Difference between So-Called ‘Hard’ and ‘oft’ Determinism

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Explain the difference between so-called ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ (a.k.a. compatibilist) determinism.Present an argument in favor of hard determinism. Explain- Compatibilism refers to the assertion that determinism is compatible with freedom in which people can be held morally responsible when making their own choices. There are different types of determinism which allows for different assertions of compatibilism. The difference between ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ determinism is that ‘hard’ determinism is incompatibilist determinism, and ‘soft’ determinism is compatibilist determinism. This means that ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ determinist believe that determinism is true, however they have conflicting beliefs that free will is possible when determinism is true. The ‘soft’ determinist believe free will is possible when determinism is true and the ‘hard’ determinist believe that free will is not possible when determinism is true.

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Present- A theory that supports hard determinism is the theory of universal causation. This theory is the belief that all human choices and actions along with everything in the universe has a cause behind it. Therefore all events in the universe can be predicted and are causally determined if you know the the effect of the cause.

Asses- I believe that this is a sound argument because free will lays upon the basis of causation. Without a cause behind something there is no action, and therefore there is no free will. Free will allows you to make choices and take actions, however without a cause for those choices and actions they would never be made. Everything we do is because of something that had previously happened or had been previously said.

Present- The multiple realizability argument makes the claim that mental and physical kinds are correlated with one to many kinds and not a one to one kind correlation. This asserts that for a mental state like pain, it can be correlated with one physical state in a dog while there is a different physical state correlation of pain in a human. This states that mental kinds cannot be identical to physical kinds because there identity would have to be one kind of mental state to be correlated with one kind of a physical state.

Asses- I would assert that the multiple realizability argument is more sound than the mind-body identity theory because the multiple realizability argument claims that you have a one to many correlation with kinds. This is a more sound argument because a dog is not going to have the same correlation of pain with physical and mental states than a human would have. If mental kinds are multiply realizable then they are not identical to physical types, and therefore if mental kinds are not identical to physical kinds then psychological discourse is not correlated to physical kinds.

Explain what is meant in philosophy by ‘the problem of personal identity.’ Explain- Personal identity lays upon two premises: what it is to be a person? And what is it for person to be a person over time? The problem with personal identity lays upon the question of what traits characterize a person to be a person at one time. The problem arises when considering the fact that a boy growing into adulthood is technically not the same person because he is numerically and qualitatively dissimilar to when he was a boy.

Define- The mental criterion theory of personal identity was coined by Locke. This theory asserts that a person can reason and reflect and has the ability to consider itself itself, and is the same thinking being at all different times. Locke asserts that a person is a thinking being whose identity is preserved through there conciscioness.

Present- The teletransporter argument against memory theory states that if such pairs of people are similar enough psychologically at one time, and there physiological states at later times are caused by the physiological states from the earlier states then they can be considered the same person. The person who emerges from the teletransporter is psychologically similar to the person who entered. If the psychological states of the person who emerges are shown to be caused by the states of the person who entered than it can be considered the same person.

Asses- I would assert that a human is in fact not the same person numerically and qualitatively over time however, they do in fact have a continuous conscience that is held by their memory. A humans skin cells fall off millions at a time per day and replace itself over time. Should your hand be considered the same hand then? I would agree that your physical appearance is not the same but your mental states are caused by previous psychological occurrences and therefore you are indeed the same person.

Define- The divine command theory is the belief that morality is dependant on God. It claims that moral obligation depends on obedience to God’s commands. This theory states that morality is reliant on the commands of God, and morally right action is that of what God commands.

Present- St. Thomas Aquinas made the claim that something is moral if it works towards the purpose of human existence, and therefore human nature can determine what is moral. However, Clark and Poortenga used this claim to assert a claim against the divine command theory. They asserted that because God created human nature and created a vision of morality, God thus cannot change what is wrong or right for humans.

Asses- I would claim that Clark’s and Poortenga’s argument for divine command theory is more convincing. I would assert this because if God did in fact create humans than he would have created a vision or morality for us all well. For example with adam and eve he created a vision of morality when telling them not to eat an apple from the tree. This argument shows that if God did create humans and that vision of morality then he would not be able to arbitrarily change what is right and wrong for humans because it was already done. The divine command theory is more subject to criticism than this argument because one might claim that God can change his commands and thus change what is wrong or right at any time.

Define- Hedonism is seen in multiple different aspects and stems from the ancient Greek meaning pleasure. For example psychological and motivational hedonism asserts that pleasure or pain are the only thing that motivates us. While ethical or evaluative hedonism assert that only pleasure has value or worth, and only displeasure or pain has no value.

Present- An argument against hedonism is that not every pleasure that we have in prospect motivates us. This means that every pleasure that we have doesn’t in turn cause us to do something or motivate us towards doing something.

Present- On behalf of the hedonist a reply to that argument is that one can only be motivated by what they think is there maximum pleasure and displeasure balance. One might also claim that hedonism does not assert that someone could be motivated by every pleasure in there life. Not everything that may seem to motivate someone actually motivates them and especially pleasure. For example it is pleasurable to make a lot of money in ones life however, that pleasure doesn’t always motivate one to put in the work to get that.

Asses- This reply on behalf of the hedonist is convincing to me because I know that in my life not everything that is pleasurable or could be pleasurable is something that motivates me. The hedonist reply asserts that hedonism doesn’t claim that every pleasure in our lives motivates us with I would say is true. Although it would give me great pleasure to make a ton of money over the summer I don’t know if that pleasure will motivate me enough to work very hard for that.

Present- In Thompson’s argument she claims that the fetus has the the right to life. However, she asserts that the fetus’s right to life does not change the fact that the pregnant women has the right to control her her body and all of its life support functions that come with that body. She makes the claim that because a women has the right to control her own body and its life functions that induced abortion is therefore morally impermissible. If a pregnant women chooses to have an abortion she is simply depriving the baby from the use of her body and life supporting functions to which the baby has no right. She uses the thought experiment of the violinist to display how if you unplug the violinist you are not killing him your are simply depriving him of the rights to use your body.

Explain- A counter argument against this could be the fact that the baby at a certain time of development now does have its own life support functions and its own body and therefore has the right to be birthed from the whom. If the baby reaches the point of development where it does have its own body and can think for itself then should it have the right to be birthed? Another counter argument that could be seen with this is the question of whether one should not unplug the violinist in cases of rape. If someone was raped and was having a baby against there personal decision, then should they be allowed to “unplug” or abort the baby?

Present- One such argument might be that critics usually agree to granting permissibility to unplug the violinist, however they want to block the conclusion that abortion is permissible. One might argue that there are moral differences between the violinist thought experiment and the cases of abortion.

Asses- I would claim that there are in fact differences between this violinist thought experiment and real cases of abortion. In real cases of abortion there are a lot of separate personal and emotional factors that are involved with being pregnant and making the decision to have an abortion or not. In the violinist thought experiment it does not cover all of the extraneous factors that would be involved with having a baby or having an abortion.

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Difference Between So-Called ‘Hard’ and ‘oft’ Determinism. (2021, Mar 26). Retrieved October 4, 2022 , from

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