Critically asses the view that we are not responsible for our actions Is it true that the society we live in, we have the right to make and produce our own decisions and its purely down to each individual to any actions they produce? In this essay I will explore if we have the right to be responsible for any action we take. Some may believe its down to God and his decisions, obviously, this cannot be proved, however surely each human have the right to be responsible for any actions. This question comes down to; do we have free will or is it determinism? A key case which questioned this question would be the Darrow trial. Successfully, the Lawyer was able to reduce the death penalty to life imprisonment, blaming that it was other factors such as power that made them do this action.
He therefore believed that we are all not responsible for our action other factors must also be responsible not purl down to that individual. A prime example of an ethical theory which backs up this trial is Determinism. This means all our actions all have prior causes going back to the first cause which is God, therefore any evil action is inevitable. Determinism states that freedom of choice is just an illusion and so personal responsibility is a meaningless concept, as are the blame and punishment. This sort of determinism would be hard determinism. Therefore, determinism followers would reject that we have free will. Hard determinism followers such as John Hospers said that there is always something which compels each human to externally and internally perform an action that we would consider was the result of our own free will.
He says “it is all a matter of luck”. Hospers would strongly agree that we are not responsible for any actions. He believes in other factors. Carrying on from this, behaviourism is an extreme modern version of hard determinism. It states that all our actions are due to the social conditioning and subconscious influences. John B. Watson discussed psychological behaviourism. He suggested that our behaviour is influenced by heredity and environment. By manipulating the environment an individual’s behaviour can be alerted. All theories of determinism are influenced by Isaac Newton’s physics.
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