Get Instant Help From 5000+ Experts For
question

Writing: Get your essay and assignment written from scratch by PhD expert

Rewriting: Paraphrase or rewrite your friend's essay with similar meaning at reduced cost

Editing:Proofread your work by experts and improve grade at Lowest cost

And Improve Your Grades
myassignmenthelp.com
loader
Phone no. Missing!

Enter phone no. to receive critical updates and urgent messages !

Attach file

Error goes here

Files Missing!

Please upload all relevant files for quick & complete assistance.

Guaranteed Higher Grade!
Free Quote
wave

Soft Determinism or Compatibility

Moral responsibility is one of the central and basic concepts of human life. Every day humans engage in calculation and articulation of responsibility, whether it be introspective or focused on someone else. Judgments are formed whether anyone holds the moral responsibility for their actions followed by the after-effects of these actions. Judgment about someone’s moral responsibility could be made by approximation of certain capabilities and control of that person while looking at their behavior. Judgment about a person’s moral responsibility has been attributed to the behavior that arises out of those capabilities and control. The behavior and the capabilities ensure that the person can be accounted for their actions and behavior. It is higher in adults while children, the elderly, and non-humans are considered as organisms with a lack of moral responsibility. There are two major theories for moral responsibility, namely Determinism and Free will. Determinism posits that current actions or events are predetermined by past actions, and thus, humans have no moral responsibility or accountability for their actions. However, free will theorists accept actions to stem out of our free will, which can be controlled or changed. This essay will look at moral responsibility, specifically Soft Determinism or Compatibility, Moral Considerability of animals, the Humean view of Free Will, the Principle of Alternative Possibilities, and Moral Luck.

Peter F. Strawson, a famous philosopher of the twentieth century, set the foundation stone of compatibilism. Compatibilism or soft determinism believed that determinism and free are compatible with each other. According to this view, humans are not completely free, however, free will amalgamates with causal determinism to generate our behavior. Humans act by free will because of our desires, but there are still some external constraints put by causal determinism (Alvarez 2021). Strawson aimed to bridge the gap between incompatibilist accounts and forward-looking compatibilists accounts. According to Strawson, the interpersonal significance of emotions and their effect on moral responsibility could not be accounted for and answered for by the forward-looking compatibilist theorists (Alvarez 2021, 183). Therefore, in his work, Strawson focuses directly on the interplay of emotions, i.e., reactive attitude and holding someone responsible. Strawson has quoted a question in his paper “Freedom and Resentment to state that our emotions that are created as a response to someone else’s actions (Alvarez 2021, 187). In situations, when the actions committed by someone else are “determined”, then the degree of our reactive attitudes fluctuates. For instance, should a person be blamed for an accident if it’s to rush their unwell child to the hospital. Such situations affect our emotions and would lessen the degree of anger or resentment, we would have felt towards that person. In such cases, the person committing the wrongdoing is not excused rather relieved from it. Strawson noted a similar response. He believed that our inclination to display reactive attitudes is affected by others’ portrayal of “quality of will” which demands moral understanding. However, his view has also been criticized for the depth of emotions that he believes humans have (Mele 2020) moral. Thus, Strawson is a keen theorist of compatibilism, which believes that free will is plausible within the constraints of determinism. He believed that emotions play an important role in viewing and assessing someone’s moral responsibility.

