Moral Responsibility And Determinism

The topic of moral responsibility is a popular debate among philosophers. Moral responsibility and free will are tightly intertwined, making the argument slightly more complicated. Free will is defined in two ways: 1. open choice, which states you choose x freely only if you could have done otherwise, or 2. voluntary choice, which states you act freely if and only if you act voluntarily, without coercion or constraint. Determinism is defined: past events and the laws of nature fully determine every fact of the future so that there is one way the future could be. There are theories to the existence of free will and determinism in our universe and they are defined in two main groups (Incompatibilists and Compatibilists) with sub-groupings in …show more content…
Although, moral responsibility does not include actions of the following: there was no control over the body, no ill-intent, the subject didn’t know of the action, there was a lack of control, or the subject couldn’t do otherwise. The final action in that list is one that Frankfurt believed could be false, depending on the person and what their views on a certain action are. Frankfurt argued against the principle of alternate possibilities with the Black and Jones case. Frankfurt created four different Jones cases, and his fourth Jones case is a counterexample to the principle of alternate possibilities regarding moral responsibility and free will. In the case, Black wants Jones to perform an action, but won’t intrude unless Jones decides to do something other than the action Black has in mind, granted, Jones doesn’t know of Black’s intentions to make Jones do a certain action regardless of Jones’s decision. Jones decides to follow through with the action Black intended for him to do without Black having to intervene. Therefore, as Frankfurt states, “If he (Jones) does it on his own, however, his moral responsibility is not affected by the fact that Black’s...intent …show more content…
He states, “ To make a negative moral judgment about one of your acts is to evaluate your taking one of the forks in the road of time, to characterize that fork as a worse choice than at least one of the other forks open to you,” (van Inwagen 254). I believe this statement to be false, as would Frankfurt. Determinism states that the laws of nature fully determine the events of the future, and there is only one path the universe can follow, even though the illusion of forks in the road are present. Since I agree with determinism, it is impossible to also agree with van Inwagen. For instance, in van Inwagen’s chapter “The Powers of Rational Beings: Freedom of the Will”, he gives an example of the rare chance that somehow God turned back time to see if history would repeat itself. If history repeated itself, determinism would be considered true, although, if history didn’t repeat itself, then determinism would be proven false, and forks in the road are not just mere illusions, but concrete actions that can be followed through. (van Inwagen 256) The issue I have is that if history didn’t repeat itself, then that must mean the laws of nature, which are known to be inherently true, must have been changed or proven false along the way, creating a massive butterfly effect on the universe. Laws of nature are something that

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