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What sort of freedom is required for moral responsibility - Essay Example

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It so happens that when a person is unable to, or fails to perform an ethical action, which is imperative; we think that there is some specific reaction, which is required. The forms synonymous to these moral actions are praise and blame. …
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What sort of freedom is required for moral responsibility
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What sort of freedom is required for moral responsibility

The forms synonymous to these moral actions are praise and blame. For instance: when one is confronted with a car accident, he/she may be considered as worthy of being praised because they have managed to save a child from the burning car. On the other hand, they can also be blamed, if they fail to call for help. This means assigning moral responsibility to a person on the basis of what they have or left done or undone. It is also possible that the reaction might be self-directed i.e. one can be held accountable. In other words to be held morally or ethically responsible for an action means being worthy of a particular kind of reaction i.e. blame, praise for having performed it. In the context of moral responsibility, there are two theories of free will, which are commonly discussed. The first one is called libertarianism, which is similar to Arminian theology. There has been a debate amongst many philosophers both in ancient and contemporary times. There seems to be a consensus amongst Christian philosophers that one cannot claim to have a sense of moral responsibility without actually having a liberal view of freedom. According to the liberal view, human decisions and actions, especially religious and ethical decisions are uncaused. The more refined forms of libertarianism posit that these decisions are not usually caused by our desires or character. They strongly cling to the belief that a free act is not an act, which is able to implement our core desires; on the contrary, it goes against our desires. Rest assured, the libertarian is aware that our desires are a function of our heritage, surroundings, our past decisions etc. Furthermore, they believe that if free decisions are based on desires, then they are certainly not completely free and therefore not uncaused. Such a view is considered to be imperative for moral responsibility because no one can be held responsible for an act unless he could have done otherwise. Quoting an example: “If I am strapped to a robotic machine which, using my arms, robs a bank, I am not to blame for robbing the bank. I “could not have done otherwise” (Eshleman, 1). It can be said that libertarianism rather than ensuring ethical responsibility tends to destroy it. The question arises that how can we be held responsible for our decisions, if those decisions are actually psychological accidents, which do not have association with any of our desires. It cannot be denied that such a situation would definitely disregard all responsibility. Undoubtedly, it becomes quite perplexing to be regarded as responsible for something, which was against our will. There is another concept of freedom as well, which is also said to have relevance with the Reformed Theology, and is considered to be held by a number of philosophers. It is frequently cited as compatibilism. It holds the view that while forming moral decisions, we have the liberty to do what we want to and pursue our issues. In this way, there is a clear dichotomy between compatilism and libertarianism. Reformed theology says that every person has freedom in the compatibilist sense. Compatibilist freedom is the most vital type of freedom for ethical responsibility. Rest assured, there are other types of freedom, which are also imperative theologically and morally. But compatabilist freedom is more important because it is believed that every person possesses a distinct freedom, so as to go beyond their surroundings and heredity, and even though these features are compounded of tests, temptations and ethical challenges, they cannot be used as excuses for sin. We cannot declare that we are determined by heredity or our surroundings, which can give us the chance to negate our responsibility in front of ... Read More
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