course work

Topics: Free will, Causality, Determinism Pages: 10 (3414 words) Published: November 16, 2014
According to one longstanding account, the Naturalistic Conception of human rights, human rights are those that we have simply in virtue of being human. What makes them different from other kinds of rights? One intuitive and longstanding response to these questions is that, unlike other kinds of rights, human rights are those that we have simply in virtue of being human. For example, John Simmons writes, “Human rights are rights possessed by all human beings (at all times and in all places), simply in virtue of their humanity.” Following Charles Beitz, we shall call this the Naturalistic Conception of human rights.2

Free Will and Determinism
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
by tutor2u Admin
There are three theories of free will and determinism that you will need to be aware of: Hard Determinism; In this theory we see that human behavior and actions are wholly determined by external factors, and therefore humans do not have genuine free will or ethical accountability. There are several different supporting views for this belief, which incorporates philosophical determinism, psychological determinism, theological determinism and scientific determinism. Soft Determinism is the theory that human behavior and actions are wholly determined by causal events, but human free will does exist when defined as the capacity to act according to one’s nature (which is shaped by external factors such as heredity, society and upbringing). Libertarianism is the theory that humans do have genuine freedom to make a morally undetermined decision, although our behaviour may be partially determined by external factors. You also need to understand that philosophers distinguish between two different definitions of freedom. This will invariably influence one’s views on free will and determinism: The liberty of indifference is a genuine freedom to act according to independent choices that are not wholly determined by eternal constraints such as heredity, background and education. The liberty of spontaneity is the freedom to act according to one’s nature, the ability to do what one wishes to do although what they wish to do is determined by their nature which, in turn, is shaped by external constraints such as heredity, background and education. HARD DETERMINISM

Philosophical determinism, like all forms of hard determinism, is based on the theory of Universal Causation. This is the belief that everything in the universe including all human actions and choices has a cause. Thus all events are causally determined and theoretically predictable; you just need to know the effect of the causes (a mechanistic philosophy, put forward in the Cosmological argument, Aquinas). THE ILLUSION OF MORAL CHOICE

The illusion of moral choice is a result of our ignorance of what causes these choices, leading us to believe they have no cause.

The philosopher John Locke used an analogy in which a sleeping man is locked in a darkened room. On awakening he decides he will remain in the room, unaware that the room is locked. In reality the man has no freedom to choose, he cannot get out of the room. However, his ignorance of his true condition has led him to believe that he does have the freedom to choose to remain in the room. DAVID HUME 

Hume, a radical empiricist was actually a soft determinist but contributed to philosophical determinism by commenting that we can observe patterns in the physical world that can also be found in the decisions we make. Our decisions thus, just like the physical world, are causally determined. Theoretically then, we could know the future if we were knowledgeable of all the causes in the universe and their effects. BENEDICT SPINOZA

“In the mind there is no absolute or free will; but the mind is determined to will this or that by a cause, which has been determined by another cause, and this last by another cause, and so on until infinity.” Implication for moral...
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