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Determinism, free will and moral responsibility - Essay Example

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Determinism, free will and moral responsibility

There are many views and arguments reflecting different philosophers' positions on determinism, free will and moral responsibility, and it is not easy to find correct solution of such problems. Maybe this solution will never be found, as in case of many other philosophic problems. The purpose of this paper is not to find it, but to analyse the views of such philosophers as Blatchford, Schlick, Hospers, Campbell and Taylor on determinism, free will and moral responsibility. The views of these philosophers will be given in connection with my own ideas and views on these philosophic problems. In this paper I will argue that libertarian approach (Campbell and Taylor) reflects reality in more objective view than that of hard determinists (Blatchford, Schlick and Hospers).
2. Blatchford asserts that free will is determined by our nature. Heredity and environment determine our will; he says that "the free will is really controlled by heredity and environment" (Blatchford, p. 104). He also writes that "The free will party seem to think of the will as something independent of the man, as something outside of him. They seem to think that the will decides without the control of the man's reason" (Blatchford, p. 34-35). Of course, heredity and environment play great role in our actions, but I think that free will can depend on personal moral responsibility. Blatchford asserts that our actions can be predictable. Our nature and heredity determine our acts; this statement fits for famous persons too (Napoleon, Lincoln). In addition to that he claims that his work The Delusion of Free Will "disposes of the claim that man is responsible be cause his will is free" (Blatchford, p. 107).So, we can say that Blatchford is a representative of hard determinism. But there is a question. What about twins who live together and therefore have the same heredity and environment Are their free will and moral responsibility expressions equal No. I suppose that their decisions and actions depend on their free will which is not originated from heredity and environment. Their free will is determined by their personal development and the features of personality which can be developed in the process of education and self-development.

3. Moritz Schlick is a representative of logical positivism doctrine. His definition of free will, determinism and moral responsibility derives from the definition of punishment. He supposes that "Punishment is an educative measure, and as such is a means to the formation of motives, which are in part to prevent the wrongdoer from repeating the act (reformation) and in part to prevent others from committing a similar act (intimidation). Analogously, in the case of reward we are concerned with an incentive." (Schlick, p. 152). So, Schlick's view of free will and responsibility is connected with punishment. He supposes that a person in responsible if the punishment for his action is able to change his behavior in the future. So, his determinism differs a little from that of Blatchford. In his point of view, ...Show more

Summary

1. In western philosophy such terms as determinism, free will, and moral responsibility are treated differently by different authors. There are three main positions on determinism, free will, and moral responsibility. Those who adhere with hard determinism assert that everything in our world and our actions are predetermined, and decisions we make are not completely ours; moral responsibility is the reflection of free will…
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