Determinism and Freewill

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  • Created by: Bridie
  • Created on: 20-04-11 14:00

Hard Determinism

  • It is wrong to praise someone for doing something that is good, and it is wrong to reprimand someone for doing something wrong. This is because they didn't choose to do it as they were determined so no responsibility lies with the person
  • The rational act cannot be made if the actions are determined. If this is right, then a murderer cannot be held morally responsible for his actions or receive any punishment
  • Libertarians say that determinists muddle things that are contingently true (dependent on circumstances with those that are only necessarily true

Clarence Darrow and the trial of Leob and Leopold is a great example of how darrow the hard determinist avoided the death penalty for the two murderers of Bobby Frank.

He claimed that they could not be held morally responsible as their actions had been determined by prior caused events in their upbringing.

The question that this raises concerns whether someone who is found not morally responsible for a crime should still be punished for that crime

How this example reflexs the different approaches

Hard Determinists would argued that there should be no punishment for the crime as the person was not morally responsible, but was probably legally responsible (their action led to the crime…



Remember that under determinism, it is not that "it is praise or blame someone for their actions", but rather that we cannot praise or blame someone for their actions, since wrong or right cannot really be used meaningfully under hard determinism. Hope this helps, otherwise a great sheet. 

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