gifts of grace + mercy. God chooses who receives these for salvation
      • Calvin
        • Taught that man = inherently evil + incapable of choosing God. If god didn't choose who would be saved, no one would be
      • No matter who we are or how we live our lives, we cannot change what God has already decided. This = called predestination
      • If God determined at creation who will be condemned no one has free will + thus punishment + reward = unjust. People behave the way they do because God determined it
    • Religious understanding of free will
      • Genesis
        • Adam + Eve disobey God + eat from Tree of Knowledge as a consequence of their free will. Free will seems necessary if we are to choose God/turn away from him
      • Predestination contradics this by saying there = no human free-will
      • Traditional belief in Gods omniscience suggests that He knows everything of past, presnt + future
        • If this = case, then free will seems to be irrelevant as we = unable to do anything other than what has forseen
          • A solution to this may be that God foresees our choices but doesn't cause them
    • Secular approaches
      • Geneics
        • Genes seem to control much of what we say + do. This makes moral responsibility impossible
        • Pinker - suggests moral reasoning = result of natural selection
      • Environment
        • Geography + climate play a part in influencing individuals + society's bahviour - hot climates = laziness + European = hard-working
      • Psychology
        • Watson - human behaviour can be changed + reinforced through both heredity + environmental factors
        • Skinner - believed reward + punishment were powerful tools. Both remove moral responsibility.
      • Social conidiotning
        • Actions have social cause + can be determined by society, upbringing + education, etc. We cannot avoid the socially determined path.
        • Sowell 'human self = infinitely plastic allowing humanity to be changed + ultimately perfected'
      • 4 approaches: psychology, genetics, environmental + social conditioning offer other views


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