Hard Determinism

John Locke said that a man in a locked room who 'freely chooses' to stay merely thinks he is free. Free will is an illusion.

Humans may think that we have the ability to do something, but in reality we lack liberty and free will; "liberty is extinguished".

Known as 'Philosophical Determinism'.

100% of human actions are determined.

Principle of Universal Causation = everything we do has prior cause.

There is a reason for why we do/ do not make choices, byut these precede our actions.

Because the universe follows deterministic rules, we are not free and in reality, have no choice.

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Soft Determinism

Humanity is mostly determined but there are elements that can be argued to not be.

Thomas Hobbes (1588-1579), supporter of Soft Determinism. He argued that all human behaviours are determined, but there is a difference between the 2 types of causes: internal + external.

Internal = a choice made internally that is determined, e.g. whether I should hold the door open for my teacher.

External = someone is forced to do something against their pre-determined will, they are free from external causes, e.g. my pre-determined internal cause was that I wanted to hold the door open for my teacher, but then someone pushes me so that I cannot fulfil my pre-determined desire.

A.J. Ayer (1910-1989) also supported the concept by empirically studying the language differences between the theories. Ayer found that in soft determinism there is the internal cause of 'causing' an event, but there is no external cause.

Soft determinism = "caused", the moral agent will use the word 'caused' to describe being determined.

Hard determinism = "forced", the moral agent will use the word 'forced' to describe being determined.

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Psychological Determinism

Associated with the Behaviourist school of thought in Psychology with one of the concepts known as 'reflex/ classical conditioning'.

Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936) pioneered reflex condtioning revolving his work around dogs.

He began his experiement by ringing a bell (the neutral stimulus), everytime food was given to the dogs. The food became associated with the bell being rung. He developed by ringing the bell, but not producing food, which led the dogs to still produce saliva.

The dogs had been conditioned through the sub-concious repeating of behaviour in certain environmental conditions to salivate and expect food. They had no choice.

Human reactions are all conditioned responses associated with environmental conditions. All our actions are determined.

Operant conditioning, developed by B.F. Skinner (1904-1990), provided another interpretation on reflex conditioning, called 'operant conditioning' showing that all human reactions are determined.

A young child can be conditioned to repeat behaviour if they are rewarded for doing it, and punished for not.

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Scientific/ Biological Determinism

Charles Darwin's (1809-1882) evolution theory effected the concept of scientific determinism. As every living organism developed from the evolutionary process, we all have a unique genetic formula. 

DNA is the building blocks of all living creatures, humanity is not free, but instead determined by their DNA: physical appearance, physical/ mental capacity + our behaviour.

If we are fully determined by our genetic formulas then surely this has an implication on our moral behaviour. Any attempt to change it is useless because it is our concious control.

Daniel Dennett called this "genetic fixity" meaning that the DNA of our parents inevitably determines our characteristics. The Human Genome Project (1990-2003) supports this as the project attempted to map the genes in human DNA.

If the above is correct, then people can be reduced to no more than genetic robots; programmed + determined by our DNA.

This is sometimes refered to as 'puppet determinism'.

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