A2 determinism revision notes

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determinism- that every event has a cause. no free will

  • laws of nature, which determines events
  • freedom of choice is an illusion
  • personal responsibility is meaningless
  • blame and punishment are also meaningless

EG. Clarence Darrow, a lawyer defended 2 boys of killing, as they were a product of their upbringing (Rich, got everything they wanted, so thought it was acceptable to do what they wanted) and argued it was not their responsibility.

hard determinism- all actions have prior causes. no free will. cannot be held morally responsible.

John Hospers, a modern hard determinist: someting externally and internally compels us to perfrom an action we think is free will

Calvin: the elected =heaven, the damned =hell (cannot earn place in heaven of sacrifice your place, it is determined you will go to the selected place) emphasises you cannot influence your furture.


  • "God ordaines eternal life for some and eternal damnation for others" (romans 28-30- st.paul discusses predestination) - why did god give us 'free will' if he had already decided where we were going.
  • If God was all loving (omnibenevolent) why did he create bad/hell?
  • It takes away people's autonomy to make own decisions.
  • we cannot blame or praise people for their actions
  • pessimistic view,EG natural disaesters, why would god want that?


  • Some biblical support and well respected thinkers develop the theory
  • It upholds Gods omnipotence (his control)
  • God would have predestined a 'good' lifefor…


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