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Free will and Determinism
A2 Ethics…read more

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Hard Determinism
This is the idea that humans have no free will and everything is
This is based on Isaac Newton's theory of scientific laws ­ we are
completely governed by these laws
Means that we have no moral responsibility for our actions as they
were predetermined by a `higher power'
Freedom is an illusion…read more

Slide 3

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Leopold and Loeb Trial ­ Clarence
Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb were on trial for the murder of
Bobby Franks and were facing the death penalty
Clarence Darrow who acted as their defendant was able to reduce
their sentence from the death penalty to a life sentence as he stated
they were predetermined by their upbringing to commit the crime.
They had been brought up in extremely wealthy circumstances, had
genetic predispositions and other external influences that he argued
made them commit the crime ­ to Loeb the murder was just an
experiment to prove he could commit the perfect crime…read more

Slide 4

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John Locke
We all have illusion of having freedom but really it
does not exist
For example... a man wakes up in a room which is
locked from the outside. He choses to stay in the
room with the belief that he has chosen freely even
though in reality he has to stay in the room
Our ignorance is what gives us impressions of free
will but really we are determined by the laws of
We are all born as a blank slate which our
experiences shape, however all of these
experiences are determined by nature…read more

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Ted Honderich
We do not have the ability to make
choices ­ everything is predetermined by
our previous experiences
As we cannot make choices we cannot
have moral responsibility over our actions
Does state that people who do immoral
actions should still be punished simply to
keep them away from other people…read more

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Soft Determinism
This is the idea that we are restricted in some
sense to what we can do by factors such as;
However we have the freedom to make choices
within these restrictions
We are all morally responsible for our actions
even though some people may find it harder to
act morally depending on external influences…read more

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