Moral Considerability of Animals

Time and again, humans have been distinguished from animals for their use of brains and reasoning. However, philosophers have started investigating this distinction and have questioned why animals are considered to have no moral reasoning. A morally considerate person would also look at the moral reasoning of animals and would consider their morality before implying that since humans can recognize morality, they would be the only creature to have moral consideration (Monsó, Benz-Schwarzburg and Bremhorst 2018, 290). Therefore, there are certain views about morality that should also be studied to understand the differentiation between the morality of humans and non-humans. Speciesism, one of a view favoring animal morality, postulates that humans favor one’s species while abusing the other species. This theory accuses humans of being prejudicial towards other species while maintaining the uprightness of their behavior (Caviola, AC Everett and Faber 2019, 1027). The second view, Human Exceptionalism believes that there are certain human qualities, which differs the group of people with moral credibility from those who don’t (Monsó, Benz-Schwarzburg and Bremhorst 2018). However, this view is countered by philosophers who give an example of complex social relations, family systems, proper use of language for communication which is also found in many animal species (Monsó, Benz-Schwarzburg and Bremhorst 2018). Personhood, the third view called Personhood believes that the distinction between humans and non-humans is due to personhood (Hutton 2019). Kant, the most notable defender of personhood, believes that personhood is not an observable behavior rather it’s a possession of that particular trait. However, animals such as chimpanzees also possess this trait, which thus makes them morally considerate. Lastly, Sentience believes that it is more important to focus on the happiness or the subjective pleasure that humans experience, however, some philosophers believe that animals have no measure of happiness or sadness. However, since animals’ cries for help are indicative of their emotions, this claim was also nullified (Blattner 2019, 134). The earlier mentioned four claims are indicative of moral credibility to animals and thus, would make them moral and rational beings. Thus, the debate about the difference between humans and animals has been tackled by philosophers.

David Hume’s contribution to the debate of free will can’t be challenged and, therefore, has led to several changes and views. He has one of the most popular views is for Compatibilism which believes that moral responsibility and human motivation can come together with determinism. In the Humean view, there are two schools of thought: the classicists and the naturalists, in which classicists explain the possibility of an unfree action, which is caused by an agent’s evaluations and their motivations (Willoughby, et al. 2019, 147). The classical interpretation relies on free will and nullifies its relationship with determinism. They believe that complete free will is impossible since it will be dependent on determinism or the cause-effect relationship of events. The absence of causality of actions and its subsequent requirement would make free action impossible. Thus, free action is caused by an agent, whereas unfree action is caused by an external cause (Willoughby, et al. 2019). The independence of an action depends on the presence and absence of causality and necessity. According to the classicists, an uncaused action would be completely random and out of control. Hume divided Liberty into two types of Liberty: liberty of spontaneity and liberty of indifference. Liberty of spontaneity refers to a situation when the agent can act according to their desires and their actions are not affected by any constrain which might affect their freeness (Ooi 2020). On the other hand, liberty of indifference is considered as a “positive freedom” where the individual can choose to act or not act. This reflects an absence of causation or necessity. However, this view fails to account for moral sentiment as mentioned in moral responsibility dictated by Hume (Ooi 2020). Moreover, the explanations provided by the classicists about the relationship between moral responsibility and freedom are very basic (Ooi 2020). Thus, the Humean view of the classical interpretation of his work posits that action depends on causation and necessity, where free action is not truly free because there’s still some cause and effect caused by prior events.

The Humean View of Free Will

Henry Frankfurt was an important philosopher who objected to the theory of the “Principle of Alternative Possibilities”. According to this theory, a person would be morally responsible if they had the choice to do anything other than their action. So, someone is morally responsible for their wrong actions, only if they had the choice to do so (Frankfurt 2019). However, Frankfurt through a series of examples and cases, suggested that PAP is not required for moral responsibility. Consider the case in which Mr X is a morally responsible person, who pays his dues on time and does not steal anything. However, suppose another person Mr Y plants a device in his brain which compels him to steal. On that particular day, Mr Y would have activated that device that would compel him to steal even though he didn’t want to. According to Mr Y’s plan, Mr X does steal things from the grocery store. Frankfurt argues that even though he had no control over his action, he was still morally responsible for his actions. However, there are some objections to the Frankfurt Cases. One argument states that these cases are casual and unusual. Another argument claims that the subject of these cases could have done any other action. There are two ways that the subjects of the Frankfurt cases could have changed their outcomes. One of them called “General Abilities” claim that even though was compelled by a device, they were not forced to act that way. The way they acted only because of their wishes, could have been reduced. Even though Mr X was moved to behave that way, he still had some free will (Steward 2021). This motion called “Flickers of freedom” argues that Mr X could have also stolen things himself if he had no money that day (Steward 2021). Therefore, a person is not completely helpless to others and could have lost all control, while maintaining a moral responsibility. Therefore, control over one’s actions is required to claim the moral responsibility of our actions.

