When are people responsible for their actions? According to Simon Blackburn's theory of "Soft Determinism" people are responsible for their actions as long as true and available information is possessed. Blackburn's short story revises the compatibilist definition several times. The revised revised definition reads as follows: The subject acted freely if she could have done otherwise in the right sense. This means that she would have done otherwise if she had chosen differently and,
under the impact of other true and available thoughts or considerations, she
would have chosen differently. True and available thoughts and considerations are those that represent her situation accurately, and are ones that she could reasonably be expected to have taken account; . . . (Blackburn 150) This definition on compatabibilism states that once one is aware of all of the true and available information they are responsible for their choices.
Using Blackburn's theory of compatabilism and comparing it to the characters in Flannery O'Conner's short story "A Good man is hard to find" one notices that one can never tell what their choices may bring. Blackburn writes about the most ridiculous human decisions and relishes the choices that are made. Blackburn would like the grandmother in the O'Conner story and her demeanor. For instance he would have liked how the Grandmother manipulates the following situations. When she remarks to her son Bailey that she would not take her own children to a state that an escaped convict (the misfit) was headed for on vacation. She changes the trip to suit her needs by manipulating her son, and she decides to secretly take her cat. The grandmother should have thought about the consequences and taken into consideration the fact that the cat could get squeamish in the car. Also after the accident, that is caused by the loose cat in the car, jumping on her son Bailey’s neck. The misfit stops with his accomplices to help the family...
Cited: • O 'Conner, Flannery, "A Good Man is hard to find", The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction. Bausch, Richard and Cassill R.V., Seventh Edition, W.W. Norton and Company Inc.,2006
• Blackburn, Simon, "Soft Determinism", Ethics for Modern Life Abelson, Raziel and Friquegnon, Marie-Louise, Sixth Edition Boston, Bedford/St. Martin 's,2003
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