Shafer-Landau's Argument Analysis

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In chapter twelve of The Fundamentals of Ethics, Russ Shafer-Landau argues that the principle of humanity is based on the questionable assumption that we, humans, are autonomous and that all humans believe this to be true, when it is indeed false. His argument states that all the choices we make can eventually be traced to have a cause or causes beyond our control or that all of the choices we make are completely random because nothing causes us to do so, and because our actions are dictated by either random causes or causes that are completely out of our control, humans lack autonomy. Although Shafer-Landau’s argument fits the valid pattern of a dilemma, I believe that his argument is not sound due to the value of truth behind the premises.…show more content…
To explain further, each choice a person makes is influenced by something, and no matter what their choice was, they were bound to choose what they chose. On top of that, Shafer-Landau adds that the causes of their choice were also caused. Ultimately, the choices we as humans make can be tacked to “causes over which we lack control”(Shafer-Landau, 185). In the third premise, Shafer-Landau shows how the second part of the conditional also points to the same conclusion that we lack autonomy. His reasoning is that if we as humans are making choices based off of nothing, or in other words not necessitated, then our choices are completely random. If our choices are completely random, then there’s no control in what we are choosing to do. Since our choices are not necessitated, then we have humans have no control over our choices. This “undermines autonomy”(Shafer-Landau, 186). Based off of his three premises, Shafer-Landau concludes that humans lack…show more content…
He believes that, “if nothing causes us to choose as we do, then our choices seem completely random.” However often, humans make choices because they want to, because of a desire or need from within. Let’s take a man who is bored, fore example. This man is bored and wants to do something. If the man decides to take a walk, he may do it for his health. One, like Shafer-Landau, would argue that this is an external cause forcing him to make this choice. Then we ask ourselves, “Why is the man doing it for his health?” The desire for the man to benefit his health comes from within, because the man wants to benefit his own health. Even if his doctor mandates the walk, he still makes the choice to take a walk to benefit his health rather than sit and rot away to death. In this case, still there is something that causes him to walk. In the purest sense of have no cause, if a person makes a choice to read a book, take a walk, or take a nap, a person still has the ability to make a choice by themselves based off of their thought process or logic. Since humans have the ability to make choices by themselves, even though they may have no cause or reason to make that choice, they are autonomous beings. Just because we have no cause or reason to make a choice, does not mean that

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