Critically Assess the View That We Are Not Responsible for Our Evil Actions

Topics: Free will, Morality, Determinism Pages: 4 (1259 words) Published: February 25, 2013
Critically assess the view that we are not responsible for our evil actions

Many Philosophers, such as Hoderich and John Calvin, believe that humans do not have free will to act in moral situations and that all moral actions have uncontrollable prior causes. Hard determinists, therefore, follow the belief that humans can not be morally blameworthy for their actions, evil or not, because their actions are predetermined. However, this is a ridiculous stance to take as humans are free to make moral choices, meaning they are entirely responsible for their evil actions.

Many argue that hard determinism is the best approach to take when assessing this hypothesis as once you abandon the outdated notion of freedom; you can create a much better world. B.F. Skinner supports this view by recognising that since people are ultimately the result of their conditions, “and will get conditioned by their upbringing and environments anyway”, we ought to control people’s upbringing and environments as much as possible to ensure that their conditioning is positive. Skinner argued that such a plan would be more helpful than the current situation, in which peoples conditions is ultimately dependent on to luck. The case of Leopold and Loeb demonstrates this idea perfectly. If you look at the case on the surface, it seems like an act of pure evil, both boys kidnapped Bobby Franks and demanded ransom from his family, when this failed, they murdered him by hitting him over the head with a chisel. Harrow, whom was their lawyer and a follower of hard determinism, argued that “they killed [Bobby Franks] because they were made that way. Because somewhere in the infinite process that go to the making up of the boy or the man something slipped”. If one looks into the background of these two boys, evidence refutes this point; both of these boys were from very privileged backgrounds, Leob was actually the son of the vice president. Despite this, Leob was fascinated by detective stories; he...
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