1. Given what you know about arguments for determinism, what problems do you see regarding moral responsibility, as well as praise and blame? Most of us praise others, and ourselves, for actions we deem praiseworthy; we blame others, and ourselves, for actions we find reprehensible. If it turns out that determinism is true, that people are not responsible for their actions, how might our evaluation of our own actions and the actions of others be affected? If people can not do other than what they do, should they be praised and blamed for their actions?
2. Rachels suggests that the case against free will appears to be a strong one. (We should not confuse the discussion of free will as being about political freedom, which is about the liberty that one has within a particular state.) Regarding the impressive evidence of modern psychology and contemporary biology, Rachels says the following: “As far as free will is concerned the overall trend is not encouraging. Each new discovery chips away a bit more of our confidence. The more we learn about the sources of human conduct the less room there seems to be for the idea of free choice.” How can you square this evidence with your feeling of freedom? If you think you have free will, how can you defend your position? Often in this discussion, students make claims such as “I have free will because I make choices” or “I have free will because I can do whatever I want.” But such responses commit the fallacy of begging the question. Essentially, such claims say ‘I have free will because I have free will.’ In your response, try to avoid committing this fallacy.
Bennett, Bo. Begging the Question. Logically Fallacious. 11 Dec 2017. www.bit.ly/2phgQy3. Accessed 30 April 2018.
3. Watch the video below. Then, explain your understanding of compatibilism. What is your response to this theory? What problems do you find with it, if any?
Compatibilism: Crash Course Philosophy #25. YouTube video file. [8:54]. Crashcourse. 2016, Aug 22. youtu.be/KETTtiprINU