A* essay on free will and determinism I got 33 out of 35 for this essay!!

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  • Created by: Sabrina
  • Created on: 03-06-13 22:00

Critically asses the view that we are not responsible for our evil actions.  

Some may argue that we are not responsible for our evil actions because all our actions are determined by prior causes this is known as hard determinism. Take a murderer for instance, hard determinists would argue it was determined that the murderer would kill and he had no choice in doing otherwise. However an issue with this approach is that hard determinism is stating that no-one can be held morally responsible for evil actions because they had no choice in deciding otherwise.  This means people could potentially get away with the most cold- blooded crimes and fear no sense of retribution.  Although I recognise if the world was determined no-one would be held responsible for their evil actions, this would however still make the world become a very chaotic immoral world.  If determinism was true then this means all the horrible things that happen in the world had to happen, this is a very pessimistic view of the world. Furthermore if everything was determined it would make some people question what is the purpose of life, if we ultimately have no free will. Therefore some may use this point to argue that everything can’t be determined. Furthermore others may argue by accepting responsibility for our evil actions and wrong doings we can become better people and learn from our mistakes however if no one is being held responsible for their evil actions, this would make some people question the kind of world we would be living in.

 Additionally others may also argue in the same way an individual would wish to be praised for a good piece of work, or for passing a driving test, they should be held responsible in the same way for an evil action. You cannot say that we are only responsible for good actions and not evil actions we are either responsible for both or neither.   Hard determinists however would argue that an individual cannot be praised or punished because all actions are determined, therefore we cannot be held responsible for either an evil or good action. This may cause some people to argue that this is an incoherent concept because if someone has clearly put a lot of effort into a piece of work  or into passing their driving test they should be praised because it surely can’t be determined they were going to produce a good piece of work or pass their test.

Conversely a libertarian would infer that we are responsible for our evil actions because nothing is determined and we all have free will. Libertarianism can be explained as travelling down a road which has two branches you can even go left or right. This analogy conveys how we are free to decide what to do and our actions are not determined, therefore this means anything we then decide to choose whether evil or not we are responsible for our


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