Summary Of Determinism Al Dente By Derk Pereboom

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In “Determinism al Dente,” Derk Pereboom asserts the hard determinist position that human freedom and determinism are incompatible. In particular, he rejects the following version of a “soft” determinist argument: a person acted freely and, therefore, is morally responsible if (i) they desired to carry out that action, (ii) it was specifically their will, a will they wanted to have, that generated the desire, and (iii) the desire was influenced by contextual reasons and, given different contextual reasons, they would have considered these reasons and acted differently. He utilizes an example that satisfies all three criterion of soft determinism and he argues that the example, in actuality, proves that one who is determined cannot be morally responsible. (Pereboom 22)…show more content…
Green murdered Ms. Peacock. (22) He (i) had the desire to perform the action, (ii) the desire resulted from a will he wanted to have, and (iii) the act was performed for specific reasons and, were there contextual reasons compelling him not to kill her, he would have acted differently. Pereboom denies that Mr. Green is blameworthy, even when all three criterion are satisfied, because the action was not performed freely in a way entailing moral responsibility. His desires and the state of his will had deterministic causes and, since these causes had their own deterministic causes, somewhere previously in the causal chain there existed causes over which Mr. Green had absolutely no influence. Pereboom claims that it is counterintuitive to thrust moral accountability onto Mr. Green when his action was the effect of causes lacking his command or involvement.

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