Harding on Compatibilism

Powerful Essays
Topics: Free will
Patricia M. Barragán
June 17, 2012
Philo. 154B; C. Normore

Final Paper; Harding on Compatibilism Compatibilism is the idea that freedom of the will and determinism are harmonious. Susan Wolf an advocate for compatibilism in support of her own personal theory argues, “agent freedom cannot enhance freedom of choice or responsibility” (338 Harding). Instead claims that, ‘“an individual is responsible if and only is she able to form her actions on the basis of her values and she is able to form her values on the basis of what is True and Good”’ (338). In other words, compatibilism works on the idea of reasoning. Gregory Harding believes otherwise, he disagrees with the idea that a free agent cannot be fully free if determinism is also able to exist. Harding also believes that freedom yields a further kind of moral responsibility than what Wolf explains. With that being said, in this paper I will discuss Susan Wolf’s view on compatibilism through Harding’s rational interpretation and explain why Harding is correct in proving Wolf wrong. After evaluating the debate between Wolf and Harding, I will explain why I agree with Harding’s argument against compatibilism. Wolf’s main reasoning for compatibilism is her concept of Freedom within Reason. Wolf believes that an agent’s freedom comes with creating or deepening moral responsibility. And uses this concept to explain her deep skepticism on autonomy and agent freedom. Agent freedom cannot enhance freedom of choice or responsibility according to Wolf because the idea of agent freedom is insufficient. Which is why Wolf clarifies the idea of agent freedom with the concept, Reason View. According to the Reason View, as mentioned earlier, responsibility depends on the power to act in accordance to the True and the Good. In order to have necessary and sufficient moral responsibility or other kinds of deep responsibility, Wolf says, that the ability to form values and actions must follow the reason view. For example, if

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