Hunt on Determinism and Responsibility

Jacob Hunt explains why Determinism and Responsibility are mutually exclusive in a recent post. Here is his overview of the subject:

The nature of the debate between compatablism and incompatablism centers around the fact that (1) determinism and human freedom seem to contradict each other (2) some sort of human freedom seems necessary for moral responsibility, and (3) most everybody, including most determinists, want to retain their belief in moral responsibility. Such determinists have therefore advocated for a modified kind of freedom which they see as compatible with determinism, in an attempt to save their belief in morality. This special kind of freedom is often called “compatablistic freedom” or “soft determinism.” The idea here is that someone is free if and when they can act as they desire, rather than against their will. Now, clearly this concept of freedom is compatible with determinism, for external causes (i.e. God, ones’s neurons, one’s environment, etc.) could easily determine somebody to desire something and achieve the goal of that desire. Nobody really disputes that. But the compatablist wants something more than just any kind of freedom: she wants a freedom that allows for moral responsibility. And lots of people think you can’t get moral responsibility unless determinism is false. I am one of those people.

For full post, click here.

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