9/11: Whose Fault Is It?

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PSY 299
ESSAY 1
April 22, 2006

Whose Fault is it?
“The September 11, 2001 attacks were a series of coordinated terrorist attacks upon the United States of America carried out on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Four commercial airliners were hijacked and crashed, resulting in the deaths of nearly 3,000 civilians in the planes and on the ground. On that morning, nineteen hijackers, affiliated with al-Qaeda[2], crashed two planes into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in Manhattan, New York City, and within two hours both towers collapsed. A third hijacked plane crashed into the Pentagon, in Arlington County, Virginia. The fourth plane crashed into a rural field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. None of the passengers survived (wikipedia)”. Just to think for a moment if on September 11, 2001, the attacks were not committed by hijackers that are affiliated with Al-Qaeda, but instead through a fierce thunderstorm and lightning, that just happens to occur in New York, and caused planes to malfunction and crash land, on the twin towers which happens to be the nearest building for luck sake. Of course the day will still be one of the worst days in American history, and the families of the deceased will be grieving and suffering, only with a big difference. There will be no war in Afghanistan and probably not in Iraq, because the American population will not be seeking punishment for the perpetrators of the attacks. Now when we try to figure out what is the difference between these two beliefs, it is because we think that the attacks were pre-meditated, and carried out on the free-will of the hijackers, and their leaders who operate the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization. To fully understand what I am trying to explain on what Aristotle was talking about on Moral responsibility, it is necessary that the following is explained, first and foremost; what is moral responsibility? What makes a person a “moral agent”? Can the person know what a decision is and choose to make those decisions by themselves? Under what terms can the person be held responsible for their own moral decisions? I.e. is the person free of Ignorance and compulsion? And what are some responsibility ascriptions that are used to attribute consent to the subject, the things that risk factors, actions, consequences, etc? “Moral responsibility is primarily the responsibility related to actions and their consequences in social relations. It generally concerns the harm caused to an individual, a group or the entire society by the actions or inactions of another individual, group or entire society. This is the mechanism by which blame can be placed, and influences many important social constructs, such as prosecution under the legal system (wikipedia).” My paper is focusing on how a person can and should be held responsible for their actions provided that they do not fall into the categories of Ignorance and compulsion. For Ignorance, a person should be held responsible for their actions if they voluntarily decide to be ignorant on a decision they choose to make. We as humans cannot be coerced into doing things and thinking certain ways, especially if we decide to educate ourselves on the decision we make; we have a choice to make. Everything we do has an outcome whether they are good or bad and because we make our choices, we will still be held responsible of what it is that we do and how we go about choices. For example, with the hijackers of 9/11, if any of them was to miraculously survive we would all agree that they show face the death penalty, even though we are not sure that they are not coerced into making the decision that they have made. To argue for moral responsibility, two factors are necessary and they support my thesis. A person is morally responsible for their actions if it includes both Free will, and determinism. Now both of these terms seems easy to explain easily as freedom to make our own decisions and determinism as our outright determination...
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