Saul Smilansky's Free Will Vs. Determinism

1992 Words 8 Pages
In the free will vs. determinism debate, hard determinism seems to be a dominant belief. Hard determinism is the belief that free will and determinism are incompatible ideas, and that it is not possible to truly believe in both without being logically inconsistent. Under hard determinism, there is a view called hard incompatibilism which Smilansky subscribes to. Hard incompatibilism is the belief that determinism is incompatible with both human freedom and moral responsibility. Saul Smilansky believes that we typically have some “compatibilist free will” and that this often matters. He also believes in compatibilists free will-based desert1, and that compatibilist distinctions are central for moral and personal life. He calls for the establishment …show more content…
In the waiter example, Smilansky is viewing the world through the eyes of a hard determinists. He is saying that from a hard determinists perspective, there is no free will. Therefore, we ought to come up with something otherwise we are not going to live in a community where agents feel or act as if they are responsible agents. This, I think, seems like a faulty association. While it may be true that believing in some sort of control over our action is helpful to establish a community of responsibility, I don’t think the other way around would necessarily yield the consequence Smilansky …show more content…
Nevertheless, he thinks compatibilists have a better shot because they at least can distinguish between a kleptomaniac and a common thief. A common thief has some sort of local control over the decisions he makes whereas the kleptomaniac cannot help but steal. Smilansky says that hard determinists should feel free to disagree with him and point that all the talk about control and responsibility is groundless. He has already stated that ultimately, we are not free. “That is the human condition: our being reflective, choosing creatures who (except in exceptional circumstances) ought to be treated as responsible agents, and who are allowed to live out the consequences of our choices; but we are at the same time determined beings, operating as we were molded.” I agree with Smilansky’s position that we ought to be treated as responsible agents and should live the consequences of our actions. Though, I feel that such proposals make more sense from a compatibilist point of view. For all we know, compatibilism doesn’t rule out the notion of agent responsibility nor does fully accept libertarian free will. That compatibilism offers a “shallow reasoning” for the notion of unjust punishment does not seem like a sufficient reason to fully dismiss it. Why not fix the shallow reasoning and propose an alternative instead of proposing new

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