First 302 words of the document:
Explain what is meant by hard determinism
Hard determinism is defined as a belief that people do not have fee will; everything is determined
by prior causes, including moral decisions. However, hard determinism can be broken down into
different perspectives, depending on the thinker.
Genetic determinism states that human actions are determined by genes, and, therefore, humanity
cannot take moral responsibility. Stephen Pinker developed the idea that humans gained moral
reasoning from natural selection. Humanity has evolved with an innate understanding of morality, and
can, therefore, take moral responsibility for their actions.
Biological determinism argues that humans, or `organisms', are determined by biological factors such
as DNA and brain structure. It is slightly different from genetic determinism in that it takes a much
broader perspective on the influence of biology on moral decisions. Whilst Richard Dawkins favoured
the influence of genes, he believed that behaviour was determined by evolution. If human actions
are determined by a process that occurred over millions of years, we cannot take moral
There is also the view that actions are determined by the society an individual is exposed to.
Clarence Darrow defended two boys who were accused of murder, suggesting that their actions
were a result of their wealth and upbringing and were, therefore, determined by society.
Calvin believed that actions were determined by religion, suggesting that God predetermined who
would be saved from sin. The idea of predestination removed the possibility of free will, and,
therefore, moral responsibility.
Freud argued that prior causes from childhood determine moral development and, therefore, moral
decisions. This suggests that humans are psychologically determined by their past and therefore
cannot take moral responsibility for their actions.