Human beings are responsible for their moral actions. Discuss

Topics: Free will, Determinism, Compatibilism and incompatibilism Pages: 3 (1819 words) Published: April 22, 2014
“Human beings are responsible for their moral actions. Discuss.” Libertarianism, otherwise known as incompatabilism (the idea that you cannot be free and determined), holds the belief that we are completely free to make moral decisions and that nothing is determined in any way. Therefore, human beings are totally responsible for their moral actions. Some philosophers rejected the idea of determinism because it ruled out any individual, moral responsibility but the question still lies as to whether human beings truly are autonomous or not. It can be argued that free will is simply an illusion and that in fact, absolute free will does not create moral responsibility but rather irresponsibility. Another approach to the problem of moral responsibility is determinism. This holds the belief that human actions are determined to some extent but there are slightly different types of determinism: soft, hard and predestination. Thomas Reid, an 18th century philosopher, put forward the idea of common-sense philosophy. This held the belief that human beings may be limited by nature, but this does not affect the free will that they possess. He believed that free will is subject-based which means that one is free to make a choice and has the freedom to follow the choice through. Even if you are limited by how you achieve your goal, you are still free to act. For example, if you decide to support a charity shop but you have no money, nature has limited your ability to help. However, you can still decide to support the charity in other ways via goods donations or fundraising. You have the ability to control your own life, therefore you are free. Reid’s philosophy led to the emergence of the idea of capitalism by Adam Smith which was based on the view that human beings have the power to choose one commodity over another. In order for humans to progress, we must be able to freely chose and be morally responsible for our choices. As a result of Smith’s capitalist economic theory,...
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