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This question asks me explore many questions some of which are logical and some downright disturbing. All of which are compelling and as such I answer based upon a fact pattern that is tragically a part of our daily living as a society.
"A metropolitan newspaper headlines an article with the words 'Boy Killer Is Doomed Long Before He Is Born,' and then goes on to describe how a twelve-year-old boy has just been sentenced to thirty years in Sing Sing for the murder of a girl; his family background includes drunkenness, divorce, social maladjustment, epilepsy, and paresis…
The question this scenario presents us students with is whether or not this boy is responsible for his actions. There are many philosophers that have very different answers to this troubling question. For purposes of this exam, I focus on Susan Wolf.
Susan Wolf, the author of "Sanity and the Metaphysics of Responsibility," takes Frankfurt's views one step further, combining them with those views of Taylor and Watson. She puts forth the "Deep-Self View"(53), which basically stated, says that there is a deep self, which governs our actions and is influenced by our environment. This deep-self view allows for victims of brainwashing and persons with disorders like kleptomania to not be held responsible for their actions, even though they could have second-order desires about them. The reason for this is that these people's "wills are not governed by their deep selves, but by forces external to and independent from them"(53). Wolf separates desires "determined foreign to oneself from desires which are determined by one's self,"(54) or deep-self. ...
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