Moral Luck as postulated by Bernard Williams comes into action when an agent receives something deserving, which was out of their control. It is treated as an aspect of moral judgment that affects our everyday practices because of its unpredictability. The question of moral luck started because humans are committed to believing in things that were out of their control (Latus 2019). To understand moral luck, it is important to study the Control Principle and its corollary. The Control Principle states that humans are morally assessable only to the limit that they are accessed for factors that are under our control, while its coronary notes that two people would have been assessed morally the same, however, due to factors outside their control, they are assessed differently (Mickelson 2019). Thus, CP and its corollary make this theory plausible. Williams has had many postulations about morality and out of which, he developed moral luck. He believes that moral luck serves to provide comfort to humans against the miseries of the world (Latus 2019). William presents a dilemma that either moral luck sometimes comes out of moral value or it might not be a supreme value. Despite the attention garnered by Williams for his hypothesis of Moral Luck, some arguers claim that his argument is fairly unimpressive and thus, fails to sway many people (Latus 2019). The next argument rests on rational justification, which can only be claimed after a fact. However, objections have been raised in this regard because if rationality and morality are affected and intermingled by luck, then there is no justification for the impasse between morality and rationality (Latus 2019). To maintain the belief that luck has its roots in morality, William argued about Agent regret. It is a willingness to compensate for our faults or errors of judgment. Even this does not compensate for people’s past actions and their justifications (Latus 2019). Therefore, as suggested by Bernard Williams, moral luck stems from moral values along with having its roots in moral judgments and rationality.

The Principle of Alternative Possibilities

Moral responsibility has been deemed important by philosophers across centuries. From Plato and Aristotle to modern philosophers, morality and its related paradigms have been very debatable. Moral responsibility comes with many other correlated topics such as Free Will, Determinism, Comparability, Moral Consideration of animals, Humean views of free will and action, Alternate Possibilities, and Moral Luck. While Determinism dictates the improbability of free actions, free will believes in human control over actions. Coming from them, Comparability and Soft Determinism posits that humans have free will within the parameters of determinism. Philosophers have started accepting that animals also have morality, which has been a long-debated topic. While humans may have free will, the probability of free action depends on causality and necessity as stated by Hume and his followers. According to the Principle of Alternative Possibilities, people are exempted from moral responsibility if they have no control over their actions. Finally, moral luck suggests the probability of an external effect that might not have been possible otherwise.

References

Alvarez, Maria. 2021. "PF Strawson, Moral Theories and ‘The Problem of Blame’:‘Freedom and Resentment’Revisited." Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 95 (1): 183-203. https://doi.org/10.1093/arisup/akab001.

Ayer, Alfred Jules. 1952. Language, truth, and logic. Vol. 10. Courier Corporation.

Blattner, Charlotte E. 2019. "The recognition of animal sentience by the law." Journal of Animal Ethics 9 (2): 121-136. https://doi.org/10.5406/janimalethics.9.2.0121.

Caviola, Lucius, Jim AC Everett, and Nadira S. Faber. 2019. "The moral standing of animals: Towards a psychology of speciesism." Journal of personality and social psychology 116 (6): 1011-1029. https://psycnet.apa.org/doi/10.1037/pspp0000182.

Frankfurt, Harry G. 2019. Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility/Alternative Möglichkeiten...: Alternate Possibilities.../Alternative Möglichkeiten und moralische Verantwortung (Englisch/Deutsch.) Reclam Great Papers Philosophie. Leipzig: Reclam Verlag.

Hutton, Christopher. 2019. Integrationism and the self: Reflections on the legal personhood of animals. Oxfordshire: Routledge.

