Libertarianism, Free Will and Determinism

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  • Created by: Marrino13
  • Created on: 25-05-15 19:22
  • Key Concepts

Hard Determinism - states that every event has a cause/causes, thus rendering the concept of free will impossible. We only believe that we have free will because we are ignorant of the causation in our mechanistic world.

Soft Determinism -  it is possile that we are controlled by some factors, such as genetics or upbringing. HOWEVER we still have the ability to act as free autonomous agents. Uses the concept of external and internal causes, suggesting that although some factors are beyond our control, we still have authority over certain factors of our lives. Maintains that free will NEED determinism to operate, otherwise actions would be too random/coincidental.

Libertarianism - it is free will which explains our choices, not causation. Believe in a strong relationship between moral responsibility and free will. Reason and free will belong to the metaphysical realm, and are not bound by the physical perameters of causality.

Free Will

Free will is the ability to choose your destiny rather than a causally dependent destiny being determined for us.

If we blame/praise people for actions which are freely and knowingly undertaken, then free will must exist. Morality depends on free will - Kant's 'ought' implies 'can' argument embodies this. If there is an 'ought' in moral conduct, then there must exist a 'can' in order to allow the practice of moral behaviour.

Genetic and Environmental Factors

Train a child up into a way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it.

                                                                                                           -Proverbs 22:6

It is argued by some that our upbringing and environment determines our character (NURTURE). For example, some will argue that a youth living in a ghetto is likely to become part of gang cultue because it is in his best interests to adopt this lifestyle in the area that he lives. However, other people argue that it is our genetc makeup which defines us as people (NATURE). For example, a child born with an active MAO-A gene is more likely to be violent than a child born with a less active version of the gene. THIS IS NATURE VS NURTURE.



These teenagers were accused of kidnapping and killing 14-year old Bobby Franks…


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