Latus, Andrew. 2019. "Thomas Nagel and Bernard Williams on Moral Luck." In The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy and Psychology of Luck, edited by Ian M. Church and Robert J. Hartman, 105-112. Oxfordshire: Routledge.

Luco, Andres. 2019. "How moral facts cause moral progress." Journal of the American Philosophical Association 5 (4): 429-448.

Lutz, Matt. 2022. "Naturalism and the Projectability Challenge." Journal of Moral Philosophy 1: 1-16. https://doi.org/10.2143/EP.25.2.3284945.

McPherson, Tristram. 2012. Ethical Non-Naturalism and the Metaphysics of Supervenience. Vol. Volume 7, in Oxford Studies in Metaethics, 205–234. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Mele, Alfred R. 2020. "Free Will and Luck: Compatibilism versus Incompatibilism." The Monist 103 (3): 262-277. https://doi.org/10.1093/monist/onaa003.

Mickelson, Kristin M. 2019. "Free will, self-creation, and the paradox of moral luck." Midwest Studies in Philosophy 43: 224-256. https://doi.org/10.1111/misp.12114.

Monsó, Susana, Judith Benz-Schwarzburg, and Annika Bremhorst. 2018. "Animal morality: What it means and why it matters." The Journal of Ethics 22 (3): 283-310. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10892-018-9275-3.

Ooi, Daryl. 2020. "David Hume on Liberty, Necessity and the Problem of Evil." Springer.

Sinclair, Neil. 2020. Ethical subjectivism and expressivism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Steward, Helen. 2021. "Frankfurt cases, alternative possibilities and agency as a two-way power." Inquiry 1-18. https://doi.org/10.1080/0020174X.2021.1904639.

Strawson, Peter Frederick. 2008. Freedom and resentment and other essays. Oxfrodshire: Routledge.

Street, Sharon. 2006. "A Darwinian dilemma for realist theories of value." Philosophical studies: An International Journal for Philosophy in the Analytic Tradition (Springer) 127 (1): 109-166.

Willoughby, Emily A., Alan C. Love, Matt McGue, William G. Iacono, Jack Quigley, and James J. Lee. 2019. "Free Will, Determinism, and Intuitive Judgments About the Heritability of Behavior." Behavior genetics 49 (2): 136-153. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10519-018-9931-1.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:

My Assignment Help. (2022). The Possibility And Roots Of Moral Responsibility. Retrieved from https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/5aanb006-ethics-contemporary-ethical-philosophy/moral-responsibility-file-A1DBF6F.html.

My Assignment Help (2022) The Possibility And Roots Of Moral Responsibility [Online]. Available from: https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/5aanb006-ethics-contemporary-ethical-philosophy/moral-responsibility-file-A1DBF6F.html
[Accessed 01 March 2024].

My Assignment Help. 'The Possibility And Roots Of Moral Responsibility' (My Assignment Help, 2022) <https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/5aanb006-ethics-contemporary-ethical-philosophy/moral-responsibility-file-A1DBF6F.html> accessed 01 March 2024.

My Assignment Help. The Possibility And Roots Of Moral Responsibility [Internet]. My Assignment Help. 2022 [cited 01 March 2024]. Available from: https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/5aanb006-ethics-contemporary-ethical-philosophy/moral-responsibility-file-A1DBF6F.html.

Get instant help from 5000+ experts for
question

Writing: Get your essay and assignment written from scratch by PhD expert

Rewriting: Paraphrase or rewrite your friend's essay with similar meaning at reduced cost

Editing: Proofread your work by experts and improve grade at Lowest cost

loader
250 words
Phone no. Missing!

Enter phone no. to receive critical updates and urgent messages !

Attach file

Error goes here

Files Missing!

Please upload all relevant files for quick & complete assistance.

Other Similar Samples

support
Whatsapp
callback
sales
sales chat
Whatsapp
callback
sales chat
close